1985 Pontiac Parisienne (3)

Sitting behind the wheel of this monster was an experience. Plush comfortable (not terribly supportive) seats kept you fresh on long trips, while the tilt steering wheel allowed you to assume a sporty driving position. The quick ratio steering combined with the lowest wheel tilt position gave you the ability to execute manoevers that were surprisingly agile and accurate, considering the car's girth. At the limit of adhesion, the car was superbly balanced and never exhibited any nasty suprises or traits. This in itself is odd since most car manufacturers tend to dial in a certain amount of understeer to prevent people (like me) from getting into trouble in panic manoevers. This car, however, would maintain the correct attitude to the turn at all times, and when the limits of adhesion were reached, all four tires would begin to drift incrementally. A simple solution to this was just to slightly back off the throttle... the car would just cease to slip sideways and very calmly regain its desired arc of travel. Extremely enjoyable traits for someone who likes to "listen" and "feel" his cars...

The interior, while luxurious, was far from what would be found in a classic-style musclecar. The rally guage option basically granted you a temperature guage, and a "fuel economy" guage, a glorified vacuum guage. Nevertheless, it was fun to correlate the engine's behavior in different gears with the readings on the economy guage. Accelerating from a dead stop at a normal smooth rate would usually snap the needle to the halfway mark (pointing straight down) and it would quickly glide back to it's maximum position when cruising speed was reached. Punch the carb open, and the needle would snap all the way across from right to left and pin itself to the peg at the minimum fuel economy position, followed of course by the luscious roar of the V8 as it began to open the vacuum-controlled secondary butterly-valves.

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