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Obituary: Mr. Goodwrench, Iconic GM Repairman


Detroit: The news of the passing Mr. Goodwrench was met with shock in this automotive community in spite of his limited exposure in recent years. Once the iconic do-right mechanic of the General Motors stable of cars and trucks, Mr. Goodwrench didn't stand up well in the technology-laden auto repair environment that has existed of late.

Whether the ill effects of corporate bankruptcy hastened his demise is not known at this time, however, his publicist released a statement that the passing of the Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Saturn and HUMMER brands weighed heavily on this once proud and confident ambassador of the collective General Motors service department.

Mr. Goodwrench was not shy about proclaiming that he worked in the service bays of GM dealerships wherever the brand had a presence as his "Mr.Goodwrench Works Here" sign  evidenced. Some would say that his death at 36 years was premature, but toward the end GW was showing his age.

 In 2003 a pre-mega star Stephen Colbert helped to make a connection between Goodwrench and NASCAR. Then in 2007 the logo was made over in hopes of portraying Mr. Goodwrench as a tech-literate repair practitioner. Somehow the word "wrench" and the idea of technology seem mutually exclusive.

Fortunately, Mr. Goodwrench went to the lube bay in the sky without knowing that he was being replaced by such creative concepts as Chevrolet Certified Service (Cadillac, GMC, or Buick as well). The move is meant to promote GM’s core brands while preventing marketing duplication.

During his tenure as repairman-in-chief Mr. Goodwrench had his hands full at times. He cut his eye teeth on the X-body, which had only been out for a few years prior to his launch in the late 1970s. These models provided ample on the job training. The Pontiac Fiero, which had problems with oil leakage, occupied a lot of the Mr. Goodwrench’s time during the mid- to late 1980s. Then there was the Dex-Cool coolant debacle that involved 35 million vehicles produced between 1995 and 2004. Is it any wonder that even at 36, this venerated fix master seemed as worn a noisy bearing?

Final arrangements for Mr. Goodwrench were not announced, but from the generic approach that General Motors is taking towards the marketing of their service departments, it looks likes no replacement is planned.

Then again, who would want to work in the very long shadow cast by Mr. Goodwrench?

[Freep & Underconsideration]

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