Versus the competiton:
In the pending Florida divorce action between NASCAR Winston Cup driver Jeff Gordon and his wife Brooke, court filings suggest that Jeff has a net worth of $48,798,837, the vast majority of it from his skill at driving a Chevrolet Monte Carlo race car around a track.
Evidently, that’s all the Monte Carlo driving Jeff needs. At home, he and Brooke preferred other cars, such as their 2001 Porsche 911 Turbo or the 2002 Mercedes-Benz 600SL. Don’t forget the $1.5 million tour bus, and there’s a $7 million yacht under construction.
Suffice it to say Jeff probably isn’t driving around on weekdays in the 2003 limited-edition official Monte Carlo SS Jeff Gordon Signature Edition, but you can. Act quickly: There are only 2,424 available (the number on Gordon’s race car is 24 – get it?), and it lists for just under $31,000, with the Jeff Gordon package alone adding $3,100. There are, however, other mandatory options, such as an upgraded sound system and leather upholstery.
The two-door Monte Carlo shares a platform with the four-door Impala. They are sort of old-school cars, powered by the venerable 3.8-liter V-6 engine that has propelled GM cars for years. It’s a near-bulletproof engine, but not that powerful, considering the Monte Carlo’s weight. A mildly beefy suspension and big Goodyear radials help cornering, but otherwise, there are no real performance advantages to the Jeff Gordon package.
What you get are: a handsome “Superior Blue” paint job with faint, understated flames on the front fenders, hood and doors; diamond-cut aluminum wheels, raised yellow lettering on those Goodyear tires; and all kinds of lettering and decals and stitching inside and out to remind you that this is a Jeff Gordon Signature Edition, and that he drives for Hendrick Motorsports.
It’s essentially the same car as last year’s Dale Earnhardt Signature Edition, of which 3,333 were sold, in honor of Dale’s car number, 3. Chevrolet donated $666,600 from the sales of that car to the Foundation for the Carolinas, a charity the Earnhardt family supports. A similar amount will likely go to several charities designated by Gordon, including the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
For cruising, the Gordon Monte Carlo is very pleasant, and will get you the occasional thumbs-up from a Gordon fan (and, more than once, a different finger from those who are not Gordon fans). In parking lots, remember that the two doors are very long, and just throwing them open could turn the driver of the just-dented car next to you into a Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan quickly.
I’d be more impressed with this 2003 Monte Carlo had Chevrolet not already debuted the 2004 Monte Carlo SS, which looks about the same, but has the supercharged version of this engine, which pumps out 240 horsepower, 40 more than this year’s car. It will also get an improved suspension and 17-inch tires and wheels, instead of the 16-inchers on the 2003 car.
But th ere won’t be a Jeff Gordon edition. Get one while you can – unless you want to wait for the inevitable Dale Earnhardt Jr. edition.
Base price: $23,435
Price as tested: $30,630
EPA rating: 19 mpg city, 29 mpg on the highway
Details: Front-engine, front-wheel-drive coupe with 3.8-liter, 200-horsepower V-6 with a 4-speed automatic transmission.