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2004 GMInsideNews Editors' Choice Awards
GMInsidenews.com

We editors, staff members, and moderators here at GMI decided it was time to give proper kudos where due to GM's introductions and available vehicles for the year 2004 in the United States market. That means all GM vehicles available right now or by the end of this calendar year were eligible to win our top commendation here at GMInsideNews. We voted for the cars and engines from GM that we think have the attributes needed to compete strongly in the marketplace and satisfy GM enthusiasts like ourselves. The categories were:

Best:
1. Sports Car / Performance Vehicle (this includes all performance-oriented vehicles from Corvette to Bonneville GXP, to Saturn VUE Redline)
2. Passenger Car / Wagon
3. SUV
4. Pickup Truck
5. Van (includes minivans, Astro, etc.)
6. Truck Engine
7. Car Engine

The votes were tallied and the winners are:

1. Cadillac CTS-V:LINK Drop a Corvette Engine into the already sweet CTS, tune it for red-hot performance, and what do you get? A machine that raises eyebrows around the world and properly declares "Cadillac is back!"

Cadillac has done its homework, and has addressed the early complaints about the interior of the CTS. In addition, they've given the CTS-V a subtle, aggressive appearance that signals to automotive buffs what they're up against. There's still some axle-hop, but that only means that M5 afficionados will see morse-code black strips as this special Caddy pulls away.

We're big fans of the LS6 engine, even if it is to be the Gen III Small Block's swan song. Its titanium-enhanced scream contributes as much to the exhilharation of the 2004 Corvette Z06 as its 405 hp. Even in its muted, luxury CTS-V guise, the LS6's power is undeniably potent. Add to the fact that you can get one for -less- than a Z06, and you have not only a true value supercar, but one with four doors, and comfort.

With an upcoming 500 hp V-10 powered M5 in BMW's future, Caddillac has once again taken the bull by the horns, and tempted us with a twin-turbo 600 hp "Super-V" CTS, that we only hope for the privilege to drive.

Ghrankenstein's take- Pontiac GTO: In the shadow of the mourned F-bodies, the Pontiac GTO, styling be dratted, most closely carries their torch. The LS1 lives within its hull, along with an interior whose quality stunned the automotive press.

BigAl's Take:The CTS-V shows what GM can do when they want to flex their horsepower muscles. Caddy launched a luxury sports sedan into what was a well-established market, and threw a giant, 400hp V8 wrench, into the German-car dominated market. The CTS-V offers great performance not only in drag strip, but in the curves. No other American car maker offers a car like this. The 300C might be powerful, but try to hang with the CTS-V in the turns of Nurburgring where the CTS-V was born. Big power, big brakes, big tires, all controled by the fantastic 6spd manual trans. The CTS-V has shown its strength on the street, and on the track.

NSAP's Take: I went with the Bonneville GXP. Mostly because I think (like the CTS-V) the Bonneville is the start of a great thing a Pontiac, a performance line! Not only that, but with a smooth running Northstar under the hood, and a freshened GXP look to it, make this car...a great one.


2. Pontiac G6: LINK Hot, sleek, modern looks combined with a world class chassis,Pontiac value/performance, and even more performance variants on the horizon, along with a coupe and convertible, make this Grand Am replacement worthy of a name change, and a spot at the top of our list of "most wanted" passenger cars from GM!

We're especially looking forward to the debut of the Gen IV 3900 engine. While the LS1 was GM's defiant refusal to suckle upon the teat of the DOHC bandwagon, the 3900 looks to be a powerful statement that superior technology can reside within the pushrod formula. The world's first pushrod engine with both variable valve timing and displacement-on-demand stands a chance to trump the overly heavy, complex, and obtuse DOHC competition with stout torque, strong horsepower, and superior fuel economy.

Ghrankenstein's take- Buick Regal GS: Enough power for a typically pedestrian Buick to shock some much bigger, and pricier, dogs, coupled with a lavish interior make the GS my choice. And that's before the fat rebates and deep discounts that make it more of a steal than a garden-variety bargain.

