How Uncle Killed Pontiac

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The French philosopher-economist Frederic Bastiat wrote about the unseen repercussions of government interfering with the market’s natural progressions. In other words, what might have been. Perhaps the saddest four words in the language.turbo 1

One such might-have-been is the 1982 Turbo Trans-Am.

You have probably never heard of it. Because, of course, it was never produced. But it almost was. And had it been, Pontiac might not have gone out of business.

But, I am getting ahead of the story.

It was the early ’80s and the Pontiac Firebird (and its sister car, the Chevy Camaro) were long overdue for a major update. They’d been in continuous production since 1970 and although they’d both set sales records for their respective divisions in the mid-late ’70s – in part because they were neat cars but also because there were so few other neat cars around during the disco-era darkness – by the time of Ronald Reagan’s first inauguration, it was clearly time for a change.

The third generation Camaro/Firebird (“F” cars in GM-speak) that were in development would be lighter and smaller, emphasizing sporty handling rather than 0-60 and quarter-mile times.turbo 301 2

But – as originally planned – they would retain their unique  divisional identities, as had always been the case in the past. Meaning, the Camaro would get a Chevy-designed and built drivetrain while the Pontiac would get its own “pure Pontiac” powerplants.

Especially the high-performance Trans-Am.

It wasn’t the air scoops and decals on the hood that made a Trans-Am something other than a Z28 sold by Pontiac. It was the Pontiac V-8 under the hood. A 400 or 455 rather than a 305 or 350. And the difference was more than merely cubic inches. Pontiac’s V-8s were not Chevy V-8s. They shared no major parts; they were unique designs and had different characteristics, including different power curves – the Chevy being inclined toward high-RPM horsepower while the Pontiac (especially the long-stroke 455) was esteemed for its freight train torque output. This gave each car a different driving feel – a different character – despite the shared platforms.Pontiac V-8 pic

The Pontiac V-8 even looked different – very much so. The “v” was wider, the valve covers much larger. All Pontiac V-8s were “big blocks” – visually/externally identical – their actual displacement determined by interior variations of bore and stroke. In contrast, the Chevy “small” V-8 was obviously externally different from the “big” Chevy V-8… and neither looked anything like Pontiac’s V-8.

A usually friendly sibling rivalry existed between Camaro guys and Firebird guys. But the important thing was that there were objective functional/mechanical differences between the two cars that gave people a reason to buy one rather than the other.'83 TA

GM management grokked this. And planned to continue business as usual. The all-new 1982 Trans-Am was supposed to have been Pontiac powered. Specifically, powered by the new 301 (4.9 liter) turbo V-8 that Pontiac had developed for the 1980-’81 Trans-Am (last of the second generation ‘birds). This new engine looked like the old 400/455 on the outside but used a revised block and different heads, a new-design crankshaft and different castings throughout. It was much lighter than the 400/455 – and would have been ideal in the brand-new 1982 Trans-Am. Its 210 turbocharged hp (in 1981) was 45 hp more than the hottest engine you could buy in the 1982 Z28 Camaro – the throttle body fuel-injected 305 (5.0 liter) V-8, which only managed 165 hp. And being turbocharged, the turbo 4.9 liter made much more torque: 340 ft.-lbs. vs. the 5.0 Chevy’s meager 240 ft.-lbs.

So equipped, the ’82 Trans-Am’s performance would not only have been different than the Z28’s.

It would have been better.

And it almost happened.'84 TA scoop

How close did we come? Ever wonder why the ’82 Trans-Am had that off-center hood scoop, just like the 1980-81 Turbo Trans-Am? It was because the ’82 was supposed to have had the same engine under that scoop. Specifically, it was supposed to have had the off-center Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor that fed the turbo 301 under that hood scoop.

But it became a styling confection when GM killed the Pontiac V-8 and turned the ’82-up Firebird into a re-trimmed Camaro with a higher price tag. And this, in turn, killed Pontiac. Not right away. The end would not come for another 20 years. But it was preordained the day GM turned Pontiac into a husk – a marketing arm for generically-engined “GM” vehicles, which were all identical under their hoods. Pontiac tried to keep the flame alive as the ’80s and ’90s progressed, by offering different suspension tuning – and of course, the cars still looked slightly different. But where it really mattered, they were both the same. And it would prove lethal. Not to Chevy – which was still Chevy. But to Pontiac, which had become Chevy-in-drag.

People stopped buying Firebirds. And Pontiacs, generally. Time for lights out.

But, why did this happen?uncle dickface

It happened because of Uncle. The government.

The 301 Pontiac V-8 was a new design and needed development work to flesh out its shortcomings – to comply with government emissions requirements – and GM didn’t have the time or resources available. Or was unwilling to commit them. The tea leaves were readable as early as 1980. Pontiac had intended to offer the new 301 turbo engine with a manual transmission, but could not get the combo within acceptable parameters, emissions-wise. That’s why the 1980-’81 Turbo Trans-Am was automatic-only.

And it’s why there was no 1982 Turbo 301 Trans-Am at all.

Pontiac’s last V-8 was strangled in the crib by that goatee’d, white-haired old bastard. GM decided it was less hassle – and less expense – to “corporatize” its divisions. To have one engine family (Chevy V-8) rather than have multiple separate divisions with separate engineering departments engineering their own brand-specific engines.

This is why Pontiac’s – and Oldsmobile’s and Buick’s – V-8 engines went extinct.

It’s interesting – and sad – to ponder what might have been. If the 301 program had been allowed to continue, it’s certain the Quadrajet four barrel would have been replaced with fuel injection; advances in electronic controls would have allowed more turbo boost. For some sense of what might have been, consider GM’s other turbocharged engine from the same era, the 3.8 liter Buick V-6. By the late ’80s, it was making over 300 hp in the Grand National and – oddly enough – was used to power the 20th Anniversary Trans-Am in 1989. The ’89 20th Anniversary Trans-Am was the quickest (and fastest) Trans-Am built up to that time; its performance would not be bested for more than another decade.

'89 turbo TA

And that was a V-6 turbo 1.2 liters downsized from the 301, displacement-wise.

And of course, it wasn’t a Pontiac engine.

An injected, intercooled, electronically controlled 301 turbo would probably have made on the order of 350 hp – and made the late ’80s Trans-Am an American supercar to be reckoned with.

But it wasn’t to be.

Because of government diddling with the car industry. Which ultimately means – with your right to buy what you want instead of what they decide you’ll have.

Thanks, Uncle.

If you value independent media, please support independent media. We depend on you to keep the wheels turning!

Our donate button is here.

 If you prefer to avoid PayPal, our mailing address is:

721 Hummingbird Lane SE
Copper Hill, VA 24079clover2

PS: EPautos stickers are free to those who sign up for a $5 monthly recurring donation to support EPautos, or for a one-time donation of $10 or more. (Please be sure to tell us you want a sticker – and also, provide an address for us to mail the thing to!) 


Share Button


  1. Oh dear!

    Much as I’d like to blame Uncle for the demise of Pontiac and later GM, then celebrate the ultimate victory of your beloved Trans-Am, I can’t.

    By 1985 Porsche had shipped several thousand 944 Turbos making 250hp stock from a 2.5L 4 cylinder engine. Detroit had mired itself so deep in bad engineering and cheap plastic doodads it was never going to see the light of day until it went bankrupt, discovered Demming and died spitting blood.

    Good riddance to bad company. We call it creative destruction.

    • Hi Pooh,

      By 1985 Pontiac had already ceased to exist as other than a marketing arm for generic “GM” vehicles. In the business, it’s called badge engineering.

      The last real Pontiac V8 was cast in 1981 (arguably, 1978, as mentioned in the article, when the last 400 was made; a few of these final-run “T/A 6.6 liter” 400s were sold in 1979 in the Firebird). Without its own V8, Pontiac lost its soul. The Firebird, for example, was just a rebadged Camaro after 1981. That sealed its fate. Why buy a “Pontiac” that was in almost every meaningful way a Chevy?

      But prior to this “corporatization” of drivetrains, Pontiac had been one of the most successful and innovative brands on the market. This is undeniable.

      * Pontiac created the first truly successful muscle car, the 1964 GTO, which launched an entire segment of imitators and competitors. The ’64 GTO is without question as significant a car as the ’64 Mustang. Both fundamentally altered the course of automotive history.

      * The Firebird/Trans-Am was (along with its sister, the Camaro) one of the most enduringly successful “pony cars” of them all. Pontic sold them in huge numbers (six figures annually for several years).

      * Pontiac was among the first American car companies to offer four wheel disc brakes, aluminum wheels (in 15×8 size) and “modern” suspension tuning that was both compliant and capable of high G cornering.

      * Pontiac’s styling leadership in the ’60s and through the ’70s is undeniable.

      * Pontiac was among the first American car companies to offer an OHC engine (inline six, with 4 BBL carb) and several other engineering innovations or “firsts.”

      What killed Pontiac (and so much else) was government. GM had to abandon the Pontiac V8 – and thus, inevitably, Pontiac itself – because of emissions and fuel efficiency mandates. All American automakers suffered horribly as a result of the Nixon and subsequent diktats, which inadvertently or otherwise gave a huge competitive advantage to the Japanese.

      Were unions a factor? Certainly. But not the critical, crippling factor.

      • Very late reply (another one): The really sad part is, as GM was revivifying in the 2000s under the influence of Bob Lutz, there were apparently some plans in the works to restore the glory days of Pontiac by giving it its own unique all-RWD lineup. I can only assume that this lineup would have had heavy Australian influences and that the G8 (too bad they tried to be German instead of calling it the Grand Prix) was a taste of what was to be. Unfortunately, before this or anything else that might have saved GM could happen, the Bush Crash happened and gas prices shot into the stratosphere simultaneously. Buick had the Chinese market to prop it up and Pontiac didn’t, so Pontiac got the axe.

        I also have to wonder if “the powers that be” aren’t somehow involved in or at least cheering on this annoying trend where people would rather have cheapish luxury (which Buick represents) than cheapish performance (which Pontiac represented), though that remains wild speculation on my part for now.

        It reminds me of what I wrote in an e-mail to another car commentator (who is not a libertarian at all). Even got it featured on his reader mail page (only time that’s happened). This commentator has said for some time that Cadillac’s “V” line of performance cars doesn’t really “fit” what Cadillac is or should be, and that the poor fit (along with a lack of real names) is why so many Cadillacs haven’t sold well in recent years. I agreed that they don’t fit, mainly because Cadillac’s “V” lacks the historical context that justifies the German performance lineup. Thus, all the “V” cars really amount to is transparent me-tooing of the Germans, accomplished in recent years by taking cars that should have been classy first and foremost, and subjecting them to blatantly racey, sometimes almost juvenile upgrading, to the point that some of the visual upgrades looked like half-steps on the way to an AMG Black Series.

