Stuck inside due to wild rain storms and high wind so I thought I might put together an automotive themed post just for fun. I imagine Watchtower at least will like this entry!
GM Cars: My Own Retrospective
On the eve of the historic GM bankruptcy I thought we might take a stroll through the car makers rich history and look at some of the best and worst cars made by the company.
My criteria are as follows;
-I am picking the GM cars that I thought were the best or worst; this may be based on looks, drive ability, or really anything
-Sales numbers do not matter
That's about it.
Let start off with the worst cars GM has ever produced.
In theory this car may have been a real winner. A mid engined (only one in production by a US automaker), lightweight, and sharp looking two seater probably sounded great. In practice this car was terrible!
My Dad actually had one of these and so from first hand experience I can tell you:
-car was woefully underpowered
-handling was a joke as GM used common parts off the shelf to build the car, which by it's design had unique needs
-loud and as big as a small closet on the inside, taking a drive was more of a hassle than a reward.
Still this car sold fairly well and still has a fan base today. The Pontiac Fiero makes my "worst" list.
I have no idea if the dealerships were giving these cars away in the late 1980's or what but in my city almost every kid's family I knew had at least on of these things as their vehicle:
Available in the station wagon style pictured, this car makes the worst lost, maybe on looks alone! Also, these cars fell apart, which is bad.
This car makes the list on a purely styling basis:
I mean, this car is basically a Camaro that got shrunk in the dryer! We will call it mini camaro!
It is much harder to pick out the best cars GM has built without writing a post that is VERY long. Over the years GM has made many of the all time classics and many of the greatest muscle cars ever built. Here are my top GM cars:
1955-1957 Chevrolet Bel Air
Perhaps the icon of US cars. Classic styling and the first iterations of the small block V-8 made this thing of beauty pack a punch as well:
This car to this day is one of the most restored and modified vehicles in car enthusiast circles. Not much to add, an all time classic.
1963-1967 Chevrolet Corvette
If a you had to pick one car to epitomize "sexy" it would have to be the 1963-1967 Stingray split window Corvette:
Available engines included everything from the base 327 small block all the way up to a 427 Tri-Power big block. I have always wanted one of these cars for as long as I can remember. When I think of GM I like to think about this car.
1966-1969 Chevrolet Camaro
Perhaps no other car is steeped in history and mystery as much as the first generation Camaro. Originally built so that Chevy would have an entrant into the Trans Am racing circuit that could compete with the Ford Mustang, the first generation Camaro did that and more.
The option code Z-28 was the pure racing motor that the cars ran in the Trans Am series. A small block V-8 of 302 cubic inches (engine code DZ302), the engine had a short stroke which allowed sustained high RPM operation. The published horsepower numbers were a full 25% below what the engine made a peak RPM, a trick by GM to make the cars unwanted by the general public.
The Camaro also touched off the dark world of "special option code" models after which car collectors obsess over to this day. Called Central Office Production Orders, COPO Camaros included some exotic entries including:
-COPO 9561 denoted a solid lifter L72 big block engine that made well over 450 horsepower. Don Yenko would buy a bunch of these and make the famous "Yenko Camaro's" from the factory base model
-COPO 9560 is the most prized Camaro of all time. This option allowed the car to be equipped with the equally legendary ZL-1 all aluminum 427 big block engine. Only 69 cars were delivered with this option, and the motors were rated at over 500 horsepower:
I could get all nostalgic and include all my favorite cars from the GM line. Notable models include:
-Pontiac Firebird/Trans Am
-Buick Grand National
-Chevrolet El Camino
-Pontiac GTO (old version)
A new addition to the GM line may well the the best path forward for the troubled automaker. The seventh generation (2008-on) Chevrolet Malibu is a strong offering from GM. A couple of friends have this car, and I have to say it is as fine a product as GM has had in some time:
A nice quiet ride and a roomy interior make for a nice driving experience. Sold suspension tuning and good brakes make a nice mid size package. This car is a reasonable competitor for the Toyota Camry. GM would do well to go over how they came up with the new Malibu and then keep doing that!
On a more economic note, it seems absurd to think that the biggest bankruptcy in history will be all sorted out in as little as 90 days as I have read in some reports. The good old "Good GM, Bad GM" stand by plan seems to be option one. Let's hope this can work out in a sustainable way for the US automaker.
Have a good night.