Remembering Pontiac

When I came to know Pontiac as a kid it was a good time to know Pontiacs. This was a make that took risks. It had its ups and downs, its deaths and rebirths. The Pontiac Division of General Motors had just seen three brilliant management teams in succession guide it from the brink of extinction in 1956, to its pinnacle which I was witnessing as a pre-teen in the early 70s. Pontiacs took up more than their fair share of real estate on my bedroom wall - before later giving way to Cheryl Tieges and Farrah Faucet-Majors. In a way, the two art themes were not so different, only the preoccupations of the viewer had changed. Pontiac’s looked hot! Gone now for nearly a decade, like GM's other lost makes, the story of Pontiac is the most fun to think about. The upstart Saturn was a tragedy pure and simple: A great and heroic quest that was done in by corporate jealousy and atrophy. Grand ol' Oldsmobile's fate flowed like the opus of a life lived well. It had early glory, a long steady rise, and then a much shorter but just as steady decline. Oldsmobile’s very name all but ensured that one day its time would come. The audacious Hummer and the quirky Saab were no more than corporate larks. "Here's a trend, " said some suit in Detroit, "Let's follow it." Things couldn't have ended well for Saab; they shouldn't have for Hummer. But over at Pontiac, you never quite knew how things would turn out. Pontiacs were exciting! The occasional few that weren’t? Well, at least they were interesting. With Pontiac, it was all about the cars. So why don’t we let the cars tell the story. 

In the Beginning...

THE PONTIAC BUGGY COMPANY  OF PONTIAC, MICHIGAN WAS FOUNDED BY EDWARD MURPHY IN 1892. LIKE WITH STUDEBAKER AND GM'S FOUNDER, BILLY DURANT, MURPHY’S EARLIEST PONTIACS WERE HORSE POWERED. WWW.EN.NUMISTA.COM

THE PONTIAC BUGGY COMPANY OF PONTIAC, MICHIGAN WAS FOUNDED BY EDWARD MURPHY IN 1892. LIKE WITH STUDEBAKER AND GM'S FOUNDER, BILLY DURANT, MURPHY’S EARLIEST PONTIACS WERE HORSE POWERED. WWW.EN.NUMISTA.COM

The First Pontiac Car Wasn't Called a Pontiac

THE OAKLAND AUTOMOBILE  - WHEN IN 1907 EDWARD MURPHY MADE THE SWITCH FROM BUGGIES TO CARS, THE NAME PONTIAC HAD ALRADY BEEN CLAIMED BY A SHORT-LIVED CAR-MAKER ACROSS TOWN. THE NAME OF THE COUNTY WOULD BE THE NEXT BEST THING. OAKLAND MOTOR CARS WOULD SOON BECOME PART OF GENERAL MOTORS. ( www.American-Automobiles.com )

THE OAKLAND AUTOMOBILE - WHEN IN 1907 EDWARD MURPHY MADE THE SWITCH FROM BUGGIES TO CARS, THE NAME PONTIAC HAD ALRADY BEEN CLAIMED BY A SHORT-LIVED CAR-MAKER ACROSS TOWN. THE NAME OF THE COUNTY WOULD BE THE NEXT BEST THING. OAKLAND MOTOR CARS WOULD SOON BECOME PART OF GENERAL MOTORS. (www.American-Automobiles.com)

Even then...the Allure of a V-8

CHASING CADILLAC -  THE 1916 OAKLAND  WAS POWERED BY AMERICA'S SECOND PRACTICAL APPLICATION OF THE V8 ENGINE ( www.American-Automobiles.com )

CHASING CADILLAC - THE 1916 OAKLAND WAS POWERED BY AMERICA'S SECOND PRACTICAL APPLICATION OF THE V8 ENGINE (www.American-Automobiles.com)

The First Pontiac

THE PONTIAC NAME WAS RESTOERED in 1926 WHEN OAKLAND GOT A STYLISH COMPANION BRAND. THE LOW PRICED 6-CYLINDER  1926 PONTIAC 6-27 COUPE  SHOWN BRIGHT AS  "THE CHIEF OF THE SIXES."  IT WAS ONE OF THE FIRST CARS TO BE STYLIZED. ( www.UniqueCarsandParts.com )

