Episode 66. Pontiac Trans Am. GOX 144V. (Part 5).

What a difference a week makes, this time last week I was out driving about in the white stuff, and it felt like I was in the bleak mid winter, today it definately felt like spring had sprung! I even had my T-tops off today, it was rather lovely as I drove through the town.

As I pulled up at work the fella that lives across the road from my workplace said to me that Summer must surely be on it's way as I've got the cool car out. I asked him what he was talking about, I always have the cool car out... I only buy cool cars! We chuckled for a bit, and he said that by that he meant that I was out and about in the Trans Am. The thing is, that I normally walk to work, I live maybe ten minutes walk from work, and I feel it's usually more effort than it's worth to get in the car and drive there. Today however I had been running errands, and therefore out and about in the car. The other thing is, that over the last month or so I've almost been using the Trans Am as a daily driver. It has been on the school run almost every day, and has probably been driven six days out of seven. It even went out in the snow last week, as good as Mrs Clints Honda CR-V was at drifting in the snow, it wasn't a patch on the Trans Am!

I said this to the fella who lives across the road from my workplace, and he couldn't believe that I'd take it out in the rain, let along the snow and the ice. But like I said, pretty much every weekday for the last two months I've been out there scraping the ice from my windows on the Trans Am, and not just from the outside either!

I took out my camera to show him some photos I had taken just the other morning, whilst waiting for my littlest monster to appear for school. He asked me why I would drive this, as opposed to say, the Jaguar? I told him that I wasn't really a big fan of the Trans Am. I like it, but I don't love it, therefore I've not driven it much. I went on to say that I felt that the way things are going when I come round to selling it, I won't have really experienced it much more than just driving the the MOT station and back. Therefore the decision was made that I would burble around in it every day if I could, atleast until I either realise that I want to keep it, or realise that it needs to be set free!

I think he still thought I was mad for driving it in the ice and snow, and for that matter the rain. He went on to say that if it was his car, he would only ever drive it when it was warm and sunny, and the rest of the time it would be hidden away in a garage as it's not really the kind of car that you should use every day. Funnily enough, I've had several parents on the school run say the same sort of thing, it's not an every day car. Personally I think this is an odd thing to think. Why shouldn't it be an every day car? I asked the fella why he thought I shouldn't use it every day, and he started with the first thing that everyone says, it's too thirsty and un-economical. Well, I said, it isn't really, Infact it's on par with the Jaguar S-type, and a Vauxhall Frontera I once owned. For what it is, it's really not that bad on fuel, it's not bad at all. If you can run a Jaguar S-type every day, then this is no worse to run every day, it might even be slightly better!

After explaining the fuel efficiency (or lack thereof) to this guy, his response was that even if the fuel economy was equivalent to the S-type, he still wouldn't use it every day, as that's not what it's for. I thought I'd turn it back on him a little bit, and asked him why not? He said that really, a car like this was only for high days and holidays, who would drive a car like this every day? I was a bit taken aback by this statement. I mean this fella is quite an intelligent guy, and I would've thought that a person of his age (he's quite a bit older than me, infact he's older than my Dad!) and intellegence wouldn't have said something so daft. I actually wondered if he was joking with me, or just trying to get a reaction, but as I looked at him I realised that actually, he was quite serious. So I said o to him, that 38 years ago, in 1980 when this car was brand new someone walked into a dealership showroom and bought it. They then drove it home, drove it to work, drove it to the supermarket, drove it on holiday, in short they drove it everywhere! It would've been driven in the rain, in the wind, in the snow, in the ice, and occaisionally (as it came from Seattle originally) it would've been driven in the sun! My feeling is that it probably had worse weather thrown at it when it was new in America than it's ever had since I brought it into the UK! He was a bit stumped at this, and admitted that he had never really thought about it like that. He then asked me what it was like to drive in the Winter?

I said to him that was all a matter of your point of perspective. The Trans Am is ok to drive in the Winter, but it's not as pleasant to drive as say, the Jaguar, or the Scorpio for that matter. He asked me why not? My first answer was to do with the seats. The Trans Am has vinyl seats, the S-type has heated leather seats, and the Scorpio has velour seats. On a cold and frosty morning the Scorpio is the best car to get into, the seats are cool, but not cold, or atleast, not so cold they're uncomfortable. The S-types seats are very cold, that leather first thing on a chilly morning is uncomfortably cold, but at the touch of a button the seats warm up as they're electrically heated like most modern cars. The Trans Ams seats are bitterly cold, by the time I've driven my littlest monster to school two miles from home they're still uncomfortably cold, and even when I get back home, they've still not warmed up to an acceptable temperature! He asked me if that was it? I said that that was probably the worst thing about using it through the Winter months, but there is more. He said, like what? Well, I said, probably the biggest problem when its a frosty morning is getting into the thing. Because the doors have frameless windows when its frosty they tend to stick to the door seals, my Mustang suffers from this too. Sometimes it has taken me ten minutes to very carefully thaw out the windows around the endges before I can get the door open! Then, once I've scrapped all the ice from all the windows on the outside, I'm then scraping it off the inside of the windows! Once thats done I get in, and as I've already said the seats are really really cold! I turn the key, and to be fair to the thing it does usually start first time, and if not, it starts on the second attempt. So far this Winter only five times have I had to have three attempts to start it! But then we're off. By the time I'm at school in either the S-type or the Scorpio their heaters are warming up the cockpit nicely. In the Trans Am however I'm driving it for a good hour or more before the heater even thinks about working! But, apart from those little niggles, it really is pretty good to drive whatever the weather. He then said, So, have you had anything go wrong with it due to the cold weather? I told him that I have had one bad experience with it due to the cold weather, and that was to do with the ice, and scraping it off the windows.

My Trico ice scraper/squeegee broke! I was actually genuinely saddened by this. I bought this Trico ice scraper in the first Winter of my motoring career back in 1989. It has been in pretty much every car I've ever owned, and the other morning, while scraping the ice from my Trans Am it broke, cutting my finger in the process I might add! I know you're probably thinking, well, so what, get another scraper. To be honest I have other scrapers, and none of them have ever been as good as this one. I've even got scrapers that are similar looking to this one, but they don't perform as well. This one fits in my hand well, and is comfortable to use. But not only that the ice scraper bit really clears the window well, and quickly too. I don't have to make two or three passes to scrape the ice off. Likewise the rubber squeegee bit works well too. The rubber is soft and pliable and clears the condensation from the inside of the windows with ease. It is a really good tool, and I would go as far as to say that its the best ice scraper/squeegee that money could buy, and at £1.99 back in 1989, it reckon it's probably the best £1.99 I've ever spent! I doubt you can beat that for value for money! But sadly I don't think I'll be able to replace it with another Trico ice scraper/squeegee, as I've had a good look, and nowhere seems to sell an actual Trico one. Like I said, I can get something that looks similar, but they're not the same in either quality, or performance! This, I said to the fella, has been my worst experince of driving the Trans Am through the Winter. So he said to me, if breaking my scraper was the worst thing about driving the Trans Am in the Winter, what was the best thing? I didn't even need to think about it, that's easy I said, it was driving it about an empty car park last week in the snow, and doing doughnuts! That was fun!

Driving a classic muscle car through the Winter months... It's pretty cool!