1984-88: Chevrolet Monte
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' --
For 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
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