Life is Great with a 6.0-liter V8
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  • Pontiac G8 GXP: Last Drive

    Posted on May 14th, 2009 tcorzett No comments

    Over the past three days there has been a multi-part story playing out on Jalopnik about the Pontiac G8 GXP… and it’s ‘Last Drive’.


    Besides being a little harsh on the interior at times, he does a good job describing the attitude associated with the G8 (especially the GXP trim). A few good quotes…

    From a dead stop, at highway passing speeds, and on beyond what’s really practical… the GXP will definitely and unmistakably accelerate. Anecdotally, I found that when I got tired of leaning forward in my seat and fetching my music player from its perch atop the dash, I was able to drop down two gears, nail the throttle, and pluck my trusty iPod out of the air as it shot past my shoulder. Please note that this somehow fails to impress women.

    Who Should Buy a G8 GXP:
    • You like the idea of a four-door Corvette with a gigantic backseat and a capacious trunk.
    • You think a combination of power and practicality will attract the opposite sex and you like that the power part can at least be hidden from them if necessary.

    Who Shouldn’t Buy a G8 GXP:
    • You know the thread count of your sheets by heart.
    • You believe fast four-doors should be made by stoic sausage-gnashing umlaut junkies and no one can convince you otherwise.

    Some of the commentary is quite entertaining as well:

    A four-door Corvette with a gigantic backseat and a capacious trunk.
    How capacious? Are we talking 1 dead hooker or 3? Dry or wet? Metric or English?

    Overall the impressions were right on track. Many of the points brought-up were those that enticed me to the G8 GT: More than adequate power on-tap, Large trunk (for hookers… oops, photography equipment), Subtle but aggressive looks, Etc.

    For a fan of the G8, it’s required reading:
    • 2009 Pontiac G8 GXP: Last Drive, Part One
    • 2009 Pontiac G8 GXP: Last Drive, Part Two
    • 2009 Pontiac G8 GXP: Last Drive, Part Three

  • NorCal GOATs Sonic Drive-In

    Posted on May 9th, 2009 tcorzett No comments

    Some of the NorCal GTOs gathered tonight in Stockton for a drive-in at Sonics. There was talk of having many non-Pontiacs (LSx meet type of thing), but for the most part it was the GTOs. I decided to take a longer drive, taking back roads rather than the freeway, and it was enjoyable. I washed the G8 last night, but after driving through the countryside there were many bugs stuck to the front-end… oh well!

    I arrived at the meet a little early (the drive over didn’t take as long as Google suggested it would), but it allowed me to get gas. Cars started to arrive and we lined-up and started talking shop.


    There was one other G8 GT, which was awesome! It had a Corsa exhaust, giving it a mean sound… something that could be interesting in the future. I learned a bunch about the mods done, just in case I want to get more invasive with the G8.


    Like always the conversation was really great. There was lots of talk about suspension upgrades (and the trade-offs they may cause), power-adders (superchargers, intakes, headers, etc.). It’s really dangerous hanging out with these guys (and gals) as it makes me more and more interested in moding my G8!

  • NorCal GOATs Santa Cruz Cruise

    Posted on May 2nd, 2009 tcorzett No comments

    I am really spending a bunch of time on the road lately. This weekend I went out with the NorCal GTO boys again, and had a blast.

    This meet has been on the calender for a while, but the weather decided not to cooperate this weekend. The forecast called for rain and it scared a few people away (they missed-out though). Dublin was rain free, but I checked the radar before leaving home and there was some moisture heading into Santa Cruz. I guess we’ll have to keep things a little slower…

    On the way to the meet I had to stop at FedEx to pick-up my Valentine One (Radar Detector). I didn’t want to mount/use it yet, as I figured it would be best to read the manual first. Also, I wanted to enjoy the drive and focus on the road.

    We started to meet up at the Santana Row Back Parking Lot. It was raining, but we were able to talk about cars for a little while. We were hoping for a bigger turn-out, but the rain killed that. There was a total of 5 of us… 4 GTOs and my G8. After waiting around to catch any stranglers, we headed out on the cruise.

    Total Distance: 124 miles
    Driving Time: 4 hours 1 min

    View Larger Map


    We started out down CA-17 towards and then took CA-9 to Saratoga. Nothing too exciting, but it’s really nice to be on the road with a group of people rather than just by myself. It’s also cool to see a trail of GTOs in the rear view mirror!

    The rain was falling, not too hard, but it made the roads wet. We kept the pace on the slower side, which made for a more scenic drive… although the fog did steal most of the views. Then again, it was cool to see the fog rolling in-between the trees and up the hills.

