Junkyard Find: 2008 Pontiac Solstice
Quick, what was the final new Pontiac model introduced before the marque’s demise in 2010? The G3, a Pontiac-badged Chevy Aveo (itself a rebadged Daewoo Kalos, which makes The Final Pontiac first cousin to the Ravon Nexia R3). We remember a Pontiac model from slightly earlier in the chaos of mid-to-late-2000s GM much better: the Solstice, a mean-looking sports car that showed great promise but went down with the Pontiac ship in 2010.
I saw my first discarded Solstice last year in Colorado Springs, and now I’ve found this much cleaner one in Denver.
Junkyard Find: 2008 Saturn Astra XE
Remember the Saturn Astra? A Belgian-built Opel Astra, it was supposed to replace the Ion, but GM had a few distractions around that time and axed the Saturn Astra early in 2009… followed by the Saturn brand itself.
Just two model years, poor sales, weird Euro-Detroit badge-engineering hijinks, and a near-instant disappearance from cultural memory: just what I like best in a Junkyard Find!
Piston Slap: 6L80E…eeeeeek?
Leather is better. (photo courtesy: image.automotive.com)
Long time listener, first-time caller. I’m responding to your plea for new Piston Slap questions. I purchased a gently-used 2008 GMC Yukon Denali AWD a couple of months ago. Other than its appetite for fuel, the only negative is that it has 141,000 miles. I believe the previous owner changed the transmission fluid at 100,000 miles (Carfax shows that the transfer case fluid was changed at this point, and I can’t imagine doing that and not doing the transmission). The fluid was relatively clean but I changed out several quarts via the dipstick tube using a fluid extractor after I purchased the vehicle, replacing them with the specified Dexron-VI. I believe the fluid level is correct but it’s difficult to read.
On a recent road trip, the 6-speed automatic (6L80E) transmission stumbled during the 2-3 shift while driving through the mountains and went into a failsafe mode. The check engine light came on. I pulled over, turned the ignition off and on again, and the truck operated normally. The CEL remained on for the next several ignition cycles. When I called OnStar to obtain the fault code, they could not retrieve it because the CEL was no longer on.
UMTRI: US New-Car Fuel Economy Averaged 25.3 MPG In 2014
The final numbers are in for new-car fuel economy in the United States for 2014, and they are better than they were in 2008.
Review: Piaggio Ape 50 Europe
Last weekend, I rode a boxcar to Joliet, Illinois, with the rest of the 24 Hours of LeMons hobos and helped put on the third annual American Irony race. Traditionally, the justices of the LeMons Supreme Court travel around race-track grounds in some sort of Judgemobile appropriate to our exalted station, and this time we had the use of what turned out to be one of the greatest motor vehicles in the entire world: a 2008 Piaggio Ape (pronounced “ah-peh”) 50 Europe with just 21 miles on the clock.
Japanese Import Restrictions? Shall We Draw You A Map?
A lot of bandwidth is wasted in the blogosphere about how closed the Japanese car market supposedly is to foreign imports. Which of course is baloney. Paul Niedermeyer debunked the propaganda, and said: “Want to import cars to Japan? It’s one of the easiest countries to do so.“
In case people have not really gotten it, The Nikkei [sub] has drawn them a picture. It painstakingly lists how many cars were made by Japanese manufacturers at home and abroad. It shows how many cars were exported, and how many were imported.