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2003 Chevy Monte Carlo SS - The Full Monte

Rytek's "Tuner" Car Is Great, But It Should Have Been A V-8

By Dakota Wentz

When people hear the words SUPER CHEVY magazine, the first things they think of are tricked-out, wickedly fast, performance machines. And it's no doubt, we do have a fair share of Camaros, Chevelles, Novas, and Tri-Fives-those conventional American muscle machines-filling the pages of this magazine. But every now and then something will come along that totally blows our mind and we just have to run it. Even if it's a Corvair, Vega, station wagon, truck or family sedan, if it's done right and hits us like a ton of bricks, then we make space for it.

Going even further, we primarily run older cars that emphasize our hands-on approach. Not that there isn't an occasional late-model, high-tech install, mind you, but for the most part we stick with machines built between the years of '55-72. But no matter what, a cool car, is a cool car, is a cool car! Regardless of whether or not it's old, new, popular, and so on. And lets face it, this '03 Monte Carlo SS is one heck of a cool car.

Now before you go throwing out the possibility of ever considering this a heat ride, hear me out. This alleged "family car" is going to flat out whoop the pants off a lot of cars out there. Not to mention the looks of it are pretty awesome. Think about it, there are not too many late-model, full-size machines out there performing better than many of the new breed of import sports cars, and compete in the looks category, as well. Sure, we would gave preferred it if the General had installed an LS1 backed by a six-speed, and of course, rear-wheel drive, but let us just say for the record, we were definitely impressed by this attempt to outdo the import crowd with a true-blue Chevrolet.

The Rytek Projectz-built '03 Monte Carlo isn't exactly something grandma is going to pick you up in after school. No, no, this bad boy was built to get down and dirty among the youthful cruiser crowd. The crew at Rytek went to great lengths to make this car perform, look, and handle. In fact they were so confident that they would not disappoint they were up to the challenge of letting us take it and give it a whirl. And we're not just talking about a Sunday drive, but full-on track testing where the numbers don't lie. You can only imagine we were up to it.

Before we get to the performance test, here's a little about the ride and who built it. Rytek Projectz is a company that has concentrated on designing and constructing one-off, late-model performers for about 10 years. We've seen their cars before, both in the magazine and at events such as the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Rytek calls their concept, "Total Performance Tuning," with three objectives: synergy, stability and styling. To us, that's the same as mixing the correct components to make a car run and perform as a unit-in addition to providing the driver with a good experience while controlling the machine. With this Monte Carlo, Rytek set out not to unseat the big-block Chevelles and Camaros as the king of muscle machines, but to blend all the practical performance that today's drivers expect from a car. The first thing that can be said about the Monte is that it has a NASCAR-inspired flare. While the on-track cousin is a basic skin surrounding a plethora of performance components linked by a tube chassis, the Rytek car comes complete with supple leather interior appointments to go along with the Wilwood 14-inch, six-piston caliper brakes. The company that Rytek used for most of the visual appeal of the Monte was SLP. SLP, who readers recognize as a leader in the late-model Camaro and Corvette industry, provided virtually all of the interior pieces such as the entire carbon fiber dash coverings, as well as the cool rear spoiler and aerodynamic body kit. Showing off those big four-wheel disk brakes is an awesome set of HRE 540 Series blacked-out center 20-inch wheels wrapped in Toyo Proxes 245/35 rubber.

By Dakota Wentz
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