The first car I drove with any kid of regularity was my mother’s 1986 Pontiac 6000 STE. She got it brand new in 1985, and it was still in pristine condition when I turned 16, in 1989. My dad drove a much less cool Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham of the same year. Of course, now I think that the Caddy would be cooler. Anyways that’s neither here nor there.
Here’s what my mom’s Pontiac looked like. I know this is a picture from a car show, but I haven’t yet scanned all my old pictures:
It was surprisingly fast. It had a 140 horsepower engine, or thereabouts, Anti-Lock breaks, which were state-of the-art back then, and the coolest dashboard any geeky kid could wish for. Basically it had tons of buttons, with extreme redundancies everywhere, and a digital display that was really neat – remember kids, this was 1986! Now it looks kind of dated but I still like it.
Here’s a shot of the awesome steering wheel; note the lack of airbags but the abundance of buttons:
It also had a really nice spring-loaded tilt-steering (left hand, I remember like it was yesterday). Here’s another picture of the rest of the dashboard. That’s where you can see they really went all-out with the buttons:
Notice that the cassette deck – because in 1986, cassette technology was at its peak, the CD was only starting to appear – has an equalizer, which allowed me to drive my mum to distraction with the loud bass.
In 1986, Velcro was no longer confined to holding the shoes of senior citizens in Florida! It had made inroads in the automobile industry! In the trunk of this gorgeous car was a leatherette bag containing emergency necessities such as flares, first aid kit, raincoats, etc, that could be Velcro-ed to the site of the trunk, as well as a 20-foot air hose, designed to be connected to the integrated, on-board air compressor.
Seriously, this is a really cool feature that should be on every car. Really. But I’ve not seen it since, which is quite unfortunate.
I drove this car for 2-3 years, until my dad sold it and gave my mom a Mustang, instead. But that’s a story for another day. It was still in great shape when he sold it; the little fender-bender I was involved in did no damage. That car was really great; uncomplicated, not too hard on gas, thanks to its “state-of-the-art” Electronic “Multi-Port” Fuel Injection, and with good winter tires, a real beast in the snow.