        Massive rabbit trail, I know, but anyway, I went on to say that a lot of recent Cadillacs, especially performance Cadillacs, weren’t very good Cadillacs but would have made excellent Pontiacs. Now, thinking about it some more, I have to wonder if that (along with nonsensical and un-American alphabet soup names) is one of the reasons why said Cadillacs never sold well. In keeping with this article’s theme of “what might have been”, I also have to suspect that they might have ended up actually being Pontiacs instead if the brand were still alive.

    • The question, about who will do what?without Government intervention,is best answeared,
      by the platitude”If there is a need,it will be met,by the marketplace”Those of the “softhand”ilk,have little connection ,to those who,sweat in the trenches.
      Even as I age and dont have the capacity for physical exertion as,I used to,still see the merit in having to actually earn,what I recieve.As for me,If I want less,I have to work less and be satisfied with what I have,as the writer of “Ecclesiates” sez its”folly ,anyway” most people will never be satisfied.

  2. Man ,that Clover entity.sure acts mean spirited at times(and the sad thing is-this Clover dude,seems to be be very intelligent)
    Anyways Moleman,4bts are rather common on the construction scene and people get on me for this this,but everytime a new piece of equipment hits the site,I have to look under the hood,there are so many nice,tight clean diesels availible now.(JDs,Cats,Cummins.Perkins,Lambordinis,etc)
    Seen an old Studebaker pickup on the interstate one day,nice shape,repowered by diesel(nice truck-would almost lay money that it was moving courtesy of 4Bt)
    Anyway I had an epiphany one day and realized the direction we had to move in to achieve superlative fuel economy.I dont care if gas falls to 99 cents a gallon, I still want good fuel economy and making our vehicles heavier is surely not the way to go(word to the wise-dont buy an end of model run,manu grudge vehicle)-Kevin

  3. “A current (2014) Camry V6 has a curb weight of about 3,500 pounds. A 1984 Aries K car’s curb weight is 2,375 pounds.”
    Just in case you’re no better at math than you are at English, Clover, (to say nothing of logic) that is nearly a 50% increase in weight. (47%+, to be specific)
    And you think that has no effect on mileage?

  4. Looks like I raised some hackles among the community. No one denies railroads and other mass transit is heavily subsidized (although the NY subway probably makes money) but it is disingenuous to claim that roads do not benefit from taxpayer money. The wide network of country roads with minimal traffic would not exist without government intervention, ditto for the interstates which played a big part in creating long distance heavy trucking.
    The Govt needs to get out of most things and let supply and demand decide which roads get built. The results may not be to the liking of some of the rural-dwelling posters on this site, but it is the price you pay (literally in this case) to govern yourself.

    • Dear Escher,

      I didn’t read your original post. I am responding to the post above.

      My position: The government should not even exist. Therefore it should not merely get out of “most things.” It should get out of everything.

      My guess is that absent government, an intelligent mix of mass transit and automobile roadways would have come into being.

      At the very least, no one would have been held up at gunpoint to pay for the arrangement.

      • Dear Beving –

        Why guess? There’s no government building roads in Somalia, Sierra Leon, Most of Sub Saharan Africa, and there aren’t any highways! So we know one of two things:

        1) Organization of some species is necessary to build a mass transit system

        — or —

        2) There are no intelligent species in Africa.

        • As I am sure you know, Lao Tze disapproved of boats and bridges because they were the artificial products of mankind – but accepted roads, because they could arise naturally as animal tracks. So neither organisation nor intelligence are necessary for roads; the only important question is whether conditions require material road works (Canada famously has three seasons: snow, slush and road works). Outside the few urban and jungle areas, subsaharan Africa needs very little work to get useful roads: basically, just grading local material (often laterite), or not bothering and just diverting to the side whenever the old path got too chewed up (the original approach used here in Australia).

        • Dear Cloverbell,

          The ludicrous conflation of “anarchy” with “chaos” is near universal, and often deliberate and malicious. It is so widespread, that the popular website “TV Tropes” even lists it as a “trope”.

          Evey: All this riot and uproar, V… is this Anarchy? Is this the Land of Do-As-You-Please?

          V: No. This is only the land of take-what-you-want. Anarchy means ‘without leaders’, not ‘without order’. With anarchy comes an age of ordnung, of true order, which is to say voluntary order… this age of ordnung will begin when the mad and incoherent cycle of verwirrung that these bulletins reveal has run its course… This is not anarchy, Evey. This is chaos.

          — V for Vendetta

          TV Trope: “Anarchy Is Chaos”
          A virtually ubiquitous trope, both in fiction and Real Life, is the misconception that anarchists have no beliefs, that anarchy is chaos.

        • Re: roads

          Larken Rose, a disciple of the great 16th century French libertarian Etienne de LaBoetie, made mincemeat out of the “But who would build the roads?” lament in this and other videos.

          If Not For Government

          This is for all the people who don’t think we would have roads, protection, or anything else, without “taxes” (i.e., mass extortion) and the “guidance and management” (i.e., violent domination) of “government” (i.e., a parasitical ruling class).

    • Well-said, Escher! I think most of us who post here (except for Clover, and the few stragglers like her) are gladly willing to pay the price that might come with being free. Personally, I think this world would be a much better place with fewer smooth-paved roads.

      Only thing I might take exception with you on, is the NYC subways paying for themselves. They don’t. Not even close. Used to be, that the fares collected just paid for the expenses of collecting the fares (A PERFECT example of how gov’t-funded stuff works..or should I say “doesn’t work”?).

      Over 30,000 unionized employees work for the NYC transit authority- and they all make a lot of money- even the unskilled cleaners and laborers. Over 5000 subway cars; 400-and-something miles of track…and that’s not even counting the buses! Their budget alone is more than that of some countries- it is heavily subsidized.

  5. So there is really a Santa(er,I mean Clover)He seems very articulate,but from reading His posts.its obivious,that He doesnt get it.
    Sojourner,doesnt matter how much we plead for sanity or utility,its not going to happen(eg; the little diesel Indian truck,that almost,but didnt quite make it to these shores)I had a scheme for a decent AWD light truck,that would have easily broke into the 30 mpg bracket on Gas(AWD too)(as a matter of fact one manu is working on a vehicle very similar right now) anyrate forget simple and forget cheap,this govt of ours wants to turn us into a bunch of semi healthy zombies that cant stand or know their neighbor-Kevin

    • Kevin, all we need to do is put a 4BT Cummins a full-size pick-up and it’ll get 30MPG. I’ve seen a few- most recently a Chevy from the 80’s that someone converted- if it wasn’t that it was a single-cab, I woulda bought it. (Too bad the 4BT Cummins are so hard to come by!).

      Just like those big Sprinters can get 25MPG with the diesel…. Doesn’t have to be a small/light vehicle. Meanwhile, a stinking little “Smart Car” only gets 35MPG….. It seems more likely that the goobermint wants to eliminate private transportation, than to have people ghet better mPGs, ’cause despite the fact that the technology exists (and has for a long time- remember the Jap cars from the late 70’s that’d easily get 40MPG+?) they’re determined to F’up any vehicle sold here, with their insanity, which restricts the engine and adds tons of weight.

      • CloverYes Eric without that government you so hate you would be paying 6 bucks for gas still driving those gas hog V8s. Eric you are so much an idiot. Eric the reason gas price is low is because I get 3 times the gas mileage I used to get with those old V8s. Again Eric you are an idiot.

        • Clover, without this government we would still have a dollar defined as a weight of silver. In 90% silver US coin gasoline at the station I passed by this morning is 21 cents a gallon. That’s what gasoline would cost without ‘this’ government of yours if not lower.

          Market forces drive fuel economy better than government dictates. Automakers made cars that required less fuel as far back as well the very start of automobiles. That part of the market has always existed. It grows and shrinks over time depending on other factors but it is always there.

          Additionally because of government regulation we don’t have the fuel economy models we might otherwise have. Government mandates so much weight into the cars there really aren’t any models where one could say put fuel economy ahead of safety. Government dictates decide the balance we get. Take the current ecoboost 4 cylinder Mustang. I’d like to see that driveline in a ’79 or ’80 Mustang. It could be in the 40mpg range on the highway. It might even barely hit 50mpg with some other modern updates to the car. But it’s not “safe” enough.

        • So Clover, even if it were true that we would be paying $6 a gallon for gas (which it is not)….then that would mean that the price of gas is being subsidized by the government. Where does the government get it’s money from, huh? Oh that’s right…,from us! -so even <i.IF your premise were true, it would still mean that we are in fact paying that $6/gal for gas anyway….the money just comes out of our wallets at some place other than the point-of-sale, and we still pay it, even if we don’t drive! Plus, how much of the cost of a gallon of gas today is TAX? (Both actual tax you pay at the pump, that is tacked-on the price of every gallon; plus the “hidden” tax that is paid by the erl companies and passed-on to the consumer?

          Yeah…Eric is the idiot….ROTFL.

          • Tell me Moleman what would the price of fuel be if I used 3 times more than I do now and you used 3 times more and everyone used 3 times more? Oh, you say when gas price then reached 10 bucks the people would demand cars with good gas mileage. Wouldn’t that be stupid still waiting for your new car that gets poor gas mileage to die so that you can get one that will cost you far less for fuel? It is obvious that the government has far more knowledge and facts than you and Eric do. They know that you need to cut back on gas usage before you start standing in line for gas and pay half your paycheck. The United States has twice the population it did when we had the Eric style V8s. If we still had those cars we would need to be pumping twice the oil. Then there are countries like China where they are adding millions of vehicles each year. If you think that oil companies can keep pumping ever increased demand of oil for Brent’s 32 cents a gallon then you guys are idiots.Clover
            Brent you are even more stupid. You want us on the silver standard for currency? I have never heard of anything so stupid. Yes if that was the case then yes you could probably pump a gallon of gas for 32 cents but you would only be making 20 cents worth of silver in per hour or small fractions of an ounce. Tell me Brent how many semi loads of silver would it take to pay for a large company CEO each year? I would think there would be none left for you.
            Then you say that it is because of our new heavy cars that cause us to use so much fuel. Really? If you had no power steering or power brakes or air conditioning or brakes that stopped quickly then yes a modern car would be lighter too just like the old ones were. Air bags do not weigh hundreds of lbs.

            • Clover, I couldn’t care less about MPG or the price of fuel. My vehicles get 10-11MPG. Before they were bogged-down with emission controls, some of those old cars got MPGs comparable to today’s abominations.

              Would the price of gas be $10/gal? Funny, it wasn’t when those cars were the only cars available; But it was indeed once $0.32.

