Pontiac is Dead…Long Live Pontiac

Although Pontiac is going away (for now), some of it’s vehicles will live on within other brands…

pontiac_g8_gxp (6)As most of you may know, a large portion of Pontiac’s vehicle lineup is/was made up of rebadged cars from Chevy, Saturn, even GMC.  The only vehicle that was not rebadged from another American division was the G8, which was a rebadged Commodore from Holden, GM’s Australian division.

Which brings me to the reason for this post. I was perusing my email inbox and came across a note form GM Product Communications about the 2010 GM lineup. Curious, I clicked on the link to their site and found a comprehensive list of all 2010 GM vehicles, which did not include Pontiac, of course.

X10GM_TR009What I did find was a curious vehicle called the GMC Terrain.  Even more curious, as this vehicle was absent from the 2009 North American International Auto Show (from what I saw), I did some digging and found that this is the next generation of the Pontiac Torrent and boy does it look good.

In case you haven’t heard, or just aren’t concerned, GM is now concentrating of it’s four “core” brands – Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC – so seeing the next Torrent as a GMC really is no surprise.

What is surprising is the choice of a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that GM says can achieve up to 32 miles per gallon on the highway. This awesome mileage for a SUV is achieved through a lower torque converter lockup speed, essentially this will act as another transmission gear, like something similar on my Mom’s old Chevy Nova ( the Toyota version, not the classic). 

Anyhow, if the Terrain is half as good as the Torrent, GM will have another hit on it’s hands, especially if the MPG claims come true as even a hybrid SUV has trouble getting that much on the highway.

Following the theme, the car of the day is the 2009 Pontiac G8 GXP:

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If you check out the Holden Commodore, you’ll see the resemblance, which ain’t no bad thing.




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I haven’t driven the GXP yet, but I suspect it’s the best Pontiac sedan ever built.






It’s truly a shame to see Pontiac go away since they have finally matured away from all that plastic cladding and are putting out cars with style, panache, great power and awesome handling…at least in the G8 line.


Here’s a Review…

So I thought I’d test this out to see what one of my reviews would look like in this format.

Here’s an old review…let’s see how this turns out:

2000 Ford Ranger

Ford’s Small Truck for the Masses

by James E. Bryson

A truck is a truck is a truck. And the 2000 Ford Ranger is still a truck, even though it rides more car-like than its predecessor, gets better gas mileage and has a more sporty character than it did many years ago, before the small truck rage really caught on. This truck is one of the best Ford has ever produced and its popularity proves that.

People seem to expect more these days from their trucks than they ever expected from any car. They expect their trucks to:
· Haul people, cargo, tow trailers, and do whatever else they can think of.
· Be comfortable like the family car.
· Provide the same convenience and features as the family car.
Ford has worked hard on offering all these wants with the Ranger, and they seem to have succeeded very well overall.

The 2000 Ranger is a very capable, comfortable small truck, especially with the four-door Supercab (in Ford jargon). The added versatility of the extra openings goes a long way when a trip to the local discount grocery store, during a nice summer rainstorm, results in more bags full of food than one can carry in two hands. Once you open one of the rear-hinged half-doors, the “Super” part of the cab, the area behind the seats, is as easy to get into as a college party at full swing. Feelings about the opening can best be described as joyous, for not making you contort your body to get between the front seats and the B pillar.

Inside, the seats offer comfort not seen in small pickups of the ’70s and most of the ’80s, when the truck world started to get more car-like. The cloth covering the seats is of a high quality and seems like it will last as long as you might own the truck. The padding is somewhat firm but isn’t uncomfortable to make long drives seem tedious. And just a note about the rear “jump seats”, they are meant for small beings. Period. Any sane adult would rather ride in the bed of the truck than in one of those tiny seats that are now attached to the rear wall of the cab rather than the side, as they were before the whole “four-door” rage caught on.

On the highway, the 2000 Ranger rides smoothly and tracks nicely, with firm weighted steering to help keep you on the straight and narrow. Driving over freeway expansion joints or potholes on the secondary roads will sometimes bring a little shudder to the truck, felt more through the seat of the pants and up the back of the seat. This feeling is not unlike that of a top-down convertible driving over the same road surfaces, like there is a part of the body missing. The probable cause here is the removal of the hard mounted B pillar from the cabin structure. Other trucks with the four-door option experience the same phenomenon, so it is not much to worry about, really. Nevertheless, it does give one an almost sinking feeling when it happens.

The 150 hp 3.0-liter FFV SEFI V6 our test truck was equipped with moved the truck quite well. And with 190 lb-ft of torque available, towing shouldn’t be a problem either. The FFV designation stands for Flexible Fuel Vehicle, which means that it will run on regular unleaded gasoline, E-85 (a fuel mixture comprised of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gas) or a mixture of the two.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the insurance industry group that crash tests all U.S. vehicles, the 2000 Ranger rates an “A” overall in crashworthiness and an “A” for restraints. On that front, the Ranger features driver and passenger airbags, dual-locking shoulder belts and comes standard with rear-wheel antilock brakes (four-wheel antilock is optional).

