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Redusernab Obscure Muscle Car Garage – 2006–08 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS and Impala SS V8

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Welcome to the Redusernab Obscure Muscle Car Garage, a regular feature which aims to expand the notion of what a muscle car is, and to see if a FWD car can be called a muscle car. I must be out of my mind for doing this post, after the last drubbing I received for the 2005 – 08 Pontiac Grand Prix GXP, but here I am, trying to convince you that a couple of other GM cars, with a 5.7L V8 can be considered being inducted onto the Garage. So let’s see if the 2006 – 08 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS, and the Impala SS can be considered an obscure muscle car.

Chevrolet Impala SS picture # 05 of 18, Front Angle, MY 2006, 800x600 - Google Chrome 5182014 91858 AM.bmp

General Motors has a history of front wheel drive V-8 equipped vehicles, since 1966, when the Oldsmobile Toronado was introduced. Through the years, there have been various Oldsmobiles, Cadillacs, Buicks, and Pontiacs that were both FWD, and V-8 powered. These included such historic nameplates as the aforementioned Toronado, the Riviera, and the Grand Prix, as well as a number of key Cadillacs including the Eldorado, Fleetwood, DeVille, Seville and the Allante. However, it was the success of the Chrysler 300 that helped push GM to offer a V-8 in their line of full-sized (for the time) sedans and coupes, including the Grand Prix, the Buick LaCrosse, The Impala and the Monte Carlo.

2006-chevrolet-impala-ss.jpg (1600×1200) - Google Chrome 5182014 91737 AM.bmp

I have highlighted this before, but this is your typical muscle car formula. Take one of the more pedestrian, run-of-the-mill, everyday vehicles, add in a monster V-8, distinguish it by giving it a new designation, and voila, sales heaven. That was the recipe a couple of decades ago, but this time, it was applied to a FWD sedan and coupe. The Chevrolet versions didn’t receive the over the top styling treatment as the Pontiac version did, but they do come with 18-inch wheels (though they are the same width all around, unlike the Pontiac), and received subtle changes to the suspension components.

Chevrolet Impala SS picture # 02 of 18, Front Angle, MY 2006, 800x600 - Google Chrome 5182014 91840 AM.bmp

This was the first eight-cylinder Impala SS since the old rear wheel drive sedan ceased production in 1996, and the first V-8 powered Monte Carlo since 1989. Prices for these two SS Chevys could go as high as $30,000 fully loaded, but most came in substantially cheaper with judicious use of options. The interior of this vehicle isn’t all that different from the standard Impala or Monte Carlo, including the optional leather seating. The seats are flat and somewhat unsupportive, and the instrument cluster isn’t all that special either. Unlike Pontiac, you can’t get the paddle shifters with the automatic in the Chevys.

Chevrolet Impala SS picture # 18 of 18, Engine, MY 2006, 800x600 - Google Chrome 5182014 92014 AM.bmp

Displacing 5.3 liters, the Impala SS’s engine is a member of GM’s small-block family of overhead-valve V8s and its all-aluminum construction means it isn’t much heavier than the iron-block V6s otherwise installed in the Impala LS, LT, LTZ and 9C1 and 9C3 police packages. Its 323 pound-feet of peak torque at 4,400 rpm, however, is up 43 lb-ft from the 240-horsepower, supercharged 3.8-liter V6 used in the 2005 Impala SS. Fuel economy isn’t the strong suit for this car, as road test proved, with as little as 14MPG in the city. So it’s thirsty, but it’s also quick. With its traction control active you can throw a brick at the accelerator and the Impala SS will rip to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds and bound through the quarter-mile in 14.4 seconds at 97.5 mph. Although it’s about two-tenths slower than the Charger R/T with the 5.7L Hemi.

DSC00054.jpg (1024×768) - Google Chrome 5182014 92709 AM.bmp

When comparing the SS models to the Dodge Charger, the Impala rides smoother, but it can’t out handle the R/T, not can it brake within the same distance as the Charger. Period road tests have stated that the 2006 Impala SS was not unlike the 2003 Cadillac Seville STS, which was also a FWD, V-8 powered sedan, driven through a 4 speed automatic. The Impala SS (and the Monte Carlo SS for that matter) feel like a big, heavy, substantial car, with more grunt than any other FWD car available.

