Engine:400 BIG BLOCK
For Sale By:Private Seller
Number of Cylinders: 8
Model: Trans Am
Trim: w 87 golden anniversary
Drive Type: project
Warranty: as is
Altoona, Pennsylvania, United States
Every few a decades, the folks running General Motors lose their minds briefly try to market a car that public doesn't see coming and often aren't ready for. In the '60s there was the rear-engine, air-cooled Chevrolet Corvair, then the mid-engine Pontiac Fiero in the '80s and the completely bizarre Chevy SSR in the 2000s. What all of these had in common was that they bucked the trend for American models of their era, for better or worse. The latest episode of Generation Gap tasked the hosts with finding two cult classic vehicles to choose between; they came come up with two of these quirky products from The General.
On the classic side, there's a 1967 Chevy Corvair Monza convertible. Being from later in the production run, it wears slightly more aerodynamic styling than the earlier, boxier examples. Hanging out back is an air-cooled, 2.7-liter flat-six pumping out a robust 95 horsepower. In the other corner is the somewhat more modern 1986 Pontiac Fiero SE with a mid-mounted, 2.5-liter "Iron Duke" four-cylinder, an engine nearly ubiquitous in GM cars of the '80s.
Judging by when they were new, the Corvair was far more successful than the Fiero with over 1.8 million sold. Of course, Ralph Nader's book Unsafe at Any Speed kind of poisoned the well, even if the poor safety reputation wasn't entirely deserved. The Fiero on the other hand only lasted for a few model years before shuffling off, but it eventually got its own performance boost with the V6 version and rather attractive GT models. Check them both out in the video and tell us in Comments which you want in your garage.
According to two separate reports in The Detroit News, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is launching investigations into 550,000 Pontiac G6 (pictured above) and 320,000 Honda Odyssey (pictured right) models. The G6 models are all from the 2005 to 2007 model years, while the Odyssey minivans are from the 2003 and 2004 model years. The two NHTSA probes are not related.
In the case of the G6, this is an upgrade to an original investigation that started in February after NHTSA received "hundreds of reports" that the brake lights on these cars may malfunction. According to The Detroit News, the lights may come on when the brake pedal is not depressed, and likewise, the brake lights may not illuminate when the pedal has been pushed. General Motors was able to provide NHTSA with a significant number of warranty claims, including 1,100 reports that could potentially relate to this problem, one of which indicates a vehicle crash.
For Honda, the NHTSA probe concerns airbags that may deploy unexpectedly. The government agency received six complaints from 2003-04 Odyssey owners saying that the front airbags suddenly went off without a crash. The Detroit News reports that three of the six owners sustained injuries from these incidents. Additionally, NHTSA has received 41 complaints from owners saying the vehicle's airbag warning light had illuminated.
General Motors has announced that it will be recalling 778,562 compact cars after six people were killed in accidents, partially due to the airbags' failure to deploy. An issue with the ignition switch is causing the airbag issues, as well as causing the engine and other components to shut off without warning. The recall covers the 2005 to 2007 model year Chevrolet Cobalt and 2007 Pontiac G5. (Note that the Cobalt pictured above is a 2009 model.)
According to a report from Automotive News, a number of factors can cause the ignition to switch out of the run position, including weights on the key ring, rough or bumpy roads or other "jarring" events. Any of these situations could lead to some vehicle components not functioning properly.
There have been five fatal front-impact crashes that took the lives of six people, although as a GM spokesman noted, all five of the crashes happened off road and at high speed. In each of these cases, though, the lack of airbags wasn't the only lethal factor - alcohol and failure to wear a seat belt also played a role. Outside of the fatal accidents, there have been 17 other crashes where airbags didn't deploy. It's unclear if any of these crashes were caused by the engine shutting off.