1990 Pontiac Trans Sport: After the untimely demise of the Caprice, like with the Citation I was once again handed the keys to my Mom’s old vehicle, this time the mono-rail meets dust-buster mash-up that was the Pontiac Trans Sport.
My Mom’s vehicle was the debut model year. Nowadays, it’s advised not to purchase a new car in the first year, as many of the kinks haven’t been worked out, and to say the Trans Sport had problems was an understatement.
After a few years, the interior passenger sliding-door handle died, meaning anyone sitting in the second or back row of seats had to be helped out by someone opening the door from the outside. Not exactly safe. In addition to that little gem, the deep and massive dashboard began to curl from beating of the sun. In fact, most everything made out of rubber or plastic either warped, curled, cracked or splintered.
Still, the vehicle lasted a long time and took a nasty beating, both by time and circumstance. See, it was in the Trans Sport that I learned to drive. It’s also the first vehicle I managed to bang up, striking a curb in the winter and jacking up a wheel rim.
The Trans Sport also became the first “band van,” although that’s something of a misnomer as it wasn’t big enough to transport all the gear and people. Typically, we’d load everything into the van, our drummer Mark would ride shotgun, and everyone else would jump into a second vehicle for out of town gigs. It wasn’t the best set-up, but gas wasn’t regularly around four bucks a gallon either.
Sadly, the Trans Sport met an ugly demise. In February of 2002, after returning from a gig the van was parked in front of my Westerville apartment still filled with two guitar and one bass cabinet awaiting drop-off at our practice space. Now, Westerville ain’t exactly crime central, so I didn’t think much of leaving the gear in the van.
Off to work I went the next day, only to return that evening and discover the van gone. Cops called, report filed, insurance notified. It turned out to be somewhat of a blessing in disguise. The insurance money for the gear covered the purchase of newer, better gear. The insurance money for the van filled the gap that would occur the following month when I was laid off from my job at Cheryl & Co. and remained unemployed for six months.
Luckily, I had a back-up vehicle (next entry), so transportation wasn’t an issue. The van was later recovered: stripped, wrecked and totaled.