2007_chevrolet_monte_carlo_ss-pic-23518.jpeg (1024×768) - Google Chrome 5182014 92816 AM.bmp

Features on the SS models include OnStar, Stability control, steering wheel radio controls, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, keyless entry and a CD player are standard. Other options include leather seating, a power sunroof, XM Satellite Radio, special paint, automatic dual-zone climate control and a remote vehicle starter. And remember, with the Monte Carlo, this is the last full sized, two door coupe, with a V-8; Remember when there were literally dozens of 2 Door performance cars available?

Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS picture # 05 of 16, Interior, MY 2006, 800x600 - Google Chrome 5182014 92507 AM.bmp

So, is this somewhat modern, front wheel drive, V8 sedan (and coupe) a muscle car? And does it belong in the Obscure Muscle Car Garage? Or, because it’s front wheel drive, will it never be considered a muscle car? The Monte Carlo deserves special consideration because it is one of the last full sized coupes, but it is up to you. I predict this particular posting will generate a lot of debate.

96391_Front_3-4_Web.jpg (1000×667) - Google Chrome 5182014 92859 AM.bmp

Would you consider either the 2006-08 Chevrolet Impala SS or the Monte Carlo SS Modern Obscure Muscle Cars?

View Results

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Chevrolet Impala SS picture # 01 of 18, Front Angle, MY 2006, 800x600 - Google Chrome 5182014 91834 AM.bmp

Please Note: All Images are screen grabs from around the web. If you want credit for any image, please let me know in the comments section. Thank You!

  • "With its traction control active you can throw a brick at the accelerator and the Impala SS will rip to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds and bound through the quarter-mile in 14.4 seconds at 97.5 mph."

    That seems surprising fast in the 1320 considering the 0-60 time.

    • I Think Not

      Typical overpowered FWD, if'n you ask me. Can't put the power down through 1st gear, then it can raise its skirts up and get lost.

      • joshwebster84

        Whoops, sorry for the down vote.

  • GTXcellent

    I predict this particular posting will generate a lot of debate hate.

    ftfw

    • UDman

      So, why should this post be any different from the two I wrote for Thursday… I never had so much negative reaction to a relatively mundane Road Test, nor did I expect the outright dissing of that 1955 Chevrolet/Mercedes Restomod…

      • UDman

        Oh, and the classic caption post was a dud, so much so that even $kaycog didn't even provide a "prize"…

        • GTXcellent

          <img src=";

          • Alff

            Group hug for Jim.

            <img src=";

            • pj134

              <img src="; width="300">

              • Scandinavian Flick ★

                Jumpin' on the hug train.

                <img src=";

                • pj134

                  I didn't want to be greedy but I'm not letting this die.

                  <img src="; width=300>

        • skitter

          The Corvette and Firelite ones are up there with the best.

        • It's okay, U still D man!

          (And, hey, look at it this way: at least people to actually comment on your posts…)

        • Van_Sarockin

          I think Skayky (god she hates when I do that!) got the vapors from too much GT40 at the end of the week. That, or she and Murilee are having a spa week.

          I love these posts, Jim, even when I don't love the cars. Your going after Obscure, Muscle Cars, right? So there's only so many, and opinions differ. The concept is fantastic, and your posts are really creative. Some of your odd pitches catch me just right, and they bring new insight. Sometimes they seem high and outside. That's OK, it's all part of the fun.

          And I have to have something to say about vans, otherwise I'd be letting down the team. Don't tell anyone, but Sedan Deliveries were my first love, after boats the size of aircraft carriers. I'm thrilled to see them back, more than the next dozen CUVs.

      • Alff

        For the record, I appreciated them both. I'll bet that truck drives better than any old Chevy has a right to. The price, though? OMG.

      • wunno sev

        yeah, i was pretty surprised at how much people disliked the benzolet. that was a totally wacky idea and really cleanly executed. i wouldn't build it, but i love that someone did.

  • mr smee

    I can go for the Impala, the speed is just so unexpected of this. But the Monte? no-way, truly the ugliest car ever made, saddled with a bigger mullet-machine image than the Camaro. Hard to believe the Monte started out as a classy, gentleman's performance car.

