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70k Original Miles: 1988 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS

The 1988 model year was significant for Chevrolet because it was the last where buyers could order a rear-wheel-drive Monte Carlo SS. These cars became largely ignored as the motoring world dragged itself from The Malaise Era, but tidy examples represent an affordable pathway to classic car ownership. This SS is an original survivor with 70,000 miles on the clock. It has no pressing needs and is ready to hit the road with a new owner behind the wheel. The Monte Carlo is listed here on Craigslist in Edgemoor, South Carolina. It could be yours for $14,500 OBO, and I must say a big thank you to Barn Finder Tony P for spotting it.

Few people were sad to learn that the 1988 Monte Carlo SS range no longer included the Aerocoupe variant. Chevrolet’s version of the homologation special was undoubtedly more elegant than the Pontiac 2+2. Still, with the company focusing on the Lumina for NASCAR competition, there was no need for a model that many considered cumbersome. The ’88 Monte Carlo followed the industry styling trends of the time, with sharp and square lines. Certain cars from this era have aged remarkably well, and the SS is one of them. It makes a striking statement in Code 19 Black with contrasting Red stripes and decals. The presentation is impressive, with no glaring paint or panel imperfections and vinyl that looks crisp and clean. Rust is always a consideration, but the seller states that this garage-kept classic is rock-solid. The original owner ordered this car with the optional T-Top, and the lack of interior water damage suggests its seals are excellent. The factory aluminum wheels are spotless, and there are no apparent glass issues.

Chevrolet may have marketed the SS as a muscle car, but buyers received no shortage of luxury equipment. The new owner receives air conditioning, power windows, power locks, cruise control, a leather-wrapped tilt wheel, and a sports gauge cluster. However, it appears the original radio/cassette player has made way for a more modern version. The seller rates the interior as fair, and that seems an appropriate assessment. There is wear on the outer edge of the driver’s seat, and the foam has begun sagging in that area. The carpet has faded spots, and the console lid has warped. However, there is no apparent UV damage or signs of crumbling plastic. The parts to address the shortcomings are readily available, but retaining the interior untouched to preserve the car’s survivor status is a viable option.

Describing most American performance vehicles from this era as muscle cars involved poetic license because they didn’t offer the brutal power or acceleration of the cars that had spawned that market sector. This Monte Carlo’s 305ci V8 sends 180hp and 225 ft/lbs of torque to the rear wheels via a four-speed 200-4R automatic transmission. The days of sub-15-second ¼-mile ETs must have seemed a distant memory, with this car taking 16.4 seconds to cover that distance. The seller claims this classic has a genuine 70,000 miles on the clock, and they may hold evidence among the collection of Service Records and invoices. They don’t indicate how the SS runs or drives, although the indications are positive.

It is easy to understand the appeal this 1988 Monte Carlo SS holds, especially for those seeking a first classic purchase. The seller’s price is far below what an enthusiast might pay for a genuine Chevelle SS, a Nova SS, or any other muscle car from that period. Those classics offer significantly more cachet and better performance, but values are beginning to move beyond the reach of mere mortals. Most enthusiasts view a classic purchase as a luxury, not a necessity. Not everyone has $40,000 or $50,000 to splash on such a purchase, meaning they must set their sights on something more affordable. That is where this ’88 Monte Carlo SS fits into the picture, which is why I believe it will find a new home fairly quickly. Do you agree?


  1. Claudio

    As i was entering the canadian capitol to protest the school brainwashing, a gray haired man zoomed by with the twin of this beauty and it stood out of the crowd of plastic front wheel commuters , didyhave the chance to look it up close as the crowd was moving while chanting to ´leave the kids alone « 
    Love cars and love freedom

    Like 21
  2. jimjim

    Nice. Interior looks a little rough. Does anyone know if they make reproduction interiors for these?

    Like 5
  3. Robert Proulx

    The interior is a bit scorched by the sun but then again normal with all the uv’s and t tops. Any competent upholestery shop can tackle that and while you brought the seats.you can take time to deep clean and re-dye and repaint the carpeting and the rest easily over one good week end. A bit of elbow grease and a few cans of degreaser and paint will bring the engine bay very nice. Prices on the g-bodies are starting to take off so get yours while affordable. Interesting tid bit i pulled out my 1987 Guide de l’auto and an SS went for 17225 here in Quebec at that time

    Like 5
  4. Robert J Mulhall

    asking price is what it was new……but its really tired around the edges…paint on many of these vintage gm cars had bad paint even when new,,,my new 85 ss was repainted 6mo’s after i bought it and 3yrs a complete strip and base coat clear coat paint job….i’d say $6000 to $9000 might be more in order….it looks like about $10,000 more to restore nicely..less paint

    Like 2
    • Mike G

      I also bought a brand new 85 SS in black and had the exact same problem mine new was 14,300USD it was a sharp car the 3:73 rear gearing made it feel faster than it was it completely fell on its face over 4k rpm’s

