February 13, 2014
Inspired by Curren$y, for when I first dreamed of a room in my home I’d name, SHOWROOM…
I’ll avoid poetic language in this inaugural post.
With an infatuation for the artistic constructs and innovative manufacturing’s out of the automotive industry, evolving from automobiles without air conditioning, to cars with satellite radio, the industry has brought us a dynamic of products to the market with so much more in store. On a personal note, I can be melodramatic when I think about what prospective concept cars and airplanes will feature.
So dramatic, I can write a poem about your car if it moves me. Airplanes, however, doesn’t matter, I wanna’ fly them all.
I think I still have a desire to be a pilot. Between the ages of 7 and 10, I road my Huffy bike to the Portland International Airport to watch airplanes approach from the southeast and touch down on the 28L runway. Passengers who sat on the right side of the cabin facing north, in seats D, E, & F, would have the privilege of viewing Mt. Hood during the flight’s mid-descent into PDX.
Meanwhile, I’d sit off the side of 82nd avenue on my bike watching a landing show that I dreamt of someday orchestrating myself. Later on during these hot summer days, I’d reenact the landing scenes with my airplane toys from K-B Toy Store on our kitchen floor.
In my late teens, early 20’s, I came to the realization that I didn’t want to take on the rigorous journey of becoming a pilot. But I never gave up on my infatuation with airports and the experience of travel.
Visits to the airport to hear loud Boeing jets takeoff, and rolling luggage from a car trunk to the airport revolving doors was like magic to me. It became a process I yearned to experience and obsess about.
And I hate revolving doors.
Now, about cars.
From seeing my cousin’s Oldsmobile Cutlass overheat in his driveway, to a family of five pull up to church on a Sunday morning in a Suburban, kept as clean as the assumed love in the family, the condition of these vehicles signified the appreciation that the head-of-household had for his/her belongings and creations. It moved me to see the difference in how people took care of their possessions.
My cousin’s Cutlass represented a struggle, symbolizing those who were trying to get to work on time but had to twist a few wrenches and valve caps to cool down their V8 Bonneville overheating engines.
This was the eye opener for me, and it may not make sense to you, but it’s not always going to because some of us don’t focus on perspective as often. You take care of one thing, take care of all.
Struggle or not, own that shit!
After taking on a precise understanding of body styles for vehicles, and inductively educating myself on GM’s A and G-Body type platforms that hold my favorite chassis, I started to look at the early Pontiac GTOs, Oldsmobile 442, and 2nd generation Chevy Chevelle much different. Seeing its sister platforms G, C, and K become GM’s revolutionary models, it introduced luxury, compact, and economy. Most H-bodies housed the 3800 Bonneville V6 engines with a supercharge option. Not economical today, but compared to the original B-body platforms, there’s less of an engine to cool.
GM designed the 6th generation Pontiac Grand Prix looking NASCAR vehicle–and it brought a presence to the dealership with its W-body platform. I don’t want to get into the specifics of the 97-2003 Grand Prix, but the turn Pontiac took with this design ran far from the previous models. Also, and not necessarily in direct competition, although debatable, Chevy’s 6th generation Monte Carlo mirrored this NASCAR’ESQUE body style that hugged the expressways at high speeds.
Both 6th generation GM models took a much needed turn in body styles by going to a 2nd generation W-body platform.
In theory, the front bottom bumper of the 6th generation Grand Prix was designed to divert oncoming air beneath the vehicle at high speeds; pushing the air out toward the back and sides so that the front of the car would hug the road. This of course was an advantage for its front wheel drive feature. And I say theory because its categorized as a ‘grocery getter’.
Whereas you have the ZL1 Camaro 14 years later with that similar, ostensibly aggressive feature on its front grill.
Someone educate me…
The Camaro and Grand Prix’s ride k-9 like, American Bully, Terrier low style driving. Both back quarter-panels widening around the rear wheels complement Grand Prix’s ‘Mark of Beasts’; extending to support its “W” body “hugging ground” feature (we’ll call it).
Or, it could just be physics.
I’d be upset settling for the SE Grand Prix because it doesn’t support this feature. And the downside of the Grand Prix GT and Supercharged GTP trim is that they share similar interiors of the less sporty SE models. Also, resembling the other less sporty competitor vehicles in the Daimler-Chrysler family; Dodge Stratus to be exact.
Speaking of the Stratus, an unfortunate triplet of the Chrysler Cirrus and Plymouth Breeze, the 6th generation Grand Prix has an identical interior base to the Dodge Intrepid and Chrysler Concorde. Which are all ugly to me.
Going back to my Grand Prix struggling GM days, a bitter sweet love affair, I managed to debadge it, and place the decals on the dashboard. As an artistic outlet, the V6 – 3800 decal I painted red sat above the glove compartment to remind me of the power I’m gassing.
In addition to that, my plate filler complemented the front vehicle’s slick round body design. Which offended parking reinforcement downtown PDX.
Its dual exhaust grew on me and I fell in love with GM the more I saw my Grand Prix’s GT trim’s exhaust, dipped in sauce. It was Pontiac’s and Chevy’s from there on out. Unfortunately, GM pulled the plug on Pontiac the year after I started breaking my neck admiring the Grand Prix. It’s the first car I got infatuated with that I often see under-appreciated; scoundrels hitting curbs with warped shocks and struts, paint scraped off the fenders, and cracked windshields.
Although its interior wasn’t as innovating in comparison to the exterior’s aerodynamic design, similar to the 2008 GTO, the Grand Prix’s exterior made up for it in style.
By this observation, however, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.
I do appreciate individuals who’ve kept their Grand Prix in pristine condition, like me, before my transmission fluid started to bleed into the exhaust. It’s a rare disaster, but seals and gaskets for GM’s back then were as weak as the plastic they were carted on through factories.
Anti-Freeze flooding into my intake manifold gasket led to a common issue that mechanics often mistaken as a blown head gasket, which was one of GM’s many recalls.
In conclusion, while Chevy’s don’t fly, Pontiac’s no longer get manufactured, and my dreams to aviat an aircraft forever awaits in bliss, the infatuation of struggle is spelled here. Starting with childhood memories and observations, growing to a passion where I’d write to the world, I simply say this, I like vehicles.
And it started with GM’s overheating engines…
(UPDATED: August 30, 2020)