1986 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS - $22,900
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This is as good as a 30-year-old car can possibly be and I think it would be OK to call it the best one in the world.

The 1980s were a strange time to be in the auto business. In the early ‘80s, horsepower was way down and there didn’t seem to be a way forward. Cars were getting smaller and Japan was making rather serious inroads to middle America. And fuel injection was on the horizon, which most traditional performance fans decried as the devil’s own work, ending the ability for the do-it-yourselfer to do it himself. Today, you can probably still find more than a few guys who will claim that this 1986 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS was the last real muscle car sporting a gen-u-ine Chevy small block V8 with a good old Rochester Quadrajet on top. Torque, rear-wheel-drive, and enough comfort and size to make it feel like a real car were the SS’s virtues, virtues which date back to the dawn of the muscle car era.

And after taking this one for a spin, I have to say: maybe those guys are on to something…

You probably won’t find a better late Monte Carlo SS than this anywhere. It has just one owner, the guy who bought it new and always treated it like a toy, not a daily driver, so it shows just over 39,000 original miles. It has never seen snow (or rain, for that matter), it has never been wrecked or hit, and it has never required anything more serious than an oil change. It remains unmodified and almost completely stock save for a replacement exhaust system and an upgraded radiator, both of which improve the driving experience in tangible ways. It has been a show car, not a race car or a Saturday night special, and, well, it’s pretty much like new in every way that matters. The bright white paint is 100% factory-applied, as are the decals, so that alone should tell you about the easy life this car has led. The urethane bumpers fit well and aren’t cracked or discolored. Panel fit is 100% OEM, since nothing has ever been removed or reinstalled—it’s all where the guys on the assembly line put it. The black trim hasn’t been cooked by UV rays from sitting outside and the chin spoiler isn’t scuffed. You can see where I’m going with this—this is as good as a 30-year-old car can possibly be and I think it would be OK to call it the best one in the world.

This SS also features a gray cloth interior, preferable to the more common GM red mouse fur that turns orange in the sunlight. Like the exterior, the interior has been conscientiously maintained and shows almost zero wear, even on the high-traffic areas like the driver’s seat outer bolster. Those are original carpets (and even original floor mats!), an OEM dash pad, and factory-installed steering wheel, all of which look almost new. The Monte Carlo SS came only one way: loaded. As a result, it includes things like ice cold A/C (still with R12 in the system!), power windows and locks, a console, and a full array of big, easy-to-read gauges in a dashboard surrounded with a racy red line. Even the original Declo AM/FM/cassette stereo head unit is still in the center stack. Everything works, of course, and it really does look almost new everywhere you look. The T-tops have been removed a few times but the weather seals remain in excellent condition, so they aren’t leaky, and even the trunk is correctly outfitted with its original black carpet mat and space-saver spare that’s never been used.

The only engine available in 1986 was a 5.0 liter (that’s a 305 to you old school guys) V8 topped by a 4-barrel carburetor. It’s understandable why performance fans would worry about fuel injection’s arrival, because this car works quite well as it is and more technology wasn’t necessarily a good thing. Turn the key and it starts easily and idles well, even when it’s cold. There’s a wide torque curve that makes the SS feel punchy around town, but it settles down on the highway to remind you that the standard Monte Carlo on the other side of the showroom was also a luxury car. Aside from the oversized aluminum radiator that you can see peeking out from under the original shroud and the stainless steel exhaust headers, the engine bay is pretty much the way GM built it so reliability is uncompromised and you know the car hasn’t been abused.

Those gorgeous headers feed a brand new stainless steel exhaust system with an X-pipe that eliminates the catalytic converters, so this SS is a bit faster than you remember and offers a fantastic engine note you’ll love. The rear half of the exhaust system was painted black to make it look OEM and nobody but an expert will spot the upgrade. Nice! The 200-4R 4-speed automatic transmission is the same one used in the Corvette-crushing Buick Grand National, and offers quick shifts and a tall overdrive gear for easy highway cruising. Obviously power steering and front disc brakes were standard equipment and 3.73 gears out back make it feel quick and agile around town. The SS also received a slightly upgraded suspension with stiffer shocks and springs and bigger sway bars, but it does nothing to diminish the comfortable ride for which the car was justifiably famous. You will note that the floors, rockers, and other critical parts are in outstanding condition with zero evidence that the car has ever seen harsh weather and there has never been any body or frame work of any kind. 16-inch factory aluminum wheels give the SS a sporting look and carry a set of 215/65/15 Goodyear radials, only the second set of tires the car has ever worn.

You will not find a better Monte Carlo SS anywhere. Enthusiast-owned but not enthusiast-abused, it remains in almost-new condition throughout. It’s tight, smooth, quiet, and surprisingly quick, and the price is still cheaper than it was in 1986. If you remember what real muscle cars were like, this awesome Monte Carlo will take you back in time without making you suffer through the dark days. Call now!

Vehicle: 1986 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS
Price: $22,900
Stock Number: 115090
Mileage: 39,426
VIN: 1G1GZ37G7GR186773
Engine: 305 cubic inch V8
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Gear Ratio: 3.73
Wheelbase: 108 inches
Wheels: 15-inch aluminum wheels
Tires: 215/65/15 Goodyear radials
Exterior Color: White
Interior Color: Gray cloth
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