Chevrolet Racing
1984-88: Chevrolet Monte Carlo




After racing Fords for car owner Bud Moore in 1982 and 1983, Dale Earnhardt was back in the seat of a Chevrolet again in 1984. After signing a deal with Richard Childress, Earnhardt was ready to settle into his new ride and win some races.

-- Monte Carlo SS --

While Earnhardt was racing Fords in 1983, he missed the introduction of a new addition to the Monte Carlo family... the Monte Carlo SS.

This machine was no typical "Grocery Getter". It is a very special creation designed with performance in mind; NASCAR performance. In 1983, Chevrolet decided that it was time to compete competitively in the world of Grand National stock car racing. To be competitive, it was necessary to design specific body components that improved the aerodynamics of the Monte Carlo at high speeds. A special "Aero" nose, front air dam, and rear spoiler were developed. Due to NASCAR regulations that specify that all body parts used in racing must be production items, the sleek Monte Carlo SS was born.

On the strength of Monte Carlo SS, Chevrolet captured Manufacturers’ Cup Championships in 1983, ’84, ’85, ’86 and ’87. Terry Labonte and Darrell Waltrip began a string of individual awards for Monte Carlo SS drivers, winning Winston Cup Championships in 1984 and ’85, respectively. In 1984, Chevrolet took the checkered flag in an amazing 21 of 31 races, including nine in a row at one point. As further testimony to Monte Carlo SS and drivers’ confidence in the vehicle, nearly half the NASCAR Winston Cup field was comprised of Monte Carlos during the ’84 campaign.

-- Monte Carlo SS 'Fastback' --

1988 FastbackFor 1986, NASCAR Chevrolet drivers, including Waltrip, asked for a more aerodynamic version of the Monte Carlo SS. Chevy complied, and the SS Aero Coupe was born. The sloped backlight cut the coefficient of drag from 0.375 to 0.365, which drivers immediately noticed. A chief beneficiary of this was Dale Earnhardt, who drove away with the championships in ’86 and ’87. Earnhardt went on to claim four more Winston Cup Drivers’ Championships, as well as the nickname "the Intimidator," and his total of seven ties him with Richard Petty at the top of the NASCAR records. His aggressive, hard-driving style has currently garnered Earnhardt more than 70 NASCAR Winston Cup victories.

With all these championships, Monte Carlo SS rolled into the 1988 season as the longest-running, most successful nameplate in NASCAR Winston Cup history. It led Chevrolet to five consecutive Winston Cup Manufacturers’ Championship, and won 95 of 183 races since it first took to the track in 1983.

Despite its success, Monte Carlo was replaced by the Lumina in early 1989 as the Chevrolet race vehicle. Though the Lumina enjoyed great success, many longed for the return of Monte Carlo in the ’90s. Chevrolet would not disappoint them.

-- Monte Carlo SS Street Car --

Without question, the new "SS" street car was a superb performance car that combined excellent acceleration and impressive handling into one of GM's best road machines. Powered by a 305 cubic inch L69 high output V-8, the "SS" is ready for action. The power is transmitted to the ground through a heavy-duty suspension that sports front and rear stabilizer bars, and Delco/Bilstein gas shock absorbers. It rides on high performance Goodyear tires mounted on cast aluminum wheels. The interior is equipped with contoured bucket seats. A sport console, special instrumentation, and a padded "SS" steering wheel. This machine means business.

The Monte Carlo SS joins the sinister Buick Grand National and the sleek T-Bird Turbo Coupe to form a new breed of spirited American made performance machines.


Dale won 30 victories with Monte Carlos in the 1980's.


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