Posts like a V-Tak
Join Date: Apr 2010
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New and from Montana
Hey everyone! I realize this is a bit tl/dr, so feel free to skip to the bottom for a summary. I bolded it to make it easier to find.
But I guess since this is the introduction thread, I oughta give a little history behind how I ended up a Bonneville owner willing to join a Bonneville enthusiast forum.
I never intended to own anything like my current ride (affectionately named "Clyde" -- you know, like Bonnie and Clyde? Okay, it'* a dorky name, I'll admit it), but things just tend to happen, y'know? My real passion is for tuners, and I'll apologize for that in advance. My dream car since I was a teenager has been a Subaru WRX STi, with the full off-road package, in either silver or rally blue. My geekdom got to the point where my parents talked the local Subaru dealership into giving me a huge promo scroll when I went to engineering college, with the intention of hanging it in my dorm room to motivate me to get good grades, get a good internship, and make enough money to buy my dream car after graduation. You know, as you do.
Long(er) story short, after burning out on engineering, I ended up with an art history education, which put a pretty severe crimp in my earning potential. On the upside, I worked for the university tech support department to pay for tuition -- with a bunch of Subaru enthusiasts, even! So by the time I finished college, I had a decent resume and a good job doing web development for the uni, and my parents sold me their spare car: a 1997 Chevy Malibu. Mmmyeah, don't ask why my dad bought the damn thing in the first place, but it was cheap and managed not to break down very often. And when it did break down, I got plenty of experience putting it back together. Let'* just say the GM dealership in town was...mostly useless. I got some help from my friend'* dad, who fixes vehicles for the army, and used my otherwise useless art skillz to keep the exterior looking shiny. (Especially after spinning out and skidding backwards into a concrete barrier, scraping a good square foot of paint clean off the rear bumper. At 65 MPH. In front of a cop. Not a good day, but in my defense, my dad hadn't told me how old the tires were and it was raining heavily. But I did manage to refinish the bumper so it looks like nothing ever happened, so there'* that.)
Anyway, getting to the Bonneville part. The Malibu was getting long on the tooth -- like over 100k miles long -- and starting to nickel and dime me. Unfortunately, my car fund ended up getting eaten up by a huge stack of unanticipated medical bills, so I put up with my poor little Barbie Car. (You know, Malibu Barbie? Yes, I like giving my cars ridonkulous names.) Right around the same time, though, my family decided my grandparents needed to move to an assisted living facility.
Which meant they no longer needed their nearly flawless white 1999 Pontiac Bonneville SE, which they had bought from my grandfather'* uncle when it was brand new, and had a mere 28,000 miles on it. And they didn't need the money, either, so I got it for a grand. (And promptly sold the Barbie Car to my boss'* teenage daughter for $1,500. I refuse to feel bad about this.) I'll admit, it wasn't what I wanted. It was big, had the turning radius of a tugboat, and ate gas when it wasn't on the highway. (I have a Scan Gauge II for no particular reason, so I can track these things.) But it was my grandpa'* car, and it was cheap, and seriously, a 9 year old car with 28k miles? Holy sh*t. It even had a set of snow tires already on rims.
It also had the world'* least useful stock stereo, and I refuse to drive without tunes. So the first thing I did with the profit I made from selling the Barbie Car was buy a new Blaupunkt Hamburg MP57 stereo, install it myself, and mod the wimpy cup holder in the ashtray into a docking station for my MP3 player, with a bonus USB stick input in the ashtray itself and a steering wheel mounted remote. I'm still using the stock speakers, but that'* just temporary until I figure out exactly what I want to install. First order of business is a sub, of course -- I'm a jungle/drum'n'bass/dubstep DJ, and I need me some bass ;)
Still, I felt kind of meh on the whole deal. Granted, it drives great on the highway (and Montana has some great highways), but...it just wasn't what I really wanted. And I kind of abused it, trying to take it up some forest service roads that really shouldn't be tackled without a Jeep (or WRX, hah). It'* still structurally sound, but I took out the passenger side fog lamp in the first two weeks of owning it. Whoops. And there'* quite a few scrapes in the paint, and the rear bumper has a small crack near the license plate indentation. It'* not bad, but it needs work.
So, why am I now a Bonneville enthusiast? My grandpa fell ill in February of this year, and scans showed he had a massive brain tumor that was essentially inoperable. He passed away in April, a week after his 89th birthday. And now I feel like, you know what, I should honor him by taking good care of his ride. Even more relevant, my grandpa was an electrician in the Coast Guard during WWII, a carpenter, a stained glass artist, and a firm believer in do-it-yourself maintenance of everything, even after he lost most of his right hand and could barely hold tools because his hands shook due to Parkinson'* disease. He taught me and inspired me to build and repair my own stuff.
And now I intend to make his car as awesome as possible.
The first order of business is cleaning up the exterior and fixing the fog lamp. I've got a little bit of interior work to take care of, too -- the rear passenger side window doesn't move anymore, and like I said above, I need to add some power to the audio. After that, I'm gonna start on some subtle exterior mods. Maybe it'* the artist in me -- I see a big white object and I wanna draw on it ;) I do want to keep it white and fairly stock looking, but I have some ideas I'm sketching out with subtle ice blue and gray/silver details. As for performance, I'm learning how to do my own maintenance, and if I get really into it, I might start asking for suggestions on what I can mod.
SHORT VERSION FOR THOSE WHO SCROLLED PAST ALL THAT TEXT: Hi! I live in Montana, I have a Bonneville that'* named Clyde because I'm a dork, and while I never intended to own a big ol' GM car, I have sentimental reasons for fixing it up and modding it. In my spare time, I DJ (poorly -- still need a lot more practice), draw, produce music, fix/mod computers, practice mixed martial arts, play racing games on my 360, and drive in the mountains while playing abrasive music at levels that probably terrify wildlife. (Either that or those deer whistles my grandpa installed on the front bumper ten years ago actually work.)
I'll get some photos of Clyde once I've got 'im shined up a bit. The weather here has been crap up until the past week, so I just recently hosed off a winter'* worth of mud and grime and scraped off all the silly decals my grandpa and I had put on it. Still need to go at the bugs on the front bumper and give it a proper hand washing, but once it'* shinier, I'll post some pics (preferably from the angle that doesn't show the sad, empty hole where the fog lamp used to be).
So, how'* everyone? :)