Posts like a 4 Banger
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Salem, CT
I can relate, too...
'83 Olds Omega Brougham, my first car, just as fugly as a K-Car, oddly equipped with 4" x 10" rear speakers (believe it or not, they bumped pretty decently for stock speakers in the 80s)... It still had the protective plastic sheet covering the plastic dash panel (I remember seeing the words "REMOVE REMOVE REMOVE" in pale yellow every time I detailed Meg the Omega, even shortly before her 209,000-mile demise). Ugly car, lackluster performance, very poor reliability, rear quarters rotted through so you could see the ground while looking through the trunk. But man, would she go anywhere in the snow, of course stopping was another story entirely since the rear left brake adjuster never could figure out how much was enough adjustment. Car had never been waxed since new, so I used to wash the white filmy sheen off with Easy Off Oven Cleaner before I would wax it, and that'* how I got the car to no longer be beige. Maroon cloth interior hides almost anything you spill. But man, I loved that car, getting 23-25 mpg in a car Consumer Reports claimed could only achieve 22. Stupid 3-speed automatic with guaranteed torque converter kick out at 30, leaving you shuddering up to speed (until 3 years later when the tranny grenaded itself).
My '99 Intrigue I bought specifically based on seat-of-the-pants performance and exterior body styling. The salesman at the Chevy dealer tried to stick me in a '94 Grand Am, a '99 Cavalier (Deep Carmine Red, just like my mother'* '97 Cav), a '99 Alero (love the cars, except I find the rear suspension a little wonky on sharp corners and bumps), but once I took the Intrigue for a ride, I was hooked. Smooth torquey engine, impossible-to-detect shifting, incredible handling.
Emerald green metallic? Meh, not my favorite color, but I'll deal with it. But seriously, tan interior is ONLY good for heat dissipation. The only thing worse would be white interior. EVERY stain, every bit of dirt shows up. And seriously, why do I need a two-tone dash? ONE beige isn't good enough, you have to give me two different shades of yucky beige? And what'* with all the white cars GM sold with blue interiors?
Colin, I feel you on the Bonnevilles. I remember when my mom was shopping for her car (and ended up with the Pontiac 6000 */E, nice car but a lemon), we looked at the '87 Bonnies and my mother didn't like the tail lights. I admit, the outward curvature was (and still is) odd to me, but these days I'd love to get my hands on a decent late-80s Bonnie, and secretly I drool over the 2000-2004 Bonneville SSEi. That is one sexy car!
Anybody like me have a yen for the old square-body Lumina Z34s? And who can forget the Pontiac Aztec and Isuzu Vehicross? Those things are so uniquely ugly that they're cars I'd love to have. Or the entirely impractical, but must be a blast to drive, Suzuki X-90? (I had a '94 Tracker, only difference is the body.) Yeah, I like the odd ones.
Heck, I even used to let my friend take my Tracker for the day, so I could drive her... Wait for it... 1982 Chevy Chevette! Yes, I even loved THAT car. No power steering, no power brakes, no power... LMAO! Actually, it was a rare Chevette, automatic, 4-door, CLOTH seats (reclining buckets!!!), rear window defogger, air conditioning. And yes, you could bury the speedometer, it just took you forever to get there!
Of course, the same held true when she sold her Chevette, and bought a... 1990 Geo Metro! 1.0L 3-cylinder AUTOMATIC with AC. Being the convertible, it was classified an LSi and sat wrapped with tiny 13" wheels instead of the base model 12" tires. Another one with no power steering, but you never needed it... It handled like a slot car, I carved up quite a few curvy back roads with the top down, braking was so-so, and of course acceleration was next to impossible. And with the seat all the way back, my 6'2" body couldn't reach the pedals. If you wanted to limit yourself to 68 MPH, all you had to do was floor it and turn the AC on (and don't go uphill). But without the AC, 45 mpg is nothing to laugh at - and I'd rather have one of those ugly Tic-Tacs with wheels before I'd drive a Smart ForTwo.