Saturday, May 2, 2009

Pontiac Dead? Great Spirits will be The Judge

Rest in Peace, Tin Indian. Those pure of automotive heart will remember you not for your plastic-clad atrocities of the 1980s on (we turned away sadly and bought Chevys and Buicks) but for the wild wheels cooked up by John, Bunkie, and DED.

The GTO gets all the press, and while it was never the car Car and Driver had us believe (0-60 in 4.6 in 1964 on bias ply tires ... no. Not even with a 421 stuffed in there "on-accident") it was all about the hype in those days, and no one did hype better than you, Chief Thunder.

Chrysler eventually out-jazzed your three-deuces-and-a-four-speed and T-topped flaming chicken with even wilder 440 six-packs and Hemi Road Runners in purples, oranges, and yellows that could be seen from the moon, but if you guys hadn't gotten the party started we'd probably still be driving boring 8-sec-to-60 sedans.

You were the only car guys who never gave up on the muscle car, sending haul-ass Trans Ams off the line in proud black and gold even in those dark, confused give-up-and-be-serenaded-off-to-death's-door-by-The-Bee-Gees days of the 70s.

There was a year or two in there when a Trans Am could clean a Corvette's (analog) clock.

When the beanmen-on-high tried to kill muscle again in this century and streamlined you into their corporate abyss you still figured out how to get it done, going below the equator to poach a corporate-cousin super sedan to blast the Pontiac Nation forward once more.

But most importantly you were there for me, this great nation's future Car Czar, when I bought my first car, which wasn't the fastest, but was definitely the baddest car you ever produced.

It was a 1969, the best year of anything to drive. It had a six-foot-long hood and a radio antenna buried in the windshield. It was quick up to 60 but screamed like a banshee as it rocketed past 90 and on to a hood-fluttering 130.

I never should have sold it when it failed me cruising at 35.

No despair here.

Indian spirits live forever.


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