February 13, 2014
Inspired by Curren$y for when I first dreamed of a room I would name in my home, SHOWROOM…
In my inaugural publishing, I’ll avoid poetic language, but maybe later. However, I have an infatuation for the artistic constructs and innovative manufacturing’s the automotive industry has evolved to today. From automobiles without air condition to cars with satellite radio, the industry has brought us a challenging dynamic market of products with so much more in store to put to the test. On a personal note, I can be somewhat melodramatic when I think about what prospective concept cars and airplanes will feature.
My writing today is not to educate readers on cars I like, my traveling experiences, or to motivate you to share my content, but I do recommend that you read the following words with a Don Juan Pond of salt.
Heavy in the waters.
I once had a great desire to be a pilot. Between the ages of 7 and 10 I often road my Huffy 24” to the Portland International Airport to watch airplanes approach from the southeast and touch down on the 28L runway.
Many of the passengers who sat on the right side of the cabin facing north (seats D-F), would have the privilege of getting a view of Mt. Hood in the flight’s mid-descent into PDX.
Meanwhile, I sat on my bike off the side of 82nd avenue only to get a landing show that I would only dream of someday orchestrating. Later in the hot summer day I’d reenact the landing scene with my airplane toys from K-B Toy Store.
When I was on the path to becoming a pilot, I came to the realization that I did not want to take on that rigorous journey. Essentially, this led to my infatuation with airports and the process of travel. Visits to the airport to hear the loud Boeing jets takeoff always made my day. Even simply rolling luggage from a car trunk to the airport revolving doors was like magic to me. It was a process that I wanted to frequently experience. But I hated revolving doors.
Growing up, seeing an Oldsmobile’s Cutlass overheat in my cousin’s driveway, or a family of five (5) pulling up to church on a Sunday morning in a Suburban that was kept as clean as the assumed love in the family, seemed abundant. The condition of a vehicle signified the appreciation that the head-of-household had for his/her belongings and creations. To me that individual’s family.
However, the Cutlass was more of a struggle for those who were trying to get to work on time but had to twist many 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 do not focus on perspective as often. I look at it like this: whoever is the head-of-household, or owner of the vehicle, should keep it up as if it’s a member of the family. Mechanically and cosmetically.
I grew up around many General Motor and Ford families; Glasshouse (78-80’ Chevrolet Caprice), Chevy Box (80’s caprice), T-Top Monte Carlos, Corvettes and other Ford looking GM models. Thunderbirds, Cut-Supreme’s, (Oldsmobile), and white-wall/mayo-mustard Daddy Lac’s (Cadillac’s). Summa’ time, them bois let em’ shine…
Eventually I would take on a more precise understanding of body styles for vehicles. To be specific, I inductively educated myself on GM’s A-Body type platforms and G-Body type platforms that hold my favorite chassis like the early Pontiac GTO, Oldsmobile 442, and 2nd generation Chevy Chevelle. In my opinion, the H-Body and its sister platforms G, C, and K were the revolutionary GM models introducing luxury, compact, and economy. Most H-bodies housed the 3800 Bonneville V6 engines with a supercharge option. Not economical today. Although, compared to the original B-body platforms (similar C and D platforms), some were.
I still appreciate GM for the designing of the 6th generation Pontiac Grand Prix. NASCAR definitely brought a presence to the dealership with this 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, Chevrolet’s 6th generation Monte Carlo mirrored this NASCAR’ESQUE body style that hugged the expressways and causeways at higher 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 body of the 6th generation Grand Prix was designed to divert the oncoming air under the front bottom bumper of the vehicle at high speeds; pushing the air out toward the back and sides so that the front of the vehicle would hug to the ground. This of course was an advantage for its front wheel drive feature. And I only say theory, because this is too much of a precocious feature to be released in the late 20th century.
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, sort of like an American Bully – Terrier-esque. The back quarter-panels widening around the rear wheels definitely complements the Grand Prix’s ego (if there is one); how it extends out supporting the “W” bodies “hugging ground” feature [we’ll call it].
I can only imagine one would be upset settling for the SE Grand Prix which did not support this feature. The only downside about the Grand Prix GT and Supercharged GTP trim is that they share the similar interior as the less sporty SE trim models. They also resemble other less sporty competitor vehicles in the Daimler-Chrysler family; Dodge Stratus to be exact.
The Stratus is an unfortunate triplet – Chrysler Cirrus, and Plymouth Breeze. The 6th generation Grand Prix also fell in the same interior class with these inevitable less favored models, Dodge Intrepid and Chrysler Concorde.
My Grand Prix struggling GM days was a bitter sweet love affair, but I managed to decal the dashboard as an artistic outlet. This only reminded me that I was behind the wheel of the GT V6 3800 model. I felt dauntless.
In addition to this, my plate filler complemented the front vehicle’s slick round body design. Which offended parking reinforcement downtown PDX.
The dual exhaust grew on me – I fell in love with GM the more I saw my Grand Prix’s GT trim’s dual 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 consistently breaking my neck admiring those Grand Prix’s. And I always found the Grand Prix’s much under-appreciated, I would always see some scoundrel hitting a curve with well warped shocks and struts. Often the paint scrapped off the fenders and cracked windshields.
The interior was not innovating in comparison to the exterior’s aerodynamic slick tone. And I did well with my Pontiac, it was in fact once mistaken for one of Pontiac’s latest models, the 2008 GTO. The exterior eventually came to a match when neglectful-type owners started getting behind the wheel. Maybe that’s a bit harsh, but many Pontiac owners are oblivious to its absence in production in Detroit.
I do appreciate the individuals who have kept the Grand Prix in pristine condition, like me, before my transmission fluid started to bleed into the exhaust. This is a rare disaster but seals and gaskets for GM back then were as weak as the plastic it may have been carted on in factories. Anti-Freeze was flooding into my intake manifold gasket; for those that do not understand this issue, it’s common for mechanics to mistake this for a blown head gasket. However, GM and Pontiac did admit to it and issued a recall. GM salute.