Revered by Dale Earnhardt fans everywhere, the Chevrolet Monte Carlo roars into 2005 with only a few changes. The 2004 SS model is now the LT, although the SS Supercharged remains. The new Gen 6 OnStar with hands-free capability is standard, the SS Supercharged has new available 17-inch diamond-cut cast aluminum wheels, and three new exterior colours have been added.

The Monte Carlo comes with three engine choices, a 3.4-litre V6 on the LS, a 3.8-litre V6 on the LT and the 3.8 with supercharger on the SS Supercharged. All come with a four-speed automatic that’s a heavy-duty model when bolted to the supercharged engine. The Monte Carlo is built on a version of the slightly larger Impala sedan’s platform.

The LS comes with power mirrors, 16-inch aluminum wheels, variable intermittent wipers, dual-zone manual air conditioning, cruise control, floor mats, tilt wheel, power windows, cloth seats, 60/40 folding rear seat, CD player with six speakers, four-wheel disc brakes, touring suspension, power locks with keyless entry, and OnStar.

The LT adds heated mirrors, rear deck spoiler, tire monitoring system, auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather-wrapped wheel, six-way power driver’s seat, ABS, dual exhaust, sport suspension and traction control.

The SS Supercharged adds aero ground effects, 17-inch aluminum wheels, cargo net, Homelink garage door opener, and Handling suspension.

The Monte Carlo is a big, hefty coupe in the grand North American tradition, and one of the few left; although front-seat passengers do get the better end of the deal, rear-seat room is surprisingly spacious for the body style. The heavy-haunch styling isn’t the best design, and it isn’t the most refined machine on the road, but there are enough NASCAR fans out there to keep it moving off dealer lots. It’s hard to understand why you’d take the 240 hp SS Supercharged over the Mustang GT, when that deliciously-styled hot rod serves up 300 hp and the exhaust note straight out of Bullitt, on 87 octane fuel and with a longer warranty, for $4,095 less; it must all come down to whatever race driver’s number you stick on your window.

The Monte Carlo is built in Oshawa, Ontario.

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