Sunday, March 14, 2010

My Pontiac Love Affair

My Pontiac Love Affair
I am still wallowing. The new Vibe is cute, faster, easier to drive, and the XM is the bomb!

But...I miss the style of the old Vibe.

So, in an effort to say goodbye, I will reminisce on all of my previous Pontiacs...

First, there was the 1988 Pontiac Bonneville. I drove this beast in high school and on and off during times in college when I needed a car (as determined by my parents). This car probably has the most stories of fun so I'll list a few faves:
~ It only had and AM/FM radio so I bought a funny little tape player and tons of batteries and had it sit on the bucket seat in the front with me and I blasted The Indigo Girls, Tori Amos, and The Cranberries.
~ One day a crew of gals drove around in "Big Black" as we called it with Barbie Dolls stuck in the windows, flapping in the wind.
~ Another time a group of probably the same gals dressed in all black and played Spy Girl at the homes of cute boys we knew - we left Big Black idling for a quick escape.
~ My parents were very clear that is was THEIR car and I had to earn the privilege to drive it over and over and over. So, when I got pulled over for expired registration when I was 17, I told the police officer it was my father's car and the ticket needed to be made out to him.
~ Pictured here was a sweetheart the year between high school and college just before we embarked on my first Vermont weekend getaway without parents.

Then there was the 1993 Pontiac Bonneville (I LOVED the sedans). This one I bought from my dad for an undisclosed low budget amount after I convinced him I could not move to Nashville, TN after graduating from college and hope to find a job if I was all sweaty before each interview because the '88 Bonneville didn't have air conditioning. I think my mother also told him she would not have me driving from Massachusetts to Tennessee in a 1988 car in 1998. Whatever the reason, I got the '93 and cruised off to Nashville. The car made the trip back North two times - the second being when I moved to Vermont. It also had the most drastic transmission issues ever. I got the transition fixed by a horrific transition chain (hey - I was 22 - still a baby) for which I had to take out a loan. The transmission casing fell off one week later and the chain said my warranty wouldn't cover it - one week later! Nothing like getting played like a chick! So, I asked the women at work who seemed to be the types whose husbands worked on cars what I should do and was told to get the transmission casing welded in place. I found a welder and for a couple hundred bucks got the casing welded in place, knowing that when the transmission went again, the '93 Bonneville was done. It worked - made it to Vermont the next summer and the car lasted a whole year later...

In September 2001 I was heading out for a singing gig (back when I was in a real band) and the transmission wouldn't start. I had a breakdown and was furious that none of the boys watching me across the street offered me a ride as I stood there all decked out with a mike stand in hand. So I clippity clopped my way to the cab building in Burlington's North End - and now I was all sweaty. The next day I got a ride to Shearer Pontiac in South Burlington as they were the closest Pontiac dealership and I knew nothing else about cars. My 25 year old self couldn't exactly afford a Bonneville, but I could afford to lease a 2003 Grand Am. It was red (ick) and had manual windows (sigh), but within three hours I had myself a new car and haven't had an issue ever since. The lease was great because I didn't have to deal with welders and the miles worked because I had a short commute.

But I really didn't like the Grand Am - not my style at all. So I waited patiently and when they introduced the Vibe in that timeframe I became obsessed and when I had the option to end the Grand Am lease a bit early for good behavior, I jumped and Shearer really worked the numbers with me to be able to afford the Vibe for which I am very grateful. And I vibed, and vibed, and vibed (noting the "vibing" outings started in reality living on the backroads growing up and "bushwhacking" in the car looking for land with my parents to build a house on). And before I knew it, this lease was up and the 2006 Vibe which made me famous is now the 2010 Vibe - last line of Vibes, last car on the lot, last make of Pontiac made. What will the future hold???

PS - If you are interested, the famous 2006 Vibe might still be for sale at Shearer!

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