You can thank General Motors vice chairman Bob Lutz for this recurring dream. A fetching red roadster whizzes along the historic highway snaking through the Columbia River Gorge. It's a blissful top-down day with minimal traffic, zero enforcement, and corners galore. A spunky four-banger hums merrily on its way to 7000 rpm. The steering is crisp, the chassis trained to charm every bend. The driver's psyche is in sync with the roadster's rhythm.
Twenty-three years ago, when this dream began, Lutz saw himself driving a cute Ghia Barchetta that Ford would sell for $8500. That inspiration was shipped to Australia for manufacturing, where it devolved into the mediocre Mercury Capri. Unfulfilled, Lutz dreamed on during his Chrysler stint. The 1997 Dodge Copperhead and the 1998 Plymouth Pronto Spyder concepts accurately captured the gist of his vision-a sports car for the masses-but neither mustered sufficient momentum to drive off the show stand.Four years ago, when Lutz joined GM, his dream seeds found fertile soil. Seizing an opportunity to revitalize Pontiac's tired blood, Lutz challenged GM's global design staff to a crash contest.... Read full article