I really don’t understand what business GM’s “excitement” division had building large, luxurious, slow cars like this. Don’t get me wrong, I love the body style, and I’d love to have one, I’m just having trouble trying to come to terms with the reason for this car existing in the first place. It would have made a little more sense back in the 60’s when it was actually possible for a big car to have enough power to actually be exciting, but by the late 70’s, all the car makers were pumping out turd after (sometimes nice looking) turd and I don’t really see anything too exciting about that.
I saw this van at a grocery store a couple days ago. When I was taking pictures of it, an employee came outside and told everything he knew about the lady who drives it. Apparently, she goes to the store every day around noon and hangs out all day near the deli until they close at night. I actually feel kind of bad to post this but at the same time, I’m not happy about having to share the road with someone who drives around with such an unsafe amount of visibility-blocking bullshit in their vehicle, so whatever.
The van is so full of papers and garbage that there is “litteraly”(sorry) only room for one person to fit inside. It’s definitely a fire hazard, there’s no disputing that, but I wonder if driving around totally enshrouded by paper actually would protect you in the event of an accident, like packing peanuts. You don’t just drive this van to your destination, you fucking pack and ship yourself there!
While it’s a shame that the 80s and early 90’s were the heyday of under powered front wheel drive cars, the limitations imposed on car designers at the time surely forced them to come up with cars that found other ways to be interesting. The eighth-generation Bonneville SSE is a great example of this. The SSE was the top of the line trim level for the Bonneville. It was essentially a handling/appearance/stereo package since the LN3 3800 was the only motor offered in the Bonneville starting in 1988.
The interior had some really interesting features. On one side of the dash was a driver information center screen that showed an overlay of the car and pointed out problems and maintenance information. On the other side of the dash was a similarly sized display that showed a really neat graphical compass, and the center of the steering wheel had controls for the stereo and a/c, which was a pretty advanced feature for the late 80’s.
Although the car wasn’t exactly fast, I’m sure it had enough power to keep up with most other cars from its time period, and with more style than most cars have today. It’s got just the slightest amount of body cladding to where it looks really sporty, but now with hindsight being 20/20 it’s pretty easy to see that it was the starting point for Pontiac’s plastic addiction that eventually spiraled way out of control in the late 90’s.
It may be just an outdated family sedan decorated like an 80’s sports car but I’d still drive one.
This article was originally published in the March 1968 issue of Hot Rod. I think it’s a pretty interesting read- some of those motors look really modern even today.