              And why would I care? If gas is expensive, you drive less, and adjust your habits/lifestyle accordingly- same as I did when gas went over $1.50/gal. I spend the same amount of money on gas today as i did 30 years ago, when it was $0.99/gal. But why is that your concern?

              If we had a free market, then people could buy the vehicles they were comfortable with. If gas were $10/gal, then I guess a lot of people would want cars that get 40MPG, and the free market would fill that demand- just as it did in the 70’s, before there were any CAFE standards; and when big V8’s were still being made- one could readily buy a little Jap car that got 40MPG- but of course, The Beast whom you love so much ended that.

              That’s right- back then, we had V-8s and I-6’s and 4-cyls…you could buy what you WANTED- and you know what? The world didn’t end! I like your novel (and as-usual, totally contrary to reality) idea though- that high demand in a free market would cause prices to RISE! LOL- yeah…high demand in a non-free market where there is little competition, THAT will make prices rise. And once again, the culprit is your beloved gang of criminals and traitors.

            • Clover,
              I made no mention about what I want. I stated what gasoline would be priced at if we didn’t have ‘this’ government. That is by some chance the down hill slide had been halted some time in the first half of the 20th century.

              90% silver US coins were minted up to the end of the mint runs in 1964. Do you understand how many millions of ounces of silver the US Mint alone still turns into coins? There should be more than enough silver for US coins. The US dollar is still defined as a weight of silver, that was never repealed to my knowledge. The federal reserve note however is something different.

              Your ignorance of cars is even greater than it is on metals. 1980s cars had power brakes and steering and everything else. What they didn’t have is weight. A modern powerful fuel sipping engine in a 1980s chassis would result in some remarkable fuel economy numbers.

                • CloverMoleman you are brain dead. You are talking about a car that only had 70 to 80 hp with about half the displacement of the small cars today and topped out at 90 mph or less? You are like a person comparing an orange to a watermelon. If you would take a small car today and put a 1100 cc engine in it and rated the mileage at 55 mph like they did in 1980 then yes current cars would be light and get 50+ mpg.
                  Again are all libertarians so stupid?

                  • Actually, Clover, you’re wrong (again).

                    The typical four cylinder engine of the ’80s was larger than the typical four cylinder today (about 2.5 liters for the former and less than 2 liters today).

                    And they didn’t need to make 120-plus hp… because they didn’t have to haul around 2,400-plus pounds – the weight of a typical “subcompact” new car vs less than 2,000 lbs. back then.

                    And, there’s this: IF it were feasible (legal) to sell a 1,600 lb. car such as the original Beetle, it would be capable of 50-plus MPG (easily) with a modern, fuel-injected engine and overdrive transmission. But it’s not feasible, because of assholes such as yourself who impose their “safety” mandates on the rest of us, forcing us to sacrifice efficient cars that get great gas mileage every day for the sake of theoretical “safety” we may never need and which, besides, is none of your got-damned business to push on us, regardless.

                    • CloverOK idiot. Tell me what car had a 2.5 liter engine and weighed only 1600 lbs? Idiot Eric, the discussion was about an old Datsun B210? Eric you take a modern car and take all the seats and spare tire and air conditioner etc out so it is light and see how many can get 50 mpg at 70 mph? None that I know of. Weight is not the major thing that reduces gas mileage. Wind resistance from driving faster and running the air conditioner make a huge difference compared to dropping or increasing 100lbs.
                      I know Eric you want someone permanently disabled by hitting them in the side of the car at 15 mph. You want kids flying through the windshield. You want people in the front to smash there face in on the windshield. You are saying your world would be better? You are definitely brain dead.

                    • Oh the things that could be without government…

                      An XR4TI plus a Mustang ecoboost four cylinder dropped in place of the old 2.3L turbo. Weight would be less than the stock curb weight of 2900lbs.

                      An 80s festiva, 1700lbs. Put the modern 3 cylinder eco boost in there. What would it get? 60mpg? More?

                      Or an escort, under 2400lbs. The gas mileage would also be a huge number and even with the front wheel drive version of the ecoboost range it would move with authority.

                      But think too put any of these modern engines into the 1970s hold overs like a Delta 88. Which for 1982 had a curb weight of a little over 3400lbs. That’s what the (lighter) modern cars weigh! But to switch to modern engines would lighten them and increase the power and fuel economy.

                    • CloverWell Eric I looked up your link to your car that is so light and online it said it was 2300 to 2400lbs. Tell me how that is different than today? Then your VW beetle I looked it up and one link said the model weighed 1850 lbs. Light yes but without air conditioning, minimal heat and minimal everything I can see why it would be that light. Strip a modern small car of everything that the VW did not have and it would be just as light. Eric you have mental problems!

                    • Clover, the K-Car was not a subcompact. It was a mid-sized family car in its time – analogous to a Camry today. Current mid-sized cars like the Camry weigh close to (and even more than) 4,000 pounds.

                      Check out the curb weight of modern subcompacts (SmartCar, Fiat 500, Mini Cooper).

                      It’s beyond debate that current cars are much heavier than their analogs of the ’70s and ’80s.

                      And they weight more, Clover, to a great extent because of “safety” mandates imposed at gunpoint by authoritarian assholes such as yourself.

                    • CloverBrent they do not sell anything as bad as the Festiva anymore. Almost all golf carts are better than it was. It was an over sized golf cart with windows. It was junk. If you want to put a modern engine in one and drive it then I would laugh at you until it hurt.

                    • Dayum, Eric! I’ve always been a Chrysler-hater, and used to poke fun at those Aries K-cars- but then when I started pickin’ ’em up for junk, and had a few runners down at the yard to play with, I rtealized that they were awesome little cars!

                      I played demolition derby with one, crashing it into big old Buicks and stuff, and I could hardly damage the darn K-car! I was amazed at how tough it was!

                      Solid; simple; economical….kinda made up for the boring part…..

                    • Eric you need to go find a real job. The car business is not right for you. A Camry weighs close to 4,000 lbs? You have real mental problems.Clover

                      If you want an old car with a newer engine then build it with all your expertise. Personally I do not want a your cars of the 70s or early 80s. No one else would either.

                    • Clover:

                      A current (2014) Camry V6 has a curb weight of about 3,500 pounds. A 1984 Aries K car’s curb weight is 2,375 pounds.

                      Which is closer to 4,000 pounds, Clover?

                      As far as:

                      “Personally I do not want a your cars of the 70s or early 80s. No one else would either.”

                      Fine, don’t buy one. But don’t presume that others don’t want such a car, much less presume to force it on them.

                      And: Whatever my job may be, it does not involve theft. Unlike your source of income.

                    • Clover, it’s a thought exercise. The car would weigh about the same with nice materials. Personally I’d like to try something more of a smaller Mustang or as I wrote an XR4Ti type car.

                      But it’s interesting that you getting the comfort you want is important, but not other people getting what they want.

                    • “What weighs more? A pound of feathers, or a pound of lead?”
                      Surprisingly, they weigh the same, as does a pound of bullshit.
                      All surpassing Clover’s brain.

                    • CloverTell me Eric how many people would want a box on wheels from 1980? If you think 10s of millions of people would want one then build it. Even with air bags and other safety devices it is only going to add a hundred lbs or whatever. Build it. I would not buy it. Hundreds of millions of other would not buy it. If a car can not be produced by the 10s of millions at a minimum then it is impracticable to build it. I know you do not have a clue about business though.

                    • “Tell me Eric how many people would want a box on wheels from 1980?”

                      Well, Clover, we’ll never know. Because authoritarian assholes such as yourself have denied them the choice.

                      “Even with air bags and other safety devices it is only going to add a hundred lbs or whatever.”

                      Clover’s engineering degree came from the same box of Cracker Jacks as his road racing license.

                  • So Clover, you’re saying that if we took an engine out of one of today’s 3000 lb. econoboxes, which, in the real world might get 24 MPGs, and put it into an 1800-2000 lb. car from 1979, it would get WORSE mileage?

                    Ooooo-K……. Let me guess: Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny told you this?

        • Clover – given all the gunvermin interference in the oil/fuel market, taxes, “depletion allowances” lead-free, ultra-low sulfur (diesel), etc., there is no way to make an educated estimate of what gasoline prices would be in a truly free market. One can only speculate. In general, you would be correct that higher demand would result in higher prices. But you also have to make allowance for the Federal Reserves destruction of the dollar.
          JFK tried to put the country, at least partially, on the silver standard. But we know what happened to him.

  6. Had a 71 Le Mans with factory hurst 3 speed in the floor 400 small block with alum hi rise and a big hockin holley 4 barrel sittin on top-red with black interior-a def wide tracker. 19 years old and me and that cars relationship lasted longer then either of my 2 wives. Miss it a lot more then them. Damn I loved my Pontiac.

      • Absolutely. 1954 Star Chief, straight 8 with 3 on the tree. 1963 Tempest, 4 cylinder with Powerglide transaxle. 1967 Lemans, 326 with Powerglide. Only the Tempest was a unique automobile compared to the rest of the GM stable. The others were Chevy clones with more horsepower.

      • Ironically, my nephew had a 67 Tempest he bought for $800 in the 80’s, with a Chevy 6 cyl. in it. Man, I LOVED that car! What I wouldn’t give to have it today. (Seems like old sixes are quite rare now…everyone chopped ’em up for parts for 8’s or made clones out of ’em…. 🙁 )

        • Dude, those 66 & 67 Tempests had OVERHEAD CAM sixes in ’em. So did the Firebirds till 69. The hot setup was the Sprint version with higher compression and more horsepower.

          • Hi James,


            The Pontiac Sprint Six was a different design than the Chevy six. The performance version even had a 4-BBL Quadrajet feeding it, too.

            • Many received Chevy engines when the OHC needed repairs. Less expensive to swap and improved reliability, Pontiac used the Chevy 6 as the basis for their OHC set up.

            • Those were nice, quiet cars too that would “howl” when you stood on them. A teacher used to let me drive his, a ’66, and it would poke a hole in the wind too. It even had a switch that would turn the a/c compressor off when you tromped on it. It was a fun car with lots of power. We had a Galaxy school car with a 352 we’d race against that Tempest. It ate that Galaxy alive, just ran away from it. The further you stayed into both of them the greater the distance. Seems like it revved to 5500 rpm although I may be wrong about that but the one he had did have a tach. Nothing growing on that OHC!

              • WoW, 8Man! Makes ya wonder why the Tempest/Lemans is so under-appreciated! (Even the GTOs don’t seem to get the same love as the crappy Mopars, ‘cept for a smallish cult…)

          • Did they?! I didn’t know that- but they must’ve something! My nephew’s just had an old Chevy straight-6, and the car still managed to zip along quite nicely, so I could only imagine!!!!

