Why did so many people like the G-Body Monte Carlos?


New Member
Apr 9, 2005
I had never looked into them before but the other day I was curious as they are the cousin of the Buick Regal G-body that's elevator doesn't quite reach the top. After researching what the car came with and everything else I don't see why anyone bought one of these things over a camaro, mustang, or our Buicks. First of all they are extremely ugly. The Buicks definately have the style advantage. Our cars are stylish yet subtle and have that muscular look. The Monte Carlo looks like it is trying too hard and to me has a boy race look to it. The front and rear bumpers and lights are hideous when parked next to a regal. Second, they only came with the lowly 305 Camaro RS motor, one of the worst motors Chevy ever built. I mean, how the hell do you only get 190 hp out of 5.0 litres!!! Talk about bad engineering!!! But that's not the point, they were extremely underpowered and according to motor trend and car and driver they ran between a 15.9-16.1 stock in the 1/4 mile. I could walk faster than that! (sarcasm). This car was no comparison to our turbo regals and I'm sure they were close to each other in price so I don't see why people bought these things! I understand nowadays about people swapping 350's or any other Chevy V8 in it, because it has the same setup as the Regal and can be made fast with a swap, but the combination it had from the factory was absolutely horrendous. Why were they so sought after in there day?
I have always wondered about this also. And I agree I think the styling is ugly IMO. Although some people might think that GN’s/turbo regals and Monte Carlos look nearly the same I don’t. Put them next to each other and there are some big differences. In fact, when you really look at them closely I think everything is different. The things I don’t like the most on the Monte Carlo are the grill(looks like a bunch of squares), the way the back end looks especially the tail lights, the shape of the small side window, and other details. But yes worst of all the performance is very disappointing.

As far as why they were so sought after in there day, who knows? Assuming an individual liked the overall look of a g-body car I’ll keep the comparison to the turbo regals. First, just the fact that the monte carlo was made by chevy may have given it some popularity. Also, I think a lot of people were pretty ignorant when it came to understanding the true performance of the car. Once they heard it had a V8 in it that’s all they needed to hear and they were convinced, hey its got some power, right? And you have to understand unless an individual actually went for a ride in a GN or was convinced enough from all the great magazine reviews I’m sure a lot of people still couldn’t see past the fact that GN’s only had a V6 engine. Even though the GN’s blew the Monte Carlo away and was clearly the better car in every way. Which is exactly why I hate when I hear people say, “hey nice monte”.
Having owned both:

-I still prefer the Monte's styling over our cars.

-They sound better, anemic engine or not.

-The dash is 10x's nicer than ours.

-I'm hoping the hardtop T I am building handles as good as my old Monte, because my old T-top T sure as heck didn't.

-I smoked a few Stangs back in the day with very little bolt ons and a true dual exhaust.

-I'd still never choose one over a T though, none of the stuff I said over rides my love for the LC2, or the rarity of driving a TR.
I dunno, I've always liked the Monte Carlo SS. I thought they looked pretty mean with big and littles on Draglites. Well except for the Aerocoupe, I think that is ugly. Too bad they couldn't back up the looks with it's performance. I don't know what chevy was thinking putting a lame 305 in there. At least the SS had a better looking instrument panel (with full gages) than the GNs.:wink:
You know, I honestly never knew that they had that kind of instrument panel with the full gages. Guess I never got that close. That is pretty cool that they had that. Can't say anything bad about that.
Monte SS cars are good looking attractive cars. I like the styling cues especially with the intergrated bumpers better than on our cars. They just didn't have the powerplant to back it up. I'll stay with the Buicks though...
You know, I honestly never knew that they had that kind of instrument panel with the full gages. Guess I never got that close. That is pretty cool that they had that. Can't say anything bad about that.

Alot of people hate the dashes in our cars and the G-body interior in general, but I love everything about our interiors except for the Grannyesque speedometer. Heck, I even like our cheesy LED tach and boost guage, it just screams 80's, which is great, LOL.
I don't mind the styling of the Monte. My first car was a 78 (a hand me down from my father who had moved onto a 79 Chevy Impala! This was in 1992). It had a 305 V8 with the round guages, a bench seat and coumn shifter. It was pretty quick for what it was, it handled nice and with the right tires was good in the snow too. :eek: I remember many a snowy night doing doughnuts in the mall parking lots on with my freinds.

