CC Outtake: Finding A Lost Aztek Civilization

Soon, I plan to share the story of the reviled Pontiac Aztek with you all. Like the AMC Pacer, the Aztek has come to be immortalized in pop culture and is enjoying a degree of popularity (infamy?) it never received when new. The car was truly an abject failure for GM, however you’d never know it by visiting Detroit.

Detroit is, understandably, full of domestic cars. No matter how obscure a Big 3 car – Saturn Astra, Pontiac Bonneville GXP, Chrysler Crossfire – you’ll find one here. But the Aztek seems to be as common as more successful domestic products like the Chevrolet Malibu, and my friend Jason and I saw Azteks of all years and all colours. Does it hold some kind of regional appeal or are Aztek buyers happy with their ungainly crossovers?

That statue peeking out from behind the Aztek is The Spirit of Detroit, a work by Marshall Fredericks that was installed next to the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center in 1958. While the Aztek’s styling is no longer as offensive to me as it once was – perhaps due to the subsequent arrival of similarly ugly crossovers like the Mercedes GLE Coupe – I think we can all agree Fredericks’ statue is a much more beautiful creation.