THE PONTIAC NAME WAS RESTOERED in 1926 WHEN OAKLAND GOT A STYLISH COMPANION BRAND. THE LOW PRICED 6-CYLINDER 1926 PONTIAC 6-27 COUPE SHOWN BRIGHT AS "THE CHIEF OF THE SIXES." IT WAS ONE OF THE FIRST CARS TO BE STYLIZED. (www.UniqueCarsandParts.com)

The Last Oakland

1 931 OAKLAND V8  - THE OAKLAND BRAND IS LAID TO REST AFTER 1931, VICTIM OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION. ITS SOUL LIVED ON FOR ONE ADDITIONAL YEAR IN THE FORM OF A V8 ENGINED PONTIAC… (WWW.JUSTAMERICANCARS.COM)

1931 OAKLAND V8 - THE OAKLAND BRAND IS LAID TO REST AFTER 1931, VICTIM OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION. ITS SOUL LIVED ON FOR ONE ADDITIONAL YEAR IN THE FORM OF A V8 ENGINED PONTIAC… (WWW.JUSTAMERICANCARS.COM)

…THAT CAR WAS THE  1932 PONTIAC MODEL 302 V8  - STUFFING A BIG CAR'S ENGINE IN A LIGHTER MODEL? HEY, WHEN THEY DID THAT 30 YEARS LATER WITH THE GTO, WASN'T IT CALLED A MUSCLE CAR? ( www.BarrettJackson.com )

…THAT CAR WAS THE 1932 PONTIAC MODEL 302 V8 - STUFFING A BIG CAR'S ENGINE IN A LIGHTER MODEL? HEY, WHEN THEY DID THAT 30 YEARS LATER WITH THE GTO, WASN'T IT CALLED A MUSCLE CAR? (www.BarrettJackson.com)

The Chief of Style

1933 PONTIAC STRAIGHT EIGHT COUPE  - WITH GOOD VALUE AND GREAT LOOKS, PONTIAC RIDES OUT THE DARKEST DAYS OF THE DEPRESSION. (WWW.DENZOSGARAGE.COM)

1933 PONTIAC STRAIGHT EIGHT COUPE - WITH GOOD VALUE AND GREAT LOOKS, PONTIAC RIDES OUT THE DARKEST DAYS OF THE DEPRESSION. (WWW.DENZOSGARAGE.COM)

The Silver Streak 

1935 PONTIAC STANDARD SIX  - IT WAS A SIMPLE IDEA BY DESIGNER FRANK HERSHEY TO UNIFY A NEW ROUNDED GRILL WITH THE REST OF THE CAR. THE SILVER STREAK BECAME A PONTIAC TRADE-MARK THAT WOULD LAST 22 YEARS...UNFORTUNATELY THAT WAS ABOUT A DECADE PAST ITS SELL-BY DATE. ( www.CarStyleCritic.com )

1935 PONTIAC STANDARD SIX - IT WAS A SIMPLE IDEA BY DESIGNER FRANK HERSHEY TO UNIFY A NEW ROUNDED GRILL WITH THE REST OF THE CAR. THE SILVER STREAK BECAME A PONTIAC TRADE-MARK THAT WOULD LAST 22 YEARS...UNFORTUNATELY THAT WAS ABOUT A DECADE PAST ITS SELL-BY DATE. (www.CarStyleCritic.com)

 

Pontiac Spreads its Wings

1941 PONTIAC TORPEDO 8 : ADDING THE LARGER C-BODY TO THE RANGE PUT PONTIAC IN DIRECT COMPETITION WITH OLDSMOBILE AND BUICK. OPENLY CHALLENGING YOUR OLDER BROTHERS CAN BE RISKY ( www.Motor1.com )

1941 PONTIAC TORPEDO 8: ADDING THE LARGER C-BODY TO THE RANGE PUT PONTIAC IN DIRECT COMPETITION WITH OLDSMOBILE AND BUICK. OPENLY CHALLENGING YOUR OLDER BROTHERS CAN BE RISKY (www.Motor1.com)

The Old Man's Car

BY 1956, PONTIAC'S TIRED SILVER STREAK THEME HAD BECOME A PAIR OF CHROME SUSPENDERS. THIS CERTAINLY HELPED THE IMAGE PONTIAC HAD ACQUIRED AS BEING AN "OLD MAN'S CAR," WHICH WAS NOT A GOOD ONE TO HAVE AS GM CONSIDERS REDUCING ITS BRAND COUNT. ( www.classic-autotrader.com )