BigAl's take:The G6 is definitely one of the "breakthrough" cars from GM and I think there is a large bright future for this little car. The G6 sedan looks to really set a new tempo for Pontiac. Coming in on the heels of the very successful Grand Prix and on the leading edge of a swarm of performance cars from the "Excitement" division, this G6 will really have people think twice before they get into an Altima, Mazda6...maybe even the Accord? The styling is there, and if GM can keep the quality to match, this is a hit that will continue the increasing sales of the outgoing Grand Am.

NSAP's Take: The G6 is certainly going to be a best seller for Pontiac. The car is near perfect, and with the awesome 3900 V6 with VVT and Displacement On Demand, this car will deffanitly take its competitors a run for their money. To add to the G6, there will be a Coupe and Convertable, bringing a new-found light on the midsize segment.

3. Chevrolet Equinox:LINK We brought you the web's first test drive, and the rest of the automotive press has shared our enthusiasm. The SUV's handsome looks, both inside and out, and balance of all features, including affordability win it our top spot for 2004.

Of particular interest to buyers is its interior room, which rivals the costlier Toyota Highlander, its flexible rear seat, and its quadruple 5-star crash safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Rock on, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration!

We have some reservations at the choice of the Gen III 3400 engine, but the 5-speed automatic shifts smoothly, and optimizes both the torque and fuel economy of the 3.4L engine. Green vehicles are gaining prized media spotlight, and the efficient Equinox qualifies for Ultra-Low Emissions (ULEV) status. Its proven components should warrant solid reliability. Still, we'd like to see the improved 3500 offered, at least as an option in the LT. Throw in a DVD for the back-seat munchkins, and there's really little more to ask for, short of an insanely powerful Equinox SS.

Ghrankenstein's take- Chevy TrailBlazer: I'm not a huge fan of SUV's, since they're basically overpriced, underutilized station-wagons. The TrailBlazer gets my vote because its plebian LS trim is attractive and comfortable, and because it's the shortest route to the golden 275 hp Vortec 4200.

BigAl's take: I am a huge fan of the Nox. Every time I see one, I just stop to take in the full effect of the SUV. I have never done that with any SUV outside of an escalade or SRX perhaps. The Nox has this very seemless, very smooth appearance to it that really makes it a very attractive package. There is not an SUV in its class that comes near it in space and the quality of the interior is just awesome. I too would like to see the 3.5 start making its way into the Nox as the 3.4 is really the only "downside" to this flawless car.

Ming's Take: Much as I want to love it for its other charms, the lack of the 3500, which among its improvements over the 3400 includes better reliability (according to GM's own PR) has me looking at Chevy's own Malibu MAXX with the 3500 instead. Even if it isn't marketed as an "SUV" the MAXX certainly is every bit as capable as many of the on-road "cute utes" out there when it comes to hauling cargo and 5 people in comfort. The Buick Rainier, with its incredible ride and quiet tuning, got my vote for SUV, and the MAXX for Passenger Car/Wagon, but the MAXX to me is interchangeable as a small "ute".

NSAP's Take: I am a huge fan of the Equinox. I have drove two of them, and I was is shock while driving both vehicles. The aggressive exterior, combined with the awesome interior, make the Equinox (what I think) is a best-in-class when it comes to the small SUV's. My only pick is the powertrain.

4. Chevrolet Colorado/Canyon:LINK The S-10 replacement was long in the coming, and we weren't disappointed. With 2 great new engines that should be popular in these times of high gas prices, a solid new chassis, and rugged-looking sheetmetal, this pair of trucks takes the competition in the compact truck segment up a notch!

With competitors opting for larger, more powerful V-6 engines, and higher tow ratings for their future models, the Colorado stands to take a bigger advantage in both fuel economy and pricing than it already enjoys.

