Detroit Auto Show (White) / Los Angeles Auto Show (Burgundy)
MONTE CARLO DREAMS
CHEVY YEARNS FOR A NEW MC TO HAMMER THE T-BIRD
Life hasn't quite been the same at Chevrolet since the Monte Carlo vanished after the '88 model year. The Lumina coupe hasn't cut it against Ford's stylish T-Bird, and something must be done.
What Chevy would like is a fresh set of fenders to make the front-drive Lumina platform worthy of a reprise for the Monte Carlo nameplate. The rolling design study before your eyes is the most accurate estimate of what a mid-'90s MC machine could look like.
While we were granted a drive In this fiberglass mockup for photos, that experience added no luster to the Monte Carlo legend. Due to fixed side windows and a dearth of ventilation, piloting this plastic-fantastic dream ship was exactly like doing time in a porta-john in Phoenix in July.
The bullet nose and aggressively tapered tail showcase GM's most current aesthetic principles: well-balanced proportions, seamless sculpturing, and slippery aerodynamics. This Monte Carlo wears its functional elements—headlamps, taillamps, air intakes, and wheel openings—neatly and naturally.
The boldest design stroke is a tiny toupee roof supported by four slim pillars and vast expanses of curved glass. Reflective coatings might conceivably diminish the hot-house interior effect, and upper torso restraints could be mounted to the seat backs (since there are no B-pillars). One unexpected pleasure is a roomy back seat permitted by long doors and the bubble roof design.
Unfortunately, Chevy's Monte Carlo dreams may be academic because budgets at GM now are tighter, and Thunderbird sales are currently in a tailspin.
While the Monte Carlo moniker is an old name that rings bells for thousands of people, the design of this forward-looking Chevy coupe is fresh and appealing. The NASCAR drivers currently getting their ears pinned back by T-Birds should find its slippery fines beneficial, too. Chevy could make a potent performer by offering the car powered by its DOHC 3.4-liter 200-horse-power V-8 engine.