BY 1956, PONTIAC'S TIRED SILVER STREAK THEME HAD BECOME A PAIR OF CHROME SUSPENDERS. THIS CERTAINLY HELPED THE IMAGE PONTIAC HAD ACQUIRED AS BEING AN "OLD MAN'S CAR," WHICH WAS NOT A GOOD ONE TO HAVE AS GM CONSIDERS REDUCING ITS BRAND COUNT. (www.classic-autotrader.com)

THEY WEREN'T ALL DULL. THE  1956 PONTIAC SAFARI  WAS A VERY NICE VARIATION ON CHEVY'S MARVELOUS NOMAD ( www.Journal.ClassicCars.com )

THEY WEREN'T ALL DULL. THE 1956 PONTIAC SAFARI WAS A VERY NICE VARIATION ON CHEVY'S MARVELOUS NOMAD (www.Journal.ClassicCars.com)

...AND LUCY AND RICKY RICARDO CERTAINLY LIKED THEIRS IN EARLY TELEVISION'S GREATEST ROAD TRIP

...AND LUCY AND RICKY RICARDO CERTAINLY LIKED THEIRS IN EARLY TELEVISION'S GREATEST ROAD TRIP

No More Silver Streak... No More Old Man's Car

NEW GENERAL MANAGER BUNKIE KNUDSEN MADE A STATEMENT WITH THE  1957 PONTIAC BONNEVILLE . REMOVING THOSE TIRED SILVER STREAKS FROM THE HOOD CAUSED A STIR. IT WAIVED GOODBYE TO THE PONTIAC OF OLD. A FUEL INJECTED V8 USHERED IN A NEW ERA AS GM'S PERFORMANCE DIVISION. ( www.Hemmings.com )

NEW GENERAL MANAGER BUNKIE KNUDSEN MADE A STATEMENT WITH THE 1957 PONTIAC BONNEVILLE. REMOVING THOSE TIRED SILVER STREAKS FROM THE HOOD CAUSED A STIR. IT WAIVED GOODBYE TO THE PONTIAC OF OLD. A FUEL INJECTED V8 USHERED IN A NEW ERA AS GM'S PERFORMANCE DIVISION. (www.Hemmings.com)

The Wide Track

THE 1959 PONTIAC:  BY PUSHING THE WHEELS OUT 4 INCHES, PONTIAC'S DESTINY WAS SET IN STEEL. THE WIDE-TRACK LOOK WAS BORN AND THE MAKE IS SAVED...IF ONLY FOR ANOTHER HALF-CENTURY (KScottTeeterAutomotiveArt)

THE 1959 PONTIAC: BY PUSHING THE WHEELS OUT 4 INCHES, PONTIAC'S DESTINY WAS SET IN STEEL. THE WIDE-TRACK LOOK WAS BORN AND THE MAKE IS SAVED...IF ONLY FOR ANOTHER HALF-CENTURY (KScottTeeterAutomotiveArt)

AS MUCH AS WIDE TRACKS OR SPLIT GRILLS, ART FITSPATRICK'S ADVERTISING ARTWORK HELPED TO MOLD PONTIAC'S IMAGE AS STYLE LEADER ( www.Fitz-Art.com ) (used with permission)

AS MUCH AS WIDE TRACKS OR SPLIT GRILLS, ART FITSPATRICK'S ADVERTISING ARTWORK HELPED TO MOLD PONTIAC'S IMAGE AS STYLE LEADER (www.Fitz-Art.com) (used with permission)

Tempest in a Teapot: the Compact Pontiac

THE  1961 PONTIAC TEMPEST  WAS TESTIMENT TO THE ENGINEERING GENIOUS OF JOHN Z. DELOREAN. WITH A REAR TRANSAXLE, 4-WHEEL INDEPENDENT SUSPENSION AND 50/50 WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION, THIS TECHNICALLY ADVANCED COMPACT WAS PROBABLY THE BEST HANDLING AMERICAN CAR ON THE MARKET. ( www.PontiacsOnLine.com )

