Almost spit my morning coffee out when a Grand Am popped up in the email. The saddest moment of my 12 year old life was when my dad traded in his '68 GTO (in dark green) for a '73 Grand Am, in the same brown as one in the photo. I can distinctly remember being despondent in the dealership as the deal was finalized, especially with the louvered rear windows, and the general lack of cool- even at that age I could tell the difference between a shark and a whale. True to the story, it was pretty luxurious by the standards of the time. I never drove either (due to a distinct lack of age), but I rode thousands of miles in each. The GTO was fast, loud, and had a sporty ride. The Grand Am was typical slush box gentle off the line, rode quite nicely, and was cone-of-silence quiet. When he died suddenly four years later, as I was just about to get my first drivers license, we sold the car, and I never had a moments regret. I still wish I had one of his two Corvairs (his cars before the GTO) or that wonderful, menacing GTO.
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As a side note, I owned (for almost two years) the definitively slowest vehicle of the second half of the 20th century: a Peugeot 504 diesel wagon. With the automatic. Slower than a sloth on Thorazine. As a 4 speed, the car would be slightly faster than your Vanagon, but the egregiously mushy transmission sends it to the bottom. A ¾ ton rated capacity, and a smoother ride than a Cadillac (and good mileage) kept me driving it as long as I did. Legendary Peugeot quality forced me to finally ditch it.
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