: Back in a GM, Pontiac style - for the weekend.



Night Wolf
09-07-10, 08:52 PM
The happenin':

I flew up to NY for 4 days for two main reasons, to visit my grandfather in critical care, and to visit my girlfriend. She picked me up at the airport and we drove around in her car for the first day. Her driving is pretty bad to the point of getting me sick, so she told me to drive. Her vehicle is universally praised by many - Toyota Corolla. Her particular car is a beat up 1998 with 210k miles. Probably the worst part of the whole thing is just how much she likes the car.... and Toyota, and Corollas in general. I named this Corolla Lola, Lola the Corolla, which is what I name all Corollas, same name for same bland car.

The plan was for us to spend the weekend in Lake George, NY. My father is a huge Pontiac fan, and as such is very unhappy that Pontiac is going bye bye. This caused him to buy (two) brand new Pontiacs, a G6 GT hardtop convertible (automatic) and a Solstice GXP manual (obvioulsy very nice). I am not a fan of the G6 in general, and I'd personally choose a Sky over a Solstice, but it was still nice. The last, and only car he ever bought brand new was a 1974 Grand Prix, and while in need of restoration, he still has.

The Car:

In 1991 my father bought an '88 Fiero Formula, that car remained his (car) daily driver until 2001. It was retired with 160k miles and just like all his other cars, he still has it. In 2001, I was with him when he bought a just off 3-year lease 1999 Grand Prix GTP with 38k miles. He wanted a 2-door, which is why he wanted the '99 and also why he didn't want a Bonneville. The car had all options except heated/power passenger seat and trunk mounted CD-changer. This car was his (car) daily driver for the next 10 years until a couple months ago when he bought the G6 and Solstice, and now with 151k miles, is retired from daily driver status. I tease him and say it'll end up just like the Fiero - keep it on the road for a couple years but never use it, then it just sits.

This car is/was by all means of the name, a lemon. At this point not only has nearly all mechanical and electrical things broke once, but in some cases, the same thing was 2-3 times. He likes this car and in a similar case with my Lincoln, just kept fixing things as they broke to the point that most any sane person would have gotten rid of the car a long time ago. I've driven this car only a couple times in the past. I've been out of NY since 2005 and got my license in 2003.

My father maintains and modifies his vehicles similar to myself.... or would that be I similar to him? Either way, if something is broke, it gets fixed. All the work is done by ourselves and there is a lot of attention to detail. As for mods, they are subtle and tasteful that "could be stock" to the unknowing.

I don't know the full list of mods this car has, but the ones I remember: smaller s/c pully, u-bend delete with full 3" exhaust, special engine/trans computer tune. Suspension is stock with Monroe Sensatrac struts. Not sure about brake pads, but rotors are drilled and there are braided stainless steel brake lines.

The list of things fixed/replaced is just insane. Look up an entire parts breakdown for this car and that was pretty much replaced. The only thing that has not given him problems has been the engine. Just the engine, as in the block and heads. He rebuilt the supercharger once or twice, wheel bearings, A/C, brakes, suspension, steering etc... The original trans started slipping around 100k, this was when I still lived in NY, so I helped him remove the trans and he had a shop rebuilt it. They used defective parts and shortly after it was reinstalled, it had to be removed. The trans was then rebuilt with a shift kit and heavy duty parts. All common wear items were beefed up - he wanted a transmission that will not have to be removed again.

With all that said, this car is no longer his baby - he says it is, but I see otherwise. Honestly I was a bit surprised when he offered to let me use the car for the weekend, I told him our plans and that it was going to be around 500-miles, and he didn't seem to care... said it would be good for the car to get driven again, and as such - starts my review of the 1999 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP Coupe.

But before that, let me go back to my girlfriends Corolla a bit. Unlike my fathers car, this car has not been maintained the best, all broken things were not fixed etc... and as much as I tried not to like the car.... I found myself really not being able to complain about much. It is a boring car, yes... but that is just what it is - a "car" made to move people from place to place. It really is the perfect "non-car person" car.

I didn't get on it or drive it hard, but for all purposes, it performed well. I was actually surprised with the engine - in that under normal driving it stayed in the low-mid rev band. Also the trans suprised me - with 210k on the original trans it shifted firm and at the proper points, was quick to downshift and overall performed well. Brakes felt spongey, may need a proper bleed. The car overall though, keeping in mind what it is, was.... ugggghhhh..... impressive.. The factory CD stereo actually sounded decent, it had all the commonly accepted power options, and on the highway at 65 it was rather quiet and rode well. The struts on this car were recently replaced. The car lets you know once you reach 70+ by shaking. She lives 25-miles away from my father, which is over a mountain consisting of twisty roads. The car took these roads well. On the hills the car hunted in and out of overdrive as throttle was needed to speed up and slow down. Simply pushing the O/D off button fixed that and it performed well.

I don't know much about Corollas and if the 1998 rides the same chassis as the 2007 I rented 2 years back.... but as crazy as it sounds, I was actually more impressed with her '98 then the '07. The biggest difference I noticed was the '98 was actually comfortable. The seat actually felt like a seat for a car, where as the '07 felt too upright and like a minivan.

The car also has an outside temp display, I thought that was a neat feature for a 90s econo car.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/cid__0902101757.jpg

The interior was another rather surprising area. Yes, it was rather basic and bland, but it didn't feel cheap. It didn't just creek and reek of cheapness. Again, I was actually impressed.... though to keep the girl from more Corollapraises I kept that comment to myself :shhh:. Perhaps what really was the part that confused me about this cars interior is that it made the '99 Grand Prix feel even cheaper inside (more on this later) but also the brand new G6 and Solstice. It is confusing, because the new G6 and Solstice *look* nicer, with the more modern textures and updated design... but the actual feel. I can't explain it, the feel is just "cheap" hard plastics etc...

I really feel that Toyota's quality has declined since the 90s. It was cars like my girlfriends Corolla that built the Toyota reputation, not as a performance or enthusiest car - but a car that, if maintained.... or not... will run and be mostly problem free. I used to not even allow myself to see that, but I now do. I also now see new Toyotas not being built to this same degree of quality and Toyota trying to ride the public perception of these older models.... but the more time that goes on, the more that perception will continue to drop.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/cid__0902101757a_01.jpg

Just about every panel on this car is damaged - including the roof and A and C pillars. I asked her about some of the more interesting dents and how they got there, she dosen't remember on some of them.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/cid__0902101757b_01.jpg

Poor car:

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/cid__0902101758a_01.jpg

Also something that was interesting - the automatic transmission in this car didn't bother me. In fact.... it was almost normal to just put it in drive and go. I couldn't figure it out at first, and then realized that.... it is just a "car" it is not made to enjoy "driving" it is not made to excel at a particular driving trait, be it fast acceleration or well-balanced handling. It is just a "car" made to get people from one place to another. Once that is accepeted, it is hard to really knock the car. This is also a very different way about how I felt compared to the Grand Prix, and the transmission choice.

To sum up this car:

It feels like as if one bought a small, basic car for transportation and low maintenace/running costs. Any lack of driver feel or "fun to driveness" dosen't matter, because this car was bought for transportation, not for fun. What this car dosen't feel like, which is actually a big deal, is the feeling of "settling" or "well, I can't afford a really fancy car, so I bought this small car - now I have to put up with a car that just feels cheap all over" - because it dosen't. There may be less features or options then a fancy car - but what it does have, feels well-built and the interior of the car has an overall feeling of "quality", not "cheapness". The exact opposite was abundant in not only the '99 Grand Prix, but the new G6 and Solstice as well. Sadly, this wasn't limited to Pontiac, but is a representation of GM as a whole.

drewsdeville
09-07-10, 08:59 PM
The happenin':

I flew up to NY for 4 days for two main reasons, to visit my grandfather in critical care, and to visit my girlfriend. She picked me up at the airport and we drove around in her car for the first day. Her driving is pretty bad to the point of getting me sick, so she told me to drive. Her vehicle is universally praised by many - Toyota Corolla. Her particular car is a beat up 1998 with 210k miles. Probably the worst part of the whole thing is just how much she likes the car.... and Toyota, and Corollas in general. I named this Corolla Lola, Lola the Corolla, which is what I name all Corollas, same name for same bland car.

The plan was for us to spend the weekend in Lake George, NY. My father is a huge Pontiac fan, and as such is very unhappy that Pontiac is going bye bye. This caused him to buy (two) brand new Pontiacs, a G6 GT hardtop convertible (automatic) and a Solstice GXP manual (obvioulsy very nice). I am not a fan of the G6 in general, and I'd personally choose a Sky over a Solstice, but it was still nice. The last, and only car he ever bought brand new was a 1974 Grand Prix, and while in need of restoration, he still has.

The Car:

In 1991 my father bought an '88 Fiero Formula, that car remained his (car) daily driver until 2001. It was retired with 160k miles and just like all his other cars, he still has it. In 2001, I was with him when he bought a just off 3-year lease 1999 Grand Prix GTP with 38k miles. He wanted a 2-door, which is why he wanted the '99 and also why he didn't want a Bonneville. The car had all options except heated/power passenger seat and trunk mounted CD-changer. This car was his (car) daily driver for the next 10 years until a couple months ago when he bought the G6 and Solstice, and now with 151k miles, is retired from daily driver status. I tease him and say it'll end up just like the Fiero - keep it on the road for a couple years but never use it, then it just sits.

This car is/was by all means of the name, a lemon. At this point not only has nearly all mechanical and electrical things broke once, but in some cases, the same thing was 2-3 times. He likes this car and in a similar case with my Lincoln, just kept fixing things as they broke to the point that most any sane person would have gotten rid of the car a long time ago. I've driven this car only a couple times in the past. I've been out of NY since 2005 and got my license in 2003.

My father maintains and modifies his vehicles similar to myself.... or would that be I similar to him? Either way, if something is broke, it gets fixed. All the work is done by ourselves and there is a lot of attention to detail. As for mods, they are subtle and tasteful that "could be stock" to the unknowing.

I don't know the full list of mods this car has, but the ones I remember: smaller s/c pully, u-bend delete with full 3" exhaust, special engine/trans computer tune. Suspension is stock with Monroe Sensatrac struts. Not sure about brake pads, but rotors are drilled and there are braided stainless steel brake lines.

The list of things fixed/replaced is just insane. Look up an entire parts breakdown for this car and that was pretty much replaced. The only thing that has not given him problems has been the engine. Just the engine, as in the block and heads. He rebuilt the supercharger once or twice, wheel bearings, A/C, brakes, suspension, steering etc... The original trans started slipping around 100k, this was when I still lived in NY, so I helped him remove the trans and he had a shop rebuilt it. They used defective parts and shortly after it was reinstalled, it had to be removed. The trans was then rebuilt with a shift kit and heavy duty parts. All common wear items were beefed up - he wanted a transmission that will not have to be removed again.

With all that said, this car is no longer his baby - he says it is, but I see otherwise. Honestly I was a bit surprised when he offered to let me use the car for the weekend, I told him our plans and that it was going to be around 500-miles, and he didn't seem to care... said it would be good for the car to get driven again, and as such - starts my review of the 1999 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP Coupe.

But before that, let me go back to my girlfriends Corolla a bit. Unlike my fathers car, this car has not been maintained the best, all broken things were not fixed etc... and as much as I tried not to like the car.... I found myself really not being able to complain about much. It is a boring car, yes... but that is just what it is - a "car" made to move people from place to place. It really is the perfect "non-car person" car.

I didn't get on it or drive it hard, but for all purposes, it performed well. I was actually surprised with the engine - in that under normal driving it stayed in the low-mid rev band. Also the trans suprised me - with 210k on the original trans it shifted firm and at the proper points, was quick to downshift and overall performed well. Brakes felt spongey, may need a proper bleed. The car overall though, keeping in mind what it is, was.... ugggghhhh..... impressive.. The factory CD stereo actually sounded decent, it had all the commonly accepted power options, and on the highway at 65 it was rather quiet and rode well. The struts on this car were recently replaced. The car lets you know once you reach 70+ by shaking. She lives 25-miles away from my father, which is over a mountain consisting of twisty roads. The car took these roads well. On the hills the car hunted in and out of overdrive as throttle was needed to speed up and slow down. Simply pushing the O/D off button fixed that and it performed well.

I don't know much about Corollas and if the 1998 rides the same chassis as the 2007 I rented 2 years back.... but as crazy as it sounds, I was actually more impressed with her '98 then the '07. The biggest difference I noticed was the '98 was actually comfortable. The seat actually felt like a seat for a car, where as the '07 felt too upright and like a minivan.

The car also has an outside temp display, I thought that was a neat feature for a 90s econo car.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/cid__0902101757.jpg

The interior was another rather surprising area. Yes, it was rather basic and bland, but it didn't feel cheap. It didn't just creek and reek of cheapness. Again, I was actually impressed.... though to keep the girl from more Corollapraises I kept that comment to myself :shhh:. Perhaps what really was the part that confused me about this cars interior is that it made the '99 Grand Prix feel even cheaper inside (more on this later) but also the brand new G6 and Solstice. It is confusing, because the new G6 and Solstice *look* nicer, with the more modern textures and updated design... but the actual feel. I can't explain it, the feel is just "cheap" hard plastics etc...

I really feel that Toyota's quality has declined since the 90s. It was cars like my girlfriends Corolla that built the Toyota reputation, not as a performance or enthusiest car - but a car that, if maintained.... or not... will run and be mostly problem free. I used to not even allow myself to see that, but I now do. I also now see new Toyotas not being built to this same degree of quality and Toyota trying to ride the public perception of these older models.... but the more time that goes on, the more that perception will continue to drop.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/cid__0902101757a_01.jpg

Just about every panel on this car is damaged - including the roof and A and C pillars. I asked her about some of the more interesting dents and how they got there, she dosen't remember on some of them.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/cid__0902101757b_01.jpg

Poor car:

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/cid__0902101758a_01.jpg

Also something that was interesting - the automatic transmission in this car didn't bother me. In fact.... it was almost normal to just put it in drive and go. I couldn't figure it out at first, and then realized that.... it is just a "car" it is not made to enjoy "driving" it is not made to excel at a particular driving trait, be it fast acceleration or well-balanced handling. It is just a "car" made to get people from one place to another. Once that is accepeted, it is hard to really knock the car. This is also a very different way about how I felt compared to the Grand Prix, and the transmission choice.

Mmmmm, pullied Eaton superchargers and GM FWD hub assemblies = $$$$ for your local mechanic.

Smaller pulleys are hard on the bearings and coupler.

I wouldn't touch a modded 3800S/C car with a 10ft pole.

Jesda
09-07-10, 09:18 PM
Yeah those late model Corollas are garbage. They make everything feel like it was dipped in syrup, including the steering and suspension, and the interiors on the 90s models were way better.

I hate them, but old Corollas are cars you can safely suggest to non-car people.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
09-07-10, 09:24 PM
Neat story Rick. Just an FYI, power/heated passenger seats were never available in the GTPs, that's one reason I went with the GS over the GTP. I always thought it was weird that they offered it (and sold a lot of them) on the driver's side, but never the passenger side.

Why'd the supercharger "go out"? I thought they were pretty bulletproof if you serviced the fluid once every two years or so. I do know that wheel bearings are common on these, as are transmissions if you do a lot of burnouts with them.

Stingroo
09-07-10, 09:30 PM
Misleading thread title is misleading.

Night Wolf
09-07-10, 10:22 PM
On to the Grand Prix:

Confused. I can't make up my mind. Do I like it or dislike it? What does it try to be? A lot of it may be my personal expectations of cars now, and when that happens, I will note the difference between how I feel and how the car itself performed.

Starting outside:

It's a good looking car. The 2-door really completes the look of the car. It has a muscular, aggressive look to it. Pontiac kept the plastic cladding to a minimum and as such, the car has a very clean look. I agree with my father in that these wheel are the best looking factory wheels. A Ram-Air hood was added, which adds to and compliments the overall appearance of the car. The GTP emblem on the door and PONTIAC lettering in the rear bumper has subtle, sorta reflectiveish greyish stickers added and the larger quad round exhaust tips add a performance look to the back.