THE 1961 PONTIAC TEMPEST WAS TESTIMENT TO THE ENGINEERING GENIOUS OF JOHN Z. DELOREAN. WITH A REAR TRANSAXLE, 4-WHEEL INDEPENDENT SUSPENSION AND 50/50 WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION, THIS TECHNICALLY ADVANCED COMPACT WAS PROBABLY THE BEST HANDLING AMERICAN CAR ON THE MARKET. (www.PontiacsOnLine.com)

Compact, but still a Pontiac. ( www.theTruthAboutCars.com )

Compact, but still a Pontiac. (www.theTruthAboutCars.com)

The Prettiest Pontiac

PONTIAC HAS BEEN KNOWN OVER ITS 100 YEARS FOR PRODUCING MORE THAN ITS FAIR SHARE OF STRIKINGLY BEAUTIFUL CARS. AND WHILE STYLING IS SUBJECTIVE, ITS HARD TO ARGUE THE  1961 PONTIAC VENTURA "BUBBLETOP"  WASN'T THE LOVELIEST OF THEM ALL (www.PontiacServer.com)

PONTIAC HAS BEEN KNOWN OVER ITS 100 YEARS FOR PRODUCING MORE THAN ITS FAIR SHARE OF STRIKINGLY BEAUTIFUL CARS. AND WHILE STYLING IS SUBJECTIVE, ITS HARD TO ARGUE THE 1961 PONTIAC VENTURA "BUBBLETOP" WASN'T THE LOVELIEST OF THEM ALL (www.PontiacServer.com)

Personal Luxury

WITH THE  1963 GRAND PRIX , PONTIAC OFFERED AN ELEGANT RESPONSE TO THE FORD THUNDERBIRD. ITS 8-BOLT ALLOY WHEELS, FINNED ALUMINUM BRAKES, BUCKET SEATS, FULL INSTRUMENTATION, ALONG WITH A REFRESHING LACK OF BODY ORNAMENTATION, CAUSED ONE COMMENTATOR TO DESRIBE THE GP'S LOOKS AS "AN ATHLETE IN A TUXEDO." ( www.FiftiesWeb.com )

WITH THE 1963 GRAND PRIX, PONTIAC OFFERED AN ELEGANT RESPONSE TO THE FORD THUNDERBIRD. ITS 8-BOLT ALLOY WHEELS, FINNED ALUMINUM BRAKES, BUCKET SEATS, FULL INSTRUMENTATION, ALONG WITH A REFRESHING LACK OF BODY ORNAMENTATION, CAUSED ONE COMMENTATOR TO DESRIBE THE GP'S LOOKS AS "AN ATHLETE IN A TUXEDO." (www.FiftiesWeb.com)

STARTING IN 1965 GRAND PRIXS GOT BULKIER...AND POINTIER, TOO. BUT MAN, DID THEY HAVE PRESENCE ( www.Fitz_Art.com ) (used with permission)

STARTING IN 1965 GRAND PRIXS GOT BULKIER...AND POINTIER, TOO. BUT MAN, DID THEY HAVE PRESENCE (www.Fitz_Art.com) (used with permission)

DELOREAN HIT THE RESET BUTTON IN '69 AND THE GP MOVED TO THE MID-SIZED PLATFORM. A-BODY PONCHOS LIKE THIS  1969 GRAND PRIX SJ  OPENED UP A NEW CATEGORY THAT PRODUCED WELL OVER 10 MILLION CARS.

DELOREAN HIT THE RESET BUTTON IN '69 AND THE GP MOVED TO THE MID-SIZED PLATFORM. A-BODY PONCHOS LIKE THIS 1969 GRAND PRIX SJ OPENED UP A NEW CATEGORY THAT PRODUCED WELL OVER 10 MILLION CARS.

The Legend is Born

IT WAS THE MOST DEFIANT ACT IN GM'S HISTORY. PONTIAC GENERAL MANAGER PETE ESTES AND CHIEF ENGINEER DELOREAN DID AN END AROUND ON A CORPORATE EDICT AGAINST RACING AND HORSEPOWER. BY CALLING this A TRIM PACKAGE, THEY SNUCK THE HAIRY-CHESTED 348HP  1964 PONTIAC TEMPEST GTO  PAST THE GREY SUITS ON THE 14TH FLOOR, AND USHURED IN THE AGE OF THE MUSCLECAR. (www.Pinterest)