            To me, those Pontiacs from the mid 60’s with the vertically-stacked headlights were the last of the real Pontiacs- probably even the last of any good old American cars….. All the interest seems to be on the GTO’s….but I’d be perfectly happy with a Tempest/Lemans….I liked the styling better on them- they had nicer proportions and seemed sportier. (I guess I’m more interested in a car’s daily driveability than having uber power; ’cause really, if ya have a high HP muscle car, how often do ya get to actually use that power?)

  7. Meh…Pontiacs lost their appeal/distinction after the 60’s… the 80’s/90’s they had become cheesy junk. Dispite Uncle Sam[bo]’s penchant for ruining everything, I think Pontiac would have drowned in it’s own saliva, anyway.

    I remember when the 3rd generation Fireturds/Cumarrows appeared….sheesh…..they were crappy, fugly cars, with none of the character of the 1st & 2nd generation.

    Look at the Pontiac Aztec- proof that modern businesses can commit hari-kari even without the help of Uncle Dumbo.

    • Hi Mole,

      You oughtta take a test drive in a ’73 SD-455 … or even a ’78 T/A 6.6 400!

      In mild tune, a Pontiac 455 can easily produce 500 ft.-lbs. of torque – sufficient to hurl a full-size Pontiac Safari station wagon down the 1/4 in the 12s… really.

      • Hey, Eric!

        Yes, those truly hi-po 70’s T/A’s were something. They single-handedly probably kept Pontiac ticking.

        Just point me to the nearest dealer where I can test-drive one! 😀

        It’s a shame what they did to ’em in the 80’s and onward!

        • GM used to get the tv networks to run Smoky and the Bandit when they needed a new car sales boost. I suppose taking virtually all the advertising time available during these re=runs was payment enough. They said they would commonly sell about 80,000 TA’s after every airing. That car was unique in that aspect alone.

        • Yup!

          The 455 in my TA is built to appx. 455 HO/SD-455 hp levels (around 320) and it is all kinds of fun in a car without electronic assists and with 15×7 wheels!

          Still, I’d love to get my hands on a real SD. Those engines were very different from the standard D Port 455 and also the Round Port (higher perf. 455). The block was specific and much stronger than the other blocks; additional webbing in the lifter valley and provisions for dry-sump oiling, too. The heads flowed more air than any factory/production head Pontiac ever made and these engines – with a very mild cam and a medium-riser 4 BBL Q-Jet – were well into the 300 hp (SAE net) range, which meant close to 400 hp by the SAE “gross” standards of the pre-1972 era. Mostly stock ’73-74 TAs with this engine could run 12s on slicks. Very, very impressive performance.

          • They did some fancy camshaft work on the ’72’s to make them seem as powerful as the last high compression engines as did Olds with their 455 HD. A friend had a ’71 TA with the 455 HD and it would literally burn the tires off. He just stuck his foot in it a little bit turning a corner in town one day and popped it out into the other street sorta sideways but aligned with the street….right in front of a cop. Cops used to drool over high HP cars like everyone else and it wasn’t uncommon to get stopped, talk cars awhile and look at the engine and leave without a ticket and that’s what happened that day.
            I had just rebuilt my 327 with all the good stuff not even listed on the parts books as well as 11.5-1 pistons. My old mufflers wouldn’t handle the compression. I was trying my best to make a quiet run (slow speed)to get my GF and this cop stops me. We talk awhile and I tell him I just got it going and hadn’t had time to address the mufflers. He finally admitted it was the sound of all that mechanical cam that got his attention. We stood around and looked at the engine that had significant chrome on it. It was one of those that sounded like it was strangling when idling but just blip the throttle and it admitted everything was ok and do it some more. You could not drive that car sanely, not even my dad. I drove a pickup to work and came home one day to find two blocks of burned tires originatung from my parents driveway. Of course I caught hell for it but it was my dad and a disagreement with my mom that caused that mess. I tried to avoid that when leaving the house.

            I let a guy from the senior class in high school take it to wash it for one of those carwash days they’d have for fund-raisers. I got off work that day and everybody was on my case. Seems he’d unscrewed those 3″ plugs on my cut-outs and tore off out of town along where a lot of people lived along the highway. He later admitted it(no denying it really)and gushed “Man, that thing will bury the speedo in 3rd gear and then just Goes in 4th”. Not a lot I could say really. Once fired up it just begged to be opened up.

            • I meant SD in that TA. We had a ’71 98 with a 455 HD. It would pull a 14′ tandem axle U-haul trailer at over 120mph. On really long hauls it was hard to not just set the cruise right there at the end of the speedo and go. Damn, those Uhaul tires must have been good ones. That car would pull a trailer like that all the way from the east coast to Austin. We had a ’72 98 that was nearly as strong but a lot better car in some ways like brakes and suspension. Then there was that bad boy 225 with Buick’s version of all out engine, a ’71 model. It was dead quiet but not the car suspension-wise the 98’s were.

              We bought a DPS Fury in “plain” clothes trim although that big spotlight, that huge whip antenna and the way it looked underneath didn’t fool anyone. Since we wore cowboy hates and jeans and boots every day anyway, we bought the hats just like the DPS used and wore the same white, long sleeve shirts. We’d be gong down the highway at 100+ and meet a B&W…..just a finger up on the steering wheel, maybe a tip of the head and be gone. We never got stopped in that car….but quiet and luxurious it wasn’t. That was a good car to take to the bar or Armadillo World HQ’s.

              • Wow! Those early 70’s Buick 225’s! Now there’s a car even I was forgetting about- but they were great! Indestructible; reliable; comfortable; …they were just “able”! 🙂 (The Olds’s may’ve been even better- I’ll take your word for it, 8Man…I just could never take to their styling though….)

                • Those big GM cars were tough. We used a 225(among others) to spotlight at night and ran over fairly much anything. Ford even had a pretty tough car in a Galaxy with a 390….but that engine was too good, too reliable so they nixed it.

                  Anyone recall the ’60 Buick? You either loved it or hated it. Some extreme styling then.

          • The SD-455 was as close to a factory race motor as you will come.The amazing thing was they came out in the performance dark days(the beginning anyway).A few mods and those motors would get really crazy.Those 455ho trans -ams were impressive also,pretty fast.

            • Hi Getch,

              The SD-455 was a very impressive engine. Especially so because it was a low compression engine. IIRC, the CR was 8.5:1 or along those lines. Imagine!

              The 455 in my Trans-Am is just an ordinary D Port engine; but these long stroke engines – even the ones that didn’t make much hp in factory stock build – are legendary for their massive torque output. Mine makes enough to do rolling burnouts – and that’s a bunch of fun!

      • One of my biggest regrets of my whole entire life was not buying a 1974 Formula SD-455.I thought the guy was asking to much($6,000,which was a lot in 1985).I did not even have my license yet and was saving for GTO ,which I only had $2,500 saved.But I could have got the cash somehow for this pristine ,rare FORMULA SD-455 with many rare options.I ended up buying a shitbox fake 70 Judge ,that did look nice.I still see this SD-455 at car shows till this day and it just kills me.

        • RE: “One of my biggest regrets of my whole entire life was not buying a 1974 Formula SD-455.”

          I stopped in to see, like a moth to a flame? And there’s this. Whoa, dude. If one of your biggest regrets of your whole life is Only that,… I envy you.

          “I still see this […] car/[girl at] shows till this day and it just kills me.”

          I CAN relate.

          I don’t EVen want to see the replies I got for other thoughts, let alone see the cars and the girls.

          • Well,I though that we were on the subject of cars ,so It is one of my biggest regrets in that area.I though most would figure that out but apparently not.So yes ,I have bigger regrets if we are talking about. my entire life

        • Oy.

          That hurts me, too!

          SD-455 Formulas are incredibly rare. I think they made something like 64 of them with four-speeds. I seem them for sale occasionally… for six figures.

          • Yeah,I did some research a while back and figure with the options and color it was probably the only one like it.It was a four speed,maroon with maroon vinyl roof,honey comb wheels and LOTS of other options.The SD-455 Formulas were really crazy,I have seen them with hubcaps and no spoilers from the factory,just the shaker hood which looked really odd..Ugly but rare and cool if you ask me,when optioned (or not optioned)like that

            • I have never seen an SD-455 Formula with the vinyl roof! That option was, indeed, very rare (and ugly!)

              I know a guy who has a documented 1 of 17 ’70 Formula 400 with the RA III engine and a three-speed manual on the floor and (literally) nothing else. No Rally gauges. Idiot lights. AM radio. 14 inch wheels.

              It was ordered for bracket racing.

              • Wow,that sounds cool.You have to see the SD Formula with the hubcaps and no spoilers.Butt ugly but cool.It really looks strange because it comes with a shaker hood.

                  • WOW,I though Vinyl tops were way out of style by 79(thank god) but I guess not.My friend has 72 Stage 1 GS-455 with a vinyl roof and just loves it.He says it’s one of his favorite things about the car,definitely not for me.Some crazes I just dont get.Like the new black rim craze,don’t get it,it looks horrible.Just looks like empty wheel wells.The rims need to shine around the lip at least.Like GNX rims(which were GTA/T-A wheels)

                    • Yeah!

                      That ’79 Formula 400 was a really neat car. I wish I could time-travel back to the mid-1990s (when my friend’s dad still had the car) and buy the thing from him. W72 (400, 4-speed) with the WS6 handling package. Velour seats. Vinyl top. Ever drive a “T/A 6.6” 400 from ’77-79? They would really haul the mail. And the gear whine from the Super T-10 was just effing orgiastic!

                  • I never drove that year T/A,but I did drive my friends 74 T/A 400,4 spd.Not fast,but what a good looking car in white with a blue bird,I loved that car.This was in like 85 -86 and he paid $2,000 for it ,and it was nice.Not a show car but nice,those cars were everywhere at that time for short money.I wanted to trade him my 70 GTO for it ,till my motor started rapping.Pontiacs were known for that,unfortunately

                • Back in the 90’s, I picked up an 80-something 4-door Hyundai with a vinyl roof, for junk, from some Dominican immigrant. Funniest darn thing I ever saw!

      • Here’s one I bet most have forgotten but they were way cool and dang powerful too, just a bit off the beaten track and that was the F-85 with it’s 215 CI aluminum V-8. That’s another case of people not seeing one of the nicest cars out there and lack of company advertising. Those cars were really light weight, probably something that didn’t endear them to Olds fans. They had 4 barrel carbs, dual exhausts and a torque tube instead of a conventional driveshaft. A friend had a new one (he was older than me)and it was a dandy blue color with just enough of those Olds chrome pieces to set it off.

        That car was without a doubt, a flop simply because of the disconnect between engineering and production and marketing. Hell, it was a jet plane……wasn’t it? I guess not enough people were turned on by a mere plane when you could get a “Rocket”.

