Home Car Stories One Owner 1983 CHEVROLET Monte Carlo SS- George Sprinkles
1983 CHEVROLET Monte Carlo SS- George Sprinkles PDF Print E-mail
Written by Double Dragon
Monday, 19 November 2012 18:30

1983 CHEVROLET Monte Carlo SS- George Sprinkles


83 monte carlo ss sprinkles driver door logo

Writing and photography copyright D. S. Brown

See the 1970 Monte Carlo stories in ONE OWNER and ONE FAMILY for a thorough background on Chevrolet's 'personal car'.

83 monte carlo ss sprinkles front three quarter

Chevrolet introduced the Monte Carlo as a 1970 model using the G body platform which was essentially a lengthened intermediate marketed as a tasteful personal luxury car. The car was also available with an optional 'Super Sport' package known as the SS. Unlike the extroverted Chevelle SS, the Monte Carlo SS 454 was very understated but potent. The image of a personal luxury car didn't quite gel with the SS package and the pairing was ended after the 1971 model year.

Chevrolet dropped the squared off Cadillac type styling used on the Monte Carlo after three model years. In 1973 the Monte Carlo was defined by new swooping fenders which came to embody the Monte Carlo image for the next decade. After GM downsized the Monte Carlo in 1978 the design cues were carried over exactly from the former body style creating a strong link to the earlier car. The 1981 redesign retained a hint of the signature swooping fenders but integrated the lines into a smoother shape.

83 monte carlo ss sprinkles rear taliight detail

Somehow the stylists also hinted at the squared off lines of the very first incarnation of the Monte Carlo all the way back in 1970 at the same time. This really good looking body proved to be a great foundation for the revival of the SS model.

83 monte carlo ss sprinkles side

When Chevrolet revived the Monte Carlo SS in 1983 it made perfect sense. The new body was taut and maneuverable. The SS used spoilers and a smoothly integrated front nose to create a really beautiful body shape that also happened to make the car roadworthy on the NASCAR scene.

83 monte carlo ss sprinkles front

The new body style did well in showrooms and in NASCAR racing. Strong SS sales climbed every year right until the demise of the rear wheel drive platform.

83 monte carlo ss sprinkles pass side

The cancellation of the fourth generation 1988 model year Monte Carlo left the SS with nowhere to go. According to Steve Parker's SS THUNDER website, the last fourth gen (model year 1988) Monte Carlo SS was built 5:29 PM, Dec 11, 1987 at the Pontiac, Michigan assembly plant. But we're getting ahead of ourselves now.

Flash back to 1983. The Monte Carlo was built from 1972 until 1982 without an SS model available. Chevy fans were ecstatic to see the return of the SS as a mid year model on the Monte Carlo in 1983. George Sprinkles was one of the faithful who was surprised and delighted by the return of the SS. The SS repeats the format of many intermediate hot cars George has owned over the years. A nice summary of the appeal of the downsized GM intermediates appeared in a ROAD TEST article praising the downsized Grand Am. The article summarized it perfectly by stating that "if you squint your eyes a bit you can see the GTO come home again after the wars." The 1978 version and updated 1981 refinement of the downsized intermediates struck a chord with buyers who had fond memories of the classic 1960s intermediates.

 George Sprinkles is a Navy man who has lived in various States and owned many hot cars including a GTO, 1964 Impala SS, 1968 Chevelle SS and a Plymouth Fury. In 1983 George was living in Ohio when he and his wife went down to Hopkins Chevrolet-Oldsmobile in New Carlisle, Ohio. See the story on this dealer in the DEALERSHIPS section of this website. 

George went to Hopkins Chev-Olds to look at the new 1983 Camaros, but was knocked out by the new Monte Carlo SS. George hadn't seen the new Monte Carlo SS until now because it was a mid-year option released in March, 1983. George walked past a brand new red Camaro without slowing down and pointed to a new Monte Carlo SS telling his wife,

"That's my car right there!"

She was a bit surprised by this sudden turn of events. George was so smitten with the new SS that he immediately traded in his 1981 Chevrolet Malibu showing only 6,182 miles. On July 20, 1983, only four months after the new SS first came onto market George owned a new Monte Carlo SS. Below is the bill of sale with the significant portion of the VIN, George's home address and phone and signature removed for internet privacy. The first section of the VIN decodes as:

1= USA
1= Chevrolet
A= Manual seat belts
Z= Monte Carlo (note no distinction made between base Monte Carlo and SS model) 
37= Two door notchback coupe
7= 5.0 L 4 bbl (only the SS received the L69 5.0 engine, so this digit is proof of a real SS) 
0= Check digit
D= 1983 model year
R= Arlington, Texas assembly plant

83 monte carlo ss g sprinkles bill of sale

The Monte Carlo SS was built in the Arlington, Texas assembly plant. The days of five to ten options listed on the invoice were long past by the time this car was pumped out. The list of options reads like a novel. Below is the original build sheet with the ignition key code and the final six numbers from the VIN removed for internet privacy.

83 monte carlo ss sprinkles buildsheet

The 1983 Monte Carlo SS came with a column shifter and bench seat with the SS logo on the headrests. This was the only year that the bench was a split 60/40 configuration. In 1984 a fixed bench seat (also with SS emblems on headrests) made it through part of the year before giving way to a bucket seat console set-up.

George drove the SS as is for awhile, but like many of the owners of these cars he wanted more out of it. As is, the car looks great and has the aura of an old 1960s intermediate musclecar. The 305 hints at performance of past years but needs help. The narrow bore 305 is derived from the 350. The 350 stroke was retained for decent torque, but in the interest of economy the narrow bore cylinders limit how much fuel can get pumped through the engine. This cuts consumption, but also power. The 305 was also hampered by low compression and smog equipment resulting in 165 HP.

83 monte carlo ss sprinkles 305 engine d side

Many Monte Carlo SS owners prefer to avoid the easy route which is to drop in a 350. The owners wish to retain the factory correct external appearance of the 305 and do stealth mods to the car. George followed this path for the most part when he installed thin head gaskets combined with headwork to bump the compression up to 11.0:1. George didn't leave the externals 100% stock. He couldn't resist adding some chrome dress up valve covers and oil pan. A new timing chain and gears hide behind a chrome timing cover. The transmission has a shift kit in it, and the axle carries a 3.46:1 posi.

George kept the stock wheels but when the factory tires wore out at 28,000 miles he opted to go for larger rubber. The stock configuration of 215/65-15 was replaced with a set of 235/60-15s which increases tire diameter and footprint. The larger tire works in concert with the overdrive fourth gear to turn a low 2,800 RPM at 60 MPH. Aside from the performance upgrades very little was changed. 

Wear items include a new alternator and A/C compressor. At 85,300 miles most of the car is still original. The clock and tachometer still work.

83 monte carlo ss sprinkles rear


Last Updated ( Thursday, 04 July 2013 22:05 )