Sunday, January 04, 2009

Ranting Stan's Sunday Drive: Pontiac Firebird

Us British never really took to yank cars particularly. The opinion of most car pundits is that US cars never matched the quality of European offerings, but I personally think the main reason is that most Britons found American cars just too darn big for British roads.

Whatever the reason, it wasn't because US cars were too flashy and vulgar for our tastes as, during the seventies, there was a sudden rash of US cars on our streets - mostly in the form of the Pontiac Firebird/Trans Am and the Chevrolet Camaro and these cars pushed the boundaries of taste and decency even in the decade that taste forgot!

The Firebird was a muscle car featuring a massive long bonnet which often had a garish transfer emblazoned upon it of a "Firebird" - presumably a phoenix - and a massive V8 engine underneath it. Subtle and tasteful it wasn't, but for some reason the roads around Slough seemed to attract these vulgar beasts.

By all accounts they weren't that fast, handled appallingly and had a famously prodigious thirst for petrol. Tasteless they may have been, but to a young Stan they were fabulously different from what I was used to seeing and I longed to own one of these muscle cars when I got older. The Camaro didn't quite do it for me in the way the Firebird did.

Unfortunately, I never did own one and as I've got older my love of classic British cars means that owning a Firebird/Trans Am has slipped down the scale of things to do, but if I ever win several million pounds on the lottery there is no doubt that there would be room in my garages for a classic tasteless, vulgar and brutally beautiful Firebird.

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