        BTW, when I was small, I constantly worked out in my mind how you would replace those rockets in the hood of the ’57 Chevy with real ones. I’d have long conversations with my father about how the real thing could be installed and used…..of course. My dad despised cops and I could see I touched a nerve when I spoke of using them on rude motorists and cops. Why in hell would you want a gun and not be able to shoot it? Same for rockets. Years later I was one of those kids making the chemical rockets and chasing them down in my pickup. That was some serious fun.

  8. The best car I ever had was a 1986 1/2 Pontiac Fiero GT. It was a fright to drive in snow and ice, but it was also the most comfortable car I have ever owned. The handling was superb, it went very fast, had great fuel economy, ran great, and didn’t rust much. Of course GM could not stand to continue to build such a great car for long. If they had continued to make them, I would buy a new one in a heartbeat.

    When family issues and practicality reared their ugly heads, I had to sell the Fiero and have bought two Vibes since. Now, even those are not make any more, so it looks like Subaru from now on. I know better than to buy a Ford. When I was a city administrator, we bought a new Ford Crown Vic squad car. It spent its first month from the factory at the service department of our local dealer getting the factory mistakes rectified. The mayor’s Taurus was in there too, getting its fifth transmission rebuild under warranty. I should have sold my Ford stock, then…

    I really liked Pontiacs, but could not fit in a Trans Am. I sure would like another Fiero GT!

  9. I very much didn’t want to see any car maker go under. TBTF covers much more than pensions or stockholders or suppliers owed money. A huge car company taken out of the economy would have ramifications so far down the line I’d bet it’s impossible to calculate how many people would be out of work. It would go all the way down to Maria who cranks out her tortillas and makes burritos for a living. Your neighbor with the parts store might be living in a van……down by the river. It’s not a pleasant thought.

    Could an automaker survive if they had the onus of non-USA outsourcing? Maybe that should have been part of the deal too. I like small companies myself, someone who has a vested interest to compete for work and do it well. But gummint regs make it next to impossible for a small company to compete in the auto industry. It’s a double-edged sword: You can’t get rid of those companies without seriously hurting the entire nation and the gummint insures that it stays that way.

    Automakers were free to go broke before gummint designed them. Maybe it’s the big news items on the boob tube that make one thing seem worse than another or just lack of the pubic not knowing shit but so many industries rely completely on govt. regs since the govt. got into their businesses. Most of the businesses actually like that. What would have happened to RR’s without govt. support? They’d have to compete and that has never been the case for most of them. Truckers have huge taxes in many forms specifically because of govt. and RR’s are subsidized out the wazoo. What a tangled web bureaucrats and politicians weave. All the better to fleece us with.

    • @8Southman: I don’t know if I entirely agree about railroads being unfairly subsidized. Big rigs get plenty of help from federally built and owned interstates, as well as the subsidies handed to big oil. 1 set of cronies (railroads) replaced by another (big 3 automakers).

      • Gummint confuses the hell out of subsidy-market what-if discussions.

        RR’s got right-of-way gifts from Washington way back on the first build-outs of transcontinental railways, right? Apparently freight rail now owns the land it runs trains on; an Amtrak guy told me they have to rent rail use (local line) from CSX. Gas subsidies? Gas taxes?

        Extra confusion there be, since rails carry big rig cargo ready-to-go for intra-local delivery at the destination.

        Gummit, gummit, gum-it-up….

        • Exactly, Alan! The system is so big and complex, that few of it’s slaves can comprehend the realities of it. Everyone thinks the other guy is getting off too easy; everyone thinks the other guy should be paying more. They keep the pawns squabbling amongst themselves, so they never realize that they are slaves, and who their real master is; nor the nature of his character [or rather lack thereof]

        • Funny thing about Amtrak, it’s a totally subsidized entity, could simply be termed part of govt. A couple years ago they were audited. Ticket sales were a small portion of the costs to run it. Since you can dine and wine on Amtrak, they figured up the price of a burger that normally sold for about $8. Turns out it cost $30 to produce it. It’s one of he biggest boondoggles going. And we all pay for it while a very few use it. Wish we had an Amtrak station close by. I could rent truck space and save a lot of dough. We’d just have to lobby to get freight cars too. It should be no problem, after all, it’s just money and the govt. creates that with a stroke of digital keys.

          • If one follows transit (and with it passenger rail) advocates long enough what becomes apparent are two basic things that drive their politics:
            1) Hatred of the personal passenger automobile.
            2) Social engineering.
            3) Wanting to live at the expense of others.

            They spend a lot of time trying to say that driving is heavily subsidized. They do this by taking all costs associated with all roads (as if we wouldn’t have roads without cars) and then only considering specific fuel, toll, and registration taxes on driving. The reality is of course everyone is in the drivers’ pockets through a wide variety of taxes, fees, tolls, etc. The people at the top of transit advocacy know that driving pays for itself and transit and more. The useful idiots of course lap it all up and demand more taxes on drivers to pay for transit (and passenger rail) and bicycling ‘infrastructure’.

            They do not want to pay for it fares. They come up with all sorts of reasons why transit is a good thing and that drivers should pay for it to ‘keep other people off the roads’.

            I do think this country should have passenger rail and it would have a place if we had a free market. But passenger rail died at the hands of government, which is why it is now government. Same with transit. Crony deals and shifting political priorities. The faithful of course never see this. Government shifted long distance subsidizes to air travel. One could say driving too with regards to crony deals and priority but in the net driving is a revenue source to government and government hides that with many taxes going directly to general funds.

            • So true, Brent! In some states, like NY, there’s eve3n a specific tax on gasoline (in addition to a special local income tax) specifically designatyed for mass transit. Oh, and a good part of bridge and tunnel tolls (Like the $13 ya pay to drive over the Guinea Gangplank [Verazanno bridge] goes directly to the commie subways and buses….oh…and a sales-tax surcharge..and…and…well you get the idea….. Then ya gotta pay $700 there to register your car, and yet those idjits are saying that driving is subsidized?!

          • Virtually ALL mass transit in this country today is taxpayer subsidized- Live in TX. and you’re paying for people on Long Island being able to commute to NYC for $10 a ride; and for the $250Million system that was installed on one NYC subway line to tell Pedro and Tyrone that the next L train be along in 8 minutes to whisk them from Brooklyn to where they can mug a higher class of victims…..

            I get pissed when I hear all these fairies and tree-huggers always whining that we “need more mass transit”, ’cause it just means even more never-ending tax-obligations and debt.

            It seems everythinjg in this country has to be communally these days- from transportation to recreation to non-edumacation….. This has to be the biggest communist society that has ever existed!

      • Being an ex-owner-operator, I really didn’t feel any subsidy. As far as roads go, I had to pay a road use tax but no one else did and lots of those people made their living driving long distances every day, just not in a commercial vehicle.. Back in ’76 when I’d have $20 left over after fuel from a 1200 mile turnaround, it didn’t feel very subsidy-ish. OTOH, RR’s were subsidized to the point that people I knew that worked for RR’s were making more money than just about anyone. In the late 70’s freight rates had caught up to the point you could survive but not a great living for the hours you put in or the money you spent to make it.

        If the govt. wasn’t subsidizing RR’s, they couldn’t have existed. In the 80’s Republicans got on this kick of showing the people they weren’t gouging them with govt. subsidy(even though that was one of the largest times ever doles to oil companies) so RR(Reagan)signed a bill to do away with freight rates that were set according to the freight hauled(the type). It worked well. Trucking companies died left and right, percentage freight pay dropped to the point a dishonest trucker couldn’t even make ends meet. Dishonest trucker-the guy with two sets of log books since there was no way to get by with a 55mph speed limit and down in the dumps freight rates. I was explaining this recently to a 23 year old truck driver. He said he remembered his grandfather, an owner-operator, having two sets of log books.

        Now you see these trucks with an advertisement for digital logging. Makes you feel good don’t it, knowing that truck will shut down to 35mph and give you an hour to find someplace to stop. So the company on one hand is saying you need to get to x spot by x time and they’ll be pissed if you don’t but their trucks will shut down with nothing you can do about it. Catch 22?

        My company and I both lie, with a little help from the state, so I don’t have to log. Good thing the state supplies this out or I couldn’t get the job done. Still waiting for my subsidy.

        • That’s it, 8Man- in most people’s minds, there’s a disconnect between all the taxes they pay….and the subsidies that are handed out. They can’t figure out that they’re paying more for the subsidy, than they are getting from it; but they in-turn think that “the other guy” is getting off too easy, because he is being subsidized……because they are ignorant of all the taxes and other fees that the other guy has to pay.

        • The FedGov had to subsidize the RRs to keep them in existence after they allowed the unions to nearly kill them w/featherbedding, etc.

            • Oh, agreed! The whole thing was a clusterf__, except for Great Northern, which proved it could be done privately and for a profit. At least until the gunvermin allowed the unions to screw things up.

              • It’s funny- To most people today, it’s just a given that mass transit is the provence of gov’t; paid for by all; used only by some (usually the ones weho pay the least for it)- totally communal.

                I’ll bet half of therm are unaware that 100 years ago, the NYC subways/elevateds were privately owned and operated, without subsidies; and ditto trollies and buses (In NY there were still some unsubsidized transit bus lines operating into the early 1970’s!)

                But, like everything else, first regulation…then total control/ownership/subsidization!

                I’ll bet 99% of people alive today are aware of the fact that at one time, your fare actuially paid for your ride and the operator’s profit; and didn’t come at the expense of others. Then again, I wonder how many people even realize where the money comes from that makes it possible for them to ride from The Rockaways to The Bronx for $2 ?!

            • Moleman, it was collusion between robber-barons and their cronies in govt. that first set up the RR’s. How else do you get Indian land without even seeing an Indian? Chinese(who’s gonna miss a Chinaman in the US?)were quite literally captured and taken to the middle of nowhere to perform or die or both. Nobody ever speaks of Chinese slave labor. They did get paid, half of what they could eat at the company store.

              Gee, ain’t history great when it’s written by the winners?

              On a good note, we had our first ever jury trial to overturn eminent domain in Tx. this year over a pipeline. Now why the original judge in that debacle is never censured or tagged with a monetary judgement against him is not clear. That would clear up eminent domain toot sweet.

              • Very, very true, 8Man!

                You used to at least hear of th Chinese “Coolies” years ago…but I literally can’t remember any time in the last 25 years that I’ve heard any reference made to them. I guess they just conveniently erase all the unpleasant things; maybe because then we might ask why it is that the Chinese do swo well today, while the Schvatzes continue to use “slavery” as an excuse for their inability to prosper today….

                I mean, seriously- who haven’t we victimized to get to this point of absurdity where we are at today? The Injuns; the Chinks; the poor white farmers/land-owners… never ends.