There are only a few real complaints that can be made against the 2000 Ranger. Number one is the fact that the press material and the showroom brochure both imply that the four-door option is standard on the 2000 model, when it is actually a chargeable item listed at $695 with the optional equipment on the vehicle sticker. Number two, in previous years, the cruise controls on the steering wheel lit up at night. Either Ford has cut corners to keep costs down or they just didn’t work on the test truck. Number three is the shudder felt in the superstructure when traveling over potholes and bumps in the road. It is up to you, the consumer, to decide if that is a livable trait. In our opinion, it is.

The 2000 Ford Ranger is a capable, durable and affordable small truck. The base price starts at $15,890 and our loaded 4×2 test truck listed at $21,460, including the $560 destination charge. It will most likely age quite well with grace, as long as it is not upstaged by its replacement in 2002. Only time will tell.


And the car of the day:

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It’s the “Black” Camaro, which is a concept package that may or may not see production.






It’s all black with black everywhere. The coolest part, which didn’t turn out so well in the photos, is the red “ring” around the headlights, which is illegal in the U.S.




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Menacing, no??





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There I am, in the paint…too funny!

But it was the best I could do! LOL



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Here’s what it’s all about. Lot’s components to this concept…

Conspiracies Abound

So the conspiracy, as my friends up in Detroit tell it, is that all the games so far have been fixed so that there will be seven games to allow the league (NHL) and  the host cities to make the most money as possible.

I’m not one to subscribe to such theories. I think both teams are playing hard and each wants to win.

Sure, I think it’s peculiar that the home team has won each game (which means Detroit will eventually win!) but, otherwise, the games have been great entertainment and worth watching every minute.

Go here for highlights!

Or here!

And now, the car of the day:

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Here’s the upcoming Chevrolet Cruze! It’s almost like a mini-Malibu!





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It’s cars like this that can save GM…






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Cute, and hopefully fun to drive. Look for it this Fall at your local dealer.

Work Outside…

Here’s a little video of our patio and the cleanup we did today:


Another Sunny Day


So here we are, it’s almost June and we haven’t been in the 90s yet!!!


Here’s another car of the day for May 30th, 2009:

Chevy Cheyenne 1



This is the Chevy Cheyenne concept from the 2003 NAIAS.




Chevy Cheyenne 2



This is one of those vehicles it’s too bad they didn’t build!






Oh, What A Beautiful Morning!

Here I sit, on the patio, it’s sunny and 61 degrees with little humidity. A cup of coffee on the table and I’m typing on the laptop. Life couldn’t get any better. Just to prove that’s what I’m doing, here’s me!

Like I said…Oh, what a beautiful morning!

So Vikki and I went to the Taste of Maplewood event last night. Let me say we were a bit underwhelmed. We like Maplewood and all the diversity in eating and entertainment but thought the event was quite small and had a church social feel. When we got there the lines were long and some of the booths were closing, from selling out of their wares we assumed.
Our goal, though, was not to eat, but more try to find out about the restaurants we’ve heard of but maybe haven’t thought to eat at since we like a good variety and need to have at least some vegetarian fare.

We did find out that the Deluxe Diner has a few vegetarian options and is priced right. We also found a nifty little place called Maya Cafe, which is great since we love Mexican food!

Since Maya was a little packed, it was right on the strip in the midst of the Taste, we decided to try El Scorcho.

Holy warm salsa, Batman!!!

El Scorcho brands itself as Tex-Mex, which to me means that it’s Mexican-esque, with a kick…and boy is it ever! That salsa, as stated above, came to us warm (which we later found out was because is was fresh off the stove). The salsa was spicy, from chipolte peppers, yet the spice didn’t linger, or build as you eat more.

For an appetizer we had the black bean and queso dip. It was exquisite; spicy but not overbearing with the right amount of queso to make it a thick and rich and very tasty!

Our server was awesome; he kept us in chips and made sure we were happy campers.

For entrees, I had the burrito, which was awesomely huge and full of great flavor and Vikki had the Sexy Sampler, a taco, tostada and enchilada, all vegetarian of course! All was delicious and well worth the price, which was quite reasonable.

For drinks, it was a nice change to see a leather-bound drink menu with choices galore! I had a Mexican Martini that had tequila. cointreau and orange juice! It was awesome! Vikki had a regular margarita which was great as well as it didn’t have any sour mix…after making drinks at home, we’ve become drink snobs and are willing to pay for drinks made the right way – without fillers like sour mix.

So yes, we were very pleased and think this is a good substitute for Chava’s, when we don’t feel like driving down to Soulard.

And now, the car of the day:

It’s the Buick Centieme concept shown at the 2003 NAIAS.

Look familiar?? It should as this is the precursor to the Buick Enclave. Nice, eh?

Summer is Near

With temps hovering in the 80s, and storms bantering about, you know Summer is near. The dred is not so great this year but is still present. The dred is all about the really hot Summers we have here in the Lou.

Speaking of Summer, went out golfing for the first time last week at the Landings at Spirit Golf Club. It’s a “links” syle course that is very flat and fairly wide open. The lack of any hills or valleys is made up by the VERY fast greens. And for the price, I would highly recommend it.

Had a great time with the guys from work. It’s always a little more fun when you scramble as your bad shots can be offset with another’s good shots and you really feel the team atmosophere. My team didn’t win but we had a great time and were able to finish at 2 under!