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This is the car that is supposed to take us all the way to Virginia. 3000 miles, more or less. Not really much, after all.


The car is a little old but honorable Pontiac Sunbird SE 1988.
SE = Special Edition. The Sunbird is the younger brother of the Pontiac Firebird, and as I have got to know in the last years, ďSpecial EditionĒ is not so special at all, but is something that could be good and powerful but it is not. Looks good with a big hood, but it is a wide-angle effect, and it is a two doors. On long journeys is a bummer having a two doors ... and small trunk too ...

The Pontiac Sunbird SE is sort of a second choice performance car. In fact the maximum allowed speed on the tachometer is 85 miles per hour ... with a 2 liter powerful engine! Thatís why I am so confident we wonít have any trouble in getting easily on the East Coast.
Big underused engine wonít leave me on the road, this is a fact.
But just to make sure I will make it smoothly, I decide to take some precautions.

PRECAUTION # 1 - I choose the best mechanics and garage ever in the Bay Area to give my Sunbird the best tune up available.
No doubt about that, best ever is MONZA MOTORS, run by Luigi Prospato, an Italian friend of mine, with his two experienced assistants, Daniel and Victor. Mexicans with an Italian heart for motors.
They set up the old heart (and the brakes, belts, fluids, alternator ...) of my Pontiac to the maximum level of performance that it can be reached, so far so good ...
Itís the official FERRARI garage service, if they wonít be able to revive my baby ... nobody else will!

 

Here we are at the Pit Stop: Luigi checkig the brakes ...

And the whole team during the surgery. In a couple hours it was running smoothly like ... a FERRARI!

And These are the good news. Great people I really rely on.

Now for the bad news:
PRECAUTION # 2
- Decide to change all four tires so as to improve the carís stability.
Here I do something stupid: I rely on godd prices, equipment and supposedly experience on American cars of a local SEARS Auto Center to change the four tires and fix the settings of convergence, tire balance, camber, etc.
A big mistake. These people donít know a fuck of what they are doing and give me back a car that seems to run on four soap bars ... All settings are wrong so the car doesnít have the stability it had before. Iím told they donít have the manufacturerís specifications. So far for good service ...
When the next day I return with the car to complain about the work done, I am presented with another estimate for changing all wheels again, but without getting back a penny of what I had already paid. And for safety reasons! they canít resell 4 tires that had 30 miles on them! So far for warranty and reliability. And safety.
I smile, I send them to hell in my heart, and since I donít want to invest other $500.00 on such an old car, I decide to rely on the driverís ability to get safely at destination.

    SEAR AUTO CENTER TIRES ... never again !!