So, let’s play the game again, shall we? This week, like last, Chris decides he wants a GM muscle car. Can’t buy new since the SS might as well be vaporware. Mark argues that the new Sierra with the 6.2 is a new hotrod, and he may have a point – but I’m just not a truck guy. I need four real seats, too.
Tag: Pontiac G8
I have a fond spot in my heart for the Pontiac G8. I was once the proud owner of a White Hot G8 GT. I bought it new in March of 2009 and somewhat regrettably traded it in June of 2012, putting nearly eighty thousand loving miles on it along the way—you can see a picture of mine from the day I brought it home at the top of this page. Sure, I endured the occasional broken crankshaft, and yes, the interior would have been better suited to a $15K Cobalt or G3 rather than a halo car, but what a machine! It combined 361 horsepower derived from a massive 6.0 liter V8 engine with all the interior and trunk space anyone could ever need. Of course, there was also the much-less-desirable-but-still-decent V6 variant, well as the unicornish GXP, which was avaiable with a 6MT and shared the Camaro SS’ 6.2 liter LS3, generating a diff-crunching 412 horsepower.
Unfortunately, the untimely demise of Pontiac led to a very small production run for the G8—fewer than forty thousand of them were made in total. Therefore, on the rare occasion that I see one on the road (I actually saw my old car on the road recently), I can’t help but smile.
Lately, however, when I see one, I’m more likely to cringe than smile.
A couple of years ago, I attended my last General Motors press event. It was the debut of the Cadillac CTS-v Coupe and it was held at the Monticello country-club racetrack. I recall being impressed with the car, and I recall being impressed with Mark Reuss, the second-generation GM executive who brought his own helmet and his Grand-Am license to the event. Like Bob Lutz, Reuss is a big, handsome, improbably wealthy fellow who travels with a personal assistant, speaks in a no-nonsense tone, and carries himself with impervious confidence.
My attitude to the superstar dudes of the industry closely parallels that of O’Shea Jackson (warning: listening to that song at work will GET YOU FIRED) so I didn’t bother to chat Mr. Reuss up until we found ourselves side by side in the airport terminal. I asked him his opinion of the handling differences between the various CTS bodystyles, listened to him tell a couple of stories about road racing, and received some mild chastisement for turfing “his” Cadillac at high speed. It wasn’t until my flight home was halfway over that I realized: Yeah, he’s a great guy, but his company is failing miserably and he really isn’t doing anything to stop it. GM is chock-full of likable, even admirable people who are nevertheless collectively part of a great tragedy. It really doesn’t matter how “cool” a guy like Mark Reuss is. He’s being beaten out of his socks by “uncool” people at other companies, and as automotive journalists we’re not serving the truth if we don’t remind our readers of that simple fact every time it’s necessary. Every single time. Even if nobody else is willing to discuss the enormous elephant in the room — you know, the one with “18% Market Share” and “Bailout” and “Worst Product Line In the Industry” tattooed all over its wrinkly bottom.
So with that in mind, let’s talk about the new “Chevrolet SS”.
The single trim level is what tipped us off, and if we’d looked closer at its spec sheet, we’d have seen that its manufacturing location is listed as “Rüsselsheim, Germany.” Automotive News [sub] reports that Regal will be built in Germany for 15 months before production shifts to Oshawa. Which makes the Regal even more of an odd duck. In addition to being stuck into GM’s bursting lineup of Epsi-II midsize sedans, it’s also losing whatever profit it might have made on the dismal foreign exchange rate and the boat ride over from Europe. Or it will be just plain overpriced. Think of it as the love child between a Saturn Astra and a Pontiac G8. And another sign that some things never change.