1980 Pontiac Bonneville Brougham



This car was my dad's company carto begin with, and he liked it enough to buy it when the companylease ended. It eventually was handed down to me to use duringhigh school, in those important formative driving years. If Ihad only one word to describe the car, it would be "large."This was always a great safety feature, and probably wasn't abad thing while I was learning to drive. I managed to lug thebeast around reasonably well, though in my lust for small cars,I've really lost my large-car driving ability. (Disappointing,but no big deal.)

The biggest event in the Bonnie's life was the time it gothit by a small dump truck in Nashville. I was home for winterbreak in 1990, making a left turn on a green light. Some hicknamed "Artist" working for Phipps Construction ran hisChevy dump truck between two stopped cars and through the redlight. By the time I saw this coming, it was too late to stopon the wet pavement, so I gunned it. Short of noticing him beforehand,this probably saved my butt, since he ended up hitting me in therear left, just behind the wheel. Artist was a real prize: smokedcigarettes and a pipe, had swasticas on his fingers, and got offscott-free, since the good-old-boy officer didn't want to do hisjob that dreary afternoon. A $3000 accident, and he didn't evenwrite it up, because we'd moved the cars to prevent blocking 3or 4 lanes of traffic on one of Nashville's main streets, WestEnd Avenue. Genius. I'm just a bit bitter about that whole thing,and it definitely did nothing to improve my opinion of fat, stupid,good old boys.

It was repaired and painted and looked really great again,so I eventually bought the car from my dad for $1400, and it servedme well until I bought the Neon. Peg got to take the Bonnevilleand re-learn to drive, since she had never really driven muchin high school, and hadn't driven at all for quite a few yearswhen we got married. She managed to bang it up a bit more thanI ever did in parking garages, but I'll admit the Ann Arbor garageshe had to park in was a lot tighter than my nemesis-garage inNashville. After a few months of reasonably faithful service toPeg, the Bonnie's transmission had a bit of a seizure, finallyrefusing to do anything but reverse, no more than 100 yards afterI filled the 20-plus gallon gas tank. Since it had so many otherproblems, we decided it wasn't worth $700 for a new transmission,so I gave it to the service ship guy for $100 and replaced itwith the Vista. I could probably havesold just the engine for more than $100, since it wasa 302cid V8 in good condition, but that probably would have beenmore trouble than it was worth.