My love for all things Pontiac began before I could even imagine how to drive. My father had many Ponchos, and the car I grew up with and learned how to drive in was an ’89 Bonneville, which he got after trading in his older Parisienne.

I loved the way that then-newly styled Bonneville looked and drove. It was powerful and handled well, and was the most reliable car we had. Even when dad sold it to a family friend, it was still running like a champ with 120,000 miles, no matter how bad it looked with the Chicago rust it had developed.

When I was a child, my older brother bought his ’84 Trans Am and began rebuilding it. When it came time for me to buy a car, I looked right to the Third-Gen Firebirds. I ended up buying an ’85 Trans Am; it inherited the rebuilt 305 from my brother’s car, which had rusted away. He replaced his car with an ’88 GTA and a 383 that he built.

I’m having my T/A painted soon and it will be close to finished. I don’t want it rusting away, so I looked for a winter vehicle and found a gem of an ’01 Bonneville SSEi. The Ivory White beauty had only 44,000 miles when I bought it in December 2010.

I walked in to the dealership the day the Bonneville came in, and fell in love with it immediately. At that moment, however, another couple was crunching numbers on it and my heart sank. They left to think about it—I went back into the dealership the next day, took the bright white Bonneville to my mechanic, got the A-OK, went back, and wrote the check.

I can’t leave a car stock to save my life, so it’s not surprising that hadn’t had it even a week when I began modifying it. First up, I replaced the stock mufflers with Flowmaster Super 44 series. They’re just loud enough to know the exhaust is not stock, but not so loud that it’s obnoxious. I then added a cold air intake to let the supercharged 3800 V-6 breathe better.

Since I believe in preventative maintenance, I’ve already done the 100,000-mile tune-up, including flushing the coolant and replacing the thermostat, and took the liberty of upgrading the ignition path to Taylor wires and NGK spark plugs. I changed the supercharger oil (something often overlooked) and other regular disposable items, like the fuel and air filters.

I had the windows tinted to the legal state limit and installed Weathertech window deflectors. Also, I have added a GXP strut tower brace to stiffen the front end in corners. That, combined with numerous hours of polishing, compounding, and waxing, really makes this previous-one-owner, garage-kept Florida car shine. It stands out in a crowd and makes people say, “There is something different about that car, but I can’t decide just exactly what it is.” I love that it keeps people guessing.

Now I love the Bonneville just as much as the Trans Am because it is one of the quickest, best handling, sportiest H-bodies around, and doubles as a daily driver that gets 30 mpg on the highway. Compared to its cousin, the LeSabre, this car is like an F1 racer.

I could not be happier with my supercharged Bonneville. I’ve always loved Pontiac and will continue to do so for the rest of my life. Even though I’m 18 and a lot of people my age can’t even spell Pontiac, I am one of the few who has a passion for them. I love working on them just as much as I love driving them. I, for one, hope that by some miracle Pontiac is brought back from the dead.

My Pontiac and Me spotlights reader experiences with their own Pontiacs in their own words. To be considered for publication, submit several high-quality color photos (if digital, each photo must be larger than 1 megabyte in JPG format—no other formats, please), your own Pontiac story (typed, approximately 500 words), your name, address, and telephone number to:

High Performance Pontiac Magazine
My Pontiac and Me
c/o Christopher Phillip
9036 Brittany Way
Tampa, FL 33619
or christopher.phillip@sorc.com

Please note: HPP pays $50 if your story is printed. A contract release and W-9 with your social security number will be required.