Chevrolet has already shown us turbocharged Inline-5 Colorados with as much as 350 hp. We're hoping, praying, that this isn't just a tease... bring on the power!



5. Buick Terraza (1st photo) / Pontiac Montana SV6 (2nd photo) - LINK In the Van category, two of the upcoming "Crossover Sport Vans" reigned supreme in our vote tally, with the Terraza in a tie with the SV6. Buick's "Quiet Tuning", independent long- and short-arm rear suspension with automatic load leveling, and other Buick-only enhancements for this upcoming revision of the GM Minivan platform make the Terraza more than just another version of the same CSV with a different face. Promising a smooth, hushed ride powered by a redesigned engine under SUV-looks and a modern interior, the Terraza should win a lot of fans from those second-guessing a large, thirsty SUV purchase in the entry luxury segment. And for those who don't think the Rendezvous offers quite enough space, its an appealing alternative. The SV6 picked up an equal number of votes for its tastefully done Pontiac looks, and is arguably the best looking CSV of the 4 siblings. Many of us wish that the Aztek had been introduced with a twin-port grille that looked as good as the SV6's. The SV6 comes with bigger wheels than the Terraza, and a look that leans more towards sporty than luxury, with a cool black interior trimmed with silver/aluminum-style material that is modern and welcome in a market segment flooded with generic gray and beige interiors. In our opinion, this is the closest to "cool" that you can get in the mid-van market, without getting all spacey and funky like the Nissan Quest. Here's hoping that Pontiac doesn't see the need to use cowboys in the marketing of the "Montana" this time around, they shouldn't need to hype this vehicle as a rugged minivan anymore.

Ghrankenstein's take- Chevy Astro: In the face of all the "It's still a Venture" comments that the CSV's are getting, I like the Astro. It's a throwback, wrapped in an anachronism, wrapped in a "Dewey Defeats Truman" front page. The fact that it's the only rear-wheel drive, body-on-frame minivan left in the country should have GMI readers praising it like "Freebird." Sure, getting in is more of an ascent than a step, and its interior offers more personality than "features" or "comfort" but it's suprisingly enjoyable to drive, and it's proven tough. Too bad it's no longer hip (assuming that it ever was), and the "in" crowd has moved on to boxy, van-like Toyota Echos labeled as the Scion xB. I think it's wacky fun.

NSAP's Take: I hated the last generation GM minivans, and the full size. So, I picked the upcoming Buick Terazza. I am not a huge fan of any of the CSV's, but the Terazza does feature some exclusive options that the others don't.

Ming's Take: Some might question why Pontiac even needs a minivan, but if GM were to equip the SV6 with the option of the G6's upcoming 3900 engine, it would have a true performer to match the Honda's touted 240hp Odyssey in more than just attitude. Here's hoping that happens when the 3900 becomes available next year. My suggestion to GM: ditch the cowboy Montana name (use it on a future GMC Truck), and give us a truly sporty "sport-van" instead, with improved handling and acceleration over its siblings, and the ability to take on the Mazda MPV and Honda Odyssey in the "sporty" minivan segment. And that means now, not 5 years from now - the Odyssey and others aren't standing still.



6. LS2:
For Truck engines, the "LS2" is drool-worthy for speed enthusiasts. "The aluminum evolution of the LQ9 iron engine in the Silverado SS with Gen IV upgrades" Link

Ghrankenstein's take- 6600 Duramax Diesel, LLY: 310 hp and 590 lb/ft are only the starting point for this Isuzu-designed trooper. There's so much left in this monster that it isn't funny. As it sits, it trumps the LB7 Duramax, previously the quietest pickup diesel available, in power, torque, and NVH. With the 6.0L Powerstroke and the 5.9L Cummins "600," it's no longer a head above the competition, but it stands proud as a true competitor. Until you add a performance chip...