IT WAS THE MOST DEFIANT ACT IN GM'S HISTORY. PONTIAC GENERAL MANAGER PETE ESTES AND CHIEF ENGINEER DELOREAN DID AN END AROUND ON A CORPORATE EDICT AGAINST RACING AND HORSEPOWER. BY CALLING this A TRIM PACKAGE, THEY SNUCK THE HAIRY-CHESTED 348HP 1964 PONTIAC TEMPEST GTO PAST THE GREY SUITS ON THE 14TH FLOOR, AND USHURED IN THE AGE OF THE MUSCLECAR. (www.Pinterest)

WHILE THE '64 WAS THE FIRST, THE '66 WAS PURE PERFECTION ( www.OldCarOnLine.com )

WHILE THE '64 WAS THE FIRST, THE '66 WAS PURE PERFECTION (www.OldCarOnLine.com)

Muscle Came in Size Large

THE GTO GOT ALL THE PRESS. BUT THE FULL SIZED  1965 PONTIAC 2+2,  WHEN EQUIPED WITH A 421 CID TRI-POWER, WAS ACTUALLY FASTER. AS FOR ITS LOOKS: YOU MIGHT CALL IT "A RECENTLY RETIRED ATHLETE IN A TUX" (Pontiac Advert Circa 1965)

THE GTO GOT ALL THE PRESS. BUT THE FULL SIZED 1965 PONTIAC 2+2, WHEN EQUIPED WITH A 421 CID TRI-POWER, WAS ACTUALLY FASTER. AS FOR ITS LOOKS: YOU MIGHT CALL IT "A RECENTLY RETIRED ATHLETE IN A TUX" (Pontiac Advert Circa 1965)

Poncho's Pony

THE  1967 PONTIAC FIREBIRD  DEBUTED, MAKING THE MOST OF ITS CAMARO DNA ( www.FirebirdGallary.com )

THE 1967 PONTIAC FIREBIRD DEBUTED, MAKING THE MOST OF ITS CAMARO DNA (www.FirebirdGallary.com)

1967 PONTIAC FIREBIRD SPRINT -  WITH A SMOOTH-REVING 215 HP OHC STRAIGHT SIX, THIS WAS DELOREAN'S BEST ATTEMPT AT MAKING A EUROPEAN SPORT SEDAN. ALAS, HE SEEMED TO BE THE ONLY AMERICAN WHO WANTED A EURO SPORTS SEDAN IN THE 60S. THE OHC6 WAS GONE BY 1969. ( www.firebirdgallery.com )

1967 PONTIAC FIREBIRD SPRINT - WITH A SMOOTH-REVING 215 HP OHC STRAIGHT SIX, THIS WAS DELOREAN'S BEST ATTEMPT AT MAKING A EUROPEAN SPORT SEDAN. ALAS, HE SEEMED TO BE THE ONLY AMERICAN WHO WANTED A EURO SPORTS SEDAN IN THE 60S. THE OHC6 WAS GONE BY 1969. (www.firebirdgallery.com)

FORGET THE AAR CUDA; WITH ONLY 8 EVER MADE, THE  1969 PONTIAC FRIEBIRD TRANS AM CONVERTIBLE  IS THE MOST RAREIFIED OF MUSCLECARS. ( www.BarrettJackson.com )

FORGET THE AAR CUDA; WITH ONLY 8 EVER MADE, THE 1969 PONTIAC FRIEBIRD TRANS AM CONVERTIBLE IS THE MOST RAREIFIED OF MUSCLECARS. (www.BarrettJackson.com)

The Endura Era

REPLACING CHROME BUMPERS WITH WRAP AROUND RUBBERIZED EUDURA GAVE PONTIACS SPORTY OFFERINGS   A CLEANER MORE AGRESSIVE LOOK. THE  1968 PONTIAC GTO  LOOKED GREAT IN THE FLESH, BUT ART FITZPATRICK'S DRAWINGS MADE THEM IRRESISTIBLE TO ANY PRE-TEEN DECORATING HIS BEADROOM WALL ( www.Fitz-Art.com ) (used with permission)

REPLACING CHROME BUMPERS WITH WRAP AROUND RUBBERIZED EUDURA GAVE PONTIACS SPORTY OFFERINGS A CLEANER MORE AGRESSIVE LOOK. THE 1968 PONTIAC GTO LOOKED GREAT IN THE FLESH, BUT ART FITZPATRICK'S DRAWINGS MADE THEM IRRESISTIBLE TO ANY PRE-TEEN DECORATING HIS BEADROOM WALL (www.Fitz-Art.com) (used with permission)

