Friday, October 16, 2015

Friday Car Pr0n #101

What the heck. I'll continue through the current year. In the same vein as we've been doing for quite a while now, here's the car pic of the week featuring a car introduced in the year of the same two digits as the number (2001).

Chevrolet Avalanche. Introduced in late 2001, the Avalanche started as a 2002 model and had an 11 year run, ending production in 2013. Comprising two different iterations of the GM light truck, it attempted to fuse the utility of a four-door pickup truck with the unibody of an SUV. GM gets points for thinking outside the box, but the execution left much to be desired.

The "midgate" section that separated the interior from the exterior in the bed allowed the rear seats to be folded down and yielded the equivalent of a long-bed pickup. Problem is, it's open to the elements, including the cab. It also involves removing the rear window, which is glass, and if Murphy taught me anything, it's that a big, heavy sheet of glass that pops in and out of a plastic housing is just begging to be dropped...

Speaking of heavy glass and plastic, I'm genuinely curious how the Avalanche held up over the years, particularly in places like New England and the upper midwest that see significant cold in the winters and hot, humid summers. My experience with GM - well, with all American vehicles, really - is that over time, anything that you move repeatedly is going to loosen and wiggle. Not terrible when it's a console cover; less good when it's the only thing separating your back seat from the elements.

Please, whatever you do, don't get me started on the Cadillac Escalade EXT, though...

That is all.


libertyman said...

Saw an old El Camino the other day - I wonder if they would bring that back? But the Avalanche is neither fish nor fowl, I don't see the appeal.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

I think the appeal was mostly for people who frequently haul small things you don't necessarily need or want inside the vehicle, but would occasionally need to haul larger items. It wouldn't be bad for a small farm, or rural living (where you do things like haul your own trash to a dumpster site). You got the utility of a 4-door cab without the extra length of a true 4-door pickup.

Unfortunately, that's a fairly narrow market, as reflected by sales after the initial "neat gimmick" effect wore off.

Heath J said...

It took Honda to finally make the thing not look like ass. The Ridgeline wasn't a bad looking vehicle, if on a smaller scale.

Jim said...

The Avalanche suffered the same disease as most of the Pontiac lineup of the time.

GM was addicted to a scheme of silly, "Transformers"-like body cladding, excessively cobbled onto various body panels in lieu of decent styling to begin with.

The concept of "Less is More" was woefully absent from their thinking, and the resultant lineup looked more like an 8th grader's fantasy car sketches in his notebook.

You can see that someone at GM figured this out in later years, as you could order an Avalanche with "Delete Cladding" options, which resulted in a far more refined exterior.

Oh, and that GM cladding aged terribly. Cheap fastener clips, and the plastic of the cladding itself weathered worse than an aging Hollywood celebrity. It'd turn grey in the South Texas sun, and no amount of Armor All could save it.

Count me as a 2nd vote to bring back El Caminos and Rancheros.

Sunk New Dawn
Galveston, TX

MrGarabaldi said...

Hey Jay,

I owned a 2001 Ford Sport Trac, and owned it for 8 years until the cost of fuel and the wife incessant bitching about fuel cost forced me to get rid of it. It looked similar to the crapalanch but to me the truck held up better than the crapalanch did.