These pics were taken at my girlfriends parents friends house on the lake that we stayed at.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/NYsep021.jpg

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/NYsep022.jpg

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/NYsep027.jpg

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/NYsep028.jpg

The car is on its' 3rd set of headlights.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/NYsep019.jpg

The drivetrain

If there is one thing GM did right on this car.... no.... period, it is the 3800. I had an N/A Series I 3800 in my '89 Olds and was thrilled with it. Bolt a supercharger to the intake and the fun is now force-fed. The power is there, any time, any speed. There are gobs of low-end torque. Perhaps one of the best parts about this package is that with all the power, one would expect a gas guzzler, but that just isn't the case. Set the cruise to 70 and it'll return 30-32mph highway. That is incredible in a high performance mid-size car.

The transmission.... ok, more on part of this later. The transmission itself is an amazing performer. GM really does make some of the best automatics. The shifting is so percise, just at the right time and so natural. The car has a button on the shifter which turns "performance shift" on and off. When off, the car behaves rather normally. If you are driving and you nudge the gas, the trans holds the same gear and you accelerate from increased engine power. Shifts are smoother (though overall firmer due to the shift kit) and it has a more laid back feel.

Turn Performance Shift on however, and it really changes the feel of the car. now when driving a quick nudge of the gas causes the transmission to quickly downshift one gear and accelerate quick. Running wide open causes it to shift far quicker then a manual could be shifted, almost instantly. The trans shifts so quick it sends a jolt through the entire car to warn you that you'll be introduced to the back of the seat before you realize what just happened. If you are loafing along at 35mph, have performance shift on and floor it - the car dosen't fool around, it quickly downshifts into 1st, barks the tires, pins you in the seat and and winds out to redline just as it slams into 2nd and it just keeps going. I am sure the shifting of the trans, both on and off performance shift would be more subtle without the shift kit and heavy duty parts - but I like it.

The Ram-Air hood is functional. It is fiberglass IIRC and as such, much lighter then the factory hood. The front facing scoops are ducted to allow to be hooked up to the airbox for a true CAI, my father has the original airbox in place though. The rear scoops are open to the engine bay and allow heat to escape.

The girl saw the "GTP Supercharged" badge on the door and asked what it means, so I schooled her on car-related forced induction.....

Also seen in this picture, the Grand Prix never came with a factory strut bar, while the Regal did. Early on my father bought a factory strut bar, which required a couple holes to be drilled and installed it on the car.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/NYsep035.jpg

Behind the wheel.

It is very apparent that Pontiac really was trying to be the "drivers car" divsion of GM, the American BMW. Perhaps the saddest part about this was you could just see where they really tried, but were just held back so much from the bean counters at GM and the parts bin use.

The gauges were pretty much the last of the run using the similar gauges Pontiac carried over from the 80s. I used to dislike them, but now they are alright. The cluster gear designations are nice, and I'm unsure why Pontiac used a mechanical odometer in this car. Overall, the gauges just looked dull, and I couldn't quite figure it out at the time, but now I see it - they are just thrown on the dash... nothing fancy around them to seperate or emphasise the individual gauges - which in a "drivers" car is a nicely added touch.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/NYsep006.jpg

The car has a Head-Up display, which projects various information on the windsheild. It has it's own dimmer control and you can move it up and down. It tells you speed, highbeam, turn signal, low fuel, check gauges and used to display radio information but my father replaced the factory HU with a Monsoon HU which dosen't support the head-up display, so it dosen't do that anymore.

It was really neat, and as such I found myself really not looking down at the gauges much at all. Oh and you are not seeing things - there really is that much of a gap between the HUD and dash. "Blister" comes to mind... but usually they are much smaller.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/NYsep005.jpg

I forgot just how many toys and fancy stuff this car has. Automatic headlights, the info center, HUD, steering wheel controls, performance shift, dual zone electronic climate control (which was later changed to manual), auto dim mirror (something the G6 and Solstice do not have) etc...

Speaking of the auto-dim mirror... well this one was kinda broke, the top lighter portion was no longer dimmable, that wasn't a big deal. What was rather annoying was that this mirror could not be adjusted comfortably. The blister that contains the fisher-price buttons for dome lights and moon roof literally protrude into the view of the mirror.... any lower and then you are staring at the rear deck of the car, so when properly adjusted, about 1/3 of the mirror is blocked along the whole bottom, and the upper 1/3 of the mirror is blocked along the center of the top. I've yet to drive a car that was like this, it was annoying.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/NYsep050.jpg

The car has steering wheel controls. This was the first car I was introduced to them. The buttons feel cheap. On the right is volume up/down, mute (which isn't even a choice on the HU) and play, which is rather pointless, but if there was a CD in and you have the radio on, it would put the CD in. On the left is seek up/down (which IIRC is track up/down if CD is in), preset selection (kinda pointless to have alongside seek, no?) and AM/FM which changes from, well am/fm1,2 and goes back to radio if there is a CD playing.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/NYsep062.jpg

Perhaps I couldn't be complaining much about the steering wheel controls on this car if I didn't own a car with steering wheel controls myself, my '96 Lincoln Town Car.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/Lincoln/PDR_0939.jpg

The left side of the wheel had buttons too, but that was for cruise control. Besides the buttons on the Lincoln having a much better, more positive feel, there was something else. On first look - the Pontiac has more radio buttons on the steering wheel, the Lincoln just has a button to go through presets, no seek etc...

But while driving the Pontiac I noticed something, when the windows and sunroof were closed, the climate control was set to auto. The whole idea of steering wheel controls is to keep your hands on the wheel, and no fussing with stuff while driving. Thats great that I don't need to reach to change radio volume, but I was still reaching even further to change the interior temp between 70-74 as the day went from warm to cold etc... That made me think back to the Lincoln and realize that radio steering wheel controls alone are rather pointless, and are much better when joined by climate control, controls.

GM addressed this in some Buicks, such as my mothers/stepfathers '98 Park Ave (not their car in picture, but same wheel setup)

http://i.ebayimg.com/10/!!gbkGy!EGE~$(KGrHqJ,!gwE)CWlHZ4cBMe6W0vjm!~~_4.JP G

The info center is neat. Of course minimal things on this car have went this far without breaking, and the backlights on this display would be one of them. I know my father replaced them atleast twice. One thing I didn't like was in evening/overcast coniditons. Normally the display is bright and easy to see, but if it gets darker and you turn the parking/headlights on for the gauges to be lit up (car has DRL) the info display dims to the point of being hard to read... so I was having to choose between non-backlit gauges/rest of interior and easy to rear info display, or backlit interior and too dimmed info display. It has a quick-reacting boost gauge, 4 choices: avg MPG, fuel used, range and oil life. Tells you if performance shift is on or off and the little car displays if either door is open, trunk open and low on washer fluid. On the dash are lights for low fuel, low coolant and low engine oil. When you run low on fuel, the car chimes, the low fuel light comes on the dash, the gas pump light comes on the HUD and the info screen switches to range and says "low". It's a fancy display, but IMO has rather basic fuel info details. The traction control is a rather advanced system that uses both the brakes and ignition timing. Turning TCS off prevents the brakes from slowing down the spinning wheel, but the computer will still retard ignition timing, thus keeping a form of traction control when turned off.

As for the display and engine, this was rather routine for a 70mph highway cruise

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/NYsep052.jpg

I remember when my father first got XM and installed this in the car - IIRC it's one of the first XM receivers for the car. The organge backlight blends well with the Pontiacs interior at night, though the placement dosen't allow you to see it when driving. It is wired into the radio using an FM modulator.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/NYsep010.jpg

As for the sound system - very good. The stock HU was replaced with a Monsoon unit, which dosen't work with the radio display info for the HUD but has a better built in amp. The front door speakers and tweeters are stock, though my father added an extra set of tweeters to the dash. The rear speakers are upgraded Monsoon speakers, I don't know if he said they are 2 or 3-way, but he also added a set of tweeters to the back as well. Overall it sound very good, crisp highs and impressive bass for no sub, then again it has been a while since I have been inside of a properly enclosed car and listened to music. My Jeep and BMW are horrible platforms for a properly setup sound system.

Night Wolf
09-07-10, 10:32 PM
Mmmmm, pullied Eaton superchargers and GM FWD hub assemblies = $$$$ for your local mechanic.

Smaller pulleys are hard on the bearings and coupler.

I wouldn't touch a modded 3800S/C car with a 10ft pole.

Me either. I asked my father if he was interested in selling the car, he said no. I asked him a few more times, he said no. I know it'll end up like his Fiero - and not getting used, I wouldn't even seek this car on my own but just because I know how it's been maintained and is a cool car is reason.

I know a rear wheel bearing was making noise when he test drove it in '01, and just before I got there he replaced the replaced wheel bearing again as well as the replaced fuel pump again. He mentioned something about replacing the front wheel bearings as well. Like I said, this car was problematic.


Yeah those late model Corollas are garbage. They make everything feel like it was dipped in syrup, including the steering and suspension, and the interiors on the 90s models were way better.

I hate them, but old Corollas are cars you can safely suggest to non-car people.

I was really surprised. I was not thrilled about the '07 with ~27k miles.... and it was such a contrast to the '98 with 210k miles. Like I said, for most of us here it is not an appealing car... but I can see beyond that and see what the car was made for, and mostly used for, and for *those* purposes - it really is an impressive car.


Neat story Rick. Just an FYI, power/heated passenger seats were never available in the GTPs, that's one reason I went with the GS over the GTP. I always thought it was weird that they offered it (and sold a lot of them) on the driver's side, but never the passenger side.

Why'd the supercharger "go out"? I thought they were pretty bulletproof if you serviced the fluid once every two years or so. I do know that wheel bearings are common on these, as are transmissions if you do a lot of burnouts with them.

Did not know that. I remember my father saying something about the power/heated passenger seat being an option this car didn't have, so I figured it as such. I agree why they would do that - as in not even make it an option.

As for the supercharger, I can ask my father specifically. IIRC it started to make noise and he fully rebuilt it himself replacing bearings and such, I think he even had to open it up a 2nd time. From everything I heard, these are reliable units, so I dunno if it it just this car or what. He said the supercharger was low on oil when he checked it before I took it for the weekend, so he topped it off.


Misleading thread title is misleading.

You are not Jesda.

Try waiting for the rest of the posts to be typed up. This forum has a 15-pic limit per posts.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
09-07-10, 10:41 PM
Neat review! I love the performance shift button on my GS, and it acts just like you say it does. Without perf shift on, it acts normally and lets you use the deep reserve of torque to accelerate, but with perf shift on, it downshifts NOW and it's very quick on the trigger. Without the shift kit and stuff, I am not able to chirp the tires from a 35mph roll. I have however been able to spin all the way through first gear before. :D

When I first started thinking about buying an S/C 3800 car, I looked at the GTP's first, and I liked the idea of the visual boost gauge as something cool to draw your eye, but you never know the exact amount of PSI that it's running, and since I'm a "hard cold numbers" kinda guy, I like how the GS's say the exact amount of pressure it's running into the intake at any minute. I do really like how the GTP's steering wheel has those designated hand grips that make aggressive driving a lot easier, whereas the GS doesn't have that and it's not nearly as comfortable over the long run.

How the heck do you guys get 30-32 MPG? The best I ever got was 28 MPG, and that was about 120 miles, 70 of them in the 70mph zone, and the rest in the 60 mph zone.

Destroyer
09-07-10, 10:43 PM
The happenin':

I flew up to NY for 4 days for two main reasons, to visit my grandfather in critical care, and to visit my girlfriend. She picked me up at the airport and we drove around in her car for the first day. Her driving is pretty bad to the point of getting me sick, so she told me to drive. Her vehicle is universally praised by many - Toyota Corolla. Her particular car is a beat up 1998 with 210k miles. Probably the worst part of the whole thing is just how much she likes the car.... and Toyota, and Corollas in general. I named this Corolla Lola, Lola the Corolla, which is what I name all Corollas, same name for same bland car.

The plan was for us to spend the weekend in Lake George, NY. My father is a huge Pontiac fan, and as such is very unhappy that Pontiac is going bye bye. This caused him to buy (two) brand new Pontiacs, a G6 GT hardtop convertible (automatic) and a Solstice GXP manual (obvioulsy very nice). I am not a fan of the G6 in general, and I'd personally choose a Sky over a Solstice, but it was still nice. The last, and only car he ever bought brand new was a 1974 Grand Prix, and while in need of restoration, he still has.

The Car:

In 1991 my father bought an '88 Fiero Formula, that car remained his (car) daily driver until 2001. It was retired with 160k miles and just like all his other cars, he still has it. In 2001, I was with him when he bought a just off 3-year lease 1999 Grand Prix GTP with 38k miles. He wanted a 2-door, which is why he wanted the '99 and also why he didn't want a Bonneville. The car had all options except heated/power passenger seat and trunk mounted CD-changer. This car was his (car) daily driver for the next 10 years until a couple months ago when he bought the G6 and Solstice, and now with 151k miles, is retired from daily driver status. I tease him and say it'll end up just like the Fiero - keep it on the road for a couple years but never use it, then it just sits.

This car is/was by all means of the name, a lemon. At this point not only has nearly all mechanical and electrical things broke once, but in some cases, the same thing was 2-3 times. He likes this car and in a similar case with my Lincoln, just kept fixing things as they broke to the point that most any sane person would have gotten rid of the car a long time ago. I've driven this car only a couple times in the past. I've been out of NY since 2005 and got my license in 2003.

My father maintains and modifies his vehicles similar to myself.... or would that be I similar to him? Either way, if something is broke, it gets fixed. All the work is done by ourselves and there is a lot of attention to detail. As for mods, they are subtle and tasteful that "could be stock" to the unknowing.

I don't know the full list of mods this car has, but the ones I remember: smaller s/c pully, u-bend delete with full 3" exhaust, special engine/trans computer tune. Suspension is stock with Monroe Sensatrac struts. Not sure about brake pads, but rotors are drilled and there are braided stainless steel brake lines.

The list of things fixed/replaced is just insane. Look up an entire parts breakdown for this car and that was pretty much replaced. The only thing that has not given him problems has been the engine. Just the engine, as in the block and heads. He rebuilt the supercharger once or twice, wheel bearings, A/C, brakes, suspension, steering etc... The original trans started slipping around 100k, this was when I still lived in NY, so I helped him remove the trans and he had a shop rebuilt it. They used defective parts and shortly after it was reinstalled, it had to be removed. The trans was then rebuilt with a shift kit and heavy duty parts. All common wear items were beefed up - he wanted a transmission that will not have to be removed again.

With all that said, this car is no longer his baby - he says it is, but I see otherwise. Honestly I was a bit surprised when he offered to let me use the car for the weekend, I told him our plans and that it was going to be around 500-miles, and he didn't seem to care... said it would be good for the car to get driven again, and as such - starts my review of the 1999 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP Coupe.

But before that, let me go back to my girlfriends Corolla a bit. Unlike my fathers car, this car has not been maintained the best, all broken things were not fixed etc... and as much as I tried not to like the car.... I found myself really not being able to complain about much. It is a boring car, yes... but that is just what it is - a "car" made to move people from place to place. It really is the perfect "non-car person" car.

I didn't get on it or drive it hard, but for all purposes, it performed well. I was actually surprised with the engine - in that under normal driving it stayed in the low-mid rev band. Also the trans suprised me - with 210k on the original trans it shifted firm and at the proper points, was quick to downshift and overall performed well. Brakes felt spongey, may need a proper bleed. The car overall though, keeping in mind what it is, was.... ugggghhhh..... impressive.. The factory CD stereo actually sounded decent, it had all the commonly accepted power options, and on the highway at 65 it was rather quiet and rode well. The struts on this car were recently replaced. The car lets you know once you reach 70+ by shaking. She lives 25-miles away from my father, which is over a mountain consisting of twisty roads. The car took these roads well. On the hills the car hunted in and out of overdrive as throttle was needed to speed up and slow down. Simply pushing the O/D off button fixed that and it performed well.

