It seems that every time I create a new blog post about muscle cars, it drifts into something related to the current state of the American auto industry, sour as it is. This post is (unfortunately) no exception as the American auto industry is what originally created the cars we all know and love. If nothing else, history is being made right now as Chrysler is bankrupt, and GM is heading there quickly (which is just a guess on my part, but it seems likely).
GM announced recently that Pontiac will come to an end in 2010, and this week announced the closing of 1100 of it’s “under performing” dealerships, according to the Wall Street Journal. In a previous post I discussed Chrysler’s situation in more detail, and like the Chrysler situation, this entire thing is make me genuinely sad. I’m sad that debt has become synonymous with doing business in the United States, and I’m very sad for the small town car dealers who were told by their franchisee that they were no longer needed.
On a more muscle car related note, with the demise of Pontiac that confirms that there will never again be a new Pontiac Trans Am. One of my favorite car movies of all time is Smokey and the Bandit – and it made the Trans Am famous with it’s glorious tire smoke, Burt Reynolds’ profile (which he said looks great from the side), and the coolest move theme song ever – East Bound and Down by Jerry Reed (who starred along side Burt Reynolds in the movie). With the potential success of the new 2010 Camaro I was hoping to see the Trans Am return. Unfortunately, it’s not to be……but in all reality, Trans Am’s haven’t had Pontiac drive drains in them for nearly 30 years (they’ve been running Chevy engines since the early 1980′s) and one could argue that they’ve just been a rebadged Camaro since then. I wouldn’t go quite that far, but there is a grain of truth to that. Motor Trend just republished a 1999 article of their comparison of a (then) new Firebird Firehawk Trans Am with a ’69 and ’71 Trans Am – it’s good reading.
So what does all of this bad news have to do with the current status of the classic muscle cars we dig? Well, hopefully it does not affect the muscle car hobby much at all. The cars we know and love haven’t been under manufacturer warranty for years – nor do we really the need manufacturer for repair parts (though I’d take a new GM Performance Parts LS7 for my Chevelle in a second). If anything, the value of classic Pontiac muscle cars may go up as a result – who knows. One thing is for sure, there has never been a better time in history to buy, sell, or build some classic muscle. I’ll get to the details of that in the future….but here’s a little video to give you an idea of what I mean!