TWO YEARS LATER THE  1970 PONTIAC GTO  LOOKED DELIGHTFULLY SINISTER, EVEN THOUGH IT WASNT AS SEXY AS THE '68. ( www.Fitz-Art.com ) (used with permission)

TWO YEARS LATER THE 1970 PONTIAC GTO LOOKED DELIGHTFULLY SINISTER, EVEN THOUGH IT WASNT AS SEXY AS THE '68. (www.Fitz-Art.com) (used with permission)

THE  1970 1/2 PONTIAC FORMULA FIREBIRD  WAS LIKE AN ITALIAN EXOTIC - A SUPERCAR FOR THE EVERYMAN. ( www.FirebirdGallary.com )

THE 1970 1/2 PONTIAC FORMULA FIREBIRD WAS LIKE AN ITALIAN EXOTIC - A SUPERCAR FOR THE EVERYMAN. (www.FirebirdGallary.com)

Ponchos on Film

SPEAKING OF THE EVERYMAN, JAMES GARNER PLAYED ONE ON TVS  THE ROCKFORD FILES . GARNER WOULD HAVE BEEN COOL NO MATTER WHAT HE DROVE, BUT  A 1977 FIREBIRD FORMULA  SPORTING ESPRIT TRIM SURE DIDN'T HURT

SPEAKING OF THE EVERYMAN, JAMES GARNER PLAYED ONE ON TVS THE ROCKFORD FILES. GARNER WOULD HAVE BEEN COOL NO MATTER WHAT HE DROVE, BUT A 1977 FIREBIRD FORMULA SPORTING ESPRIT TRIM SURE DIDN'T HURT

AND THEN THERE WAS THIS. THE PLOT WAS SILLY, THE ACTING CLICHED...BUT THE MOVIE SURE WAS FUN. IT LIKELY KEPT GM'S F-BODY ALIVE UNTIL WE COULD BE DONE WITH THE AGE OF MALAISE.

AND THEN THERE WAS THIS. THE PLOT WAS SILLY, THE ACTING CLICHED...BUT THE MOVIE SURE WAS FUN. IT LIKELY KEPT GM'S F-BODY ALIVE UNTIL WE COULD BE DONE WITH THE AGE OF MALAISE.

ONE MORE VISIT TO HOLLYWOOD: TOUGH COP ROY SHEIDER'S  1973 PONTIAC VENTURA II  TORE UP THE STEETS OF NEW YORK   IN PHILIP D'ANTONI'S  THE SEVEN-UPS.

ONE MORE VISIT TO HOLLYWOOD: TOUGH COP ROY SHEIDER'S 1973 PONTIAC VENTURA II TORE UP THE STEETS OF NEW YORK IN PHILIP D'ANTONI'S THE SEVEN-UPS.

THE BAD GUYS DROVE A  1973 PONTIAC GRANDVILLE  IN ARGUABLY ONE OF THE TOP-5 MOVIE CAR CHASES OF ALL TIME.

THE BAD GUYS DROVE A 1973 PONTIAC GRANDVILLE IN ARGUABLY ONE OF THE TOP-5 MOVIE CAR CHASES OF ALL TIME.

The Age of Malaise

THE NAME OF THE  1973 PONTIAC GRAND AM  SAYS IT ALL: A CROSS BETWEEN A LUXURY GRAND PRIX AND A SPORTY TRANS AM. IT WAS PROBABLY THE MOST BEAUTIFULLY ESPRESSIVE AMERICAN CAR OF A DECADE NOT KNOWN FOR BEAUTY AND EXPRESSION. (www.MidsizeddBowTies.net)

THE NAME OF THE 1973 PONTIAC GRAND AM SAYS IT ALL: A CROSS BETWEEN A LUXURY GRAND PRIX AND A SPORTY TRANS AM. IT WAS PROBABLY THE MOST BEAUTIFULLY ESPRESSIVE AMERICAN CAR OF A DECADE NOT KNOWN FOR BEAUTY AND EXPRESSION. (www.MidsizeddBowTies.net)

