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Last Ride: An Out-of-F-Body Experience

My Trans Am, she is gone.

Everything went smooth as silk today with the transfer of ownership. The buyer, Matt, happened to be a registered member of the LS2GTO boards where I hang out, and this morning he flew in with a bank check in hand, intending to buy my car and drive it back home to Virginia Beach. I offered to pick him up at the Fort Myers airport.

So I was nervous. I couldn’t sleep last night, I got out of bed early and left the house with way too much time to spare. Figuring the traffic on I-75 would be tantamount to demonic, I instead had the smoothest commute of my life, taking only thirty minutes to get from my driveway to the terminal access road. I was so early, I had to turn around, drive a couple minutes back up the road to a shopping center, and park in their lot so I could listen to the radio for a while.

After some time killed, I headed back to the airport — just in time to see Matt’s plane fly overhead. Ten minutes or so later, I had picked him up and we were en route back to my house. He and I immediately hit it off. It turns out we’re both getting GTOs, both for the same reason. Matt was actually interested in the Trans Am for his wife, who wanted a fun toy once she learned her husband was getting a GTO, and she currently drove a V6 Firebird but was bored of its limited potential. Much like me, Matt said she wanted a mostly-stock car, appreciated the fine art of driving and rowing one’s own gears, but was not into racing and loved Trans Ams and their masculine look. She also loved the stripes on the car. Yay, somebody who isn’t asking me how to take ’em off, like half the assholes who called about the car!

Long story short, we got back to my house, Matt checked the car out under the hood, did a walk-around, drove it around our community, and became more enthused with it the longer he spent behind the wheel. He commented the car ran smoother than he expected, looked incredibly well taken care of and that I had done a great job preserving the beauty of the black paint, which is notoriously hard to do. I showed him where all the receipts were, the Borla exhaust baffle plates, the wheel lock key, and we did the customary exchanging of signed official documents. Matt thanked me for my honesty in representing the car via Internet, and said that such honesty goes a long way toward making doing business with certain folks a pleasure. Finally, just before noon, I waved goodbye to my Trans Am as Matt drove her away, en route to Virginia via I-95.

It was weird, seeing my car drive away without me. Like having an out-of-body experience. Or in this case, an out-of-F-body experience. KITT’s in my garage now, so in a way, there’s still a black Firebird out there, but obviously not the same proud vehicle that once occupied that spot. The WS6 has been with me through my entire adult life, seen me through my move away from my childhood home, my college career, graduation, my first job, my marriage, moving into our first home…hell, it’s been at my side for damn near everything that’s mattered in my life; you can imagine how hard it was for me to let that car go. Some fellow WS6 owners on the GTO message board commented today that they had to give me respect, for they could never work up the nerve to sell their own pride and joy, even for a GTO. That’s not to say it was easy even for me. All during the morning I wore my new GTO T-shirt that I received for Christmas, emblazoned with the new GTO badge in bright silver, as though it were a medallion that gave me the strength to remember that I was trading up to bigger and bolder things, not just giving away the farm.

In the end, I know I’m not going to regret this. 99% of those who have made the jump from the now-deceased F-body platform to the GTO have not regretted it; they’ve found the additional power and refinement of Holden’s grand tourer an absolute joy, and worlds better than the old F-body in many ways. From the times I have driven the GTO, I already felt a bond with that car. Any car I get into which leaves me feeling like it’s “just another ride to the drugstore” is not a car I will ever buy. Most cars register with me that way, but a few do not. A storied few — like the Trans Am of old, and the GTO of today — are companions.