My current daily driver is a 2001 Cadillac DTS. Not exactly cool, but I inherited it from my grandfather and it’s definitely comfortable, safe, and surprisingly fun to drive. While it’s been kept in good shape and maintained regularly, it’s also going on 10 years old and eighty thousand miles and has occasionally sprouted some weird issues – like a battery that leaked and ate a hole in the floorboard under the rear seat, and recently a fuel filter that rusted through (more on that later). While none of these issues are valid reasons for selling the car, it never hurts to dream a little about what I would replace it with. My criteria are:
- Four doors. I have two small children, and the thought of lowering both of them into the back of a two door car is already giving me back spasms.
- I would prefer a manual transmission, but this isn’t a deal breaker if the rest of the car makes up for it.
- I tend to prefer the off-beat and weird, so nothing too run-of-the-mill.
- Price is a consideration, of course, but as I’m not seriously considering making a purchase in the near future, it’s up in the air. When I search for cars, I typically look for stuff under 25k assuming that they will be considerably cheaper by the time I’m ready to buy in a year or two (or more).
- All the usual things – must be reliable, relatively new, safe, and decent on gas. As much as I’d like to have a ’70 Vista Cruiser as my family hauler, it’s just not plausible for me.
The Pontiac G8 was released with great fanfare in 2008, only to be discontinued when GM killed the Pontiac division in 2009 (for an actual review of the car, go here). As a result, these great cars are somewhat tricky to find, especially the high performance GXP model (sadly the only version of the G8 available with a manual transmission). A quick Autotrader search turns up 29 of the V8-equipped models and zero GXP models within 100 miles of me.
I’ve always liked Pontiacs (something I inherited from my father), so of course this appeals to me. It’s essentially a ’62 Super Duty Catalina with four doors, leather seats and airbags:
It’s a bummer that I’d have to settle for the automatic-only GT model, but with 361 horsepower funneling through the 6-speed slushbox, I can live with that.
- Should be in my price range by the time I’m ready to buy.
- Meets most of my criteria.
- Once again, 361 HP and 385 ft-lbs of torque. For the uninitiated, that’s a lot.
- Certainly unique, as it’s the last performance sedan from Pontiac.
- Seriously, look at the thing. It looks like a BMW without the “pricks on the outside” jokes and the attendant feelings of self-loathing.
- Lack of a manual option.
- Short production run might keep prices high, and model-specific replacement parts might be tricky to find down the road.
So here’s hoping that prices continue to fall and I can find a low mileage one when I’m ready to buy. If I somehow stumble upon one of the manual transmission GXP models, I’ll probably have to buy it even if it means I have to sleep in it for a few weeks.