REPLACING THE GORGEOUS BUT SLOW-SELLING GRAND AM WITH THE  1977 PONTIAC CAN AM ...WHICH WAS HOT LOOKING, BUT EVEN SLOWER SELLING... SEEMS A LITTLE LIKE SWAPPING CATHERINE ZETA-JONES IN A SILKY EVENING GOWN FOR PAMALA SUE ANDERSON IN A TANK TOP. DIFFERNT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS. ( www.DannyWhitfield.com ) (used with permission)

REPLACING THE GORGEOUS BUT SLOW-SELLING GRAND AM WITH THE 1977 PONTIAC CAN AM...WHICH WAS HOT LOOKING, BUT EVEN SLOWER SELLING... SEEMS A LITTLE LIKE SWAPPING CATHERINE ZETA-JONES IN A SILKY EVENING GOWN FOR PAMALA SUE ANDERSON IN A TANK TOP. DIFFERNT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS. (www.DannyWhitfield.com) (used with permission)

THE SIGNITURE PONCHO BEAK GOT A LITTLE OUT OF HAND ON THE  1971 PONTIAC CATALINA.     I WONDER IF THAT V-SHAPED GASH IN MY CHILDHOOD PAL KENNY KLIEN'S GARAGE IS STILL THERE FROM WHEN HIS SISTER HIT THE GAS INSTEAD OF THE BRAKE (  www.productioncars.com  )

THE SIGNITURE PONCHO BEAK GOT A LITTLE OUT OF HAND ON THE 1971 PONTIAC CATALINA. I WONDER IF THAT V-SHAPED GASH IN MY CHILDHOOD PAL KENNY KLIEN'S GARAGE IS STILL THERE FROM WHEN HIS SISTER HIT THE GAS INSTEAD OF THE BRAKE (www.productioncars.com)

A DOWNSIZED  GRAND AM WAS BACK IN 1978 . IT WAS ONE OF THE NICEST CARS OF THE 70S THAT NOBODY WANTED. SEEMINGLY AMERICA WASN'T READY FOR A HOMEGROWN BMW ( www.pontiachunters.com )

A DOWNSIZED GRAND AM WAS BACK IN 1978. IT WAS ONE OF THE NICEST CARS OF THE 70S THAT NOBODY WANTED. SEEMINGLY AMERICA WASN'T READY FOR A HOMEGROWN BMW (www.pontiachunters.com)

Split Grilled and Grievous

TAKEN OUT OF CONTEXT, THE VEGA-BASED  1976 PONTIAC ASTRA  MADE A MOCKERY OF PONTIAC'S PERFORMANCE IMAGE. BUT THIS WAS THE SEVENTIES. LOOKS AND PERFORMANCE HAD LONG BEEN SACRIFICED ON THE ALTER OF SAFETY AND FUEL ECONOMY. COMPARED TO ITS PEERS, THE ASTRA WASN'T TERRIBLE LOOKING, AND LATER, SWAPPING IN THE ANCIENT BUT RELIABLE IRON DUKE MILL SPARED OWNERS THE HEAD GASKET MELTING, OIL SPEWING NIGHTMARE OF ITS SIBLING'S INFAMOUS ALUMINUM BLOCK. WE CAN BE THANKFULL FOR SMALL FAVORS. (pontiac ad art circa 1976)

TAKEN OUT OF CONTEXT, THE VEGA-BASED 1976 PONTIAC ASTRA MADE A MOCKERY OF PONTIAC'S PERFORMANCE IMAGE. BUT THIS WAS THE SEVENTIES. LOOKS AND PERFORMANCE HAD LONG BEEN SACRIFICED ON THE ALTER OF SAFETY AND FUEL ECONOMY. COMPARED TO ITS PEERS, THE ASTRA WASN'T TERRIBLE LOOKING, AND LATER, SWAPPING IN THE ANCIENT BUT RELIABLE IRON DUKE MILL SPARED OWNERS THE HEAD GASKET MELTING, OIL SPEWING NIGHTMARE OF ITS SIBLING'S INFAMOUS ALUMINUM BLOCK. WE CAN BE THANKFULL FOR SMALL FAVORS. (pontiac ad art circa 1976)