I don't know much about Corollas and if the 1998 rides the same chassis as the 2007 I rented 2 years back.... but as crazy as it sounds, I was actually more impressed with her '98 then the '07. The biggest difference I noticed was the '98 was actually comfortable. The seat actually felt like a seat for a car, where as the '07 felt too upright and like a minivan.

The car also has an outside temp display, I thought that was a neat feature for a 90s econo car.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/cid__0902101757.jpg

The interior was another rather surprising area. Yes, it was rather basic and bland, but it didn't feel cheap. It didn't just creek and reek of cheapness. Again, I was actually impressed.... though to keep the girl from more Corollapraises I kept that comment to myself :shhh:. Perhaps what really was the part that confused me about this cars interior is that it made the '99 Grand Prix feel even cheaper inside (more on this later) but also the brand new G6 and Solstice. It is confusing, because the new G6 and Solstice *look* nicer, with the more modern textures and updated design... but the actual feel. I can't explain it, the feel is just "cheap" hard plastics etc...

I really feel that Toyota's quality has declined since the 90s. It was cars like my girlfriends Corolla that built the Toyota reputation, not as a performance or enthusiest car - but a car that, if maintained.... or not... will run and be mostly problem free. I used to not even allow myself to see that, but I now do. I also now see new Toyotas not being built to this same degree of quality and Toyota trying to ride the public perception of these older models.... but the more time that goes on, the more that perception will continue to drop.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/cid__0902101757a_01.jpg

Just about every panel on this car is damaged - including the roof and A and C pillars. I asked her about some of the more interesting dents and how they got there, she dosen't remember on some of them.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/cid__0902101757b_01.jpg

Poor car:

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/cid__0902101758a_01.jpg

Also something that was interesting - the automatic transmission in this car didn't bother me. In fact.... it was almost normal to just put it in drive and go. I couldn't figure it out at first, and then realized that.... it is just a "car" it is not made to enjoy "driving" it is not made to excel at a particular driving trait, be it fast acceleration or well-balanced handling. It is just a "car" made to get people from one place to another. Once that is accepeted, it is hard to really knock the car. This is also a very different way about how I felt compared to the Grand Prix, and the transmission choice.

To sum up this car:

It feels like as if one bought a small, basic car for transportation and low maintenace/running costs. Any lack of driver feel or "fun to driveness" dosen't matter, because this car was bought for transportation, not for fun. What this car dosen't feel like, which is actually a big deal, is the feeling of "settling" or "well, I can't afford a really fancy car, so I bought this small car - now I have to put up with a car that just feels cheap all over" - because it dosen't. There may be less features or options then a fancy car - but what it does have, feels well-built and the interior of the car has an overall feeling of "quality", not "cheapness". The exact opposite was abundant in not only the '99 Grand Prix, but the new G6 and Solstice as well. Sadly, this wasn't limited to Pontiac, but is a representation of GM as a whole.
I have to agree with your assessments Rick. I had a '94 Camry V6 and later on sold it and bought 2 brand new 2000 Camry's (his/hers, how gay was that?). Well, it turns out that we wished we had 2 '94 Camry's instead. The '94 was a better car through and through. From a driving standpoint it didn't compare but to be fair the '94 was a V6 and '00 models were 4 bangers. Still, the overall dynamics were much better in the '94. Styling-wise I liked the '94 better and interior-wise I liked the older one better by a long shot. Of course this is all in retrospect. At the time I welcomed a change but lived to regret that decision.

More recently I drove in my buddies '09 Camry V6. Surprisingly quick but sadly, the interior really felt cheap and the styling, while up to date and not really ugly, looks like almost any other car in that segment of the market. :bouncy:

ga_etc
09-07-10, 11:06 PM
I still wonder why GM never offered the S/C 3800 cars with a manual trans.

Stingroo
09-07-10, 11:11 PM
You are not Jesda.

Try waiting for the rest of the posts to be typed up. This forum has a 15-pic limit per posts.

Whoa. Chill, panties are not designed to be worn in bunches. :nono:

I~LUV~Caddys8792
09-07-10, 11:25 PM
I still wonder why GM never offered the S/C 3800 cars with a manual trans.

They really should have. Many people say that a sporty sedan isn't a true sports sedan unless it's got a manual, I'm sure Rick would agree with that. I also know that the Maxima was one of the GTP's biggest competitors, and those were always available with the manual, so by that logic, I'd think that Pontiac (and GM) lost out on a lot of sales to the Maxima (and others) because of that. Maybe they didn't offer a manual at the time that would sit transverse and handle all that power.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
09-07-10, 11:25 PM
I still wonder why GM never offered the S/C 3800 cars with a manual trans.

They really should have. Many people say that a sporty sedan isn't a true sports sedan unless it's got a manual, I'm sure Rick would agree with that. I also know that the Maxima was one of the GTP's biggest competitors, and those were always available with the manual, so by that logic, I'd think that Pontiac (and GM) lost out on a lot of sales to the Maxima (and others) because of that. Maybe they didn't offer a manual at the time that would sit transverse and handle all that power.

Jesda
09-07-10, 11:29 PM
The 90s Grand Prixs and Grand Ams, inside and out, make me think someone at Pontiac walked through a toy store for design inspiration. The buttons, displays, and switches look like they were intended for mental midgets. The ribbing on the older ones and the ridiculous wavy tail lights appeal to a segment of the population I don't usually care to associate with.

Its too bad, because they drive well and have respectable reliability, and I had no idea they could be packed with so many gadgets. 15 and 20 year old Pontiacs are still plentiful, reliably and faithfully taking their owners to cosmetology school or the nearest Walgreens to purchase Sudafed.

Night Wolf
09-07-10, 11:40 PM
The interior: Cheap and pathetic. There is no other way to slice it, sugarcoat it or mention it. This was not a cheap car when new, there is no excuse for the level of cheapness throughout the entire interior. I really don't know how else to say it. Everything you com into contact with when driving reeks of cheapness. The entire armrest/consol wiggles and creeks when driving - and thats if you aren't touching it. The shifter wiggles side to side, the door mounted buttons feel cheap, the buttons literally feel like you are playing with a childs toy. I mean, I don't know how else to explain it and its been so long since I have been in this car that I forgot just how bad it was. I can honestly say that the interior in my bare bones Jeep is built to a (much) higher quality overall (both models were new for '97) but it just dosen't stop there.... my girlfriends '98 Corolla dosen't feel as cheap and if you want to get even more into it, the fit and feel of my basic 1994 Isuzu truck was much improved over thi car. It can only be fully experienced by sitting in the car and using it - not by looking at pictures. Yes an interior picture of my '94 Isuzu truck and this Grand Prix side by side would show the Pontiac looking so much better, but it dosen't show the feel and flat out cheapness.

It dosen't just stop there - panel gaps are huge. I used to think this wasn't a big deal, but literally they are gaps. The plastics are not soft or anything, but hard plastics - same with the vinyls. The interior in my 1990 BMW (at a time when BMW was not nearly focused on luxury as they are now) not only feels so much better using the same materials - plastic and vinyl, but is much more durable.

It dosen't stop there.... and I am only going to talk about the seats right now, as this sorta ties into the overall comfort of the car...

As a kid, I was inthe back alot on trips. I remember the car being uncomfortable in the back. At times when I was in the passeger seat for longer trips, I remember it being uncomfortable.

The seats are uncomfortable period. They offer minimal support and next to no cushion. This is noticed just sitting in the car. Once you are in the car on a ~3-hour roadtrip, you realize just how horrible they are.

The drivers seat is 6-way power with manual recline, manual headrest and power lumbar control (up/down and in/out). I could not get the seat in a comfortable position no matter what It was impossible, it just wasn't comfortable, the bottom, the back, lumbar, headrest. When I told my father about that his response was "yeah.... they are not that comfortable... you just grow to get used to it". I don't mean they are just uncomfortable - I mean that my body actually hurts after a 3-hour ride.

To put it into perspective, when I drove my Jeep from GA to NY, an ~18hour drive, a seat with only 2 manual controls - forward/back and recline. I was far more comfortable in the seat and my body was not hurting after that distance.

If this was my car, I would try to find seats from a Bonneville or something that shared interior design.... or swap in the seats from a worn out '98 Corolla.... I would do something, but they were horrible. The seats were most likely marketed as "leather" but they really should have just called it "pleather" they put the "P" in "pleather" more then Lincoln managed in my '96 Town Car.... which was saying a lot to begin with.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/NYsep030.jpg

Highway discomfort didn't stop there. Because the car is a 2-door (yes the door hinges are sagging, my father has new ones to install) the seat belt is far back. GM was kind enough to have the B-pillar mount point fixed - that means non adjustable.... here:

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/NYsep047.jpg

I'm 5'8 and the friggin seat belt was riding up along my neck the whole time. There was no changing it. It was uncomfortable. The only way to stop the feeling of the seatbelt on my next was to pull my shirt up past the belt. My Jeep offers a similar feeling, but someone at Chrysler must have gotten laid the night before and came up with the bright idea of installing adjustable/sliding seat belt points which allow you to adjust the seat belt to not ride on your neck - crazy idea.

Yes, the entire car feels just as fisher-price as it looks:

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/NYsep007.jpg

The electronic climate control broke, naturally. I remember it cost my father a lot of money to buy a new one. That was when he first got the car too. The climate control problems didn't just stop at the panel either - the A/C compressor has been replaced a few times too.

There is a blister on the door that contains the window, lock and mirror buttons. The tab at the top broke, so the whole panel sorta flopped around, my father glued it but it broke again. I guess it really dosen't make a difference as it still feels cheap. The directional stalk actually dosen't feel cheap like the rest of the car - that may be because it was shared with other divsions, so perhaps GM wanted to spend an extra 3 bucks and make it feel not as cheap... or because it broke and was replaced with a new one so its not as old as the rest of the car.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/NYsep008.jpg

The shifter wiggles side to side, yet it is only supposed to go forward and back. The coating on the shifter selection area started to peel away when the sunroof was leaking water on it. To replace that, the whole consol needs to come off and the entire part, not just the little display window needs to be changed. I remember my father saying it wasn't worth it and just started picking at the rest of the coating to make it look uniform... I guess he gave up.

In Pontiac's defense, atleast they didn't use the same junky shifter Chevy used in nearly every vehicle they made from the Cavilier to the Corvette... the shifter actually had a good feel to it.... well, more like "could have been a good feel" as using it just felt cheap.

In the front of the consol, just behind the shifter is a flip out cup holder for two cups. One side of it broke. Even before it broke it was still cheap and only able to hold cans... you could fit larger fast-food cups in it, but then it would cause the entire consol to wiggle and creek more, plus they were prone to tipping over.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/NYsep009.jpg

You can really tell there is a driver-oriented theme to this car, which is nice.... but it is just executed in a sea of cheapness. You can almost access what you need from the glove box - with it closed.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/NYsep032.jpg

The car does have a nice airy open feel though. I don't like the sunroof design, as the glass goes above the roof instead of in. As such given the open sunshade area, only about 2/3 of it is actually open... and it is positioned so far back that it is around/behind shoulder level.... the thought of "why bother" comes to mind.

I used to not like the horizontal/diagonal lines on the door panels, but I guess it sorta goes with the "sporty" nature of the car. The overall interior just looks so dull and monotone though... woodgrain plastic dosen't belong in this car, but some sublte use of stainless or aluminum trim could have really dressed it up.... but GM wasn't doing that to their cars at time.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/NYsep034.jpg

ted tcb
09-07-10, 11:48 PM
Nice, honest reviews, Rick.
I appreciated your take on the old Corolla, taking the car at face value for what it is .... dependable, inexpensive
transportation. How many of it's competitors are still on the road (Neon?), still rolling along with virtually no
diciplined maintenance schedule?

Out of curiousity, how has the folding top held up on the G6 ... any dealer adjustments needed yet?

As an aside, sorry to hear about your grandfather's condition.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
09-07-10, 11:55 PM
I agree with you 100% on the interior Rick. CHEAP! Overall, I think the dashboard flows nicer than the Regals do, but the Regals are built a lot better, and I'd hardly consider those great. I spoke to a guy with a 13 second GTP and a 13 second GS at a car show this summer, and asked him his opinion on them both and he agreed with us, but he said the reason why is because the Pontiacs were built somewhere in the midwest (Kansas? Missouri?) and the Regals were built in Ontario. I guess the standards are higher in Canada? I forget why. But it's fascinating to compare them considering they're both GM products and were both in the $25,000-$27,000 range when new. My dad's '97 Lumina had better materials and a better overall interior build quality than the Grand Prix, and it was a way cheaper car when new. And it's not just yours either, they're all like that too for some odd reason.

What bugged me the absolute most about these Grand Prix is how terrible the seats are. There's nothing "bucket" to them, they're just FLAT and thin, with almost NO padding anywhere. Even with the lumbar, the comfort does not even come close to the Regal (they never had lumbar in those for some odd reason), but atleast the driver's seat is heated and I've gotta give it to Pontiac for offering a tan interior, as that was never an option on the GS, only grey or charcoal.

Destroyer
09-07-10, 11:58 PM
The interior: Cheap and pathetic. There is no other way to slice it, sugarcoat it or mention it. This was not a cheap car when new, there is no excuse for the level of cheapness throughout the entire interior. I really don't know how else to say it. Everything you com into contact with when driving reeks of cheapness. The entire armrest/consol wiggles and creeks when driving - and thats if you aren't touching it. The shifter wiggles side to side, the door mounted buttons feel cheap, the buttons literally feel like you are playing with a childs toy. I mean, I don't know how else to explain it and its been so long since I have been in this car that I forgot just how bad it was. I can honestly say that the interior in my bare bones Jeep is built to a (much) higher quality overall (both models were new for '97) but it just dosen't stop there.... my girlfriends '98 Corolla dosen't feel as cheap and if you want to get even more into it, the fit and feel of my basic 1994 Isuzu truck was much improved over thi car. It can only be fully experienced by sitting in the car and using it - not by looking at pictures. Yes an interior picture of my '94 Isuzu truck and this Grand Prix side by side would show the Pontiac looking so much better, but it dosen't show the feel and flat out cheapness.

It dosen't just stop there - panel gaps are huge. I used to think this wasn't a big deal, but literally they are gaps. The plastics are not soft or anything, but hard plastics - same with the vinyls. The interior in my 1990 BMW (at a time when BMW was not nearly focused on luxury as they are now) not only feels so much better using the same materials - plastic and vinyl, but is much more durable.

It dosen't stop there.... and I am only going to talk about the seats right now, as this sorta ties into the overall comfort of the car...

As a kid, I was inthe back alot on trips. I remember the car being uncomfortable in the back. At times when I was in the passeger seat for longer trips, I remember it being uncomfortable.

The seats are uncomfortable period. They offer minimal support and next to no cushion. This is noticed just sitting in the car. Once you are in the car on a ~3-hour roadtrip, you realize just how horrible they are.

The drivers seat is 6-way power with manual recline, manual headrest and power lumbar control (up/down and in/out). I could not get the seat in a comfortable position no matter what It was impossible, it just wasn't comfortable, the bottom, the back, lumbar, headrest. When I told my father about that his response was "yeah.... they are not that comfortable... you just grow to get used to it". I don't mean they are just uncomfortable - I mean that my body actually hurts after a 3-hour ride.

To put it into perspective, when I drove my Jeep from GA to NY, an ~18hour drive, a seat with only 2 manual controls - forward/back and recline. I was far more comfortable in the seat and my body was not hurting after that distance.

If this was my car, I would try to find seats from a Bonneville or something that shared interior design.... or swap in the seats from a worn out '98 Corolla.... I would do something, but they were horrible. The seats were most likely marketed as "leather" but they really should have just called it "pleather" they put the "P" in "pleather" more then Lincoln managed in my '96 Town Car.... which was saying a lot to begin with.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/NYsep030.jpg

Highway discomfort didn't stop there. Because the car is a 2-door (yes the door hinges are sagging, my father has new ones to install) the seat belt is far back. GM was kind enough to have the B-pillar mount point fixed - that means non adjustable.... here:

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/NYsep047.jpg

I'm 5'8 and the friggin seat belt was riding up along my neck the whole time. There was no changing it. It was uncomfortable. The only way to stop the feeling of the seatbelt on my next was to pull my shirt up past the belt. My Jeep offers a similar feeling, but someone at Chrysler must have gotten laid the night before and came up with the bright idea of installing adjustable/sliding seat belt points which allow you to adjust the seat belt to not ride on your neck - crazy idea.

