I recently came across an old digital camera, and among the pictures on it were those I took at the 2006 New England International Auto Show, when I was 13 years old. To my amazement, nearly all the pictures I took were of cars and entire brands that no longer exist only seven years later. So I had to wonder: Was my camera a curse?
The first picture is of course a 2007 Mercury Mariner Hybrid. I also snapped one of this red non-hybrid model. Redesigned for 2008, the Mariner faded away along with the entire Mercury brand in 2011. A Town Car and the ill-fated Lincoln Mark LT pickup can also be seen in the background.
Close by was this even shorter-lived Mercury Montego, which was only produced from 2005-2007.
Over at Buick I took some shots of the then fairly-new Buick Lucerne. Despite what critics said about its floaty ride and senior citizen appeal (among other criticisms), I always liked the Lucerne, and still do.
I thought the design was far more elegant and upscale than the Park Avenue and LeSabre it replaced. The rear had a sort of VW Phaeton/Passat-look to it. And the interior was comparable to Cadillac comfort and material quality of that year.
This loaded Buick Terraza minivan really appealed to the minivan-loving side of me.
The de-facto replacement for the Oldsmobile Silhouette, Buick’s brief foray into the minivan segment lasted only 3 years, from 2005-2007.
One of the Terraza’s three badge-engineered siblings (Yes, THREE! No wonder you had to eliminate brands GM!) was the less-plush Saturn Relay.
Look out Bentley! Saturn’s interiors are gonna give you a run for your money!
GM’s branching out of the Saturn brand also included this Saturn Sky roadster. The reasonably-priced Sky did manage to sell over 30,000 units during its 2006-2009 run. Pretty respectable for a roadster. Even more impressive for one wearing a Saturn badge. It was not enough to save the Saturn division though, which was killed as part of GM’s downsizing plan in 2009.
I remember being particularly impressed with the power sliding doors and fold-flat rear seats of the Hyundai Entourage. This closeup is the only picture I took of any Asian car that year. But these not-so-novelty features were not enough to wow U.S. buyers, and the Entourage lasted less then three years on the market.
There is no question that Mercedes-Benz is alive and kicking. Yet with any successful brand, some nameplates don’t stand the test of time as well as others do. This very sexy CLK-Class coupe was dropped when MB reincarnated the E-Class coupe in 2010.
Bringing us back to the General, is this 2007 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx SS. One of the more pitiful pieces of crap to ever wear the once-prouder SS badge.
Rounding it out at Pontiac is this G5 coupe. Although another sad badge-engineering job, the ’05-’09 G5 was at least a styling improvement over the huge chunk of plastic body cladding known as Sunfire it replaced.
Last but not least is the Pontiac Vibe hatchback. Mechanically related to the Toyota Matrix, the Pontiac got its own exterior styling, with plastic body cladding of course! Pontiac was another casualty in GM’s 2009 massacre. Going through these pictures really shocked me. I guess my camera lens had some sort of destructive power to it.