Also, I was at a cruise night this past Thursday with the Regal and saw at least two or three Montes SS's about the same year. I almost forgot that those Montes are classic cars now like ours. They are soon gonna be a dime a dozen at car shows so get used to staring at them. :rolleyes:
I almost bought one! Back in the day, performance of almost everything that rolled off the assembly line sucked. Performance is always relative. At the time (1985) the Turbo Buick V6 was considered by almost everythone to be problematic to say the least (sorry hot air guys.) Very few people knew the '86 Turbo Buick was going to be as quick and reliable as it was before they came out. The M/C had a better dashboard, 3:73 gears and I could look past the 305, being a die hard Chebby fan with a fresh 350 sitting in the garage. The thing that I just could not get past was all of the gaudy TAPE that came on the Monte. If it wasn't for that tape, I would have made the wrong decision.
I can clearly see the prettier, meaner looking G.


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Well, looks are a subjective thing but there is little doubt the Monte SS had musclecar styling and the classic V8 rumble which certainly appealed to me and many other teenagers in the mid 80s. Also keep in mind, a high 15 sec car might be a joke now but at that time it was nothing to sneeze at. Now, there are mini-vans that could blow the doors off a stock Monte SS.
I was into 3rd gen Camaros back at that time but I had friends with the Chevy G car and with a little work they could be respectable in a stoplight race.
I've owned them both and loved them equally. But I've always been a G body fan....except the Aero coupes. Those things are fugly in my books. You either like Monte's or you don't. I'm sure the cost difference had/has something to do with it as well. A Regal was running about 5k more than a MCSS when the time came for me a new car(New to mel lol). I was working two jobs during the summer to help mother out and get me something dependable for College. The thought of an 8k car was out of the question and besides, this was pushing new car prices. My MCSS ran me 3400 after TTL and was paid off in less than two years. An 8k car would have ment me working two jobs for 3-4 years. This wasn't going to work with school. Anyhow, I sold the Monte Carlo just after school to some kid for 3k to help cut down on debt I accumulated during school. I pretty much rented a car for 400 bux and a set of tires :) It sucked selling my car but I was debt free a year later. That Monte Carlo SS served be very well.
I graduated in 1991 from High School and my friends, acquaintenance's and I had mid to late 80's car's. Most of my friend had F-bodies, with a few having Mustangs and Monte SS's. Stock the 5.0 were running 14's, the higher Output F-bodies 15's and the SS & Low Output F-bodies mid 16's. To say the least the SS were the laughing stock in terms of speeds. My friend call the Monte SS a 'super slug'. My friend usually had few dollar to put towards mods, so mods were limited to bolt on's,s o no one was doing 305 -> 350 swaps. Trust me at the street race of the time no was fearing a Monte SS unless someone swapped in a Big Block, only the GN had street credibility. Atleast this is how I remember pricing of that time, the 305 F-bodies were 5-6K, the 5.0's simillair and the 350 F-bodies $7-8K, Monte SS 7-8K and for refence GN's $10-12K (none of my friend could afford GN's). I thought the Monte SS were over priced for the performance at the time.

I personally didn't like the Monte SS styling. I thought it looked tacked on, I much rather preferred the classier GN and 442/Hurst Olds styling. I guess I still don't get the following for a Monte SS, they weren't anything special then and I don't see how an under powered vehicle would be that desirable today.
nothing wrong with the way the ss looks , all black de striped and smoked head light covers that was my 87 untill some scum bag stole it. i also liked the gauges and the tach worked, i also likes the thicker handle on the shifter and most of all i could work on it..but you sure don't see as many gn's around. theres like 3000 people in town and there are 4 g body monte's.
I wish the Buick had a guage setup like the SS did. At least it tells you something that's going on with the car.
Monte vs. GN

The way the car looks are strictly a matter of opinion, but the performance is what really killed the Montes. However, what would we all be driving if the single turbo idea had made it to all the Gbody cars. Think about a 305 with a single turbo and an intercooler. Everyone would more than likely build a 4 bolt main small block (350 or bigger) then bolt on the stock stuff and have a rocket ship, that would never blow up. Personally, I like the 442 styling more than any of the Gbody cars, but those 307s just dont run at all. They also needed a good turbo set up, then they would be worth the money people want for them today.
Always loved all the 80's G-Body styling, Regals, Monte's, Cutlass. The Grand Prix was even cool when done right (2+2). One of my favorite cars that I've owned was my 86 Cutlass Salon. Only problem is the powerplants on these care were horendous, exception being our beloved TRs.