Possible Daily Driver? 1986 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS

There’s no doubt that careful ownership shows. Take this 1986 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS as an example. The SS is an original and unrestored survivor, and its overall condition is mighty impressive. However, this is a classic that is about more than mere good looks. The owner claims that it runs and drives so nicely that it could comfortably serve as a daily driver. Regardless of whether that is their aim or the plans are for the occasional weekend outing, it seems that the next owner will be performing those duties from behind the wheel of a head-turning vehicle. If I have tempted you to the point where you may pursue this one further, you will find the SS located in Macomb, Michigan, and listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has literally raced past the reserve to sit at $15,600.

Cars that rolled off the production line during the 1980s had a distinctive style that is unmistakable today. “Make ’em square” seemed to be the motto, although the companies threw in the occasional curve to relieve boredom! That is why cars like the Monte Carlo and Buick’s Grand National are so instantly identifiable. Changes were in the wind, and cars like the Pontiac Trans Am sent clear signals that aerodynamic efficiency would play a vital role in future car development. Our feature SS is from that “square-rigger” era, and it presents superbly. The Dark Red paint shines beautifully, with no visible chips or marks. The panels are laser straight, and there is not a hint of rust. The distinctive stripes and decals integral to the SS package look sharp and free from shrinkage. The alloy wheels are in excellent order, and the glass is flawless.

When you see how clean this car’s underside is, it’s easy to believe the owner’s claim that it has been garage-kept for its entire life. The owner indicates that the SS has a genuine 38,800 miles on the clock, and while he doesn’t mention verifying evidence, the car’s overall condition makes the claim seem plausible.

During the 1980s, the American car industry was still trying to dig its way out of the horror story that was The Malaise Era. Manufacturers were clawing back lost ground a little at a time, but it remained a slow and laborious process that only accelerated once they had unlocked the magic of fuel injection and electronic engine management systems. An insight into how difficult the fight was comes when you compare engine powers across a decade. If you ordered a 1976 Monte Carlo with the 305ci V8 under the hood, the best that you could hope for was to have 140hp at your disposal. Wind the clock forward a decade, and our ’86 Monte Carlo SS features a 305 that produces 180hp. As I said, it was a slow process, but progress was being made. Our feature car also has a four-speed TH200-4R automatic transmission, power steering, and power brakes. The information supplied by the seller paints a rosy picture. The car is original and unmodified, but he recently treated it to a fluid change and new tires. He says that the SS runs and drives well and will cruise happily on the freeway at 80mph. One final point that he makes is that the Monte Carlo could serve effectively as a daily driver. That sounds fine in theory, but I’m not sure that I would be willing to submit a tidy survivor like this to the cut-and-thrust of commuter traffic. It may have seemed okay when the SS was young, but it seems quite wrong now.

If cars produced in the 1980s were renowned for their distinctive styling, they also had a reputation for having some of the most “biodegradable” interior trim in the whole of automotive history. Cloth could sun-rot and fade, while plastic could crack and crumble. It was not unusual to find cars from this era with barely ten years under their belt with interiors so shredded that they looked like the victims of wanton vandalism. That hasn’t been the fate with our SS because its interior looks spotless. The Maroon cloth trim is free from wear and marks, while the vinyl and plastic are immaculate. The dash and pad are in as-new condition, and this is one area where I would take steps to maintain that status. It’s easy to find a cover for under $80 that would protect the pad. I speak from experience when I say that it is money well spent. My car is twenty-five years old, and it has worn a cover since Day One. The pad looks perfect, with no evidence of drying or deterioration. The owner has installed a CD player, but otherwise, everything is original, and it all works as it should. This includes the air conditioning, power windows, power locks, rear defroster, and the tilt wheel.

During the 1970s, there was a strong vibe and desire for all things from the 1950s, which is why shows like Happy Days were a roaring success. People have always longed to recapture the past, which is equally valid in the classic car scene. Cars that rolled off the line during the 1980s were largely ignored or forgotten within a decade, but they have become a recent strong performer in the current market. There are many reasons why this is the case, but sometimes it can be defined as a “wrong place, wrong time” scenario. Many of the people who buy these cars now weren’t able to buy them when they were new. They were too young, or they didn’t have the financial means. Wind the clock forward more than three decades, and many of those same people can now purchase those cars of their 1980s dreams. That would help to explain why values on the ’86 Monte Carlo have skyrocketed by a whopping 20% in the last year and why the bidding on this car has been so intense that it has sailed well past the valuation offered by organizations like NADA. There is still plenty of time left on this listing, so it will be interesting to see where it goes before the hammer falls.


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  1. Moparman Member

    What a BEAUTY!! The next lucky owner will be very happy with this one! GLWTA!! :-)

    Like 15
  2. Raymond

    Loved them from new but soooo underpowered, onlything worse was Pontiac 2+2 w the 301….much g body shame

    Like 3
    • Tom

      Pretty sure the Pontiac 2+2 came with the base Chevy 305 / 2004R. At least the 301 was a Pontiac engine and would have made a 400 or 455 swap easier. I personally prefer the looks of the 2+2 over the Monte Carlo. This is a beautiful car that that the new owner should really enjoy!

  3. Bud Lee

    Looks like the brake fluid is low and dirty .

    Like 3
    • Gary James Lehman

      Did you catch that the air in the tires isn’t numbers matching?

      Like 5
      • Daleone3

        BOOOOHAHAHAHA…..love to see the Dirty Brake Fluid Patrol called out…..someone needs a hobby. Did you also notice the front suspension appears to be under-lubed, dust on grease fittings………

        Like 1
  4. DrillnFill

    What a gorgeous time capsule. Loved these since long before I could drive. And the 305, while maybe not a track monster, can more than hold its own in everyday spirited driving, and with proper maintenance will only be outlasted by cockroaches and Twinkies 🤣

    Like 11
  5. Steve a reeno

    I had a chance about 15 years ago to buy the near twin to this car for $8,000. Unfortunately I was a broke apprentice electrician and my priority was paying for my 2 acres of land. Same low mileage but I had a bench seat column shift and non power windows. Not very common for a MC SS. Back in the early 99’s both of my older brothers had black MC SS aerocoupes. One had grey interior, the other maroon.

    Like 5
  6. jwzg

    No cat. Know thy emissions laws.

    Like 4
  7. Frank

    Nice, two words! LS Swap.

    Like 1
  8. C5 Corvette

    Love it, but no room in my inn!

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