                But the revisionists only want us to think that ONE group was victimized- so we end up having to treat the worst ones as though they were some sort of national treasure. (Maybe in another generation or two, when no one’s left who remembers the real story, they’ll say that the fags were enslaved, too!)

                And notice how there’s never any lack of Clovers to do the bidding of the state and point guns at everyone they’re commanded to.

                As for that judge, yeah….pretty scary: They can basically do whatever they want now-a-days- like the cops- and bear zero responsibility,. as long as “they’ve broken no laws”. (Just like Hitler’s guys were breaking no laws when they rounded up the Jews/Gypsies/retards….)

  10. One of my acquintances has a supercharged Firebird,trans am or something of the sort,I believe its 301,but from what I gather,performance was rather lackluster(early 80s?)Its supercharged-but I think it uses a turbo-What is it?-Kevin

    • Hi Kevin,

      The ’80-81 Trans-Am (last of the “second generation” ’70-81 bodystyle Trans-Ams) could be ordered with the turbo 301 (4.9 liter) Pontiac V-8.

      The turbo was small for the application and did not produce much boost; the exhaust system was also very restrictive and another limiting factor was that the engine was fed fuel via a carburetor, not optimum for a turbocharged scenario.

      Still, it produced 210 hp, which was a very respectable number circa 1980-’81.

      The ’82 Firebirds were much lighter – by something like 400 pounds, IIRC. This engine in the much lighter ’82 would have given very good performance.

  11. I use to own nothing but Pontiacs. I loved them. I had two Firebirds. A 1971 Formula 400, and a 1989 Firebird, T Top, V6, 5 speed. I’ve had a few GTO’s, a 71 GT-37, Grand Prix, Catalina, and so on. My last Pontiac was the 71 Formula. I hate that they lost their own engines, and hate that they are now gone. I’m now an owner of cars I hated in the 70’s and 80’s. Fords! I have a 2012 V6, 6 Speed Mustang (with a few modifications) and a 2001 Ranger with a 4.0 V6. Both have been dependable. Good article Eric, thanks for writing it.

      • eric, now you can write about Oldsmobile. I dug Olds. Their own specific performance engines, more aggressive suspension, heavy duty everything and luxury at a discount. That 500 CI Caddy with it’s even firing order may have had plenty power but an Olds would generally leave it in it’s wake at a cost of much less and with more reliability.

        I realize I live in a part of the world where big cars made/make sense. You could always hook up the Olds or Buick or Pontiac or Caddy(a friend’s dad had a stable of Caddy’s he worked in the field and pulled two cotton trailers compared to pickups pulling one). He was eccentric but made a great deal of money back when you could lose money farming cotton(no more, it’s a guaranteed profit now). He slummed a bit though, buying his kids Olds and Buicks although any could be called into service if needed.

        GM should have let Olds lead the way in luxury SUV’s. I guess you have to wait for the right demographic that doesn’t realize their Caddy is a Chevy.

        • I always loved Olds too. Their engines ran so smooth. I had one of the last ones built. I t was a 1990 Chevy caprice wagon. Olds engines had a design that allowed them to run cleaner than the Chevy’s. That’s why they still had carbs and the Chevy’s were fuel injected. GM actually got sued in 1977 for putting Chevy engines in Olds’s with a rocket emblem on them. Needless to say there were some pissed customers, I’d be too. I always hated Chevy’s but the other division engines were great.

          • Grant, being an old wrench from way back I decided early in life Chevy had the best engines going across their product line mainly because they were almost always SBC’s. It was the first and only fora long while, engine that was balanced at the factory.

            I can’t even think about building an engine without my O’hause triple beams. Stress relieve the con rods and no telling how many revs those engines will take and do it for a long while.

            In ’82 and ’83 I worked for a electrical company that did lots of construction as well as maintenance in the patch and commercial environs. We used nothing but Ford one ton trucks with the hot water 400 and the slushomatic tranny. Nothing but trouble, trouble, trouble. They had one specialized truck, an older(early 70’s)C 50 with an extended wheelbase, huge steel diamond plate bed and overhead I-Beam rack for lifting big motors and pumps and fairly much anything else you could handle with a big chain hoist. I was told to drive it one day to a site we were working in. I had to drag a two axle trailer formerly used as a double on big rigs. That truck barely knew it was there. We all loaded up and headed to the yard one day. I blew everybody’s doors off with that truck. The guys in brand new Ford one tons could only watch me disappear. I asked why we didn’t use that truck more. No answer since the inheritors were big believers in Fords although the founder was a GM guy.

            I recall when GM put Chevy 307’s in Oldmobiles but the Olds 307 was a POS itself. The 307 was the worst engine GM ever produced in my view, as far as V-8’s went. The 305 was only better after the first year they used FI in their pickups. That was the gummint too since a 350 would run circles around it, get better mileage and last a couple hundred thousand miles at least if you changed the O&F regularly.

            • I used to like Chebby trucks too, in the 70’s and early 80’s….but then I became a Ford man. Bought a 91 454 one-ton car carrier in the mid 90’s- I was lusting for a Ford- but couldn’t pass up the deal on the Chebby…. Nice looking/riding truck- but DARN! The stoopit thing had ball-joints; and some kinda crazy ABS that made it into a sled in the rain! Got sick of it and sold it for what I paid for it, and got an ’86 Ford one-ton with the 6.9 diesel; king-pins and no ABS….what a difference! That baby was twice the truck the Chebby was…and the Super-doodies[sic] even more so.

              Oh yeah, and on the Chevy, no matter what ya’d do, the rear wheels would rub, and also fall off at least once a year…..seriously! (Right rear wheels fell off two times while I was driving it…and ditto to the guy I sold it too- I warned him!)

              Traded the Ford to a friend when I got out of the bidness….he still had it up until just recently…and he abused the crap out of it. That li’l truck could do some work, and take a lickin’. He sold it on Ebay for seven grand, which was more than either one of us paid for it!

              • What did the rear wheels rub on? Never heard of that. They all have ball joints, hence, keeping the wheels aligned. The Ford might have had kingpins but if it did, it was a SuperDuty(when that meant something)with a straight front axle. Nothing growing on the PowerStroke though.

                It was a weird thing back then. I knew people with great trucks like yours and others who couldn’t keep one running. ’91 was a really strange year for GM trucks. In fact, GM didn’t offer that body style in it’s larger trucks for a couple years which would be 90 or 91 and they didn’t have a great deal of common parts. People raised hell and ’92-93 saw same parts everywhere for each size truck and held up much better. If you could keep a starter, clutches and trannies as well as their notorious cooling fan system that had a funky bolt-on fan clutch working on a PowerStroke you’d be doing all the good.

                • 8, the inner/outer wheels rubbed together- even with a spacer. (I think the sdpacer was a factory item- Some said it was why the wheels would fall off [studs would break] but it only happened on the right side…)

                  The Chevy had a car-style front suspension, with A-arms and ball joints. Ford had the IFS I-beams with king pins (and it was before the superduties came out)

                  I learned on the Chevy, to carry a spare ignition module….they tended to go south.

                  • Moleman, very familiar with Ford truck front-ends. They were not aligned properly when new, got almost right about 50,000 miles and were way out of whack by twice that mileage. Front tire wear(and steering) were horrible.

                    I once pointed this out to a friend who changed from GM to Ford. He said Since they’re never “right” you don’t have to worry about it. Well said, but not enough to have me want one. ’86 Fords, non-powerstroke weren’t worth having and only the engine made them worthwhile that year. Old style a/c compressor, virtual junk, power steering that failed before the fire got hot, shortened axle housings to hold the same weight of GM without spending the same amount of engineering and money, No weight sensitive springs so the ass-end was way high to way low depending on the load and hot air coming through the ventilation system when it wasn’t hot so turning off the a/c wasn’t an option in iffy weather. Man, I worked a bunch of those trucks and that Trac Loc would literally go crazy and shred the rear gears.

                    I had a small 20 KW pot on a rope pulling it up through a pole ginny one day and the truck was in reverse in soft ground. Foot to the mat and the slushomatic stalled on the spot, about 2″ from getting that pot on the pole.

                    Took a wrong turn on the caprock one day and started down a trail with a ditch witch in tow and couldn’t stop so I’d jump out, run down open the gate, the truck would slide through and i’d close the gate and run back to catch the truck. Once at the bottom, we found a good road back up, one big rigs had to go up to a tank battery but we never made it. About half way up it ran out of power and just howled with the torque converter spinning. That was the first for that but the pole ginny should have let us know it was going to happen. Nope, a 454 hooked to a Turbo 400(forever engine hooked to a forever tranny)and stuff happened no matter what. The only way you didn’t go was loss of traction.

                    I still have an ’82 454 with a 400, a virtually unstoppable thing in 4WD.

                    I drug my waterwell drillers test rig, a 2 ton Ford all over my farm through no bottom sand and we punched holes all day. He just couldn’t believe that truck. He finally asked what it was and I showed him. Next time I saw him he had one, a red one just like mine. He couldn’t quit grinning. hell, I can go anywhere with a load now. Yep.

                    While this is farm country, the wise farmers have GM trucks and don’t try to save a few bucks. The other farmers have Fords, several, and the latest one is the one that currently runs.

                    Working in the patch right now, the only pickups I see that aren’t new are middle 90’s model GM’s. Some are pristine nearly, some hardly any paint but they’ll all work. In the end, that’s what counts.

                    We’re all really excited now. The new aluminum Ford pickups show up here the day after Xmas. That should be interesting. At the body shop “naw, we don’t replace side panels, you’ll need a new bed”. 2 years from now And you say the insurance is HOW MUCH??? We’ll see….maybe they’ll be so cheap you can just buy a new one every time a panel gets bent.

                    At least it won’t rust. Surely it won’t in west Tx., it’ll just oxidize away on caliche roads.

        • I loved Olds too. I remember being at a GM dealer that had Olds, Chevy, Pontiac, and he had a Cutlass S with Hurst tranny. I believe it was around 69-70, but don’t remember for sure. The guy said it outperformed the GTO and Chevelles, and was way underrated. I also asked a GM exec if that was true, and he said the S and 442s were better, but rarely credited as such.

          My dad had a 67 Toronado before they ruined them and made them a luxury car. That thing drove like a demon. It held our curvy country roads like glue and would blow away my friends’ Chargers. I had it on a straightaway all the way to the end of the drum speedometer–130 mph, and it was tacking and I had some space still under the accelerator. It didn’t get light at all, but held the road like a tight girdle.

          • I’ve seen a lot of the 455 guys run faster1\4 mile times with higher gear ratios. It seems that low gears waste the prodigious torque put out by thoses monsters. A factory stage 1 455 Buick GS had 510 lb-ft at 1800 rpms! thats Diesel power.

