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So, today I went to Auto Show in Motion with a buddy and my son. For those of you who may not be familiar with it, Auto Show in Motion is a traveling GM event where they lay out driving courses with cones and allow you to drive GM cars and their competitors on these courses. It's a great deal--drive almost any production GM car (including Hummer, SSR, Corvette--the only thing there you couldn't drive was the XLR), enjoy lunch and beverages, and leave with a t-shirt--for FREE!

For more information on this show, i.e. where you can catch it and join in on the fun, check out the Auto Show in Motion Web site.

Anyway, the "must-drive" car for me this year was the GTO. This is my story.

First off, the line I waited in to drive the manual-tranny GTO was the fourth longest of the event, behind Hummer, SSR, and Corvette.



I waited about 45 minutes to get in. During that time, my buddy took my son to go drive the fabulous Pontiac Grand Prix GTP, the brawny Saturn VUE, the heart-stopping Chevrolet Aveo, and the ultimate bling machine--the Saturn L300 Wagon.

Finally, it was my turn with the GTO. I took a deep breath and made my way to the awaiting Goat. My legs were moving briskly, but the world was moving by me in slow motion.



Although I realized that there were people waiting in line behind me, I had to take a minute or two to walk around the yellow GTO. It was a more beautiful machine to me than it had ever been.



I can remember my first impression of the GTO at the 2003 LA Auto Show, and that I wasn't exactly floored. Maybe it's grown on me since then, but the GTO looks gorgeous to me now. It definitely has a breathtaking presence, (then again, if you've been waiting in line for 45 minutes fantasizing about how great a ride this is going to be, I guess anything would be breathtaking).

Once I stepped inside, I paused again to look around me, feel the various controls and surfaces (don't worry, nothing weird is about to happen), and generally taking in the interior of this car. Where some might not have the most favorable opinion about the outside of this car, I can't see how anyone can complain about the inside. It was a little dusty, but taking into account that we're talking about a low-30's car here, I was duly impressed.







I particularly liked the yellowish gauges with the 60's-looking numbers. I'd seen them before at this year's auto show, but they really come to life when the needles start moving.

And oh if these pictures had sound to go with them! After starting the car, I gave the accelerator a gentle push with the shifter in neutral position. Sah-WEET! This car has the sweetest sounding engine I've heard since, well, I can't remember. I realize that the Goat's 5.7L LS1 V8 isn't exactly exclusive to the Pontiac, but it just doesn't sound quite this good in a Corvette or a Camaro.

Finally, I moved the shifter into first gear and began to merge in line to get on the course, ready to see what this baby can do.

Even then--even without pushing her at all--the uniqueness of this car struck me. It felt on the one hand like a well-mannered and refined sports car, much like my CTS. OTOH, it felt like I was behind the wheel of a bad-a** muscle car, not unlike a late model Trans Am.

I waited as the line of cars in front of me began to disappear, one car at a time, into the course ahead.

My turn.

No sooner did the show guy clip my little wrist band thingy (and say something about some sort of speed limit, er, something like that) than I engaged the clutch and slammed on the gas. She's definitely very fast off the line.

I took the first turn and threw her into second. I was really starting to have fun when...tragedy struck!!

...that's right. Of all the cars that had to go ahead of me on the course, I got the only Toyota Camry with an annoyingly cautious Soccer Mom and her three kids taking a Sunday stroll. A nice, SLOW, Sunday stroll--affording me plenty of time to snap this picture of my antagonist:



AAAAAARRRRGGGHHHHHH!!!! :angry:

I had to repeatedly stop and give her room. I'd sit there and wait for her to take a turn as if she were trying to impress a driving instructor, then try to eak out what enjoyment I could with only three feet of room in front of me. Each time, after believing I had ample room, I'd push the Goat into another frenzy only to encounter Miss Molasses and her Turtle-ota before I could get out of second gear.

It was SO FREAKING FRUSTRATING!!

Okay, new law: NO CAMRY IS ALLOWED WITHIN 10 MILES OF ANYONE WANTING TO FREAKING DRIVE THEIR FREAKING CAR AT A FREAKING REASONABLE SPEED!!

Well, before I knew it, I was back at the staging area, forced to give up my GTO to someone else who probably got to have some fun with it. <_<

But you know, at least I got to get behind the wheel and experience this car, even if it was at its most benign. But even that was a thrill. I can't speak from the position of having driven this car the way it's supposed to be driven, but it is nonetheless clear to me that anyone who reviews this car and dogs it for anything other than its inability to safely dispose of a Camry is a grade-A world-class moron. This is an AWESOME car!
 

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I had the same frustrating experience in a Corvette - but at least I got a clean straightaway out of it. :p Easier than navigating the sharks at the local dealership or even convincing them to let me test drive a Vette.
 

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Okay, new law: NO CAMRY IS ALLOWED WITHIN 10 MILES OF ANYONE WANTING TO FREAKING DRIVE THEIR FREAKING CAR AT A FREAKING REASONABLE SPEED!!
Better you than I. I'd have driven around her and her kids and her disgusting Camry like they were just another obstacle on the course. Around here, there so many just like her it isn't funny. I have a cousin who drives one of the damn things. Leaving last year's family reunion, I came upon him and his wife and children. I waited patiently behind them for a passing zone. When I got it, I smoked them like a Havana.