Yes, the entire car feels just as fisher-price as it looks:

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/NYsep007.jpg

The electronic climate control broke, naturally. I remember it cost my father a lot of money to buy a new one. That was when he first got the car too. The climate control problems didn't just stop at the panel either - the A/C compressor has been replaced a few times too.

There is a blister on the door that contains the window, lock and mirror buttons. The tab at the top broke, so the whole panel sorta flopped around, my father glued it but it broke again. I guess it really dosen't make a difference as it still feels cheap. The directional stalk actually dosen't feel cheap like the rest of the car - that may be because it was shared with other divsions, so perhaps GM wanted to spend an extra 3 bucks and make it feel not as cheap... or because it broke and was replaced with a new one so its not as old as the rest of the car.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/NYsep008.jpg

The shifter wiggles side to side, yet it is only supposed to go forward and back. The coating on the shifter selection area started to peel away when the sunroof was leaking water on it. To replace that, the whole consol needs to come off and the entire part, not just the little display window needs to be changed. I remember my father saying it wasn't worth it and just started picking at the rest of the coating to make it look uniform... I guess he gave up.

In Pontiac's defense, atleast they didn't use the same junky shifter Chevy used in nearly every vehicle they made from the Cavilier to the Corvette... the shifter actually had a good feel to it.... well, more like "could have been a good feel" as using it just felt cheap.

In the front of the consol, just behind the shifter is a flip out cup holder for two cups. One side of it broke. Even before it broke it was still cheap and only able to hold cans... you could fit larger fast-food cups in it, but then it would cause the entire consol to wiggle and creek more, plus they were prone to tipping over.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/NYsep009.jpg

You can really tell there is a driver-oriented theme to this car, which is nice.... but it is just executed in a sea of cheapness. You can almost access what you need from the glove box - with it closed.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/NYsep032.jpg

The car does have a nice airy open feel though. I don't like the sunroof design, as the glass goes above the roof instead of in. As such given the open sunshade area, only about 2/3 of it is actually open... and it is positioned so far back that it is around/behind shoulder level.... the thought of "why bother" comes to mind.

I used to not like the horizontal/diagonal lines on the door panels, but I guess it sorta goes with the "sporty" nature of the car. The overall interior just looks so dull and monotone though... woodgrain plastic dosen't belong in this car, but some sublte use of stainless or aluminum trim could have really dressed it up.... but GM wasn't doing that to their cars at time.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/NYsep034.jpgA very good friend of mine had a '98 GTP (he later got into Mustangs in a big way and sold me his blown '04 Mach 1). Anyway, he pulled up to my house in this silver w/dark grey interior pile of crap and was all excited about it when he got it. I didn't feel a thing when I saw it. When I drove in it, I thought it moved well for what it is but there was no way in hell I'd ever own one. The interior is just as cheap as Rick describes, it was an insult to any enthusiast. Let me just say that the division known as Pontiac died many years before this car was made and now will be remembered only in our memories (RIP and thank god). To me, the GTP was a good performer and that's where it ended, the car as whole, was a piece of crap! I drove a '96 Trans Am convertible and had the same feelings for it. That Pontiac Fisher Price shit was getting old. :bigroll:

I~LUV~Caddys8792
09-08-10, 12:04 AM
What's sad is for many of us younger members, that's the only Pontiac we knew.

In all reality, I do like the 97-03 GTP's, more so than the newer ones, even though the build quality is far improved on those. Those were too garish looking, and the 97-03's had a real handsome exterior & interior design, marred with shoddy build quality and horrific materials. Aside from the Trans Ams, 97-03 GTP's, G8's and 92-99 SSEi's, I don't like modern Pontiacs.

Jesda
09-08-10, 12:41 AM
http://blog.mlive.com/autoblog/2007/11/medium_rogersmith.jpg

Though these cars came out years after Smith left General Motors, the move to cheap cookie cutter cars began under his leadership. I sometimes wonder if Roger was secretly hired by the Japanese to ruin Detroit from the inside out.

orconn
09-08-10, 01:06 AM
Actually Detroit and GM didn't need Roger Smith to help them on their quest to lose market share to Japanese auto makers. The moribund corporate cultures at GM, Ford and Chrysler were more than capable of fail;ing to realise and cope with competitors that were delivering higher quality cars at lower cost to the consumer.

In all fairness to good old Roger, the cars of the 1980's were already designed and poised to market when Roger ascended the throne. The crappy quality had long been thought enough to satisfy the American public and the crummy engines of the era were a response to tightening fuel economy regulations. Roger Smith supposedly attempted to reform some of the smug out of touch corporate culture at GM, but like so many attempted reformers of other large moribund organizations (the national security establishment CIA, NSA, and FBI) he was overcome by the resistance to change and defense of long established firfdoms within the corporation. So Roger goes down as a failure, or worse "one the the worst American CEOs of all time."

But there is no denying that Detroit was producing pretty miserable cars in the eighties ..... with only a few bright spots to light the way!

Night Wolf
09-08-10, 01:20 AM
Driving: I saved this part for closer to the end. It is the part that really has me confused.

I had to ask my father if the suspension was lowered or modified in any way. He said he replace the factory struts with Monroe Sensatracts but that was it. He said the car rode/handled the same way when new too.

The GT and GTP have a different suspension then the SE. The suspension is firm. Not just firm, but harsh. Not harsh in a good way... harsh like.... uncomfortable harsh.

Highway: The car is quiet as far as wind and engine noise. The car is extremely uncomfortable due to the seat, but it dosen't stop there. The suspension is horrible for highway travel. The car jolts with every bump in the road. Ok, so it's a performance suspension - but it dosen't end there. Every bump, expansion joint or otherwise imperfection in the road literally resonates through the entire car. You feel the car hit a bump, but then you hear it throughout the whole car. It dosen't soak up the miles well. I would say the overall bumpiness driving down the highway is equal to my lifted Jeep..... yet while I feel the bumps in the Jeep, it is not accompanied by the echoing tin can sound throughout the car. For that reason, the seats and the seat belt - I prefer my lifted Jeep TJ for extended highway travel - if comfort was the only concern - that is, not talking about fun to drive (Jeep), fuel mileage (Pontiac), ease of conversation/listening to music (Pontiac) etc... From a strictly comfort standpoint, overall, between the vehicle and seat, My Jeep dosen't only slightly beat the Pontiac - it far surpasses it.

I had mixed emotions when driving it too, I had the windows and sunroof closed for about 60% of the highway travel, which just allows you to hear the bumps in the road even more. While going on an extended roadtrip with my girl next to me, I started to enjoy what a proper enclosed car offers again. Not a lot, but a little... and it was mostly due to just how well the music sounded and how little background noise was there - it was neat to drive long distances listening to good quality music as I am a big fan of music and convertibles are poor vehicles to reproduce music, it is something I have to give up. That, along with my overal dislike of this particular car for highway travel made me start to miss my Lincoln - because this exact type of driving is what that car was built to do, and excelled at.

To sum up the highway travel - I would not buy this car, I would buy a proper luxury car. The engine power and sporty handling mean squat on the highway. The more highway miles I put on the Grand Prix, the more I missed my Town Car

So the car is horrible as a highway cruiser. But how about the performance?

This is where the car does excel. However, this is also where I am going to need to seperate how the car itself performs, and my impressions/feeling of driving this car in a spirited manor. In the past I found the W-body to be rather quirky, GM picked a decent chassis to build a sporty performance coupe off of though.

The roads I got to test out the spirited driving was going over the mountain between my girlfriends place and my fathers. It is a 2-lane road with a posted 55-mph limit full of all sorts of twisties - going up one way and down the other.

The braking was excellent, dunno how much was due to the various upgrade my father did, but the brakes were very good - keeping in mind I am used to driving my Jeep, which is known for horrible brakes.

The steering was interesting. It was good, but offered little road feedback. I liked the steering ratio and it made spirited driving comfortable. I noticed something, and I have no answer for why I felt it.... The car itself didn't feel like it wanted to turn - not nearly as bad as an '01 Mustang GT I drove for a weekend.... but entering a turn, it just felt like it was fighting me... the part that I am confused about is that my Jeep feels much more willing to turn then the Grand Prix. Maybe it is due to the steering being assisted more, I don't know. The Grand Prix handles far better then the Jeep.... but it feels like I am wrestling with the car to turn - like it's not natural for it.

The suspension:

This is the little glimer hope for this car. Given the cars size, I was very impressed with the handling. The same suspension that made highway travel noisy and uncomfortable kept the car flat in turns and on the road. It was a different type of handling then I was used to in a car though.... it wasn't an "involved" handling, it was just the fact that the car was able to be driven to high speeds around turns.

But hand in hand with the steering, suspension and brakes in a car made for handling is the....

Transmission: and this is where things really start to get me confused. The thing is, the transmission performs great. It is a superb transmission. But it is an automatic transmission. The same transmission that made accelerating quick going straight to be fun left me feeling so isolated and uninvolved from driving.

At this point I need to also mention the engine.... because the engine is bolted to the transmission. The engine produces so much power, that it'll quickly get the car to high speeds.... triple digit high speeds.... very fast (more on this later).

But besides that.... picture this, you are in this high-powered sporty midsize car, you have an automatic that is in "drive".... sure, turn performance shift on... now you are facing your favorite driving road with a speed limit of 55 that you feel comfortable, and I'll speak the taboo of doing 75-80 on this road... Can the machine handle much faster? Sure... but this is a 2 lane mountain road with sharp turns, lots of other people, and deer.

So with that said, because I can just put the transmission in drive.... or 3rd, to keep it out of overdrive, and turn performance shift on - it does its' own thing. That leaves me to control the steering wheel, gas and brake pedals. Removing the clutch and a real shifter to a manual transmission from a performance car made for handling would be like putting a chasity belt on a hott girl you are going to have a one night stand with. You can have fun, but the amount of fun you can have is severely limited.

The engine produces so much power.... power that can be had at any RPM, that it'll loaf along at 2500-4000RPM while you are canyon carving. Sure you can open it up on the long straights, but around the tight back to back turns there is no way you can run wide open. While you are doing ~60-70mph through these turns, trying to get into the handling, the engine is putting along at a leisurely low RPM. It was odd to be letting off the throttle, turning, then accelerating as I exit... but accelerating is just the engine staying in 3rd (if I put the shifter in 3) and the RPM slowly building as the car was quickly gaining speed.

At first it was fun... the power and the pretty decent handling. But as I got more comfortable with the car I found it to get boring, and fast. Since there was no longer a clutch and a shifter to play with, I was left with the steering.... which didn't offer much feedback and was more like I was making a selection to turn left or right, instead of actually steering the car. Beyond that, I was left with the brakes, which were good.... and the throttle... but the difference from having my foot off the throttle to wanting to accelerate - quickly too, through these twisty mountain roads, was such a limited amount of applied throttle, that it made me feel like I wasn't really involved in driving.... the thrill of going fast was there, but the thrill of driving was not.

To sum it up, there was minimal driver-interaction. You simply "select" drive on the transmission. The engine is so powerful that if you want to go faster all you do is push the gas pedal a little (little) bit more.... then you turn the wheel which is more like selecting the amount of "leftness or rightness" you want. Yes, the car goes fast, the sense of speed is there and I am not going to lie - it was fun... but the thrill..... no.... not thrill, because it is more then that the art ofdriving was not there.

I am not going to pick on Pontiac, this car or GM either. The problem is that major components of what....

and let me emphasise this...

What *I* want in a performance car are missing. The automatic - no matter how well it performs, is an automatic. The engine produces so much power that the fun of trying to squeeze all the power you can out of a lowered powered engine is not there. You don't really need to worry about carrying speed through a turn because within 2 seconds after the turn you can be back to crazy speeds again.

Now the entire time I was carving up the twisties in the Grand Prix.... I couldn't help but think to myself how much I miss my BMW, how much I'd rather be driving it, and how much better it is at performance driving.

Or in other words, to sum it up:

This car performs very well, but leaves so much to be desired. I would not buy this car simply because I wanted a "sporty" car made for handling.


Where I am confused

I really need to emphasise again, because these comments will no doubt stir the pot with some... and this is just my opinion.

Because of the reasons why previously stated about highway travel, this car is a horrible highway car. Because of the reasons above, this car is a horrible "spirited driving" car.

That is just it - what is the point of this car? It is a car that tries to be a sporty performance midsize.... yet it fails at the luxury part needed for highway comfort and it fails at the driver involvement part for spirited driving.

The only reasoning I can come up with is if someone was ONLY able to have one car, and they wanted both a fairly roomy sorta luxury car AND a fun to drive spirited car, then this would be a bridge between the two.

But if I was faced with that choice, I would not settle on this car. I would either get a roomy comfortable highway car that didn't handle well, or a car that was perhaps smaller, not as comfortable and was so much more fun to drive. Better yet, I'd buy an old Miata and an old DeVille and have two seperate cars made to do certain tasks, that flat out beat the Grand Prix, one in the highway comfort area and the other in spirited driving. I would not settle on one car for both highway comfort and spirited driving, I would simply give up and pick one or the other.

Now this is only talking about the Grand Prix. If I really was in a situation where I wanted/needed both a roomy sorta luxury car and a spirited fun to drive performance car, I would probably check out a BMW 5-series of any vintage, whith a manual transmission.

I found myself liking the engine combination so much and the cars dynamics not so much, that given the choices of a supercharged 3800, I would be much more inclined in seeking a Park Avenue Ultra or Riveria.... perhaps even a Bonneville SSEi. I would have to spend a lot of time with the Regal and it would need to have addressed the whole seat/belt/ride comfort issue of the highway before I considered one.

Night Wolf
09-08-10, 01:28 AM
But Rick - what about all the engine power... I mean that had to be fun!

Yes, it was..... because it was new to me. It was fun to gently tap the gas and accelerate to merge - while at te same time my girlfriend was leaning forward to get somthing from the floor and was pushed back.... as she leaned forward again I put the throttle wide open and she was flung back into the seat laughing.

The car would reach 60 in no time. You hit the gas, it was there. Same with 80, heck, same with 100.

I am not sure what the engine is producing now, new it was 260hp? I heard that was underated too, add the s/c pully, exhaust, tune etc... and what 300hp? 320hp? Regardless, I remember when my father first got this car he mentioned how he liked the fact that he was able to pull up to a light and beat the car next to him, but today all sorts of vehicles are approaching that 300hp mark.

I don't care about other vehicles though, I care about the vehicle I drive in the essance that, this car is freakin quick. It accelerates fast under WOT and accelerates fast under part throttle, there is no way around it.

But somewhere in all that quickness I found myself asking "for what?" For what reason do I need to be able to only run my engine wide open for a few seconds from a 40mph roll until I am hitting triple digit speeds?. The engine never really got to run wide open for more then say 6-seconds at a time because I was already well beyond the posted speed limit. Sure having reserve power is nice, and this car was able to pass anything on the highway with a nudge of the throttle - but does it really matter if you need to nudge the throttle or run wide open to go from 70-100 on the interstate?

It just goes back to my logic of how much power you really need in a daily driver. Just how fast do you need to accelerate to triple digit speeds? Yes, I was able to drive the car calmly, but I found myself accelerating unnecessarily quick... not to the car, the engine was loafing along not exceeding 3000RPM, but in general.

I am not used to driving a quiet (....compared to a Jeep with no top/doors and mud tires) vehicle. That combined with gobs of power means if you are not literally paying attention to the speed, be it the HUD or speedo... speen can get away from you, fast.

