this is no surprise at all actually since i own an 86 monte SS. yes the car is rather anemic and the transmission does indeed suck, but i also think it's one of the best looking cars to come out of the 80's. it is also one of the last easily modifiable and affordable rear drive cars offered in america. the fact that that current model is just slightly faster than the 80's models really isn't impressive at all considering there is a 10-15 year difference. it was the 80's, nothing was fast (except buick GN's).It actually has the same amount of torque (225lb ft) and 20 more horsepower than the L-69 305 V-8. Surprisingly perhaps, it weighs slightly more than the '83-'87 vintage, but it consistenly runs in the high middle 15 second range. I've seen two magazine tests where the SS runs below 16.0, but most tests of it are around 16.2 in the quarter mile. Anyway you slice it, the current model has a slight edge.
i'm not asking GM to make a really high performance monte carlo, i understand it started as a luxury coupe. however, if it is a "luxury coupe", then all the "race inspired" features and decals and boy racer junk they throw on it really is stupid. they need to make the car elegant and attractive, and with a sporting attitude. not a racer, just something that will perform well when you want it to. you're right though, the 80's model really did change the way people looked at the car which has largely led to how it is perceived today.
PS.~ i'm thinking of selling my monte if anyone is interested *shameless plug* . 1986 SS. Black with red stripes, 40,000 miles. Lowered 2" in front, 1.5" in back. 17" torque thrust wheels. Everything else all original. Excellent Condition. Just email me if you are interested...i could try sending some pics. [email protected]