    CA-9 was great, a very nice two-lane road that winds around/through the redwood trees. I kept enough space between me and the lead car to allow for some more spirited corners, without encroaching too much. For sure this was a lot of fun.

    For the most part the first half of the drive was not interrupted with many slow vehicles on the road. Unfortunately, this was not the case for the whole day… but more on that later.

    When you are trailing someone who ‘tests the waters’ for you, it’s much more relaxing going around blind corners. There were a few sections of the route that narrowed down to one-lane. Not that they were bad roads, actually the opposite, but I probably would cut those out if I do this drive on my own.

    I spent quite some time playing with the Manual Shift mode this trip. One of my criticisms of the auto in G8 is that it likes to go high gears way too soon (like 45mph in 6th gear). Sports Mode helps this a little (keeps things in 5th), but there are many times when going through hills that a lower gear is desired. I found that when going up hills 3rd gear was perfect, but the car will not stay in 3rd when cruising at 40mph. Going downhill the car was riding on the transmission a little more than I desired (not bad for slowing down into corners), so I’d bump it up to 4th.

    I do have to remember that I am in Manual Mode though… the car is smart enough to shift to 2nd when I come to a stop… but being use to an Automatic can be a little embarrassing when the car doesn’t up-shift when you expect it to.

    Oh yeah… and a note on the Manual Shifting… who’s idea was it to push forward to up-shift? I’ve always thought you pulled-back to up-shift… Oh well, I’m learning (fast) not to go the wrong way!

    We reached Santa Cruz and parked for lunch at 99 Bottles. Lunch was good and the talk was great… lots of talk about mods, track days, crazy street action, etc. I learned quite a few things about preparing for a track day (what to bring, what type of work needs to be done at the track, etc.). I’m sure it would be something I’d really enjoy (Grand Turismo meets real life!), but putting that much wear-and-tear (brakes, tires, etc.) on my daily driver is really a worry for me.

    After lunch we headed up the coast on CA-1. The weather was better (little rain), but the view was spoiled by fog. The road was also spoiled by many slow cars. Being in a group of people who want to move quickly… having a handful of cars going slowly makes things tricky.

    CA-1 does a great job providing passing lanes and marking the roads with passing zones (not just a double-yellow ling for miles on end). If the traffic on the road would pay attention to the “Slower Traffic Keep Right” signs, it would have been simple.

    I have to be honest, I don’t like passing slower drivers when it requires speeding, but when you are trying to keep-up with the front runners (and there are people behind you waiting as well) it becomes a necessity. The G8 GT handled every passing situation very well. The auto transmission (even in Sports Mode) still has some lag when downshifting to make a pass, but I started getting ‘smart’ and going into manual (4th gear) before making a pass. I must admit, the G8 GT handles great at higher speeds… seriously, if I didn’t have a speedometer I wouldn’t have been able to tell how fast I was going.

    A note to (poor?) drivers in California (maybe they were a tourist?)… when someone is heading towards you on a two lane road… making a pass… there is no reason to honk your horn and pull-off the road… a 1/4-mile before the car reaches you! It did make for a funny story though…

    Speaking of funny things… while driving on CA-1 we passed a line of maybe a dozen PT Cruisers. Many of them were all tricked-out with extra (plastic) bodywork. While it’s great that there were other people out enjoying the roads, it was kinda funny to see.

    The group stopped in Pescadero (to pick-up some fresh baked bread) and then headed back out on the road. At this point I found myself farther back in the line of cars (#4 of 5 rather than #2) which made it a little more difficult keeping up with the front runners. I was also following someone who was driving a little slower (which is fine). The drive was very enjoyable… another great choice of roads winding through the redwood trees.

    Before leaving Pescadero the group discussed their plans for break-off. I decided that I would just keep on CA-84 all the way home. The rest of the group broke-off at I-280 N. The rest of my drive was less than exciting… lots of city driving and traffic. The trip over the Dumbarton Bridge was nice. Niles Canyon was full of traffic (although I did pass one slow car to get some clear road). I debated if I should take Palomares Rd., but I thought I would just head home.

    The day was a great one. If the rain had cleared-up it would have been a little nicer, but no reason not to attend the meet. It was nice to have a small group, but a few more cars would have been great too. I’d have liked to stop for a few photographs (even if the views weren’t spectacular), but I didn’t make a point of it (next time I will).

    I think this cruise is going to be done again when the weather is a little better… hopefully soon!