Sunday night, after my girlfriend and I watched Going The Distance (related to our relationship) we were laughing and joking about parts of the movie as I was driving her back to her house. There was an enterance ramp to a 55-mph highway, I merged, car in front of me was slowing down to exit, so I signaled and got in the passing lane to pass, gently added throttle - car never even downshifted, had the music on and joking... and then I saw a flash of light from the side of the road - NYS Trooper. The girl is good at reminding me that I am going fast, but it happened so quick she wasn't even aware of the speed. As soon as I saw the flash I looked at the HUD (yes, if not paying attention you can overlook it) and I saw 77, I knew I was getting ticketed at that point. Cop clocked the car at 78 but was cool about it and put it down for 75, a lower fine bracket. It was my fault and only my fault but I was annoyed (well laughing) at the fact that I wasn't even trying to go fast, racing or anything, I was simply passing after a merge, not even pushing it, and the car reached high speeds so quickly and easily.

So I haven't gotten a speeding ticket in NY in over 5 years, I drove my jeep over 43k miles and never got ticketed, let alone a speeding ticket, and I put just under 500-miles on the Grand Prix and get a speeding ticket. I am going to find out if the points carry over from state to state and if not, I'll just plead guilty and send it in, that sucks as it is money that will end up being taken away from the BMW project.

It was nice to be in a 2-door GM again though.... with all the quirks, it is still the car, and type of car I grew up with. I have no reason to get another car other then wanting one, but the weekend with the Grand Prix resparked my interest in a 1995 Eldorado ETC - a car I have wanted since I have owned my '93 Coupe DeVille.

Pontiac uses, well Pontiac-red lights at night. I used to really dislike this, as well red in general. Just as I disliked the similar BMW orangishred at night.... the BMW lights grew on me, plus reds in general... and I found myself really liking the red at night, plus the overall "driver oriented" feel of the car, along with GM's abundent use of backlights at night made the car look pretty cool at night.

With this following picture I will show a quirk with the car that I can't figure out, and it bothers me.

The tachometer is not linear. I don't know if this was done to maybe smooth out the tach movement or make it appear better for the driver, but look at the gap between 1-2, then 3-4, then not even from 2-3, but from 2-2.5, and 2.5-3, which changes yet again at 4.5-5, then again at 5-5.5.... why why why? For someone with a mild case of OCD and being interested in tachometers this is annoying as heck!

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/NYsep075.jpg

The cheapish looking gauges in the day turn to rather sharp looking at night

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/NYsep071.jpg

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/NYsep072.jpg

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/NYsep076.jpg

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/NYsep077.jpg

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/NYsep078.jpg

Night Wolf
09-08-10, 01:48 AM
Nice, honest reviews, Rick.
I appreciated your take on the old Corolla, taking the car at face value for what it is .... dependable, inexpensive
transportation. How many of it's competitors are still on the road (Neon?), still rolling along with virtually no
diciplined maintenance schedule?

Out of curiousity, how has the folding top held up on the G6 ... any dealer adjustments needed yet?

As an aside, sorry to hear about your grandfather's condition.

I used to knock Corollas a lot.... not that I experienced them.... yeah, its fun to knock them as a joke - but they really are a good car for what they are. Even though the review between the beat up Corolla dn the Grand Prix is not equal, my overall impressions can be summed up as actually impressed with the Corolla as a whole, and quite disapointed with the Grand Prix as a whole. It's sad to say, but if this neglected beat up Corolla has held up and feels better built then a well cared-for Grand Prix, a car that was atleast two full segments up the food chain.... I can honestly say now that someone must have been crazy to spend money on a then-new Pontiac Sunfire over a Corolla.

I mean I said it, but I just keep thinking about it. The old Corolla is a simple, small, basic car - but atleast it looks like it was put together with quality in mind. I wasn't reminded everytime I opened the window, moved the shifter or pressed a button about the overall cheapness of the car.

I can honestly say, based on just comparing those two cars alone - it's no wonder why Toyota, and the other import companies gained so much market share so quickly in the US, while GM lost so much.

The G6.... I honestly don't even like that car. It looks way too odd outside due to the hardtop. Sitting in it reminds me of the Grand Prix - atleast the fisher-price buttons have been changed... the whole car still feels cheap. The dash and door panels are a very hard plastic etc... The car rides FAR better then the Grand Prix on the highway, but my father is no impressed with the 3900. It performs well enough, but the old higher mileage s/c 3800 overall had more power.... what he is very disapointed at is the fuel mileage. This Grand Prix still gets 30-32mpg, the G6 gets 25.

He really likes the G6 and was saying how well it rode, drove, smooth it felt and how well it was built.... I guess I just couldn't grasp that feeling... I simply said ".....have you driven a newish BMW at all?" His reply was that he likes his American cars, wanted a "last of" Pontiac and isn't interested in imports. It is exactly how I used to feel, no doubt from being into cars and growing up around my father into cars.... I now realize just how closed-minded I used to be and how I am glad I got past that at a rather young age and able to experience such great other cars.

Again, its hard to compare interiors of cars 20 years apart, as designs change, materials are updated etc.... but I can honestly say, that overall sitting in my 1990 BMW 3-series and playing with all the buttons, and coming into contact with all the surfaces, just has a much greater fell of quality then the G6. Just like the old Corolla, my BMW is not using fancy or exotic materials, and it dosen't compare to the level of quality that a new BMW is built to, but I can get out of my BMW and not think to myself "man, I have to settle with this cheap feeling interior....", and the sad part is, in that brand new G6, I still felt that...

....No, even more sad.... is that in the brand new Solstice GXP with 1400miles on it, felt like that... the more I looked around and the more things I touched just made the situation more depressing. My father let me drive the car into town, and it was just as I remember driving a Solstice GXP just over 2 years ago.... but the interior was just so cheap.

As for the hardtop convertible - it is such a complicated design with so much stuff moving, I joked with my father about that thing needing repairs in 10 years, thats when he joked back and said "I'm not touching it - thats when it becomes yours". That car only has 3800 miles on it and they don't put the top down much because my step mother has bad allergies and needs to be in conditioned air.

Thanks for asking about my grand father, he had a stroke, which led to other strokes and isn't doing well. I'm glad I got to visit him when I did.

gdwriter
09-08-10, 01:57 AM
Sorry to hear about your grandfather, Rick, but it's good you could get up to New York to see him. I lost mine 26 years ago, and I still miss him. He was a wonderful man — and you'll appreciate this — he drove an International Scout:

http://www.nhtassoc.org/images/3_9a_05_OctaveDuludeWithCatchofBeaver.jpg

I got my first driving experience when I was 11 with my grandfather's Scout (not this one) out in the field behind the house he built (my grandfather was a carpenter by trade, but by the time he retired, he had a huge vegetable garden and ran his own farmer's market from his porch). And it was a 3-speed stick. I actually did pretty well with it.

I drove it again when I was 15, the last time I saw him. This time, I didn't do so well. I ran over a few corn stalks, which really pissed off my step grandmother. But Grandpa merely harvested the corn from the run-over stalks, and we had them for dinner. Fresh corn-on-the-cob is so good, and to this day, I think of my Grandpa every time I have it.

As for the Performance mode in the W-body, I experienced it in Chad's Regal GS and was very impressed. I wouldn't mind having that in my Seville. It's too bad Pontiac interiors were so cheap and the suspensions weren't properly done. I drove a number of Oldsmobile Intrigues as rental cars, and I really liked them; Olds did a good job balancing ride and handling. Chad's Buick also rides and handles well.

Night Wolf
09-08-10, 02:03 AM
I agree with you 100% on the interior Rick. CHEAP! Overall, I think the dashboard flows nicer than the Regals do, but the Regals are built a lot better, and I'd hardly consider those great. I spoke to a guy with a 13 second GTP and a 13 second GS at a car show this summer, and asked him his opinion on them both and he agreed with us, but he said the reason why is because the Pontiacs were built somewhere in the midwest (Kansas? Missouri?) and the Regals were built in Ontario. I guess the standards are higher in Canada? I forget why. But it's fascinating to compare them considering they're both GM products and were both in the $25,000-$27,000 range when new. My dad's '97 Lumina had better materials and a better overall interior build quality than the Grand Prix, and it was a way cheaper car when new. And it's not just yours either, they're all like that too for some odd reason.

What bugged me the absolute most about these Grand Prix is how terrible the seats are. There's nothing "bucket" to them, they're just FLAT and thin, with almost NO padding anywhere. Even with the lumbar, the comfort does not even come close to the Regal (they never had lumbar in those for some odd reason), but atleast the driver's seat is heated and I've gotta give it to Pontiac for offering a tan interior, as that was never an option on the GS, only grey or charcoal.

You know, that is just the worst part about this entire car.

While not what I would personally look for in a car IE: Automatic transmission or a harsh highway ride, I can get over that and accept the car for what it is.

This car really dosen't let me do that. I think it is an excellent looking car outside. You don't see the muscular mid-sized sporty performance coupes anymore, atleast not much.... it's almost a throwback to the muscle car era, and this car looks flat out good.

Then there is the drivetrain - an excellent engine and transmission combination that gives this aggressive looking car the performance to back it up.

Then you move inside and see an interior themed towards the driver... all looks well....

But the cheap, pathetic interior totally ruins the car. It ruins the car in more ways then the pictures can show - one would need to live with it, even just for a weekend and 500 miles like I did. The great looks are there, the awesome drivetrain is there.... but where you spend (or shouldbe spending) most of the time - in the car.... just reeks of cheapness. Again, it's not that it is a "basic" car - this thing is loaded with features that Cadillacs of simialr years didn't have.... but nearly every "feature" on this car is done so in such a cheap, flimsy way.

I mean, there is NO reason at all why I should even be able to compare the interior fit and finish of a beat up old Corolla, a '94 Isuzu truck or a Jeep.... yet I find myself not only easily being able to make that comparison, but each one of those vehicles - when you are sitting in it and using it - just feels so much more durable. It's not about how fancy it looks or how many toys it has, but just driving the vehicle and using the options/buttons/switchs etc... that the vehicle does have.... that is what makes it so pathetic.

It is just bad enough that I personally see no reason for this car and overall, I like this car. Figure that one out, and if this is how I feel, then it's no wonder the car/brand is no longer around. The sad part is, it really could have been such an awesome car - again not even talking about the transmission, I can get over that in this type of car and there are plenty of people that want automatics.... if this car had an interior worth a darn it would have really been a home-run hit for GM. In comparison if I was cross-shopping a then-new Grand Prix and Maxima.... as great as the Grand Prix looks and as much power as the engine produces... I see myself picking the Maxima... and heck as a bonus you could buy those with a manual transmission.

Aron9000
09-08-10, 02:27 AM
I was looking at Grand Prix's about 7 years ago, looking to get into a late 90's model. Once again that horribly cheap and gimmicky interior just killed it for me. Its not only that it was cheap, but that it had all kinds of cool options that just felt like a damn gimmick since they were so poorly executed. Especially all those light grey plastic buttons, terrible, terrible, terrible.

The 1999 Z28 Camaro I ended up buying had a better put together interior IMO. I also liked that the layout was simpler and less fussy. Seats seemed a bit cushier in the Camaro, and they had slightly bigger bolsters, but they still sucked. Also the Camaro had a smaller trunk, but you could fold the rear seat down and get just as much junk into it as a 2 door Grand Prix, so it wasn't any less practical.

Night Wolf
09-08-10, 02:28 AM
My final post of the series (othen then discussion) is this.

I took some videos of the car at night.

While in Lake George the car developed a problem, under WOT it would not upshift, and instead just bounce off the rev limiter. I wasn't sure what it was, as it would do it with performance shift on or off - yet perform flawlessly otherwise. It wasn't until at night when I ran it WOT again and as the tach went into the yellow area, just before the shift, the headlights and interior lights dimmer - electrical problem.

I talked to my father about it, he said he noticed something quirky with the climate control a couple months back, I asked if he replaced the alternator - he said yeah, then him and my stepmother were on vacation in.... Lake George.

As such, I was not able to get WOT videos of the car running through the gears, part throttle was fine but if WOT, the throttle had to be lifted just before redline so it'll shift.

35ish-75ish in faster then I need to go

7KToqMAQwBg

45ish-80ish (downshift to 2nd, not 1st) in fast, and now I reached about as fast as I'd normally accelerate to on public roads.

ESZcuV1LGfM

Driving through the mountain showing the boost gauge on part throttle.... and this was pretty much the whole spirited driving experience... the engine loafing along effortlessly propelling the car.

s3wrP_4caNQ

Xalk1ZtdafA

FsU28lOOep8

As I returned to my Jeep I saw this... the icing on the cake is the layiness involved - it was dragged without the wheels

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/NYsep081.jpg

My Jeep was just as I left it:

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/NYsep079.jpg

Which was quickly changed into this:

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/NYsep080.jpg

I reversed the speaker pods - music sounds much better now.

Final impressions after returning to the Jeep. I thought I was going to miss the power the most.... and I was surprised when I didn't. Obviously the Jeep is slower - much slower.... yet it never felt like the engine was taxed or struggling, it is simply a slower vehicle designed to be driven as such... I felt no "settling" in the power department from the Grand Prix to the Jeep, given what each vehicle is intended for.

The brakes are a totally different story.... they are horrible on the Jeep and after driving a car with very good brakes once again, it took a lot of getting used to with the Jeep. The front brakes are good, rear brakes are new and entire system flushed/bled, they just suck and with larger tires, they suck more. A big brake kit will fix that, but $1,000 will fix a lot of things.

I then got on the interstate..... it sure was nice to be in a convertible, much less one with no doors again....

.... wait... this thing is freakin comfortable to drive.... I don't feel sore, uncomfortable or beaten up..... damnit it's a lifted Jeep on mud tires, huh?

I missed my Jeep and that was all there was to it. From when I first started the engine I could tell the quality change in the interiors. My Jeep just felt so much more "me". Heck, sitting here right now typing this is making me miss driving my Jeep - not the Grand Prix.

I get so frustrated with commercial air travel.... then parking at ATL, this was just for not even 4 full days

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/misc/Pontiac/NYsep082.jpg

I flew this weekend because I had some Airtran credit to use up. I have no desire, or intentions on flying anymore. My goal is to complete my BMW and that will be my travel vehicle. At 25+mpg highway, it gets nearly twice that of my Jeep. After factoring in gas to/from ATL, parking and airfare, I am pretty much right at the cost in fuel for the BMW up to NY, driving around up there and back down. Add in a rental car and the cost goes way up, without a rental I need to bug others to cart my butt to/from the airport and also bum rides.

It's not just the money, from walking out of my door to walking into my fathers or girlfriends place it is between 7-8 hours. If I drive the BMW straight through it would be about 15-16 hours. Twice the time, yes, but doable as that is a comfortable car that allows the miles to go by very quickly.

For that reason, I plan on driving the heck out of the BMW once completed, driving it anywhere I would need to go/fly, and not flying anymore, unless I just need to be somewhere quick or can't drive there etc... It helps that my girlfriend dislikes flying too and really enjoys roadtrips, and top down driving.

Night Wolf
09-08-10, 02:59 AM
A very good friend of mine had a '98 GTP (he later got into Mustangs in a big way and sold me his blown '04 Mach 1). Anyway, he pulled up to my house in this silver w/dark grey interior pile of crap and was all excited about it when he got it. I didn't feel a thing when I saw it. When I drove in it, I thought it moved well for what it is but there was no way in hell I'd ever own one. The interior is just as cheap as Rick describes, it was an insult to any enthusiast. Let me just say that the division known as Pontiac died many years before this car was made and now will be remembered only in our memories (RIP and thank god). To me, the GTP was a good performer and that's where it ended, the car as whole, was a piece of crap! I drove a '96 Trans Am convertible and had the same feelings for it. That Pontiac Fisher Price shit was getting old. :bigroll:


What's sad is for many of us younger members, that's the only Pontiac we knew.

In all reality, I do like the 97-03 GTP's, more so than the newer ones, even though the build quality is far improved on those. Those were too garish looking, and the 97-03's had a real handsome exterior & interior design, marred with shoddy build quality and horrific materials. Aside from the Trans Ams, 97-03 GTP's, G8's and 92-99 SSEi's, I don't like modern Pontiacs.