7. LS2: For Car engines...you guessed it, the 2005 Corvette's LS2! "Compared to the Gen III-based LS1, the LS2 incorporates several significant changes that help improve performance, reliability and serviceability" - see here: Link

Ghrankenstein's take- LS1: This, not the Northstar, was GM's answer to the world. The 346 cid aluminum small-block LS1 took performance far beyond the still admirable LT1, and made the 5th-generation Corvette the bargain supercar for nearly a decade. The LS1 was the first naturally-aspirated 2-valve V-8 to surpass one net horsepower per cubic inch displacement. It took the F-bodies to a new level of performance, while the the Mustang GT lagged behind in everything but sales. The LS1's reliability made the Corvette not only a supercar, but a reliable daily driver with superb fuel economy. Furthermore, it spawned a line of Vortec V-8 truck engines that were unmatched for five model years, and that still remain competitive. The LS2 is, of course, superior in every way, but it's because of the LS1 that we have it.

Ming's Take: While the LS2 will be a great performance engine to humble the competition, it isn't the kind of mainstream engine that GM needs to compete, nor is it the first choice of that ever-elusive "youth market", impressed by small displacement 4 cylinder power. GM should be applauded for introduction this year of the 2.4L Variable Valve Timing enhanced 170hp and 170 torque (hear that, Toyohonda?) Ecotec 4-cyl. engine that will go into the Chevy Cobalt SS and Pontiac G6. It beats the Scion TC's specs right out of the gate with the same displacement. So much for the Import Enthusiasts' claim to low horsepower per liter GM engines!

 

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Great choices for the most part. Gotta love that lS2! The minivans are a big improvement on interiors and the 3500 V6. Also love the CTS-V. That is one wild car! The one choice that i'm not thrilled with is the Colorado and Canyon. They are nice to look at but are underachievers, have cheap interiors, drum rear brakes, an oddball engine option, lower towing capacities, a dinky rear window and can push 30 large with the 4 door version. And that lowered sport 4 door version looks kinda goofy. Not sure how they sell but they seem to be pilling up on dealer lots and I almost never see em on the road. Just my 2 cents.
 

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The real world's answer:

1. Considering how few products qualify for this award, the CTS is an obvious choice. America has been clamouring for an ugly car that goes like heck.

2. Horrible choice. The car isn't even available and shouldn't even be considered. The Malibu is the closest to the best in GM's stable for all around performance in this category, but this is only because the rest of the fleet is even more mediocre.

3. Equinox? Looks good (there's a difference) but underpowered and overall underwhelming. Early praise from magazines (like the hype over the G6) has resulted in a thud of reality when they've found the Equinox is powered by what could best be described as an outboard motor. Yawn. But, considering the other products GM builds in this category, the Equinox is better. That isn't a compliment.

4. Absolutely unbelievably obtuse choice. These products are simply redos of a product that has been available overseas for years. These products offer nary a hint of more room than the product they replace, are barely better performance-wise, and sell worse than their predecessors. GM could have built a serious truck but these days they simply give away products when people purchase the rebates that GM really sells.

5. Again, the products aren't available yet and shouldn't be counted. I suppose this is called deficit praising. Next year looks awfully thin if we count these barely disquised redos of currently horrible products. Just look at the interior and how the seats hide in the floor to see that these products deserve as much praise as Saddam Hussein should.

6. There is no truck engine to mention. GM couldn't even win its own award.

7. Yeah, the LS something is pretty good. Someone was taking LSD to give awards to any GM product in the above 6 categories.

Lot's of new products coming out of GM. Unfortunately not one of them is a great product.
 

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Well you're entitled to your opinion. So what would be your choices? Remember, we are looking at GM vehicles only and vehicles that will be on the streets by the end of the year do count.
 

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..is laserwind like the fan of GM that is not really a fan of GM and just hasent relized it yet?

1. Sports Car / Performance Vehicle (this includes all performance-oriented vehicles from Corvette to Bonneville GXP, to Saturn VUE Redline)

I gotta give it to the GTO. Wrongly named though. The power, the handling, the whole car is simply amazing. The exhaust note is awsomely sweet, and while the styling is understated, that just makes it all the more fun to mess with people. Debade it, and they wont know if it was a GA, GP, or GTO...