            • Hi Grant,


              I have 3.90s in the TA’s pumpkin and it’s a touch too much…. I have to feather the throttle up to about 20 MPH unless I just want to put on a show, fishtailing and leaving rubber all over the road!

            • Yup ,two of my friends have stage 1’s,a 70 and a 72.They are torque monsters.Pretty fast too ,they run low to mid 13’s on street tires.The fun is driving them on the street,floor it at 20-30 MPH and they incinerate the tires and just stick you to the seat.Torque is fun!!!!!

              • Hi Getch!

                You should try a 455 with a 3.90 rearset and 15x7s!

                Holy fishtailing, Batman!

                I’d like a bit more grip – both straight-line and in the curves. But I am very limited by the tire choices available for my stock wheels. I could, of course, use aftermarket wheels. But the factory Honeycombs are a critical part of the ’70s-era Trans-Am package and I love the way they look.

                One company makes a 17xsomething aluminum Honeycomb, but it’s obviously not stock and – in my opinion – does not look right on the car. Seventies-era cars with tall wheels and low aspect ratio tires look… awkward.

                What I’d like – but don’t have the precision welding ability to do myself – is to take a set of original 15×7 Honeycombs and widen them to 15×8.5 or so. Maintain the stock height (and appearance) but (by widening them) get a larger contact patch, which I think would also look good.

                The ’78-81 TAs could be factory-ordered with 15×8 Snowflake aluminum wheels, and since my car is basically the same, I am pretty sure the offset and so on is not an issue.

                • My neighbor had a RAIII 70 Judge ,4sp,cardinal red,that was just beautiful and he had the rims widened like you want to do,it looked great.He found that car in a barn by the way.Honey comb wheels are the best,they just make the car.I love rally II’s but they can’t compare to Honey combs.I happen to like a little bit bigger rim on muscle cars.Nothing crazy,just some 17″ look great.I recently saw a T/A around your year with 17″ snowflakes and loved it

                • Eric, I’d bet if you’d lift that car and put some 22’s on it with tires that have <1" sidewalls; and paint it up to look like a McDonald's sign, Clover would suddenly take interest in it! (It would be a "donk"…for a donkey! :D)

            • aye, my friends ’69 GTO with supercharged 428 runs the same numbers (11.20 – 11.50 against the throttle stop – because no cage 🙁 ) with 3.00 or 4.10 in the pumpkin.

    • Hi Ross,

      Camshaft profiles (lift, duration, overlap) affect how the fuel is processed in the engine and that, of course, has an effect on the end product of combustion (i.e., the exhaust). Automatics are a factor (or at least, were – back in the day, with carbureted engines) because for purposes of the actual emissions test, things like idle speed emissions and so on could be more exactly calibrated.

  12. You know, eric, I for one am not sad to see Pontiac gone. In 1996, my wife and I bought a brand new, off the showroom floor Pontiac Sunfire. It was cute, and economical, and a fun little car to drive…. for the first 30,000 miles (!) After that, the shit-box started falling apart. The door handles broke, the panels on the back doors started coming off, etc. And one completely lovely quirk: When it was slightly humid, and hot, if you turned off the AC, and put down the window, the entire instrument cluster would fog up… on the inside! I have NEVER seen a car do that before or since. What a gigantic piece of rubbish!
    Not long after that, we traded the car in on a used 1995 Nissan Sentra, and I was never happier to see a car go away at that moment.
    I stuck with my reliable, late 80s Chevy Caprices as taxi for a few more years, but I never bought another GM product manufactured after 1990, and I probably never will.
    You can blame the government for this all you want Eric, but Ford Motor Company has been operating under the exact same regulatory constraints,and working with the exact same unions, and the quality and workmanship of their products is getting steadily better, not worse like GM. I tell people I was a Chevy guy until I bought my first Ford.
    Good by Pontiac. Good riddance.

    • After the executives, the retired workers, and the UAW there wasn’t much money left for the engineers to use which is why GM cars fell apart. GM quite literally took the money out of the product to pay the internal interests. The corporate shared cars on the lower product tiers suffered the most. This of course made for many people who would never buy another GM car again, except GM made its money by getting someone to buy one of those lower tier cars and then move up. Over time GM destroyed its customer base.

    • Paul,

      A 96 Escort was no better than a 96 Sunfire. A 2015 Ford Fusion isn’t anything superior to a 2015 Chevy Malibu.

      Outside of full size pickups and suburbans, none of the big three had anything but trash in the 90’s. I’m still skeptical on how good these new cars from the big three are. The pure junk from all of them has caused me to stick with Japanese cars and ever since 07, Japanese trucks with the massive, powerful, capable Tundra.

      Even if these new cars turn out to be great, I will stick with Japanese cars until the unions are completely out with the big three. I can’t stand the unions and their special interest connection to the gunvermin, as some here call it.

      I have a cab business in Idaho. The best thing i ever did was get rid of domestics and start running my 1st generation Scion xB’s. They have minor repairs like axles alternators, ac compressors and such, but nothing like the domestics. I have a Kia Soul too. The interior of the car is great, but the clutch and tranny are terrible. It will be a long time before I give Korean a try again, because of my experience.

      • I purchased a used 1999 Toyota Corolla 7 years ago and toyotas are all I will drive now(just got a 2010 Rav4 V6).I have NEVER had a problem with the corolla and my mother still drives it with 250k on it,show me a domestic that does that and I will buy one.

        • I hear you Getch,

          I have a 2007 Camry that was my wife’s personal car till about a year and a half ago. I put it in the taxi fleet. It has 180000 miles, nothing but routine maintenance. Oil, tires, brakes. I do need to do the struts since they are worn pretty bad. Camry’s and Corollas are boring, but nothing outlasts them. The only things close are Honda’s.

          The Japanese brands are just better, even when designed and built here.

          • Wife drives a Corolla, I got a 2008 Yaris.

            I’m lousy on caring for my Yaris, but the Corolla has had more problems. Both automatic (sticks are so rare at dealers now, even new), my mileage beats hell out of hers.

          • Funny thing is: American manufacturers could do it when they wanted to (or maybe it’s just a fluke with certain vehicles?) My ’98 Ford full-size van has almost 300K on it…. in the 13 years I’ve owned it, never had to do a thing except for a fuel pump and a heater core. Of course they can’t seem to make cars like that…nor even trucks anymore- but it seems, at one time, they could manage to make the fleet-type vehicles reliable/durable. You’d think that they wouldn’t want to give that up, but look how Cadillac gave up the limo market by making junk; Chrysler gave up the pig/taxi market by discontinuing the Diplomat/Fury; etc.

            • I have a 2007 Ford Econoline bus. It has the 6.8 litre v-10 in it. That sucker starts and runs any time. 20 below zero it starts. It never has any problems. I had a Mercury Marquis and a Crown Vic. Garbage. My Bus seems to be the exception rather than the rule for Ford.

              That seems to be the story for domestics. A good vehicle fluke every once in a while, but garbage is the rule since the 80’s.

            • CloverMoleman a 98 is new compared to the 82 that Eric is talking about. Ask Eric how many of his big 80s V8s were able to get 300k? That is what, more than 20,000 gallons of fuel it would have taken to get there?

              • Poor ol’ Clover!

                There were virtually no “big V-8s” available in the ’80s. The typical V-8 of that era displaced about 5.0 liters (e.g., the Chevy 305, the Pontiac 301, the Olds 307; the Ford 302).

                Today’s V-8s are much bigger, in fact. (For example, the 6.2 liter GM V-8; the Chrysler 5.7 liter (and larger) Hemis.)

                And they drink plenty of gas, too.

                But of course, Clover never gets his facts in order before he eructs.

                • I drove a 1988 Suburban with a 350 for 15 years and put 371,000 miles on it. At least half the miles was pulling a camper, the remaining miles it was used as our pack mule. Two issues with the engine, several valve stem seals failed around 80k (replaced all with Viton) and the EGR became sluggish and triggered the CEL every few hundred miles.

                  It was big, ugly and incredibly thirsty because it was used hard. But that machine was bulletproof. Not bad for something GM designed in the late 60s.

                  • Those 2nd-generation Suburbans were AWESOME! I always wanted one. Simple; bullet-proof; a real truck- not some sissy leather-clad heated seat SUV! And TONS of room!

                    • It was a Scotsdale, all function and no frills. Few frills really adds to longevity, less stuff to malfunction. It could seat 9 with enough room for all the luggage behind the third seat and still see out the back window. Round trips from D.C. to Miami every January fully loaded it drank a gallon every 12 miles. To replicate that economy going alone you’d need to get 100 mpg.

                      To put in perspective, this is about the same mileage my old Star Chief got empty.

              • Clover, I’ve personally seen some of those old V-8’s rack-up over 200K miles, if properly maintained. Don’t forget, a typical scenario (especially with a lot of the big v-8’s) was that: Even if the original owner didn’t abuse it and maintained it well, it wasn’t long before the cars they were in would end up in the hands of some teenager- whether as a used car, or merely as a fambly car that the fambly teen would drive….and they’d proceed to beat the crap out of ’em; doing things that would kill any engine in short-order, just as many do to today’s engines.

                C’mon, how many rice-burners do you see today in the hands of some teen, with a motor being swapped, because he blew the old one up with 120K on it?

                I remember in early 80’s, my sister had an Olds Vista Cruiser wagon from the early 70’s, with the big V-8. She NEVER changed the erl; and my nephew would beat the living crap out of the car…and plus it was well-used when she bou8ght it- and with 5-digit odometers, there’s no telling what the true mileage was on it, or any car for that matter- The car that blew with “90K miles” on it, could’ve had 290K on it in reality- we’ll never know. Maybe that’s why it was rare to see a car with 2 or 300K on it….cause the odometer only went up to 99K and then started over– and I knew of several cars personally that had been “around” 2 or 3 times- and NYC taxis were notorious for flipping the odometer several times before needing a rebuild….AND don’t forget, it was much cheaper and easier to rebuild one of those motors from the 60’s or 70’s than it is to rebuild “modern” stuff!

          • I agree 100%,the corolla is the most boring car have ever driven,no driving enjoyment at all.I have to say the RAV4 with the 268 hp V6 is a different story,It is pretty fast.I have had many muscle/fast cars and this would have embarrassed a few of them.

  13. I had a 1982 Firebird with the 2.9 liter v6 engine. I inherited it from my mom who bought it new.

    God what a POS. Merging onto the expressway felt like a suicidal act. The car was completely gutless. Took it forever to get up to speed.

    I wanted to like the car but the longer I kept it the more it fell apart.

    • Hi Darren,

      You should have tried the four cylinder version!

      I still have a real Pontiac. My Carousel Red ’76 Trans-Am. Like me, it is a relic and an outlier. A little piece of debris from a vanished time.

