Editor’s Note: I don’t know who TTAC commenter VanillaDude is, and how much he believes what he writes, but the man can get some serious rant on. Here’s his analysis of the late, mostly unlamented 1993 Pontiac Bonneville SSEi.
How do you know when you go too far if you don’t go too far?
The SSEi went too far.
This is the most overtly sexualized interior since bordello red burgundy disco interiors of the 1970s. The interior of a 1974 Imperial back seat could be explained by the popularity of Shaft, poppers and cocaine, but what’s up with this 1993 SSEi interior? The seats look like they were designed by Brookstone and a Japanese S&M dominatrix.
The last thing we need to see is these seats in stained leather, ripped up like one of Marv Albert’s dates. Even when new, this interior looked as friendly as a Stranger Danger driving an Good Humor truck. Push the wrong button and you found Steely Dan with Patrick Stewart’s voice.
There was no way anyone could clean around all those buttons. After a year, this dashboard and seat accoutrement buttons looked as clean as the keyboard of a frat house computer used for surfing porn. You had to have this car detailed every month to keep ants from snacking on the half ton of crud hiding around every gray button. From day one of this car, you could see that an owner would have to buy disposable paper toilet seat covers to keep their clothes clean.
Gray! I never did understand the appeal of NO COLOR used on the IP of this era’s GM vehicles. Between the invisisilver color of the exterior and the invisigray color used on the dash, you would think Pontiac was trying to hide something from us. Did the gray help tone down the eye-ulcerating orange dash lights? Thanks to the eye cones and rod lacerating qualities of this Pontiac dash, Lasik surgery was discovered. Owning a Pontiac, a Subaru or other orange-lit dashes cured myopia.
The reason for all the badges, tags, decals, embroideries, and wood burning lithography on this vehicle is due to a belief at that time that owning a Pontiac was somehow cool. In the Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum in Niagra Falls Canada is a Pontiac Trans Am with a plague stating:
At one time, these overwrought ostentatious vehicles were commonly found on our roads, driven by people who needed to believe that mullet hair styles were fashionable, leopard-skin parachute pants were attractive, and Marlboro Light cigarettes were more expensive than generic, but were less cancerous.
Such was Pontiac fashion.
The exterior of this vehicle was also rendered in the Pontiac style fashionable in 1993. However, this being an SSEi required additional decals and plastic ground effects. The overall look of the 1993 Pontiac could be described as looking like a Chevy suffering from serious bloating and gas. The fender lines, the bumpers, the trunk deck stylings all suggest that in case of an accident or an overagressive car wash would result in an SSEi being popped like the bloated carcass of a two day old raccoon road kill in August. Why? Because when this car was originally designed, many auto manufacturers were attempting to create something bloated and round to address the popularity of the Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable. Gaseous shapes were in. Even the Taurus twins jumped the shark in 1996 by trying to outbloat the competition.
Fortunately, these cars were built with the dedication and quality of GM autos typical for those times, and sadly, today as well. As these cars aged, parts fell off, revealing taunt, attractive and sometimes, not rusted exterior panels more attractive than the original design. The effect would be like seeing a Phantom of the Opera mask fall off revealing George Hamilton’s orange face.
Like the Turnpike Cruiser, let’s show some respect for gauche auto design!