2. Passenger Car / Wagon
In terms of sales, Impala... in my terms, I would say probably a tie between the GTP and the Regal GS. the GTP gets a bonus for having the HUD.

3. SUV
They should be taken off the maket.. all SUVs from all carmakers... if you want cargo/passenger room get a van. (or a big car. I can fit like 5 people in my lesabres back seat.)

4. Pickup Truck
Honestly, I dont know. I've only been in one GM truck, a early 90s silverado z71 or somthing. nice truck, but I like my brothers F350 super duty deisel.

5. Van (includes minivans, Astro, etc.)
A van is a vehichle for hauling stuff. So a full size asto van would be fine.

6. Truck Engine
... uh, yea.. I'm a car guy.

7. Car Engine
The LS1 is a great engine, but I like the Grand National's Tubo 3.8l engine. Hell even the current 3.8l engine (3800) can make obsene HP and TQ once you upgrade the supercharger or add a tubo. (intence racing has a grand prix pushing 700HP to the wheels)

Those are picks.

Thank you.
 

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Yes: very nice choices....I enjoyed all of your opinions on the CTS-V and NSAP: the Bonne GXP really does show where Pontiac is going....
 

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1. Performance/Sports Car
2005 Corvette. On a GM list of sports cars, there is no other vehicle in contention. I love the C6 design.

2. Passenger Car
Pontiac G6 is a cool looking car.

3. SUV
Either the SRX or the XUV. But I do like the Equinox.

4. Pickup Truck
Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon. These trucks are awesome. For those who complain about the torque and towing abilities, these are compact (oops, "midsize") trucks. GM also builds the Silverado/Sierra. "Don't whine for what you won't pay for."

5. Van
The old vans are bad. The new ones may be worse. Dodge Caravan.

6. 6600 Duramax Diesel V8
Trucks are for working. So is this engine.

7. 6.0 LS2 V8
Gotta pick the 'Vette, gotta pick its engine.
 

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Originally posted by laserwizard@Jun 29 2004, 10:10 PM
The real world's answer:

Ah, yeah - lazerwiserd is in the real world! :lol:

I always get the impression someone at GM ran over his dog.
 

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Originally posted by MelvinJ@Jun 30 2004, 08:59 AM

I always get the impression someone at GM ran over his dog.
:lol:

Someone at GM must of run over the new dog that replaced the old one, because he sent out a bunch of really negative stuff yesterday.
 

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Originally posted by laserwizard@Jun 29 2004, 10:10 PM
Lot's of new products coming out of GM. Unfortunately not one of them is a great product.
1) i think more would agree that the CTS is attractive than ugly. the current buick design is fine for buick, but cadillac has some visual oomph that no other north american vehicles have. and few international ones do.

2) G6 shouldn't be considered? fine, if your reasoning is that it's not out yet. but how the G6 can be considered a horrible choice is beyond me. it will have three impressive engines, a 6-speed trans option, and three body styles. and it's worlds ahead (style and content-wise) than the well-recieved car it replaces.

3) outboard motor? not sure what you're talking about there. i've driven one, and it outshines the tribute (which i drove back to back). a slick 5-speed trans backs that up. style is always personal, but it's on the aggressive end of the sport-cute group for sure.

4) these don't appear to be ground-breaking trucks, aside from the novel (and i consider that a good thing) 5-cylinder engine. again, style seems there, and i'm on the side that thinks the interior is well executed (with the exception of ugggggly seat fabrics).

5) currently horrible products? 5-star crash rating and best fuel economy aren't ignorable. the interior is probably the lowest point, and that's being addressed with the CSV's. they won't be class leading for sure, but ford spent a whole lot more redesigning the freestar and are still way in the back of the pack.

6) i know little about trucks and nothing about engines. there's no definite winner in the full-size truck category, so i'll assume in some measurables GM has the competition beat.

