1999: My Brand NEW Car!
Obviously, the winter storage period for 1998-1999 was fairly difficult... I
was living in my first house (alone, until I got married later that year) and my first
ever brand new car was stuffed in my 2-space garage next to my GTA. Countless time was
spent staring at the cars from the garage access door.
It was indeed an exciting moment when enough snow had melted so that I could
open up the doors and fire the car up for the first time. Needless to say, the single
smoking exhaust pipe looked silly, but I had no intentions of modifying the car in any
way. The folks at ASC let me know that quite a few 1998 WS6 owners were unhappy with the
look, and were actually quite angry that the 1999 model received dual outlets (albeit with
much smaller diameter outlets as compared to the LARGE 1998 outlet). There was talk of a
GM retrofit kit being offered to 1998 owners, but I was naive at the time, believing GM
might actually consider offering such a kit at their expense. Silly, when I think back at
how naive I was.
Nonetheless, I began wondering if I would succumb to the temptation of installing
an aftermarket exhaust system on the car... I was quite obsessed with the Borla 'open-
exhaust' package (the 'adjustable' system) after hearing it on LT1s, but I began hearing
that the LS1 exhaust note wasn't so pretty when 'opened up'. Anyway, a solution would
eventually be found, but for now the car remained exactly as built.
Obviously, I shot photos of the car from as many angles as humanly possible,
as I was just getting familiar with it.
All was not perfect, though. The passenger's side headlamp motor failed, stripping
a gear. The radio was replaced due to a volume control problem. A missing vent on the
differential might have allowed water into the unit, and during the subsequent flushing
the dealership used regular differential oil instead of the indicated synthetic kind.
However, as has been told to me before, this is why a warranty is there to be used, and
everything was promptly and very expertly dealt with to my satisfaction. A slight bump in
the road, unlike my recent experiences with Ford (see elsewhere on this site).
It was also during this period that I began to experiment a lot with different photo
techniques. For instance, the effect of lens focal length on a car with so many curves up
front. Also, I began to experiment a lot with polarizing filters, which really resulted in
some interesting effects.
Using a 35mm camera made for some frustrating moments, since one is unable to
see the final effect until the film is processed. Nonetheless, the above examples show how
the same car can be portrayed in different ways using different effects.
I even resorted to some gag photos, such as this fictitious race to see who has
the most 'horsepower'!
Speaking of horsepower, it was becoming evident to many LS1 owners that this motor
enjoyed a nice long break-in period. Indeed, the car felt so much quicker and more powerful
now than during the first few months of its life. The car was strapped onto a dynamometer to
prove the point, and the car delivered proof that these engines can produce upwards of 340
hp at the crankshaft in cool air.
While I chose to use my 1987 GTA for my own wedding, this car nonetheless served
on many many occasions as the 'nice' car for official outings, as in this particular long
drive up to Mont Laurier for a wedding. That night, at 3 am and with a viciously thick
coating of frost on all surfaces, the car proved to me that it could start just as well at
-5 Celsius as it could at +35 Celsius.
So at the end of the first full year of ownership, the car was proving to be a fun
and very solid reliable automobile.