Exactly.

My father has been a Pontiac fan since before he started driving. From what I gather, this was the "good" Pontiac. He said he liked Pontiac because it was unqiue and difference - not as common as Chevy, and he was also a fan of Pontiac engines. Saying that for a given displacement Pontiac engines usually produced more power and were better tuned then Chevy, and since they were not as popular, Pontiac fans had to pay more for performance parts which added to the exclusive feeling.

My fathers first car was a '63 Bonnieville 2-door that he rebuilt the engine in when he was ~15. He said he later sold it to a friend who wrecked it and still regrets that. As such he bought a '63 Bonnieville 4-door that is sitting in a large enclosed garage, the car looks just as such and needs a total restoration, but he wont let it go because it means a lot to him.

Then there is his '68 GTO convertible, his high school car... that he still has. This car was sorta-restored back in the 90's then the engine spun a bearing and its been sitting ever since.... he keeps saying he is going to get it back on the road "this year" - for the last 10 years.

'67 LeMans convertible I guess he let an ex-gf use like 30 years ago and hit a deer, but still has the car to fix up, this is sitting next to the '63. Out of all the older Pontiacs he has, I'd have to say this style would be my favorite.

'56 Super Cheif he bought for no reasons 15 years ago and it is sitting outside untouched that he said he is now "trying to sell"

'74 Grand Prix he bought brand new and sometime in the late 80's was parked outside to rot for the next15 years. One day as a kid I convinced him to try and start it - after various basic work ht got it running and driving, has a bent valve or something and needs a total restoration, he won't get rid of this car either.

'74 grand prix... another one, this one is even more rotted out needs to be junked. It was given to him back in the 80s and he said it has a performance built engine in it. I suggested then to remove the engine, store it away and junk the car.... he dosen't want to do that.

two old 70's Grand Am's my aunt drove some time before I was born... actually one of them was my mothers too for a short time before I was born. They have both been sitting outside all these years.

'68 Firebird my aunt ran out of oil and a rod wanted freedom, sitting outside rotting away.

some old 60's Pontiac station wagon sitting outside rotting away.

'88 Fiero Formula that was his daily driver from '91-'01, now sitting in front of the above mentioned '63 with layers of dirt on it.... he says he is going to fix it up nice one day.

'99 GP GTP that will end up like the above mentioned Fiero in a couple years.

brand new G6 and Solstice now.

My grand father owned a lot of property with apartments and lounge/dinning area for parties etc... My father work as the "do/fix everything" guy since he was in his early 20s there. Just before my grand father had my stroke, my father took over the business. The property has various large garages and that is where all this stuff is stored, or outside. These are only his personal Pontiacs from over the years and not the various other vehicles (mostly used for the business one way or another) that have been collected and are in a similar state of disrepair. I can honestly say that none of the money from my grandfather and that business made its' way to me, nor where I am in life and have what I have now from my step-father helping me through tech school and after that making it all on my own.

My father paid ~$13,800 for the '99 GTP in '01, just off 3-year lease with 38k miles. In Jan '09 I bought my 2005 (6/05) Jeep with 40k miles for $13,750 OTD, I thought that was neat.

Night Wolf
09-08-10, 03:15 AM
Sorry to hear about your grandfather, Rick, but it's good you could get up to New York to see him. I lost mine 26 years ago, and I still miss him. He was a wonderful man — and you'll appreciate this — he drove an International Scout:

http://www.nhtassoc.org/images/3_9a_05_OctaveDuludeWithCatchofBeaver.jpg

I got my first driving experience when I was 11 with my grandfather's Scout (not this one) out in the field behind the house he built (my grandfather was a carpenter by trade, but by the time he retired, he had a huge vegetable garden and ran his own farmer's market from his porch). And it was a 3-speed stick. I actually did pretty well with it.

I drove it again when I was 15, the last time I saw him. This time, I didn't do so well. I ran over a few corn stalks, which really pissed off my step grandmother. But Grandpa merely harvested the corn from the run-over stalks, and we had them for dinner. Fresh corn-on-the-cob is so good, and to this day, I think of my Grandpa every time I have it.

As for the Performance mode in the W-body, I experienced it in Chad's Regal GS and was very impressed. I wouldn't mind having that in my Seville. It's too bad Pontiac interiors were so cheap and the suspensions weren't properly done. I drove a number of Oldsmobile Intrigues as rental cars, and I really liked them; Olds did a good job balancing ride and handling. Chad's Buick also rides and handles well.

Those are neat stories about your grandfather. Eariler this year I went to NY and visited family. I spent a lot of time talking with my grand parents about various things, hearing how they met was interesting too.

At the property they have a '68 (or '69?) International pickup with a utility body. My father rebuilt/restored this truck some time ago. Up to this year it was used for plow duty and is showing its age again since the restore. My father finally decided to retire it from plow duty and bought a 2005 Ford F-350 with a blown engine to take over, but still plans on using the International as a pickup truck for trips to lowes etc...

While most of my memories in the truck as a kid were with my father, I would go out with my grand father various times into town and he would drive the truck, it was pretty good. The bench seat is from an early 70's Cadillac and when the shifter is in 2nd it is pressed into the seat. Just this past time I was there my father asked me to move the truck into the garage, it was neat to see it again. It's one of the few vehicles once used for the business not only maintained, but actually used.

I like Oldsmobile, the Intriuge was a neat car. After driving this Grand Prix for the weekend, and looking at Rivs, I am turned away by the bland interior - which pointed me back to the Aurora - a darn good looking car outside..... but incredibly inside too. Go figure, GM actually gets an interior right - then not only discontinues the car but the whole divsion.

A luxury hardtop car.... from GM interests me once again, and I don't know why other then its what I am used to as I enjoy long highway roadtrips with my convertibles. I keep thinking about a '95 Eldorado ETC or a 2nd gen Oldsmobile Aurora as a very possible 3rd car in the future.

Night Wolf
09-08-10, 03:23 AM
Neat review! I love the performance shift button on my GS, and it acts just like you say it does. Without perf shift on, it acts normally and lets you use the deep reserve of torque to accelerate, but with perf shift on, it downshifts NOW and it's very quick on the trigger. Without the shift kit and stuff, I am not able to chirp the tires from a 35mph roll. I have however been able to spin all the way through first gear before. :D

When I first started thinking about buying an S/C 3800 car, I looked at the GTP's first, and I liked the idea of the visual boost gauge as something cool to draw your eye, but you never know the exact amount of PSI that it's running, and since I'm a "hard cold numbers" kinda guy, I like how the GS's say the exact amount of pressure it's running into the intake at any minute. I do really like how the GTP's steering wheel has those designated hand grips that make aggressive driving a lot easier, whereas the GS doesn't have that and it's not nearly as comfortable over the long run.

How the heck do you guys get 30-32 MPG? The best I ever got was 28 MPG, and that was about 120 miles, 70 of them in the 70mph zone, and the rest in the 60 mph zone.

As for the numbers on the boost gauge.... for such a stock application, it dosen't matter nor bother me. Does your car have a gauge with numbers or it is on the digital display? Personally I'd like to see a visual representation regardless of what the number says. The Solstice GXP has a boost selection on the info display and tells psi, IIRC it also has a little bar graph... I'm not a fan of that style.

The steering wheel grips are neath, thats something Pontiac has had on various cars from the 80s.

I have no idea about the mileage, that is just one thing this car has done right since new. While I'm not sold on the idea, my father runs all synthetic fluids in his stuff, I doubt that would make a difference. He says 65-70 and it gets excellent gas mileage, but 72+ and it really starts to go down.

Night Wolf
09-08-10, 03:30 AM
I still wonder why GM never offered the S/C 3800 cars with a manual trans.

The 3800 was such a great engine that it really is messed up the only way to get one with a clutch pedal was in an F-body, and at that point I would skip the V6.

Honda, Toyota and Nissan offered their regular family sedans, both in 4 and 6 cyl flavors with a manual trans. If you want a 90s GM car with a manual transmission you could choose a Cavilier, Camaro or Corvette.

93DevilleUSMC
09-08-10, 05:05 AM
Sorry to hear about your grandfather, Rick.


As for your review, you stated all of the reasons why I hate modern Pontiacs with very few exceptions, and will continue to hate them. Even the 1998 Trans Am I once rode in was swathed in cheap, grimy-looking black plastic that felt like it was just waiting to fall off. Same with a 1995 Grand Am owned by a good friend of mine.
One of the supervisors at work constantly bemoans the fact that Pontiac was disbanded because they now can't make the Firebird. I personally am glad they couldn't build a new Firebird, as they would have found some way to screw it up.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
09-08-10, 08:09 AM
Boy I sure am glad I went with the GS and not the GTP. It's been a while since I drove one, but I remember them being much firmer than the GS. Granted, they would have handled better, but I don't think I could have handled (haha) the tiring rough ride over the long term. It sure is funny how different each W-Body is from another, but I guess that's brand engineering at it's finest.

Bro-Ham
09-08-10, 11:46 AM
Is there a brief, in a nutshell, executive summary of what happened here? :)

hueterm
09-08-10, 02:47 PM
Seriously -- give me a break.

I think the interior criticisms are VERY subjective. For as many criticisms as you're coming up w/on the GTP, I could come up w/just as many on an E30 (which to me looks 2 steps removed from Soviet era Russia) or any Wrangler -- which to me from a comfort level, defines driving misery.

I bought a brand new black '99 GTP w/the camel interior and while I preferred the SSE/SSEi interiors to the GTP, thought the interior was fine. It wasn't a Riviera or an Eldorado, but it was also 2/3 to 1/2 the price, respectively -- with almost equal performance -- AND I could get a true camel interior, not taupe, not light tan, etc. AND it had a usable back seat so that 4 of us could go to lunch from the office in comfort. Infinitely more usable than either of the other two coupes mentioned above. A manual meant (and means) nothing to me, and it was the last GP coupe (to me, GPs should never have been sedans...).

I had no squeaks, no rattles, no gaps. I think part of the reason that the passenger seat didn't have power or heat was the way that it released and slid all the way forward for the back seat passengers to get out. It could have been cost vs. perceived value by the target demo as well.

As to the seats, they definitely weren't Roadmaster or Concours seats, but I thought they were fine. Mine was heated, so that was selfishly my primary concern....:lildevil: Again, I'd rather have had the SSE/SSEi seats, and/or side impact airbags, but they probably wouldn't have fit in the allotted space.

As to the quality issues, it sounds like you just got a lemon. I had mine for 3 1/2 years and put on about 55K miles and never had problem ONE (other than the passenger door got keyed and kicked about a week after I bought it, in downtown STL....). And complain about the leather if you want, but mine looked as new as the day I bought it, when I traded it in on Avalanche #1.

If they still made it today, would I buy one? No. It fit me at 28, not so much at 39. If Pontiac had made a G8 coupe and Buick had taken the Holden and made a Wildcat or Regal coupe, I would have totally gone Buick. But there are also a lot of guys my age that wanted to play boy racer, and the G8 was right up their alley. More power to them.

I still think it was stupid to kill Pontiac, BTW, even though the concept and design theme no longer really appealed to me.

ben.gators
09-08-10, 04:41 PM
Night Wolf

Sorry for asking, but how many girl friends do you have?! :D

drewsdeville
09-08-10, 04:54 PM
Seriously -- give me a break.

I think the interior criticisms are VERY subjective. For as many criticisms as you're coming up w/on the GTP, I could come up w/just as many on an E30 (which to me looks 2 steps removed from Soviet era Russia) or any Wrangler -- which to me from a comfort level, defines driving misery.

I bought a brand new black '99 GTP w/the camel interior and while I preferred the SSE/SSEi interiors to the GTP, thought the interior was fine. It wasn't a Riviera or an Eldorado, but it was also 2/3 to 1/2 the price, respectively -- with almost equal performance -- AND I could get a true camel interior, not taupe, not light tan, etc. AND it had a usable back seat so that 4 of us could go to lunch from the office in comfort. Infinitely more usable than either of the other two coupes mentioned above. A manual meant (and means) nothing to me, and it was the last GP coupe (to me, GPs should never have been sedans...).

I had no squeaks, no rattles, no gaps. I think part of the reason that the passenger seat didn't have power or heat was the way that it released and slid all the way forward for the back seat passengers to get out. It could have been cost vs. perceived value by the target demo as well.

As to the seats, they definitely weren't Roadmaster or Concours seats, but I thought they were fine. Mine was heated, so that was selfishly my primary concern....:lildevil: Again, I'd rather have had the SSE/SSEi seats, and/or side impact airbags, but they probably wouldn't have fit in the allotted space.

As to the quality issues, it sounds like you just got a lemon. I had mine for 3 1/2 years and put on about 55K miles and never had problem ONE (other than the passenger door got keyed and kicked about a week after I bought it, in downtown STL....). And complain about the leather if you want, but mine looked as new as the day I bought it, when I traded it in on Avalanche #1.

If they still made it today, would I buy one? No. It fit me at 28, not so much at 39. If Pontiac had made a G8 coupe and Buick had taken the Holden and made a Wildcat or Regal coupe, I would have totally gone Buick. But there are also a lot of guys my age that wanted to play boy racer, and the G8 was right up their alley. More power to them.

I still think it was stupid to kill Pontiac, BTW, even though the concept and design theme no longer really appealed to me.

I disagree. The difference is in what the vehicle was marketed to be. The GTP was marketed to be Pontiac's quick and luxurious sports coupe. It may have achieved being quick, but it failed to achieve luxuriousness. If they didn't market it towards being luxurious then that'd be a different story, but it's clear that an attempt was made and the attempt failed. That was back when GM thought being luxurious meant pleather seating and fancy interior styling constructed with melted down bottlecaps. I mean, take a look at late '90's and early 2000's Caddy's. They tried harder to hide that flawed mindset, but it was still an obvious setback.

I'm sure you could point out interior weaknesses on a Wrangler. I could also come up with many interior weaknesses on a piece of construction equipment. But then again, neither were designed with luxury in mind. You have to compare apples to apples.

Also, purchased new, 3 years and 55k miles really isn't a testament to a vehicles reliability. That's just not long enough. Ricks example is easily a more reasonable respresentation at the age and mileage listed.

orconn
09-08-10, 06:02 PM
I had a young associate, a fews years back, that had a Pontiac GTP and I used to ride in it occasionally ....what a pile of junk. The seats were very uncomfortable, the fit and finnish was attrocious, the interior looked cheap, and in the case of his car it squeaked and rattled. After a few rides in the thing I always suggested I drive!

The only Pontiac I have liked in the last twenty years was the recent GTO ...... the GTO was several cuts above the U.S. produced cars, and I would have bought one if I had needed a new car when they came out!

Jesda
09-08-10, 06:41 PM
The BMW E30 is very plain looking, but its actually well made inside and out. And I have to say, even though the Wrangler uses hard plastic, its put together nicely. Try opening and closing the glovebox on on a TJ -- no wiggling, no shaking. Its tight as a drum.

Some Pontiacs were decently made or at least fun to drive, like the Firebird, the GTO, the G8, the Bonneville, and the Solstice, but the brand was mostly defined by rolling heaps for rental fleets like the Grand Am, and decent but bland cars like the G6. Pontiac is gone for a legitimate reason. The same transient population that flocks to low-end Pontiacs can simply buy Chevrolets.

hueterm
09-08-10, 08:18 PM
I disagree. The difference is in what the vehicle was marketed to be. The GTP was marketed to be Pontiac's quick and luxurious sports coupe. It may have achieved being quick, but it failed to achieve luxuriousness. If they didn't market it towards being luxurious then that'd be a different story, but it's clear that an attempt was made and the attempt failed. That was back when GM thought being luxurious meant pleather seating and fancy interior styling constructed with melted down bottlecaps. I mean, take a look at late '90's and early 2000's Caddy's. They tried harder to hide that flawed mindset, but it was still an obvious setback.

I'm sure you could point out interior weaknesses on a Wrangler. I could also come up with many interior weaknesses on a piece of construction equipment. But then again, neither were designed with luxury in mind. You have to compare apples to apples.