7) again, i really know nothing about specific engines. but the upcoming 3.9L sounds A-okay on paper, as do most of the caddy engines. the fuel economy out of the imapla and malibu motors is very impressive. ecotec seems like it's a very sturdy engine with many applications.


dunno... of the GM vehicles available for 2004 the ones listed by GMi seem like pretty good choices to me. hating them all simply because they're GM is no better than loving them all simply because they're GM. if GM doesn't have great products coming out, then who does? ford 500 and freestyle really catch your attention? 300C is impressive, but pacifica hasn't registered on the radar. neither has durango. or the minivans, according to sales figures. toyota has the... ummm... okay but honda will give us the... oh... hmmmm... guess the hyundai sonata in the spy shots is the vehicle to watch!
 

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Originally posted by T-Type+Jun 30 2004, 10:15 AM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (T-Type @ Jun 30 2004, 10:15 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-MelvinJ@Jun 30 2004, 08:59 AM

I always get the impression someone at GM ran over his dog.
:lol:

Someone at GM must of run over the new dog that replaced the old one, because he sent out a bunch of really negative stuff yesterday. [/b][/quote]
Personally I just ignore him. He never has anything useful or positive to say. He's here to stir up crap plain and simple so I won't give him the time of day. Fact is, GM does have some great product now. Whether he thinks so or not really doesn't matter. The journalists are agreeing and we are starting to see the consumers agreeing also.

In other words, eat your heart out. It's just going to get better for GM from here if they keep this up. :p
 

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I know this may be disputed here :argue: , because of how engines are rated since the early 70's... but the editors statement, "The LS1 was the first naturally-aspirated 2-valve V-8 to surpass one net horsepower per cubic inch displacement" is totally wrong. The 1957 Fuellie 283 had 283 HP, and the 1965 2x4 409 had 409 HP. Granted these new engines are super powerplants... the old boys still knew how to make extreme power also. ;) Can't wait to see the Super Vette !!
 

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I was careful to word my post to say that the LS1 was the first to exceed one -NET-(rather than gross) horsepower per cubic inch. I did forget to include "factory stock."

Ghrankenstein

:frankie: :frankie: :frankie:
 

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GM awards are a great idea and I'm sure they'll get bigger and better each year. Two things though. How can you rate a car that hasn't been released (and much less, driven) yet? Were non-US GM products considered? I see no mention of Saab 9-7X, VZ Holden Commodore, Opel/Vauxhall Astra, HSV Coupe 4 and Avalanche or the Holden Adventra.
 

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I think GM is headed in the right direction. Even in 2000 when they brought out the Montecarlo and Impala they were on the upturn. I think the Malibu Maxx will make it ok to have a hatchback again. If I needed one I would get one in a heartbeat. The Equinox is also a very classy looking and useful vehicle for its price. I think that while yes the 3500 would be a nice step up the 3400 is suitable for it. The 5 speed automatic helps make up for any engine defficiency it might have. The new Corvette looks good. As for it not having flip up headlights, I wasnt sure at 1st but now I like it the way it is. After nowhere in the rule book does it say a Corvette has to have flip up headlights. The 1953-62 didnt.
 

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fantastic choises guys but what the hell for number 6 the 6.0 liter is not a fugen LS2 the only thing in commom is the size and the best truck engine is the 6.6 liter duramax deisel! with 591 pounds of tourque and 3 hundred some od horse power!!!!!
:argue: GENERAL MOTORS IS THE BEST!!!
 

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Originally posted by MelvinJ+Jun 30 2004, 02:59 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (MelvinJ @ Jun 30 2004, 02:59 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-laserwizard@Jun 29 2004, 10:10 PM
The real world's answer:

Ah, yeah - lazerwiserd is in the real world! :lol:

I always get the impression someone at GM ran over his dog. [/b][/quote]
Seems like no matter what GM does they just can't do right by some people.
 
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