The problem here is, and I realize this, that by making this remark about Camry owner, and Accord drivers are generally similar, BTW, we state clearly that we have a beef with the driving manners (or lack thereof) of the silent majority of America. When I was younger, that beef was with the owners of Oldsmobiles, particularly Cutlasses. Or sometimes it was older people in Grand Marquis and the like. Once and only once did I get anything remotely resembling comeuppance for snapping on them. One time, dealing with a old couple meandering in the left lane in a Buick, I snapped the Monte Carlo around them in such a violent manner that the tail kicked out violently. There was a definite pucker factor involved with throwing that much @$$ around.

Maybe we should banish them to a city where they can prevent each other from ever getting anywhere, or making it to a appointment on time, for that matter.

It's a shame, though, that the site for the Auto Show In Motion lists no 2004 dates. I'd look forward to a swipe at the GTO myself.
 

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Originally posted by Arrowhead222@Feb 1 2004, 08:50 PM
Too bad the Camry is a better looking car than the Holden "GTO"l.
:woot2: you can't be serious. :lol:
 

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Originally posted by Arrowhead222@Feb 1 2004, 03:50 PM
Too bad the Camry is a better looking car than the Holden "GTO"l.
:roflmao: I know you knew that comment would not be popular.
 

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Yeah, I'm serious. The Camry is a better looking car than the Holden. Where the Holden is bloated and puffy like a jelly bean, the Camry is sharp and lean. I'm not saying the Camry is a cool car. All I'm saying is that it's better looking than the ten year old Holden, which is pretty much identical to the Chevy Cavalier in proportion and other details. If that Holden didn't have a V-8 and fake GTO badges on it you wouldn't look twice at it.
 

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Arrowhead222,

The current series of Holden Commodore (VT onwards) was first released in August 1997 so that is not 10 years in my maths.

The Monaro in the current shape was first seen publicly in 1998!

Mike
 

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Originally posted by Arrowhead222@Feb 2 2004, 07:36 AM
Yeah, I'm serious. The Camry is a better looking car than the Holden. Where the Holden is bloated and puffy like a jelly bean, the Camry is sharp and lean. I'm not saying the Camry is a cool car. All I'm saying is that it's better looking than the ten year old Holden, which is pretty much identical to the Chevy Cavalier in proportion and other details. If that Holden didn't have a V-8 and fake GTO badges on it you wouldn't look twice at it.
WOW.... man, you are seriously missing something... some call it genes, some call it personality, I say its your mind. To even compare the Camry to the GTO is sick. The GTO might not thrill you from its looks, but to say that the very ugly, very bloated, very blah looking camry is nicer looking then the GTO, well then you have lost your mind. Ive heard some serious stuff about this car, but to say the Camry looks BETTER then the GTO... even the biggest hater of this car wouldnt say that. I seriously hope your just trying to get a rise out of some of us.
 

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Well, some of us just don't like the styling of the Monaro/GTO. To me it looks like a fat cow... sorry :(

I do like it better than I first did... now I hate Camry styling too... but I will say it looks very dated to me on the outside... I do like the INSIDE :)
 

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Originally posted by Arrowhead222@Feb 2 2004, 02:36 AM
Yeah, I'm serious. The Camry is a better looking car than the Holden. Where the Holden is bloated and puffy like a jelly bean, the Camry is sharp and lean. I'm not saying the Camry is a cool car. All I'm saying is that it's better looking than the ten year old Holden, which is pretty much identical to the Chevy Cavalier in proportion and other details. If that Holden didn't have a V-8 and fake GTO badges on it you wouldn't look twice at it.
It's obvious you have not seen a GTO in person. I agree with your comments, but I think they should be reversed.
 

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I agree. The Camry rocks. The new Accord is even better! ..........................................Hold on a second my leader is calling me on my special covert communicating device in my belly button. Sure it looks like a piece of lint, but that's the idea. It's covert. Ok, I have to cut this short because we nawbluvians are planning a take over of your planet. Now where were we? Oh yes, the Camry and the new Accords are awesome. Who the hell would want a GTO. Geeeez.

:blink:
 

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Camrys are so cool and if you rearrange the letters they spell My lame car. The GTO is powerful and sophisticated 13 second car. Who wants that it's all about the 17's Baby.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Originally posted by crazywop112@Feb 3 2004, 09:36 AM
Camrys are so cool and if you rearrange the letters they spell My lame car.
...and the letters in GTO can be rearranged to spell "GOT", like "I GOT a really cool car".

Okay, that was lame. :D
 

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When I made the Camry comment I was thinking of the 2000 era model, which is what I'm used to seeing since my parents own one. I agree that the CURRENT Camry is disgusting and bloated looking too. In fact, it looks like the front and back were heated up and put in front of a giant fan and blown back or something. Do not construe this post as a retraction of my statement about the Holden Monaro. It will always be a dumpy, boring looking car, regardless of the fake badges, tasteless cladding, non-functional wings, or "brand identity" front fascias that GM might screw onto it.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Originally posted by Arrowhead222@Feb 4 2004, 12:26 AM
Do not construe this post as a retraction of my statement about the Holden Monaro. It will always be a dumpy, boring looking car, regardless of the fake badges, tasteless cladding, non-functional wings, or "brand identity" front fascias that GM might screw onto it.
Hmm. I thought it was beautiful. But heck, what would I know. I only drove the thing in real life. B)

Obviously, the way a car looks and the way it expresses its identity are matters of opinion.

However, one undeniable, now proven fact emerges from my experience: with all its horsepower, road manners, and pure driving excitement, a Pontiac GTO can be nonetheless disappointing to drive on a one-lane course when a Toyota Camry is directly in front of it. ;)
 
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