Also, purchased new, 3 years and 55k miles really isn't a testament to a vehicles reliability. That's just not long enough. Ricks example is easily a more reasonable respresentation at the age and mileage listed.


GPs were high (for GM at the time) performance entry level personal luxury cars -- to compare them to Rivs, Eldos and Mark VIIIs is completely unrealistic. Bonnevilles were further upmarket -- but GP's competition was the Monte, the T-Bird, Regal, Accord, Camry, Solara, etc. All mid-level automobiles.

A friend of mine has a '97 or '98 GP GT (w/the N/A engine) and it has about 875K miles on it or some such foolishness. It's dirty because he doesn't take care of his cars and he has to get things fixed on it frequently as it's 13ish years old and has been to the moon and back. But he (like most people) doesn't really think too much about the interior, since his kids vomit and crap all over it. It's black w/the tan cloth and the interior isn't falling apart on it -- especially considering its age and mileage -- and the abuse it endures.

Oh, and you did not seriously just say "comparing apples to apples" -- my entire response was based on the fact that pretty much everything all the time w/Rick gets compared to a Jeep w/the top down and a 21 year old BMW. And Rick, I'm not trying to bust your balls -- I admire how you can rebuild that BMW and you are more than entitled to love the cars you choose to drive for all the reasons that you choose to do so. A lot of us around here may not make the same choices, and that's just fine too.

Pontiac, love it or hate it, had (for GM) a fairly unique design theme in the late 80s to early 00s. They didn't sufficiently update it, and now they're gone -- however, between Pontiac and Chevrolet -- for me at that time, Pontiac would win every time.

As to the GTO, which should have been my trade-up from the GTP -- I never could stand it. Granted it was fast, but it was just plain and ugly. I hated the last gen GP which was coupeless due to the GTO -- and by then I was in SUV land anyway...

Before I bought my '93 RM (which was my first "second" car) I looked for another GTP coupe and they were NOWHERE to be found for any kind of reasonable price....and low mileage examples still carry a premium.

Somebody must like them.

hueterm
09-08-10, 08:21 PM
Boy I sure am glad I went with the GS and not the GTP. It's been a while since I drove one, but I remember them being much firmer than the GS. Granted, they would have handled better, but I don't think I could have handled (haha) the tiring rough ride over the long term. It sure is funny how different each W-Body is from another, but I guess that's brand engineering at it's finest.


I never found mine to be exceptionally firm -- and my previous vehicle was a '92 Toronado (not a Trofeo), which was not a firm ride either. I would have placed it on par w/the ETC and firmer than my '97 Riv.

drewsdeville
09-08-10, 08:36 PM
GPs were high (for GM at the time) performance entry level personal luxury cars -- to compare them to Rivs, Eldos and Mark VIIIs is completely unrealistic. Bonnevilles were further upmarket -- but GP's competition was the Monte, the T-Bird, Regal, Accord, Camry, Solara, etc. All mid-level automobiles.

Yes, they weren't competing with Mercury Tracers either, though the interiors felt like it.


A friend of mine has a '97 or '98 GP GT (w/the N/A engine) and it has about 875K miles on it or some such foolishness. It's dirty because he doesn't take care of his cars and he has to get things fixed on it frequently as it's 13ish years old and has been to the moon and back. But he (like most people) doesn't really think too much about the interior, since his kids vomit and crap all over it. It's black w/the tan cloth and the interior isn't falling apart on it -- especially considering its age and mileage -- and the abuse it endures.

And I'm sure I could find you a high mileage Geo Metro too...as well as finding you a lemon Lexus. What's your point? Rick nor the rest of us have generalized the GTP as being an unreliable car...it just so happens that this particular one was. It happens, regardless of make or model.


Oh, and you did not seriously just say "comparing apples to apples" -- my entire response was based on the fact that pretty much everything all the time w/Rick gets compared to a Jeep w/the top down and a 21 year old BMW. And Rick, I'm not trying to bust your balls -- I admire how you can rebuild that BMW and you are more than entitled to love the cars you choose to drive for all the reasons that you choose to do so. A lot of us around here may not make the same choices, and that's just fine too.

You are mistaking Ricks commentary as a comparative review, which it's not. He isn't comparing the BMW, Corolla, or Wrangler to the GTP. He's sorting out what he likes and dislikes AMONGST all of the vehicles, not comparatively speaking...it's different than comparing them directly. It's important to do analysis like that. It prevents impulse buys and gives the driver a better understanding of what he really likes.


Pontiac, love it or hate it, had (for GM) a fairly unique design theme in the late 80s to early 00s. They didn't sufficiently update it, and now they're gone

I can understand that point of view.


In the end, you have to understand that Rick isn't comparing vehicles here. He's merely sorting out the sea of features that he has experienced through previous ownership/experience. For example, just because Rick likes the seats in the Corolla better than the GTP doesn't make the Corolla a luxury car or even a better car overall. It's just an observation made. No reason to get defensive because Rick doesn't think the GTP is perfect. It, just like any other machine, has it's flaws. Some flaws may be factual, some may be subjective.

If you think the GTP's interior was awesome, then good for you. Sounds like you enjoyed the vehicle, making it a wise choice.

Jesda
09-08-10, 08:57 PM
Hey now, the Tracer was a fun car with a manual. It was a Mazda with a Mercury badge and a Ford engine.

drewsdeville
09-08-10, 09:02 PM
Hey now, the Tracer was a fun car with a manual. It was a Mazda with a Mercury badge and a Ford engine.

Along with the Escort. I had one. '92 with a 5-speed. I can agree that it was a fun car. Especially since I made $1100 on it :)

hueterm
09-08-10, 09:29 PM
No, I'm not mistaking anything -- there is a difference in mistaking what you read, for not reading the whole thing, which since I'm on vacation, I do not have the time nor patience to do right now. As to the subjectivity that you're throwing back at me -- that was my whole point! At the very beginning of my original post!

To sum it up, the majority of the thread is a bitchfest against the GTP -- both specifically regarding this one, and also the vehicle in general. There are specific criticisms, in that this one is a lemon (or whatever is wrong with it) -- and there are general subjective criticisms on how Pontiac and its interiors suck, or whatever else. Rick's dad's is a POS -- mine was not -- both are FWIW. If you don't like the interior, then fine, don't buy it. I didn't mind it, so I did.

And while we're on the subject of interiors -- outside of Cadillac (warping dash pads not withstanding) and the high end imports, who at the time had interiors that were worth writing home about? Maximas had some personality IIRC, Honda and Toyo were well built, but boring, Chevrolet was just as cheap as Pontiac, only boring. Buick and Olds might have been a little better built, but Mercedes they were not... Fords were terrible, Chryslers were terrible....

drewsdeville
09-08-10, 09:51 PM
There are specific criticisms, in that this one is a lemon (or whatever is wrong with it) -- Rick's dad's is a POS -- mine was not -- both are FWIW. If you don't like the interior, then fine, don't buy it. I didn't mind it, so I did.


Correct. this one was a lemon. Yours obviously wasn't. You bought yours and enjoyed it, while Rick didn't enjoy it and thus doesn't have one. Sooooo....whats the problem?

ga_etc
09-08-10, 09:59 PM
That was back when GM thought being luxurious meant pleather seating and fancy interior styling constructed with melted down bottlecaps. I mean, take a look at late '90's and early 2000's Caddy's. They tried harder to hide that flawed mindset, but it was still an obvious setback.


Please explain that comment.

Destroyer
09-08-10, 10:32 PM
Hey now, the Tracer was a fun car with a manual. It was a Mazda with a Mercury badge and a Ford engine.So you would prefer it over a GTP?:stirpot:

Destroyer
09-08-10, 10:39 PM
And while we're on the subject of interiors -- outside of Cadillac (warping dash pads not withstanding) and the high end imports, who at the time had interiors that were worth writing home about? Maximas had some personality IIRC, Honda and Toyo were well built, but boring, Chevrolet was just as cheap as Pontiac, only boring. Buick and Olds might have been a little better built, but Mercedes they were not... Fords were terrible, Chryslers were terrible....My major gripe about the Pontiac and other GM cars of the time was the goofy knobs and big grey buttons on the radios and A/C controls. I mean, they really looked like kids toys. Remember those god awful instrument clusters on older S10's and Astro vans with the blue backround and red needle that went up and down? Look at pretty much any year Mercedes instrument cluster or a Porsche's, pure business with those VDO gauges. Now GM didn't have to use VDO gauges but they could have produced something similar looking instead of stuffing the cars with romper room looking crap! As for the Fords and Chryslers, sure they weren't great but they were better IMO. :bouncy:

Destroyer
09-08-10, 10:44 PM
Please explain that comment.
I'll respond. My '98 Deville had a crappy looking dashboard. Just didn't fit the cars price or supposed segment. My '99 Eldorado seemed much nicer to me though, I liked that interior. Maybe I just don't like the digital stuff? My '96 STS was just as nice as the Eldorado. Still no Mercedes, Lexus or Porsche but those were honest attempts by the General to compete. I liked them save for the FWD and N* but that is another issue. :thumbsup:

hueterm
09-08-10, 10:48 PM
I would prefer analog gauges to the digital in my '95 Concours, but the layout and look of the dash itself is beautiful, IMO. Maybe it's that it's a fairly simple design? I do like both gens of Seville and the Eldo as well. I really like the teardrop look, even though they warp....

ga_etc
09-08-10, 10:51 PM
The Deville dash is a little lack luster, but it's not "Fischer Price" cheap and the leather is far from pleather. I have always thought the Eldorado/Seville interiors were really nice, and my ETC has held up extremely well to be 11 years old and have 133k on the clock. Not a squeak or rattle from interior.

Jesda
09-08-10, 11:08 PM
So you would prefer it over a GTP?:stirpot:

Honestly, considering how much fun it is to throw those little Escorts, 323s, and Tracers around curves, how reliable they are, and how snickety-smooth the manuals are, yeah, I'd prefer it to a GTP if it only came down to those two vehicles on today's used market.

Brand new they sold hundreds of thousands of these FWD Pontiacs because of how much you got for the money. Nicer than a Chevy with more bang for the buck and if you overlooked the ribbed plastic and gimmicky nonsense, they had generally good overall styling. But used, I'm not sure I see the point.

Firebirds from that era are the exception -- they were muscle cars and didnt have to be that comfortable or cushy. They just had to be rear wheel drive, quick, and flashy, which they were. And they were arguably more interesting than Mustangs and Camaros.

ga_etc
09-08-10, 11:26 PM
Firebirds from that era are the exception -- they were muscle cars and didnt have to be that comfortable or cushy. They just had to be rear wheel drive, quick, and flashy, which they were. And they were arguably more interesting than Mustangs and Camaros.

I have liked Camaros since I found out what they were when I was like 6 or so. But I do have to admit that the Firebird has been the better looking car for most of the two cars runs, especially on the interior in the late 80's-early 90's.

gdwriter
09-09-10, 12:06 AM
I remember at the Chicago Auto Show this year, I was appalled at how stiff and coarse the leather was in the BMW 3 and 5 Series. If you want soft leather, you have to spring for the 7. The leather in the Impala LTZ rental I had in Hawaii felt more expensive.

I'm sure GM used a different leather supplier for Cadillac and Pontiac, because the leather in my Seville is like buttah. And it's a beautiful interior, at least to me. I love the wood trim, especially when I've just polished it, and the only thing that strikes me as discordant is the flat gray around the stereo and climate controls.

Pontiac did use lots of big, cheap Fisher-Price looking knobs and buttons, but Cadillac did not.

Jesda
09-09-10, 12:20 AM
I think most of the issues with the 5th-gen Seville interiors were assembly. The dashboard pads sometimes bubbled up and the paint and labels on the buttons flaked off. There's the possibility of rattles with cars that came from states like Michigan where the roads are brutal. If they had slowed down the line and been more thorough like they did with the 4th gen cars, I think they'd have turned out better.

Otherwise the materials seem just fine, the wood got thicker and richer than 4th gen, and that cream white leather is AWESOME.

Same thing happened with Lexus too. Riding around in Ian's LS430, there's a lot that it lacks compared to the cushy LS400. The LS430 is sterile. The LS400 is warm Ovaltine on a cold day.

orconn
09-09-10, 01:04 AM
I have both a 4th generation and a 5th generation Seville and in my opinion the 4th generation car has it all over the 5th generation car when it comes to assembly, appearance, and quality of materials. As Jesda said, it may have been the speed of the assembly line, but I really think that Cadillac decontented the 5th series, substitiuting gimmicks, and phony "Euro-Tech" design for the dash (lets face it that center stack on the 5th generation looks and feels like it came out of a Chevy). The even gaps so evident everywhere also leave a bad impression. The 5th generation Seville handles much more like a European sedan than the 4th generation and is a real plus for the car.

GM, Mercedes, BMW, Jaguar, Lexus, etc all buy their leather from the same supplier. The differences we all detect are because of manufacturer specification not a difference in source manufacturer. I personally prefer less softness to the leather in the seating areas, as on the 4th series Seville, the 5th series seats have shorter bolsters with less leg support than the 4th series cars, while the leather in the 5th series is very much softer, I also find that it shows creases more than the leather in the 4th series. THe shorter bolsters of the 4th series car are also noy as comfortable, for me, as the more supportive seats in the 4th series Sevilles. But let's face it they are both great cars and preference for one or the other is really a matter of personal taste. For me the 4th series STS is a real "classic" and I am glad I have one that is still in great shape after fifteen years and 78,000 miles!

Night Wolf
09-09-10, 01:30 AM
Seriously -- give me a break.

I think the interior criticisms are VERY subjective. For as many criticisms as you're coming up w/on the GTP, I could come up w/just as many on an E30 (which to me looks 2 steps removed from Soviet era Russia) or any Wrangler -- which to me from a comfort level, defines driving misery.

Subjective? Sure - which is why I stated it is my opinion.

I compare vehicles to other vehicles I know well/have spent much time around or in. Would it be fair to compare vehicles in which I have not used? I understand that the vehicles that I have spent much time around/in may not be the original competitors to the vehicle I am comparing to, but it is my way of making a fair comparison.

I am not trying to pass off the Jeep as a luxury car, neither was Chrysler. Pontiac was passing the GTP off as one though. The fact that a utilitarian Jeep has an interior that overall feels better and less cheap should mean something. Sure the Jeep dosen't have as many buttons and knobs, I'm not talking about that. When I sit in the Jeep and actually use it - it just feels better built and more quality, turn signals the radio, ignition, light switch, steering wheel buttons, climate control etc... Jesda mentioned the glove box, his explanation is spot on. It is tight and dosen't feel cheap. The same can't be said about the GP. Want to know the crazy part? The TJ's glovebox is designed to be removed as the fuse panel is behind it. Simply open the glove box, slide the retaining strap off and the whole thing pops out - yet it still feels tight and not cheap.

You mention the Jeep and stated "from a comfort level, defines driving misery" That is my point. Most people that knock a TJ's ride, have never ridden in one. Which is the reason why I don't compare vehicles to another vehicle unless I have actually spent a lot of time with it. Simply put, I could not get comfortable in the GP. Not only could I not get comfortable, but I was actualy sore and hurting after a 3-hour highway drive. No other vehicles I have owned made me hurt from driving it. Not only is the basic seat in my Jeep more comfortable - but so is the ride.

That is why I made the comparison - because it shouldn't even be a comparison. There is no reason why a short wheel base Jeep with two solid axles on a 3" suspension lift with 33" mud tires should ride better and be more comfortable on the highway then a sporty performance luxury car on a well-kept stock suspension that should not even be a comparison - yet not only can I make that comparison - but the Jeep is more comfortable.

As for the e30 and "which to me looks 2 steps removed from Soviet era Russia" I must ask:

Have you driven an e30? Have you even sat in one and played with the buttons?

The keyword I picked up on was looks. Yes, in pictures an e30 looks cheap. I say this because this is how I used to feel. I looked at a few on ebay, and when I was used to all the gimicky plastic chrome and plastic wood trim from 80s era Cadillacs, the interior of an e30 looked cheap and boring. In fact when I first saw an e30 I compared it to an 80s Nissan Sentra.

