Pontiac had a little less excitement in the new product department which might be the reason for the less than thrilling spread on page three. The ad states, in bold lettering, “Pontiac we build excitement… and it shows!” Besides that and sketches of five cars with accompanying labels, the ad says nothing about Pontiac or its cars. But that doesn’t mean the division was stagnant.

1986 Pontiac Fiero GT galleryThe biggest news for 1986 was for Grand Am. It received a new four-door model (just as its aforementioned cousin, the Calais, did). Possibly more important for Pontiac fans like myself was the revised Fiero GT. It rejoined the lineup after taking roughly half a year off but the wait was worth it, at least with regard to looks.

Beyond that, most every other change in the Pontiac brand was of the trim variety. The 6000 STE received new flush-fitting headlights and Sunbird gained a GT model which came equipped with a 1.8-liter turbo engine. However, the sun was setting on the ginormous Pontiac Parisienne sedan which was in its final year, as was the diminutive 1000.

Moving on, the paper discusses new equipment for the Mitsubishi Conquest sports car; the two-year testing period Jeep put its new pickup model, the Comanche, through; and the new instrument cluster the Honda Prelude Si received.

1986 Ford TaurusThere’s a nice article on the all-new Ford Taurus titled, “Taurus offers aerodynamic look and flair of sports car.” Not a bad summary. But that should be expected after what the article describes as “a $3 billion investment over a five-year development period.” Ford took a risk and it paid off, big. The car looked undeniably sophisticated.

The article explains how Taurus was the replacement for the LTD, an aging design that was little more than a rework of the unpopular Granada. Wow, what a leap forward Ford took in the segment when they used laser focus.

No joke, a friend’s parents bought a Taurus shortly after they came out and I remember actually envying the fact that he got to wash it. (I always enjoyed cleaning cars. You really get to know a design after a few wash and wax sessions.)

Taurus was available in two body styles (sedan and wagon) and Ford offered four trim levels: “L” as the nicely equipped base model; “MT5” which is exactly what it sounds like, a sporty five-speed manual transmission model; “GL” has the automatic, a V-6 engine and nicer equipment; and the “LX” came loaded.

1986 Honda AccordAnother giant in the making, the Honda Accord, had big news.

The original model was introduced for 1976 as a two-door hatchback. By 1979 there were a couple of trim levels and a sedan model to choose from. For 1982 the second-generation Accord was “reengineered” and, according to the article, the design objectives were “to maintain and improve upon the strengths of the first Accord.” Refinement. Hmm, what auto company would be associated with that word for the next couple of decades?

For 1986, the Accord would again be totally reengineered, only this time with vast visual changes. The third-generation Accord, pictured, was designed with a heavy emphasis on aerodynamics. Another personal note, I really liked this generation. It has a large car look without being large.

Below is an article and a humorous ad.

1986 LAAS Special Ad Supplement Nissan MID4 article and Hyundai ad

I’ll get straight to the car. Nissan was displaying their first mid-engine sports car. That is, their first mid-engine sports car “with commercial production in mind.”

1986 Nissan MID4The article states that Nissan’s history of racing dates back to 1934 and the Datsun Roadster. Further, “The company’s experience with mid-engined cars can be traced back to the R380, a highly successful closed body racing car which raced against some formidable opposition such as the Porsche Carrera six.”

The name MID4 “is derived from its mechanical configuration, which is of a mid-engined, four-wheel-drive layout with four-wheel-steering and powered by a four-cam, four-valve/cylinder engine. The newly developed quadcam 24-valve three-liter, V6 engine is mounted between the cabin and the center of the rear wheel axis and power is transmitted to all four wheels at all times.”

Wow, that’s a mouthful. Suffice it to say, Nissan held nothing back. Believe it or not, the MID4’s body panels are made of fiber reinforced plastic, or FRP. The material which is popular in restaurant kitchens as a durable, easy-to-clean wall lining was chosen because it offered greater flexibility with regard to design, compared to steel. I think I’m going to have to look into this car a little more and possibly do a posting on it.

So what’s so humorous about the ad I stuck next to the MID4 article? Okay, first off, it’s titled, “If you want the good news first, start in the back.” 1986 LAAS Hyundai map adThe graphic is the floor plan of the LA Auto Show and there is a series of arrows leading to the very, very back of the building. Quite literally, the farthest you could get from the entrance.

The ad is by Hyundai. It was their first year in the US. They were offering the first Korean-made compact car on our shores but they had no cache. No street cred. It was just Hyundai afterall.

I’m purposely being facetious but you might sense some resentment in the ad’s body text, “The L.A. Auto Show stuck the new Hyundai cars behind just about everyone else’s. And our big-name competitors couldn’t be happier. Because they know that the new Hyundai Excels come packed with […] All of which adds up to some very bad news for our competitors. And the very best news for you.”

Hey, they got lemons. So they made lemonade. Bravo. And, for what it’s worth, Hyundai had a very prominent spot at last year’s show in Los Angeles.

Continued on page 3, below.

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