      Like 2
  5. Mike76

    Had an 87 MCSS for about a year in 97. It was a beautiful car that had been repainted its original black sans stripes/decals with tan interior. Polished IROC mags, tinted windows all the way around and with no stripes or emblems visible on the exterior, the Monte had a very menacing look. Although, it was not quick it sure looked the part. Still, a very fun car to drive that received a ton of compliments and people asking what kind of car it was. Girls absolutely loved it. Had some really fun times at 20/21 years old driving that car. Sold it, like I did every car back then within a year. I went through so many cars in my late teens early to mid 20’s that the California DMV sent a letter to me warning that I was going to need to register as a dealer and pay taxes if I kept up by car buying and selling pace.

    Like 6
  6. George Mattar

    That interior color faded badly. I had a loaded 88 Monte SS in Dark Claret with matching interior, t tops. I never let my car sit in the sun, drove it sparingly and sold it fir $10,000 in 1993, to a police officer. He still has the car today. He was smart and I was dumb for selling it. My car was so clean, he said he didn’t need to test drive it, gave me cash and drove off. Miss that car. Kept my NOS stash of parts, sold them in 2006 for much more than I paid.

    Like 1
  7. George Mattar

    Forgot to answer a reader question about repo seat covers. I heard they are being reproduced. 94 to 96 Impala SS seat covers are being reproduced.

    Like 1
  8. C Force

    A true pinnacle of mailaise era performance at it’s best….for the same money as when new?yeah….whatever.. someone fell and bumped their head.

    Like 1
    • Kurt Goss

      You clearly believe that $14,000 buys what it used to in 1988.

      Like 2
  9. MonteMarc

    This one has been repainted for sure, rear tag holder is black vs the galvanized color, and the front lower trim, headlight area and grill area are gloss black vs a matte/trim black. The interior has seen better days for sure with the sun fade, this color interior didn’t hold up in the sun well at all, and the center console lid giving way(really common). I’d really like to see proof its only got 70K on it, wouldn’t surprise me if it has 170k.

    Like 2
  10. Travis Jon Powell

    $14,5xx doesn’t surprise me much. “Square body” trucks (or so they call them) somehow reach into the $20’s and $30’s. To play devil’s advocate, if the undercarriage proves to be minty on a southern G body it may be in line for close to asking price. IDK… A lot of folks did take care of these MCSS early on with still plenty of examples stashed away by boomers. They’re not getting any more abundant, and 1988 was a mighty long time ago for an automobile. Would be interesting to see. They’re very nice drivers even though not “fast”, they’re adequate. Not hard to put into the 14’s.

    Like 3
  11. Kurt Goss

    You clearly believe that $14,000 buys what it used to in 1988.

    Like 1
  12. salem Graham

    Everyone of these I owned or looked at had the 305. Was that the only engine that they came with. Or could you option for a different one. Just glad it’s not an euro coupe. I couldn’t stand that back window

    Like 1
  13. David Omid

    I bought a brand new 1988 SS Monte Carlo exactly the same in Boston. I truly enjoyed driving it & the power was reasonable. When in 1994, I moved to Los Angeles. It only had 50.000 miles with super condition. Because I needed money. I sacrificed it with only $4000.00. If I didn’t need money. I would definitely ship it to California.

    Like 0
  14. Bama

    Old friend of mine was working at the Chevy dealer shop when these were new. He bought one, drove it for a month or so, then it had to have the engine replaced under warranty. wink wink. Being in the know and with help from his employer, he ordered a brand new crate 350 and put it in. Back then it was who you knew in the network that let you get away with stuff like that. His Monte was a lot faster than the rest, yet looked stock under the hood. Wasn’t his first rodeo, he also had a 1 of none 72 Nova with a Corvette spec 427 in it.

    Like 3
  15. R.Lee

    Last of the full frame cars. I have a 1985 T Top SS we bought new in 85. The best car we have ever owned. I do not know where they get their ET from but at Gateway International in 1985 mine was 15.24 everytime. Best bracket car I have ever owned. I could cut the reaction to .001 and have 10 second cars chase me like no tomorrow. With a 5 second head start they could not afford to chop the brakes on the big end breaking out most times.

    The one time I regret losing the final was to a 17.2 second Beretta GTU, I took off the air cleaner and dialed in 14.99 and broke out by .02 and the Beretta took home the cash. This time I was chasing.

    Later on put in a chip, full headers, roller rockers, hogged out cat, air pump delete, TCI torque converter, kept the Eagle TA’s and passed the Missouri smog test until they quit doing the 1st gen computer cars,15 years. Now the HO 305 sits on the pallet rack. And a RAD 71 400 4 bolt resides now.

    If not for dirt track racing eating the G bodies there would be allot more still in service. I have used 4 at Pevely Federated Auto Parts Raceway.

    Like 3

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