But then something crazy happened - I actually sat in one and used it. As fast as I could reach my hands to touch something, I was shocked by how solid things felt and well built they were. The cheap looking door handles were tight, the flimsy looking climate control sliders were so smooth.... the entire car had a quality feel to it. The interior is finished entirely in plastic and vinyl - and on my e30, even the seats have been recovered in vinyl - yet it does not feel *cheap*. It dosen't feel like *settling*.

As such, I should not even be able to make a comparison as to the quality of the GTP and the 21-year old BMW... yet just like the Jeep, they are vehicles I am familer with and I could instantly realize the difference on first use of the GTP.

Before you know the interior quality of a 21-year old BMW I would reccomend actually sitting in one... perhaps one that hasen't been driven into the ground with 300k - but even then, it shouldn't matter. Same with the TJ, have you actually ridden in a stock TJ (people quickly screw up the ride with aftermarket parts when not done right)? I have, and my body hurt after driving the GTP for 3 hours - my body has yet to hurt after driving my TJ over 44k miles... no matter if it was 12 hours straight on the highway or 8 hours offroad.

Looking at pictures alone is not a good judge of the quality. Sure some things could *look* cheap.... but making assumptions will leave you scratching your head when you are actually in the car. The GTP dosen't look -too bad- in pictures, but actually sitting in the car and using it is when you notice it is just pathetic. The opposite is true with the e30, it looks cheap in pictures but has a solid and quality feel to it.


Night Wolf

Sorry for asking, but how many girl friends do you have?!

Just one. As the thread implies it is a long distance relationship - for now. This is the same girl that was doing the oil change on my Jeep (she really enjoys helping to work on the vehicles) and driving it off-road etc...

Night Wolf
09-09-10, 01:45 AM
GPs were high (for GM at the time) performance entry level personal luxury cars -- to compare them to Rivs, Eldos and Mark VIIIs is completely unrealistic. Bonnevilles were further upmarket -- but GP's competition was the Monte, the T-Bird, Regal, Accord, Camry, Solara, etc. All mid-level automobiles..

Thank you for backing up what I am saying.

That is exactly why the car should NOT be able to be compared to a Jeep Wrangler, a 21-year old BMW or heck even a Toyota Corolla. I am not talking about options, toys or features - I am talking about build quality.


Oh, and you did not seriously just say "comparing apples to apples" -- my entire response was based on the fact that pretty much everything all the time w/Rick gets compared to a Jeep w/the top down and a 21 year old BMW. And Rick, I'm not trying to bust your balls -- I admire how you can rebuild that BMW and you are more than entitled to love the cars you choose to drive for all the reasons that you choose to do so. A lot of us around here may not make the same choices, and that's just fine too.

Is it really a crazy idea to compare vehicles to vehicles I actually have spent a lot of time with, used and know well? How can I compare the GP to a Camry or Accord when I have never driven one and the time spent in one as a passenger is minimal?

I am not pushing the type of vehicles I enjoy on anyone - which is why I made a *very* clear distinction in the review of the car as to it's handling and driving performance on the mountain roads. The car performed very well - but it did very little for me. Regardless of what it did for it, it still performed well. Would I buy that car because I wanted a fun to drive car to hit up the curvy roads? No. But I understand that others may not be so concerned about not having a manual transmission etc... and for them it may be a much more enjoyable ride.

But preferences to the type of transmission, convertible or not etc... doesn't factor in to the overall feel of quality in the interior. That is what I was getting at when comparing the vehicles as I did.

hueterm
09-09-10, 02:20 AM
No, I've never been in an E30 -- pictures only, or the odd episode of '90210'...the first one.... But I'm not the biggest fan of the interiors of even those comparable 6s and prior to '95 7s. (Whereas the 635's exterior is classic and the 8 is another type of masterpiece altogether...) I've test driven the subsequent generations of 3s except for the current. The interiors improved, but too small for me. The BMW I've spent the most time in is a '95-97 750iL -- a whole different and sumptuous beast...

However, I've had to ride around in a stock last gen Jeep (I don't know what kind -- just a plain looking Jeep) and there was nothing positive about the experience. The seating position, the seats, the ride, the noise...and I refused to ever get in the back seat or to spend more than about a half hour in one. Like Orconn and his GTP experience, either I drove, or we took two cars.

The tightness of the glovebox, or whether or not the radio buttons looked cheap is so far down my priority list compared to the seats, seating position, and general comfort. And while the seats could have been better in the GP, I never had any complaints -- and the coupe had an excellent seating position with tons of legroom. And you could move the seats up a little and still have plenty of legroom for the front and rear seats. And for '99, it was pretty fast.

Night Wolf
09-09-10, 03:15 AM
Neat story Rick. Just an FYI, power/heated passenger seats were never available in the GTPs, that's one reason I went with the GS over the GTP. I always thought it was weird that they offered it (and sold a lot of them) on the driver's side, but never the passenger side.

Why'd the supercharger "go out"? I thought they were pretty bulletproof if you serviced the fluid once every two years or so. I do know that wheel bearings are common on these, as are transmissions if you do a lot of burnouts with them.

I asked my father about the supercharger today.

He said around 100k-110k it started to make noise, both the coupler and nose cone, those were replaced. He said the nose cone then went bad again.

Then he said the internal seals were leaking oil which was being sucked into the engine, so he rebuilt the entire supercharger. He said it is not made to be rebuilt as the internal bearings are sorta formed into the aluminum housing and when they were pressed out, it cracked the housing. He brought it to a friend that runs a machine shop and had the bearing/seal area bored out and they were able to find a hi-temp/rpm seal and bearings with the same ID, but a larger OD that fit the bored out space, then the gap between the rotor/stator had to be adjusted etc...

Basically, the coupler and nose cone is easy to replace - keep the oil changed... but for the average person, if the internal bearings/seals fail unless you have the means to do such a rebuild to the internals of the s/c, then it should be replaced at that point. I'd say to just monitor the s/c oil level, and if it starts to consums oil then it's most likely getting sucked into the engine - bad bearings/seals.

Jesda
09-09-10, 03:56 AM
However, I've had to ride around in a stock last gen Jeep (I don't know what kind -- just a plain looking Jeep) and there was nothing positive about the experience. The seating position, the seats, the ride, the noise...and I refused to ever get in the back seat or to spend more than about a half hour in one. Like Orconn and his GTP experience, either I drove, or we took two cars.

I recently rode in the 06 Wrangler to Oklahoma City. For what its worth, I found it to be comfier than the Corolla as the seats had better padding and support, and that soundbar stereo is impressive, thankfully, so it can drown out the flapping noise of the top. But really, unless the weather is bad, its sacrilege to drive a Wrangler with a closed top.

I also drove it back from Wichita to STL. I really didnt think I'd like driving it on the highway as much as I did. I expected it to be more like my friend's '93 which rolls around like a noisy old ox cart.

A friend came to visit me here in STL over the summer and brought his brand new 2010 Unlimited, and with the hard top and 3.8 it was just like any other four door midsize SUV. It lost a lot of the trucky goodness of the previous Wrangler, but it was pleasant to be in.

I think the only Pontiacs I'd buy are the Solstice (keeping an eye on the resale, watching it fall slowly), the G8, GTO, and the Firebird. None of those sold in enough volumes to save the brand, unfortunately. The cheaper mass market cars kept losing customers share to Honda and Toyota. And without the sales of mass market cars, you cant earn any money to develop high performance models.

Honorable mention goes to the Northstar Bonneville GXP. Other than those HIDEOUS VENTS in the dashboard, it was pretty darn nice inside and out.

http://www.canadiandriver.com/news/02images/bonneville_gxp2.jpg

Thats simply a great looking car.

Night Wolf
09-09-10, 04:18 AM
No, I've never been in an E30 -- pictures only, or the odd episode of '90210'...the first one.... But I'm not the biggest fan of the interiors of even those comparable 6s and prior to '95 7s. (Whereas the 635's exterior is classic and the 8 is another type of masterpiece altogether...) I've test driven the subsequent generations of 3s except for the current. The interiors improved, but too small for me. The BMW I've spent the most time in is a '95-97 750iL -- a whole different and sumptuous beast...

I understand how you feel towards those interiors just from pictures - I used to feel the same way.

Older BMW's are very different then 90's+ models. Even the higher series, which were luxury cars - it is just a different type of car. I used to knock older BMW and MB just from looking at the interiors, saying how cold and sterile they looked.

I now have an apperciation for these style interiors, they may not *look* the prettiest, but they are but so well with function in mind.


However, I've had to ride around in a stock last gen Jeep (I don't know what kind -- just a plain looking Jeep) and there was nothing positive about the experience. The seating position, the seats, the ride, the noise...and I refused to ever get in the back seat or to spend more than about a half hour in one. Like Orconn and his GTP experience, either I drove, or we took two cars.

I'm not trying to pass the Jeep off as a luxury vehicle, or even saying everyone will find them comfortable, I was just making a comparison. As for me being specifc about the TJ, that is because the TJ has a much inproved and updated coil spring suspension, and it is not uncommon for people to say how horrible a Jeep rides because they remember some day back some time they rode in one, and it was most likely a CJ or YJ with leaf springs, that did ride like a buckboard. The TJ's coil spring suspension was very well received from the general public as being a much improved ride. If you didn't like it, that's fine - but atleast you have been in one to draw those conclusions. All I was saying was that my particular TJ rode better, was more comfortable and did not leave my body hurting then this particular GP GTP.


The tightness of the glovebox, or whether or not the radio buttons looked cheap is so far down my priority list compared to the seats, seating position, and general comfort. And while the seats could have been better in the GP, I never had any complaints -- and the coupe had an excellent seating position with tons of legroom. And you could move the seats up a little and still have plenty of legroom for the front and rear seats. And for '99, it was pretty fast

That is where I now disagree and our misunderstanding began. I used to feel this way - to heck with the fit and feel of the interior etc...

But to me, regardless of how much or little a particular vehicle has in the interior, I like it to have a quality feel. That dosen't mean real wood and premium leather either, it just means that for its particular segment, to be quality. Example of this would be my '94 Isuzu and Jeep. Both interiors were hard plastic - in a luxury car it would be bad, but both interiors fit the overall theme of the vehicle. While the interior of the Isuzu was basic, bland and may have looked cheap, it actually had a solid feel to it when you used it.

I apply that logic to the entire interior. That is the exact reason why I was -impressed- with my gf's worn out old Corolla. The interior didn't leave me feeling cheap, like you just really had to settle because you bought a "cheap" car. It didn't look fancy or have lots of fancy features, but what it did have was executed superbly. Same goes for my Jeep and old BMW - sitting in the vehicle and driving it, or just playing with the buttons and using it has an overall feeling of durability and solidity. It feels like it was built well - regardless of the materials used.

The GP though, did not feel like that. Besides it *looking* goofy to me, with the grey buttons and large blister pods all over that contained various things, like the dome lights, the HUD, door switches etc... everything my hands came into contact with just felt cheap. The car has automatic headlights, so the headlight switch has gotten minimal use over time, yet turning the headlight knob felt cheap - the selections were not positive. The steering wheel controls were so chunky and cheap feeling, pressing them didn't give any feedback. In comparison my '96 Town Car had buttons with a much better feel that you could hear/feel a "click" when pushed. The steering wheel controls on my Jeep don't feel like the buttons could break off at any minute, and while silent, offer a postive feel when pressed. Opening various compartments on the GP felt and sounded like you were dragging/grinding/slapping two hollow thin pieces of plastic together. Pressing various buttons and switches felt cheap, and that isn't even touching the hard cheap feeling plastic on the dash panels either. With my hand on the shifter, it did not feel tight, and it wiggled around. That is something you have direct contact with, it should have a solid feel to it. Even putting the key in the ignition and turning it had a cheap feel. GM did away with the nice firm feeling metal ignition cylinders and went to the plastic ones, it feels cheap. In comparison both my Jeep and BMW do not have tabs to turn - the key itself is used to turn the ignition cylinder, and both have a very solid, positive feel when the key is inserted and turned through each position.

On the Jeep, hard plastics are good - get it full of dirt and mud and it wipes clean. Anything marketed as any sort of a luxury car should not have these firm plastics in them. But even then, the overall hard plastics used on the Jeep just don't feel as cheap on the GP.

These are the things I am talking about. It has nothing to do with convertible or not, fun to drive or boring, cheap or expensive etc... It is a general feeling of quality. Think of it as holding a cheap $30 MP3 player from walmart compared to an iPod. Regardless of what the performance, interface or preference is, just feeling it in your hand and using it should be able to allow yourself to come to a conclusion on the overall feeling of quality.

Jesda
09-09-10, 04:34 AM
The hard plastics on the Wrangler are solid and thick. They arent cushy, but they dont feel brittle or hollow.

I think the GMT400s are the only trucks where I didnt mind the fisher price buttons and gauges. Seemed appropriate in a pickup.

Aron9000
09-09-10, 04:50 AM
I'll once again state that my 1999 Camaro, and my current 1998 model felt better screwed together than the Grand Prix I looked at. And I'll admit the quality of the interior on the fbody is pretty bottom of the barrel, but at least on the Camaro it didn't try to pretend to be fancy and stylish like the Grand Prix. Cheap, but good looking minalimist design, great gauge package, good feeling steering wheel, shifter falls right into hand. Quality sucks, but they did get the basics right.

I'd love to have a Trans Am, but honestly I could not get over those stupid ass light grey buttons/knobs. The dash, like all Pontiacs from 1985 to 2005ish, looked like some sort of corny low budget control panel prop used on the Death Star.

And I also agree with Rick that the TJ Jeep interior feels quality for what it is. Plastics are durable, gauges look nice, seat fabric is extremely durable, and I never see an older/abused Jeep with broken bits in the interior. I still can't figure out why they put carpet in these things, a nice rubber floor like a work truck would've been much more suitable.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
09-09-10, 09:14 PM
Call me crazy, but I really like those grey plastic buttons Pontiac used in the '90s. Maybe it's because I have fond memories hanging out at my great uncle's farm in North Dakota, and he always had a '93 Grand Prix Coupe, and his oldest daughter had a '97 Grand Prix GT Coupe. That, and when the '92 Bonneville SSEi's came out, I fell in LOVE with that interior, and as we all know that was littered with those buttons.

Destroyer
09-09-10, 11:32 PM
Call me crazy, but I really like those grey plastic buttons Pontiac used in the '90s.Crazy :thehand:

I~LUV~Caddys8792
09-10-10, 12:13 AM
What's funny is how amazing the seats are in the 92-99 SSE(I) Bonneville's. Arguably some of GM's best from that era. Soft, yet very supportive and the way they wrap around you and bolster you in is great. Now if they put these in the GTP's and heated them, then the GTP would be a whole lot better off.
http://images01.olx.com/ui/4/17/31/62721631_2-King-of-the-Road-Bonneville-SSEi-Loaded-Phoenix.jpg

orconn
09-10-10, 12:14 AM
Let's face those Pontiacs were designed to strongly appeal to the adolescent mind. Chad, given the period of developemnt you were experiencing during those years it is entirely understandable why you were attracted to those Pontiacs. The rest of us, I am not sure what we have as an excuse!

I~LUV~Caddys8792
09-10-10, 12:22 AM
Well yeah, I can agree entirely that Pontiac was the youth brand at GM. Pontiacs were the most popular cars at high school. Right behind them was Honda, Nissan, Toyota, Chevy, Ford, Dodge.. I wasn't on anyone's "A-List" with my big Roadmaster and deVille, but I was on the only A-List that mattered....mine! :)

Jesda
09-10-10, 01:00 AM
http://svammelsurium.blogg.se/images/2009/1997-pontiac-bonneville-ssei_36676180.jpg

My favorite was the early SSEI, green with gold honeycomb wheels. Its pure 90s, in a good way.

Stingroo
09-10-10, 12:13 PM
Bonneville seats equate to epic win. A few guys on the wagon and Impala forum use them. I wish they came in red cloth... I'd be alllllllllllllllll over that.