In-Motion Classic: 1987 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS Aerocoupe – Everything Disappears

1987 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS Aerocoupe. Downtown, The Loop, Chicago, Illinois. Tuesday, July 7, 2022.

The Art Institute of Chicago had an exhibition of some of the works of French, Post-Impressionist painter Paul Cezanne between May and September of last year.  It was something I had wanted to see, but didn’t.  Even if my saturation point for museums is probably between an hour or two, I was disappointed with myself for having missed that opportunity, but I also realize there are so many other things in Chicago for me to explore.  At some point over the past couple of years, I decided that the value of getting out and enjoying more of this city outweighs what can sometimes feel like a little social anxiety among large groups of people.  I also realize it’s likely that I won’t always be this mobile and independent for the rest of my life.  That’s called keeping it real.  In the spirit of thankfulness, I strive to be more intentional in maximizing my experience of life at this stage.

1987 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS brochure page, as sourced from

This has included a lot of walking.  On a Tuesday last July, I had taken the morning off from work for a necessary appointment.  The meeting didn’t last as long as I had expected it to, which then left me with almost an entire half-day before I had to report back to the office.  I was right there on the famed Magnificent Mile district of Michigan Avenue, with hours to kill and a little bit of money in my pocket.  If I had been feeling less adventurous, I might have simply caught a bus to the office, fired up my laptop, and started insuring things.  That day, however, I decided to walk the distance of just under two miles from my appointment to my cubicle.  It was while en route that I saw this quote from Cezanne in a large window of a retail business on Michigan Avenue:

"You have to hurry up if you want to see something, everything disappears." - Paul Cezanne

“You have to hurry up if you want to see something, everything disappears.” – Paul Cezanne

C’est vrai.  This quote from this famous painter has since embedded itself within my psyche and has become something of a mission statement for me in this new year.  My intent is not to overdo it or spread my energy or resources too thin, but to get more out of living right where I am and not to defer enjoyment of things and activities under the false assumption that they’ll always be there for me later.  The Chevrolet Monte Carlo was one of those things I had always taken for granted would always be there, until it wasn’t… for six model years, anyway, when it returned for ’95 as what was basically a two-door Lumina before being given a more distinctive redesign for 2000.  The ’07 model year was its last, and it’s probably not coming back.

1987 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS Aerocoupe. Downtown, The Loop, Chicago, Illinois. Tuesday, July 7, 2022.

As a kid in the mid-’80s, I didn’t have any illusions about the G-body, rear-drive Monte Carlo becoming more of an outlier with each passing year amid Chevrolet’s (and General Motors’) shift toward front-wheel-drive and more fuel efficient vehicles.  As long as I had been alive, though, there had always been a new Monte Carlo for sale, and I suppose a part of me thought this would always be the case.  I was more than halfway to the office by foot when our featured car appeared near the intersection of Monroe & Wabash in the Loop and headed south.  The driver appeared to be enjoying himself behind the wheel on this warm, sunny day, and his apparent happiness was contagious.  The t-tops were off, and the car’s tasteful, aftermarket Centerline wheels gleamed in the shadows beneath the elevated Loop tracks.  The Chevy’s throaty exhaust note was like music.

1987 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS brochure page, as sourced from

The Aerocoupe version of the Monte Carlo Super Sport was introduced for ’86.  Its huge, sloping, wraparound rear backlight and foreshortened trunk gave it a more slippery profile and aided in cheating the wind on the racetrack.  Only two hundred of the ’86s were built, just enough to qualify it for NASCAR racing, where the track version was successful with 18 wins that season, up from 14 the year before.  Power came from a high-output version of the 305 cubic inch V8 with 180 horsepower, coupled with a four-speed overdrive automatic transmission.  The F41 heavy-duty suspension was included with the Super Sport package.  For ’87, 6,052 Aerocoupes were produced, with production having moved from Arlington, Texas to Pontiac, Michigan that year.  Final conversion work for both model years was performed by Cars & Concepts in Brighton, Michigan.

Wendella Boat Tours, near the history Wrigley Building.

Wendella Boat Tours, near the history Wrigley Building on Michigan Avenue.

Monte Carlo sales had peaked in ’77, the final year of the second-generation, with over 411,000 units sold.  It was solidly in the personal luxury camp then, with no sporting pretensions.  Just ten model years later, sales of the once-mighty MC would top out at just over 79,000, with a pretty even split between the LS and SS trim levels.  The final rear-drive Monte Carlo would exit after just the next year, with only 30,200 sold, all up.  There was no Aerocoupe version of the Super Sport available for ’88, and the SS outsold the LS “Luxury Sport” by more than 2,000 units in its final year on the G-platform.

1987 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS Aerocoupe. Downtown, The Loop, Chicago, Illinois. Tuesday, July 7, 2022.

All of the ’86 Aerocoupes were white with a burgundy interior, but the ’87s were also offered in black, dark maroon metallic, and silver metallic.  I hadn’t remembered seeing any Montes of this era in the glossy medium gray color of the above example, but upon closer examination of these photos and seeing what I believe to be the original color peeking through a few small spots on its soft front fascia, this one might have originally been in the dark red color.  I think this non-factory paint color serves the car’s lines and overall look as nicely as the aftermarket wheels, and this Monte clearly showed pride of ownership.

The fountain at Chase Tower.

There was a real sense of magic that lingered when I finally arrived at my cubicle to start work for the afternoon, on what would otherwise have been an ordinary day spent without paying attention to my everyday surroundings.  Instead of adventurously winding through downtown streets to get to the office, I could just as easily have chosen to spend that time browsing at a few retail stores or sitting in a coffee shop and playing games on my phone before jumping on a bus and riding straight to the office.

1987 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS Aerocoupe. Downtown, The Loop, Chicago, Illinois. Tuesday, July 7, 2022.

By choosing to walk and to maximize my morning, I was able to observe in greater detail the beauty of the fountain at Chase Tower and overhear the guides aboard the Wendella boats that take people on tours of the Chicago River.  I was also able to spot in the wild an example of a rare, latter-day Chevy muscle car.  Cezanne’s words ring true, and I want to see and do as much as I can before those things are no longer available, like Chevy’s Monte Carlo, with or without the fastback glass.  Here’s to living more of life with the t-tops off.

Downtown, The Loop, Chicago, Illinois.
Thursday, July 7, 2022.

Brochure photos were as sourced from