The incredibly elusive show car

1991-92 Monte Carlo ConceptAh, Monte Carlo. Whether pictures of beaches and a grand casino in Monaco, or decades of two-door Chevrolets, the words conjure images of flash and sometimes excess, but never obscurity.

Why, then, is this twenty-year-old Monte Carlo concept so difficult to track down?

(Continue reading to see full image, viewable at 1200×474.)


Needle in a haystack
Monte Carlo concept mysteryHonestly, this is the most difficulty I’ve had researching a concept car which, incidentally, started as a side-tracked quest and ended hours later yielding one image and only scraps of information.

I was looking into a different vehicle when the Monte Carlo concept came to mind and turned my attention. The car was pretty vivid in my head because I remembered personally seeing it at the Los Angeles Auto Show many, many moons ago. I just couldn’t remember when. So I turned to the internet.

Nothing. No matter what parameters I searched under, I found absolutely nothing.

Seriously, Google this car. There is a complete and total vacuum around it. None of my books or magazines appeared to cover it (although the search was ongoing, and still is). The longer I hunted, the more frustrated I became. But I was certain it existed.

Then, against my gut, I started to question if it could have been called Lumina. After all, the Lumina coupe was still around until 1994. That’s when I stumbled onto the concept below, from sometime in the early nineties. (I think it was called Lumina SR2.)

Lumina coupe conceptWith a mounting lack of evidence, I was just about at the point of accepting the Monte Carlo concept, so clear in my head, was just imagined or maybe that I’d confused it with the SR2. But then, I unearthed something. It was in my April, 1992 Motor Trend and, although it was just a little teeny, tiny nugget, it allowed me to place a level of faith back in my memory .

Proof of its existence
1991-92 Monte Carlo Concept smallAccording to the snippet accompanying the photo, it was first shown at the 1991 Detroit Auto Show, then made its appearance at the Los Angeles Auto Show, in 1992, where it was displayed in a burgundy color (not pictured). That’s where I remembered seeing it and, since I always bought and saved the show’s program brochure, that means I have it in storage. I’m certain that brochure will have more information (so expect an update).

The apparent reason it was shown two years in a row was because Jim Perkins, the divisional General Manager, announced at the LA showing that a production Monte Carlo, based on that concept, would debut within a two-year time frame and displace the Lumina coupe. And that is exactly what happened.

Pictured below is a production 1995 Monte Carlo.

1995 Monte Carlo

So there you have it. The incredibly elusive concept car. If you have anything you’d like to add or share about it, feel free to comment or email.

(Click the thumbnail below to see the concept in higher detail. File size is 154k.)

1991-92 Monte Carlo Concept

1991-92 Monte Carlo Concept at LA Auto Show (1200x474)


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