2000 Saturn L-Series
|Season||The Early Years|
|Air Date||October 20, 2013|
Take me back to 1999's cherry topping. The year 2000 was perfect. The music was payola-fueled and I had a 56k PCI modem. The Saturn L-Series was the last bare-palmed handy before it was time to go to work forever.
Thank you to powerofktulu for bringing his Saturn wagon out on a beautiful Sunday. I hope your indie film goes well. Here is his youtube page. http://www.youtube.com/user/powerofktulu
Take me back to the 90's. I want to wait thirty minuets to burn a cd. I want to wait for mom and dad to go to sleep so I can go online without tying up the phone. My Game Gear doesn't work anymore.
INTRO by MR REGULAR Look at this. It's a shining representation of pre-9/11 America. -- INTRO SONG: "Feed My Girl" by The Slackers Oh! Nobody knows where the money goes. -- MONOLOGUE by MR. REGULAR No, really. The Saturn L-series was a player in global trade agreements, backdoor dealings, bribery and General Motors infighting. Your parents didn't know it and you didn't know it, but that's okay. It was the year 2000, and everything was new. With Geocities and Angelfire, you could have your own website for your webcomic and Episode 2 spoiler gossip. Yeah, you'd borrow your parents' Saturn and blast Limp Bizkit all the way to the bowling alley, 'cause they don't care if you smoke there. Behind all the dent resistant panels and New America Adult Contemporary Matchbox Twenty dash trim, global forces were at play here. By 2000, the daring spirit of GM's Saturn division was putting on extra foundation and telling everybody it just fell off a stepladder. See, the thing you have to understand about Saturn is they got special treatment from the rest of GM. When Saturn was started, they got extra funding. The GM higher-ups kept their hands off Saturn. Saturn was free to do whatever they want. You can even find dealers back in the 1990s who just sold Saturns; just a Saturn dealership. The thing about buying a Saturn in the late 1990s, and the year 2000: you could walk into a Saturn dealership, and it would be just a price. There was no negotiating; it was just a store. You would go in, just pay this flat price, and there you go, there's your car. You don't have to go back and forth to talk to the manager. Just come in, write your check, hand over cash, whatever. Buy the car. You're out of there. There was leasing, sure, but they were getting away from the unpleasantness of buying a car, and for that Saturn thrived. And the rest of GM got very, very jealous. Because why is Saturn getting all this attention, doesn't have to follow any of the rules, and they're doing so well? Yeah, it was just envy on the part of GM. By the end of the 1990s and the year 2000, the rest of GM was just coming in and starting to take over Saturn. It was infighting. And by the year 2000 those problems were starting to show. The Saturn L-Series isn't an exclusively American car. It's a GM 2900 platform. That means that the Saturn L-Series is the same thing as an Opel Vectra b, which is the same thing as a Saab 9-5, which is the same thing as a Vauxhall Vectra, which is the same thing as a Holden Vectra. But never mind all that. Yes, it is a Transatlantic car, but the L-Series existed in that magical twelve months between the 90s and the "New Dumb". In the Saturn Salad days, nothing was wrong. Rock bands had DJs and rappers had guitarists. Playstation 2 was just going to be released any day now, and we were taking belt sanders to the brims of our baseball caps. Subway was health food. No one cared about corn syrup. Hyundai was just an automotive footnote. Suzuki won the Speed Wars. This Guy [CATS from Zero Wing and the "All Your Base Are Belong To Us" meme]. Koss portable CD players were in everybody's pockets because MP3 players were too expensive. Yeeeaaaahh. And Saturn was GM's golden child. So with the L-Series you had two choices for engines, just two. A 2.2 Ecotec 4-cylinder which had a cast aluminum block. That meant the whole engine weighed just over 300 pounds. Now this 2.2 made in and around 137 horsepower with its twin cams. A later incarnation of the 2.2 L61 engine was used in Chevy's "me too PT Cruiser" where it made not quite 150 horsepower. The other engine was GM's L81, which was a 3-liter V6 which saw daylight in the '95 Saab 9000 and Cadillac's Chris Gaines album. Remember - remember again this is the year 2000. Crossover vehicles were about 9 years away. Station wagons were your only alternative to minivan stigma if you didn't want to put up with the bad mileage that SUVs gave. This Saturn wagon right here was used as a tow vehicle. It has about 70,000 miles of just rolling along behind an RV. And there was something about the L-Series that made it a very good four-wheels-on-the-ground tow car. When it was in neutral, the automatic transmission fluid still flowed around. Now, that kept the gearbox from burning out as long as the key was turned to Accessory. Dent resistant doors, yeah. That was Saturn's second tagline, right after, "A Different Kind of Car. A Different Kind of Car Company." Plastic. That's all Saturn meant. Just plastic body panels on the doors instead of metal. That was great! Parts of the body shell wouldn't rust... while others did. [GROAN] Fake wood grain. Why do us Americans like this? Why do I like this? It's the parsley of interior trim. Am I really gonna miss it if its gone, but am I gonna notice if its gone? Anyway. Clues to the Transatlantic nature of Saturn are present if you look at them. Electric window switches are down on the center console, not up on the doors where we like them. That's a European move. Your four-ways button is right above the radio instead of on top of the steering column where it's found on most American cars, at least in the late 90s and early 2000s. You know what, though? Those plastic doors, those body panels... that's it, that's the key to the Saturn. And that's a really good link to the year 2000. No matter how aged a Saturn becomes, from some angles it's as new as you remember it. It's nice. And you know what that is? That's nostalgia. That's nostalgia for the recent past. The plastic panels cover up all the dirty memories and comfort us with an agreeable outward appearance. You know what, yeah. That's the late 90s. That's the year 2000. That's Saturns. The L-Series: that was a warm Sunday sunset. The week ahead is gonna be rough, and yeah, the past few years haven't been great, but right now, man? Right now things are alright. Sun setting, Saturn... everything's nice. Driving an L-Series, those plastic panels, you're right back there again. ["Feed My Girl" slowly fades in] Right back there and the present is as clear and crisp and as beautiful as the memories that you have. But seriously, walk around some parking lots, find a late 90s Saturn, or maybe a 2000 one. Find that L-Series. Just look at it. It's the year 2000 again. All those plastic panels are as perfect as you remember it. And you're gonna feel fine. That's nostalgia. That's how good the 90s were. Never, ever will those good memories fade. -- OUTRO: "Feed My Girl" by The Slackers Oh, the fields they grow so big and tall Should be enough to feed the world -- EPILOGUE by MR REGULAR [Cut to Mr. Regular playing a vintage Casio keyboard and speaking in THE VOICE] The madness will return next week...