    • tonyola

      I would say that the Monte lost the distinction of being a classy car with the 1973 restyle and has never been quite the same since. The Monte's history has been a lot more negative than positive over the years. The most recent Monte is hardly the ugliest car ever made, especially when compared with the 1978 Monte.

      • Scandinavian Flick ★

        I dunno, it might not be "classy", but I always had a thing for the G body Monte. Even if it's not the best looking of the G bodies.

        <img src="; width="500">

        But man, the pre-73s…. Unf.

        • HTWHLS

          I love the G bodies!

    • Devin

      While I don't like the Monte very much, I don't think it's the ugliest car ever made, since it has a bit of character (so it's better than the '02 Nissan Sentra) and also the Subaru Casa Blanca exists.

  • tonyola

    Yep, these both count as modern-day muscle cars despite the wrong-wheel drive and the polarizing (mostly hated) looks of the MC.

  • Alff

    Muscle car or not, that Monte is the poster child for the causes of GMs bankruptcy. How a company with GM's vast resources and capabilities consistently produced such garbage is completely beyond me.

    Go ahead and put 'em in the garage. I'm guessing they'll be in there for a long time.

  • GTXcellent

    These 2 rides take me back to my dealership days – we sold 1 of each. They were both pretty quick, but honestly did not feel that much quicker than their 6 cylinder brethren. The Impala was a special order car, the owner had it about a year and traded it out of town for a 300 SRT8. The Monte was actually a GMOnline car – our owner was smiling huge thinking he bought the car waaaay below book. We sat on that car almost 6 months. Obviously NADA's numbers were a little off on that one. He had a chance to pick up an Earnhardt edition Monte shortly after that – thankfully he passed on that one.

  • I have to vote no. These are just terrible. Now, the new Caprice? And make a Monte Carlo 2 door from that? That, we can talk about and throw out the word muscle.

  • nanoop

    The 2-door version seems to be a modern repetition of the Muscle Car ™ concept: oversize body for a sports car, but the hug lump up front will provide straight line performance.
    For sedans, I'm still not convinced that they are a Muscle Car thing, but I'm european, what do I know?

    • nanoop

      I wanted to type "huge lump", but I think I'll let the "hug lump" right there, acknowledging the posts above.

      • ptschett

        I saw Hug Lump open for Poison at the South Dakota State Fair in 1995.

        /not really

  • JayP2112

    I've looked at the W body v8s for a freeway driver. The interior is a little dodgy but the 4t65 trans is a weak link. Good idea. The pre-bankruptcy GMs are a little scary altogether.

    The alternative is the G body Lucerne and DTS. Northstar power and the 4t80 trans. I found one local and may try it out. Kinda cheap and you know the previous owners were septagenarians.

    Or… The STS can be had with the Northstar. Rear drive too. The V is a supercharger NS making 469hp. Those are in the mid $20s at 30k miles.

    So can vote for the STS V?

    • pj134

      Good luck with the headgasket when that day comes.

      • JayP2112

        That's always in the back of my mind.
        Saw a cool looking Crown Vic today…

      • Rover1

        But it will run without water! Maybe the designers knew something.

    • M44Power

      STS was a rear wheel drive?!?

      Edit: Holy shit! GM replaced the FWD STS with a RWD one in the last update. I test drove one and couldn't tell that it wasn't FWD thanks to completely dead steering and the amount of distraction provided by the inability to find a comfortable seating position. If they had put an extra 10% effort into this car, it coulda been a contender.

      • C³-Cool Cadillac Cat

        I have a 2005 Northstar 2WD STS…I disagree with your assessment, completely.

  • Van_Sarockin

    Bring out the red hot pokers. I don't care how big the engine is, you'll never get me to call these Muscle Cars. What they are, is pitiful. GM was going through a hard time in its life, and these were a desperate cry for help.

    • Van_Sarockin

      And fuck you miserable little downvoting crapsack. Must be that gutless little Roger Smith, at it again.

      • I have noticed that about 25% of my IDC comments are getting downvoted at some point lately, and those are just the ones I notice. And its odd, because some of them are the most inane, non-controversial things: "That model looked good in silver." I just imagine the guy on the other end of the keyboard… OH, F*** NO IT DIDN'T! DOWNVOTE THAT!

