My recent post about how amazing Pontiac was at selling cars in the late 80s/early 90s made me a little nostalgic. Primarily, it made me miss my first car. Now, I believe everyone misses their first car to an extent. No matter how terrible it was, there's still a small part of you that wants that car back. So, I'll share with you the experience I had with my first car, and I encourage you all to do the same.
My first car was a salmon pink (or burgundy, whatever) 1992 Pontiac Sunbird SE Coupe. I acquired it from my father, who was about to scrap it (for good reason) and he got it from a long time family friend who bought the ol' girl brand spankin' new in '92.
Under the hood was GMs trusty 3.1L OHV V6, which found its way into every GM ever made between 1985 and 1995. Ever. It was mated to a 3 speed automatic that shifted about as smooth as an Airbus A320 landing on the Hudson.
Probably the coolest thing about the car (besides its name, obviously) was the interior. I still believe the dash is one of the coolest dashboard, ever. From the wraparound styling to those massive, colourful circular gauges and it's "aviator" e-brake that resembled an aircraft throttle I still love the Sunbird's interior (only the V6 though). It even had an oil pressure gauge alongside a voltmeter. Like GM was saying "In the future, you will need to pay attention to these gauges". It also had a "Check gauges" light to double remind you something had broken. And it had a "SHIFT UP" light.
Now, my Sunbird did have a lot of problems. It had no functioning heat (I live in Central Ontario) and thankfully it never made it to winter. The suspension was shot, in fact, it felt more like a Cadillac listing lazily from bump to bump. The headliner was coming unglued and falling down onto your head. The upper dashboard pad decided it wanted to separate from the rest of the dashboard and start a new life elsewhere. The right front CV shaft had been humming for the entire 25,000kms I had owned the car, and it did the same for the 15,000kms my dad had owned the car. Finally, about two weeks after getting the car the 3,1L V6 decided it wanted to become a 5 cylinder; Volvo style. I never looked into this as a 4 cylinder was more suited to the cars needs. Cylinders 5 & 6 were just added bonuses.
In the end, some guy in a Sunfire (ironic, I know) decided he wanted to see me do a barrel roll, and ran me off the road, thus ending my Sunbird's time on this earth (I only gave it another month anyway). I eventually wound up replacing it with a '98 Neon, which was a whole other world of disappointment.
So, that's my first car story, and I'd love to hear yours!
Parting shot: A Sunbird we tuned into a dune buggy/pickup because why not?