Guarding Splashes, Check…

In our continuing series regarding Ely the Element, it’s come time to affix some Honda-designed/produced accessories to make Ely a little more stylish and clean.

DSC01487Costing $60 (or $15 apiece) from a West Coast dealer who under cuts the local dealers by $45, the “genuine factory Honda splash guards” came is a stylish and functional clear plastic bag. Luckily, they decided to put it into a nice cardboard box for shipping ease.

In the bag was four splash guards with screws and some hardware bits but, fashionably missing, no instructions!

Thank goodness for the internets…where I found the correct instructions for my year.DSC01492

Needing only a screwdriver, a stubby phillips at that, installing all four guards was pretty easy. The hardest part was making sure the front wheels were in the right position for accessing the interior screw.

Now, the instructions say to save two of the screws from up front to reuse and use two new ones but our set only cam with two new screws rather than the four needed. Using superior intelligence, it was deduced that reusing all four screws would not make for any negative consequences.

Like the instructions, the only before and after pics taken were from the left side as each side had the same screws in the same place, just opposite each other.

Front:

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Rear:

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And some of the whole vehicle with the new splash guards:

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So there you have it. An easy way to personalize an Element and possibly keep the rocker panels cleaner!


2006 Pontiac G6 GT Convertible

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Way Cool Hard Top for the “Excitement” Division

by James E. Bryson

In our present world, we have plenty of worries to keep us up at night; fuel prices, medical and other insurance costs, and not the least of which…our safety.

It was safety that was cited as partially responsible for the demise of the convertible in the late 70s; The weak structure, the lack of a roof to support the car in a rollover, among many other bad attributes.

Fast forward 30 years and most of those “demons” have been expunged, save rigidity, which is the last and most difficult of the gremlins to exorcise, but not outside of an engineer’s expertise; it’s just too expensive and adds unwanted weight.

For those brave souls out there who dream of owning one of the new breed of convertibles, you are in luck. For, starting under $30,000 is a new hard top convertible from the least likely of places: GM. Enter the Pontiac G6 GT convertible.

06g6_1The regular G6, in either sedan or coupe variant, is a handsome automobile with crisp lines, attractive curves and comfortable accommodations for most people. The convertible gives up some structural rigidity with the top down, some rear seat space and most of the trunk volume for the ability to tan your self on a nice day.

In a less complex, compared with the more expensive hard tops, but still utterly satisfying show of technical engineering moxie, the top opens and closes with just the push of a button: Hold that button, located on the windshield header, for about 30 seconds and the top is either gone from view letting the sun shine in or back in place, ready to protect you from the outside world. We loved the smooth action and orchestration of the whole process, from the quarter windows rolling down to the clamshell action of the dual-hinged trunklid. As we mentioned earlier, the only bad part of the convertible experience is the total disappearance of usable trunk space. But, really, it’s a small price to pay for a complete package convertible like the G6.06g6_2

Ride and handling are confidence-inspiring, which we were surprised to find. Don’t take that the wrong way, we just thought a front driver like the G6 would have so-so handling and a soft ride. What we got was good (if not great) handling and a comfortably firm ride that soaked up most minor bumps and never felt floaty or out of control. That said, with the top down, that was a lot of cowl shake (more of a shimmy) over really rough spots like train tracks and pot holes. With the top up, the hard top remember, the G6 took on a whole different persona. Sure, it was a touch claustrophobic, but it made the car so much more rigid that we sometimes forgot we were driving a droptop.

The suspension is made up if Macpherson struts with L-shaped control arms and stabilizer bar up front and a four-link independent rear with gas shocks, coil springs and stabilizer bar.

06g6_3Stopping was easy to do with the vented front/solid rear disc brakes with standard ABS. We had a chance to get out into the winding roads and found the brakes to be rather fade resistance and easy to modulate, not too spongy like previous GM brakes were prone to be.

The manumatic four-speed was a nice surprise. In manual mode, the shifts were actually quick and done with purpose, which was a surprise since every other manumatic we’ve driven were sad substitutes for sporting adventures with slow shifts and hesitations and dismal gear engagement.

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There’s wood-grained trim on the doors and shifter surround that seems a tad out of place in a sporting convertible as this. Out of place, maybe, but we actually liked it because it added a bit of class to an otherwise sterile cockpit. In front of the driver is a set of gauges nicely laid out with the tachometer on the left, speedo front and center and tertiary gauges for fuel and temp to the right. It’s a handsome cluster with shiny bezels giving it an upscale look.

The seats were comfy but we found the headrests hit us awkwardly, resulting in a less comfortable experience in daily cruising with a touch of neck strain. Otherwise, the seats and driving position were spot on and ergonomics were standard GM fare of late; switches and knobs were easy to use, felt good under hand and were where you would expect them to be.

The best aspect of the G6 GT Convertible is its price; starting at around $29,000, expect to pay around $32,000 for a loaded GT with the 3.9-liter V6 and all available factory options.

In all, the Pontiac G6 GT Convertible is a great value and strong performer and a great looking vehicle that fits well into a lot of budgets.

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Published by

James E. Bryson

Cars make the world go 'round!

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