        • jeepjeff

          €°‰∞☢☠© YOU MAN!!1! SILEVR CARS ARE SUCK!!1! BRIGHT COLRZ OR GTFO!!

          • Your otherwise compelling argument is somewhat marred by your misspelling of €°‰∞☢☠®.

            • jeepjeff

              I saw the typo as I typed it, and I was about to correct it, but decided the comment was funnier if I left the '©' in place of the '®'.

          • Van_Sarockin

            You're so right. I never looked at it that way before. So sorry. I will will now go change my oil while using my face as a drain pan.

            • I've never had much luck finding a different way of changing it anyway.

        • Van_Sarockin

          I've done that, and then I try to correct it. I only intentionally downvote someone when they're exceptionally rude, abusive, waaay off topic or something. Then I'll upvote folks who are really exceptional, or trying, or have a lonely goose egg over there.

          But criminey, if I'm wrong or you disagree, just say so. We're only shooting the shit about cars and having some fun. I learn a little something every day, and maybe I have some tiny scrap to contribute. It's the fun and community of this place that's brought me here and kept me here. If I need abuse I can go read random Youtube comments, sheesh!

  • Maymar

    it's interesting, the W-Body Impala SS is at least equal to the B-Body Impala SS in most ways (quicker, likely gets around a corner quicker, If with more understeer), but be it torque steer or lacking swagger, it gets way more vitriol.

    I mean, I've driven a couple of the W-Bodys. They sound good, great highway cars, and fantastic Q-Ships. If I didn't spend basically all my time driving in the city (and need something with a tiny footpring), I'd absolutely keep an eye out for one. I think it's a muscle car, but at a minimum, it's a neat footnote. Plus, there's way too many 300C's on huge ugly chrome wheels, and the contemporary Charger isn't aging well.

    I have no words for the Monte though, it was just sort of a mistake, albeit one you didn't have to see while driving.

  • ptschett

    I'd vote these in before the Benzes from a few weeks back.

  • peugeotdude505

    I kinda of want a 90's Buick Riviera with the supercharged V6. These are pretty meh.

  • vroomsocko

    I choose the far more obscure Malibu Maxx SS.

  • M44Power

    I had to pull an Impala from the motor pool on a pretty regular basis for multiday road trips. GM must have hired the most sadistic seating engineers they could find: the seat pan was flat and made of sponge cake, while the seat back strategically hit both of my shoulder blades while offering no lower back support. Topping all this off was the fact that the fleet specials didn't have a PRNDL marking on the shift surround. They cared that little. The Impala SS could come with a lifetime supply of hookers and bourbon, and I still would have trouble accepting it because of how shitty the fleet specials were.

  • Rover1

    Meanwhile, in Australia, On a much tinier design and engineering budget…

    Holden Commodore SS (VY) 5.7litre LS1 V8 RWD auto or manual. 3.6 alloy V6 on lesser versions 6.0 litre V8 later
    <img src=";

    Holden Caprice (WL) long wheelbase version 3.6 alloy V6 /5.7 LS V8 rwd
    <img src=";

    Commodore Wagon LWB 3.6 V6 /5.7 LS1
    <img src=";

    Adventra 4wd wagon raised ride height auto/manual 3.6 V6/6.0 V8 (like a V8 Subaru Outback)
    <img src="

    Crewman LWB 4WD 4 door utility 6.0 litre V8
    <img src=";

    Commodore Ute V6/V8 manual /auto
    <img src=";

    Holden One Tonner V6 V8 etc
    <img src=" "500">

    And one even had the same name and was LHD.Some servicemen in the Middle East could bring these back.
    Chevrolet Lumina SS V8

    • Rover1

      Chevrolet Lumina SS V8
      <img src=";
      Adventra
      <img src=";

      • C³-Cool Cadillac Cat

        I'd rock a Crewman 6.0L in a minute.

        RHD, please.

  • Rover1

    After driving the W body V8 Bob Lutz said "These cars are shit" and arranged for the two door Monaro version to be a Pontiac GTO but you didn't get the 4WD version, the Coupe 4
    <img src=";

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