Long ago, before the turn of the century (21st not 20th), there existed a car company that very well could have been the best in the world. While the company was not killed off until 2009, it’s pretty obvious that its glory days were the ‘90s. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m talking about Saturn, an experimental branch of General Motors that didn’t survive the recession of the late ‘00s.
Some of my earliest memories took place in the backseat of my family’s maroon 1993 Saturn SL. Everywhere my family went, that Saturn went. It was the first real car my parents bought as a family car.
Before that, my mom drove around in a Chevrolet Astro van (it only had the two windows on the back and no rear seats) and my dad drove a 1980 Toyota Celica which, unfortunately, met its end after hitting a patch of ice on a New Jersey on-ramp.
My favorite part of that Saturn, though, was the Yakima bike rack that my dad had fitted to the car. Cycling has always been one of my father’s biggest passions, and so it was a practical choice for him. You have to remember that this was the late 1990s/early 2000s, where that sort of thing wasn’t as cool as it is now. (Most people at the time were still trying to get their cars to look like Brian’s Eclipse from The Fast and the Furious–underglow and all.)
I vividly remember the trips we took to the Saturn dealership to get the car worked on. The best part was that we would make a day trip out of it because it was about 30 miles away from our house. Of course, I was still pretty young and I didn’t know much about cars, but I still had fun looking at all the vehicles for sale on the lot. I would give anything to be able to go to that Saturn dealership again.
The last time that I recall going to the Saturn dealer was pretty close to the time when they closed. I distinctly remember seeing posters of the Saturn Sky throughout the dealership and the brand-new Saturn Astras out on the lot. At that time I was just starting to get the point of cars, and the Saturn Sky sure did look awesome.
And then, it was all taken away. Saturn died.
Essentially, General Motors wasn’t doing too well with the economic recession and decided to slim down its portfolio to just Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick, and GMC, leaving the fates of Saab, Hummer, Pontiac, and Saturn up in the air. Attempts to sell the brands met with varying degrees of success, with Saturn’s being one of the deals that, perhaps…