Monte Carlo SS Intimidator Specsby Michael G. Sanchez
The Monte Carlo SS Intimidator was Chevrolet's homage to late, great NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt. Two different, though fairly similar, versions were produced: one in 2002 and the other in 2004. The cars featured a host of exterior and interior appearance mods. Mechanically, though, they were identical to standard Monte Carlo SS models. Today, both versions are desirable collector's items among NASCAR enthusiasts. Only 3,333 examples of the 2002 model were produced. The 2004 model had a similarly low production run of 4,000 units.
Both the 2002 and 2004 Intimidator models were based on the sixth-generation Monte Carlo, which was produced from 2000 through 2005. This generation of the Monte Carlo was a midsize, front-wheel-drive coupe. It was built on the long-running W-body platform, which underpinned a plethora of GM vehicles from the 1980s to the 2010s, including the Chevrolet Lumina, Chevrolet Impala, Buick Century, Pontiac Grand Prix and others. The Monte Carlo was 197.9 inches long, 72.3 inches wide and 55.2 inches high, and sat on a 111-inch wheelbase. Its driver and front passenger seats provided 38.1 inches of headroom, 58.3 inches of shoulder room, 55.2 inches of hip room and 42.4 inches of legroom. Backseat passengers got 36.5 inches of headroom, 57.8 inches of shoulder room, 55.5 inches of hip room and 35.8 inches of legroom. The Monte Carlo's trunk had 15.8 cubic feet of space.
The 2002 model was powered by the 3.8-liter, L36 V-6. A classic, two-valve-per-cylinder, pushrod design, it produced 200 horsepower at 5,200 rpm and 225 foot-pounds of torque at 4,000 rpm. A four-speed automatic was the only transmission choice. The 2004 model featured the supercharged, 3.8-liter L67 V-6. An updated version of the L36 six-cylinder mill, the boosted L67 put out 240 horsepower at 5,200 rpm and 280 foot-pounds of torque at 3,600 rpm. A four-speed autobox remained the only available transmission. The Monte Carlo employed a MacPherson strut suspension set-up front and rear, which was re-tuned to be slightly stiffer and more aggressive in the 2004 model. The 2002 Monte rode on 16-inch wheels with 225/60R-16s tires, while the 2004 got larger, 17-inch wheel with 235/55R-17s tires.
Despite its motorsports-inspired appearance, the Monte Carlo SS Intimidator performed the same as the standard SS model. The less-powerful 2002 version could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in rather laid-back 8.6 seconds and complete a quarter-mile run in 16.6 seconds at 84 mph. The supercharged 2004 car, on the other hand, required a comparatively brief 6.5 seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph, and the quarter mile took 15.1 seconds at 93 mph. The 2004's marked performance advantage extended to handling and braking, as well. Thanks to its wider, lower-profile tires and stiffer suspension, the newer model achieved 0.83G of lateral grip on the skidpad, versus the 2002's 0.79G best. The 2002 model required 206 feet to brake from 70 mph, while the 2004's revised brakes and meatier tires helped it manage the task in a significantly shorter 186 feet.
The Monte Carlo SS Intimidator was designed to emulate the look of Dale Earnhardt's iconic No.3 stock car. The 2002 version featured a black paint job with a swath of silver along the car's bottom edge. A bold red stripe delineated the black and silver areas. The sporty Chevy also featured "3" logos on each side and a silver "Intimidator" badge on the rear end. Finally, a set of 16-inch, five-spoke, diamond-cut alloy wheels completed the package. The 2004 model ditched the original's tri-color paint scheme for monochromatic black. It got additional Intimidator badges in place of the "3" logos, and got 17-inch versions of the same diamond-cut wheels used on the 2002 model.
Both the 2002 and 2004 cars featured Intimidator and "3" badges on the dashboard, along with a reproduction of Earnhardt's signature on the gauge cluster. Otherwise, though, their interiors were just like those of a regular Monte Carlo SS. Standard equipment included cloth upholstery, dual-zone climate control with rear ventilation ducts, power locks, windows and mirrors, keyless entry, a tilt-adjustable, leather-wrapped steering wheel, cruise control and a six-speaker audio system. Satellite radio was available as an option on the 2004 car.
Four-wheel ABS disc brakes came standard on both the 2002 and 2004, as did traction control and a driver-side front airbag. A passenger-side airbag, however, was conspicuously absent.
The 2002 model received an EPA fuel economy rating of 17 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. The more powerful 2004 Monte Carlo was rated at 16 and 26. When new, the 2002 Monte Carlo SS had a starting price of $23,225. The supercharged 2004 version began at $27,395. Kelley Blue Book reports that, as of 2014, a 2002 model in good condition is worth approximately $3,464. A 2004 car is valued at about $4,495.
Michael G. Sanchez has been a professional writer for over 10 years. A lifelong car enthusiast and former senior mechanic, he has written on a wide range of automotive topics. He holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from Castleton State College. Sanchez started writing about cars as a part-time copywriter for a local dealership while still in high school.