          • An interesting thing about Pontiac OHV V-8’s is that there are no “big” blocks and “small” blocks. From 1955’s first 287 through the last 455 built in 1981 they all have identical bore spacing. The only major division was the “large journal” crankshaft block which was modified from the 389 to accommodate the extra torque produced by the 421, 428, and 455 engines.

        • A friend was a Pontiac addict and always had 5 or 6 at all times.His favorite was a 64 Catalina 421 tri-power,four speed,convertible ,absolutely pristine condition and what a beautiful car.One day I got him at a light and he thought he was going to embarrass me in my 88 mustang 5.0 LX.You should have seen the look on his face when my car just walked away from his,he never tried again.Great car though,just beautiful

  14. Every time I see a new Fiat 500 I have to wonder if it isn’t a pure government designed $20,000 ugly box. Especially in the pea soup green color they come in.
    Did any sober design team really let that shoe box off of the drawing board without pressure from above?

  15. The so called “bail out” of a couple years ago, will have negative “unintended” consequences for GM (and Chrysler)as well over time. Instead of using bankruptcy laws that have been around for centuries that work fine, nope, they were tossed out out because GM (and Chrysler) was “too big” to fail. These companies have been slowly going out of business for almost a half century already, and they will be back someday, with open hands looking for more tax dollars again. You can count on that.

    Government types think they are “saving” the rapidly decreasing amount of jobs these two dinosaur companies have. Never thinking that maybe new companies built from the ruins would in the long run bring more competition and more jobs!

    I am of the opinion that a broken up (as a normal bankruptcy would have likely liquidated GM & Chrysler) would have been preferable in the long run. Both companies do contain valuable parts. They could have been the foundations of maybe half a dozen new auto companies. And they could have easily taken the names of the GM and Chrysler divisions.

    Imagine Jeep, Chevy, Cadillac, maybe Corvette and whatever all independent companies. Without the baggage of GM and Chrysler failures.

    We could even have a Pontiac again…..

    • Richb,

      Uncle will never let that happen. The reason is unions. It is the UAW that make these companies dinosaurs. If companies bought up the good stuff from them, they’d surely eschew unions……..uncle will not let that happen at any cost.

      The emissions from uncle force the foreign car companies to be just like the big 3. No more compact trucks. No more sub compact cars, like the Metro or Festiva of the 90’s. No more 1st Gen Scion xB’s. Hardly any diesel powered cars. No diesel powered vans. No KEI trucks, at least on State hwys and “free ways”……..unless you live outside the U.S. Then you can pick an unsafe KEI truck or Toyota bb(1st gen Scion xB in ‘Merica)or a “dirty” diesel van, etc. KEI’s are inexpensive, easy to fix yourself because they aren’t computerized to the hilt. They can hit 70 mph with their tiny engines, because they are lightweight and don’t have–gasp, airbags. Basically they are dirty and dangerous. We won’t stand for that in the “free” world now, will we.

      I hate the fuckin govment. People say, “the emissions are tough in Japan and elsewhere too”. That may be correct, but the emissions here are so absurdly different, that most things don’t make the cut. When you add the ridiculous safety bullshit, you start to understand why every car pickup and van in this country look much the same.

      Our cars gain weight faster than our fat ass cops and 8 year old school kids who believe the governments food pyramid is good for their health. By the time these fat dumb shits get out of school we better have self driving cars with infinite airbags. It’s the only way these state creations will be able to function.

      Sorry for the rant, but I just got angrier and angrier the more I thought about future of cars…..and everything else in this country. I feel sorry for my children to have this future to look forward to.

      • Ancap, I used to program computers in assembler code, simply because it was the fastest and most compact and controllable language. I shudder to think the bloatware I’d have to produce with all manner of nanny features and unnecessary code just so a grabbermint bureaucrat can tick the boxes of mandated subroutines.

        It’s the same with cars. Full of junk many don’t want and most don’t need, then the constant battle with fuel economy thanks to all that extra load. Never mind paying for it.

        Some of the silliest laws still exist, such as the one where the car that was manufactured without seatbelts doesn’t require the owner to have any fitted, but poor shmoes daily get pretty close to arrested and beat up if they don’t wear one, which harms nobody else.

        Ditto with airbags and many other items. Model-T’s still roam the streets with their original plates and tyres. Just what’s the grabbermint’s mental malfunction anyway?

        • Rev, how dast ye? I was so friggin glad to fight that seat belt to exit that cab this week as that speeding 2 miles of train closed on me. Imagine, 60 mph less than 3/8ths mile away and all you really want to do is be as far away from that big rig as possible(esp, since you know a guy didn’t make that exit just two weeks before) and while the door opened ok the seatbelt was another thing. Ever tried opening one when seconds seem like eternity? By the time I was free that train was the only thing I could see. I didn’t get much sleep that night as I relived that seems like a million times. I’ve already had one seat belt ticket this year so I was wearing mine(and it eats me up, literally, I have to try to arrange something between it and me when it comes over my collar). Thanks Joan, I could have been several seconds down the way without that “kill” belt they now mandate in big rigs.

        • At least in Florida, at one time, the cops couldn’t pull you over merely for not wearing a seat belt. They had to have some other violation. But with enough Jersey housewives moving, the nanny state is coming on strong and that’s since changed. I was given a ticket by a MOTORCYCLE cop who peered into my window as I was driving by and saw that I was committing the horrific crime. When confronted by the portly fellow at my window, I told him that I was a lot safer in my full size truck without a seat belt than he was on his bike. I also told him that since he didn’t wear a seat belt he needed to write himself a ticket. That comment did not make the rather rotund officer very happy.

        • Assembler is indeed the fastest programming language, yes (although only for someone like you who knows what he is doing), but it isn’t the most compact and controllable; that honour probably belongs to Forth and similar. Since high end implementations of Forth are almost that fast anyway, and all implementations allow bottlenecks to be written in machine code, Forth would probably be preferable to assembler in this role if it weren’t for considerations of skills availability for development and maintenance (programmers wouldn’t just need to be Forth programmers at an amateur level, but good ones who also had the discipline to write maintainable code).

          • CloverAssembler? Get real. With newer computer languages the speed of writing, testability and ease of maintenance is what is important. Computers are 1,000s of times faster and cheaper than they used to be so cost of development and maintenance is what is more important.

            • Get real. With newer computer languages the speed of writing, testability and ease of maintenance is what is important.

              That’s why they are not suitable for embedded systems, which have budget constraints and field reliability constraints (and power, cooling, weight and space constraints) that flow through to having limited memory and speed in comparison to those other environments and do not have the features you list as the only priorities – even today. And, of course, mediocre going on bad programmers can code slowly, unmaintainably and in a hard to test way in any language – just as good ones can work well within the limits of other languages. Languages act to extend the skills of the programmers, not to make up for their shortfalls; they don’t make the other constraints go away, though language implementations can do something along those lines (but there is always a tradeoff somewhere).

              Computers are 1,000s of times faster and cheaper than they used to be so cost of development and maintenance is what is more important.

              Only if you don’t face those embedded systems issues, which cut back a lot on those luxuries.

              But I don’t expect you to take any of that on board, coming over like Monty Python’s “dead parrot” salesman the way you do; you admire the plumage and forget the dying bird.

              • P M Lawrence said: “And, of course, mediocre going on bad programmers can code slowly, unmaintainably and in a hard to test way “

                We call such programmers: “Microsoft employees”.

                • Thanks to Moore’s Law, the current PCs are reasonably fast, even running today’s bloatware. Think how they could scream if programmed efficiently?

                  • ” even running today’s bloatware. Think how they could scream if programmed efficiently?”

                    Luckily, there’s Slackware- so one can get a pretty good idea!

              • CloverSo P.M.Lawrence tell us all the systems that are currently being written in assembler? I would guess none. You can write one line of a higher level language to be the equivalent of hundreds of lines of assembler. You tell me where your cost benefit is there when you have to write and test all of that code? I just bought a $15, 32 gig micro SDHC memory card which is the size of my pinky fingernail. That much memory would have taken up a large warehouse and cost 100s of millions of dollars 40 years ago. You tell me why I would want to save a few bits by writing assembler?

                • Hey Clover –
                  Go back and reread his original comment. He is speaking specifically of embedded systems, NOT PCs.
                  Are you really this stupid and/or ignorant? Or is it a put on?

      • ancap, fat ass cops and 8 year olds believe in a food pyramid? I can’t tell either know of food beyond fast food. Would that be the pyramid of Mickey D, Domino’s and the Colonel’s herbs and spices?

        • You bet Eight.

          Their grains come from buns on the burgers, crust on the pizza. The dairy comes from a brown cow that naturally makes that 1% lowfat milk, which comes straight out of the teat at 130 degrees so it’s safe. The meat they have is processed many times and cooked to a nice brown paste, so as to be easily chewable and digestible. It is all then fortified with vitamins and minerals made in a lab, just as God intended it.

          Whatever the food pyramid can’t provide, drugs made by doctors in a lab can. Hence the healthy, nice plump figures many Americans sport nowadays.

    • The other big reason for TBTF is retirees and their pensions. If a company goes into bankruptcy, the first thing to go is the pension fund. Sure, the courts might decide to put the pensioners ahead of the creditors, but… HA HA HA HA HA. Ah, that’s funny…

      My dad worked at a job he hated for 35 years because it paid better than where he wanted to work, and because of the excellent pension. When BS (yes, that was Bethlehem’s stock symbol) died, so did a big chunk of what he thought was his retirement.

      I’m fairly certain the main reason why GM was bailed out was because of the retirees who depend on the GM pension plan. If the government (through the underfunded PBGC) had to take on all those retirees it wouldn’t have enough money to wage wars on brown people and keep all those people who keep them elected in graft (not to mention old people vote).

      I really think this is the cause of much of the Sarbanes-Oxley act as well. If compare the number of startups going public before 2002 and after, it’s obvious that something big happened. That, of course, was much of the limited liability a corporate official had, which led to a massive change in company structures and accounting costs that are prohibitive to small public companies. This makes it easier for big companies, that can afford to absorb regulation costs, since upstarts won’t be a threat. In that way, big companies become safer investments, which is really the opposite of what should be happening (since big companies don’t innovate and are usually killed by younger companies that are able to utilize new technology that the big companies don’t want). But it also means that company pensions and stock plans (matched in company stock) are safer. Win win for everyone (except the customer, but who cares about them anyway?). After all, IBM is still around, still considered relevant, and a tech giant even though no one can tell you why or what they produce.

      • War on brown people? That’s only because they’ve already conquered the white people. They were first. Now it’s the Anglo-sphere cartel: USSA, Canada, England, Australia, New Zealand. Maybe Israel and South Africa. Epsilon.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here