1978 PONTIAC T1000 : ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO BE THANKFUL FOR. (pontiac ad art circa 1976)

1978 PONTIAC T1000: ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO BE THANKFUL FOR. (pontiac ad art circa 1976)

Much Better...but Not Good Enough

THE  1982 PONTIAC J2000  WAS A GOOD LOOKING, WELL DESIGNED COMPACT THAT YOU WANTED TO LIKE BUT DIDN'T. THERE WERE TOO MANY BETTER CHOICES OUT THERE. JAPANESE COMPETITORS LIKE HONDA WERE GIVING CUSTOMERS WHAT THEY WANTED - EFFICIENT, COMPORTABLE WELL-MADE CARS THAT RESPOND EFFORTLESSLY TO THIER NEEDS. GENERAL MOTORS ON THE OTHER HAND WAS MORE CONCERNED WITH MEETING CORPORATE GOALS ON MANUFACTURING COSTS AND PARTS SHARING. THE CUSTOMER WAS EXPECTED TO ADDAPT TO GM'S NEEDS. ACCORDs WERE BUILT FOR THEIR OWNER, J2000s WHERE BUILT FOR GM. HOW DOES A CAR COMPANY NOT GO BANKRUPT WITH THINKING LIKE THAT? (Pontiac Ad Art Circa 1982)

THE 1982 PONTIAC J2000 WAS A GOOD LOOKING, WELL DESIGNED COMPACT THAT YOU WANTED TO LIKE BUT DIDN'T. THERE WERE TOO MANY BETTER CHOICES OUT THERE. JAPANESE COMPETITORS LIKE HONDA WERE GIVING CUSTOMERS WHAT THEY WANTED - EFFICIENT, COMPORTABLE WELL-MADE CARS THAT RESPOND EFFORTLESSLY TO THIER NEEDS. GENERAL MOTORS ON THE OTHER HAND WAS MORE CONCERNED WITH MEETING CORPORATE GOALS ON MANUFACTURING COSTS AND PARTS SHARING. THE CUSTOMER WAS EXPECTED TO ADDAPT TO GM'S NEEDS. ACCORDs WERE BUILT FOR THEIR OWNER, J2000s WHERE BUILT FOR GM. HOW DOES A CAR COMPANY NOT GO BANKRUPT WITH THINKING LIKE THAT? (Pontiac Ad Art Circa 1982)

Eighties Rebirth

AFTER 11 YEARS RIDING ON THE SAME PLATFORM WITH VERY LITTLE CHANGE, SAVE FOR THOSE MANDATED BY FEDERAL BUREAUCRATS, THE  1982 PONTIAC FIREBIRD  USURED IN A NEW LOOK FOR A NEW DECADE AND NEW HOPE FOR CAR GUYS ( WWW.wheelsage.com )

AFTER 11 YEARS RIDING ON THE SAME PLATFORM WITH VERY LITTLE CHANGE, SAVE FOR THOSE MANDATED BY FEDERAL BUREAUCRATS, THE 1982 PONTIAC FIREBIRD USURED IN A NEW LOOK FOR A NEW DECADE AND NEW HOPE FOR CAR GUYS (WWW.wheelsage.com)

1983 PONTIAC 6000STE  - OK, MAYBE IT WAS A HOMEGROWN AUDI THAT AMERICA WAS READY FOR.

1983 PONTIAC 6000STE - OK, MAYBE IT WAS A HOMEGROWN AUDI THAT AMERICA WAS READY FOR.

1984 PONTIAC FIERO  - THE FIERO REPRESENTED SIMULTANIOUSLY ALL THAT WAS RIGHT AND ALL THAT WAS WRONG WITH GENERAL MOTORS. IT WAS A TECHNICALLY ADVANCED AND INNOVATIVELY DESIGNED MODERN SPORTS CAR. BUT IT WAS MANDATED BY THE SUITS ON THE 14TH FLOOR TO BE BUILT AND MARKETED AS A 92HP ECONOMY RUNABOUT. BY THE TIME THE FIERO FINALLY GOT AN ENGINE AND SUSPENSION THAT FULFILLED ITS SPORTING PROMISE, THE BEAN-COUNTERS WENT AND KILLED IT. BANKRUPTCY IS TO GOOD FOR THE BASTARDS! (Pontiac advert Circa 1984)

1984 PONTIAC FIERO - THE FIERO REPRESENTED SIMULTANIOUSLY ALL THAT WAS RIGHT AND ALL THAT WAS WRONG WITH GENERAL MOTORS. IT WAS A TECHNICALLY ADVANCED AND INNOVATIVELY DESIGNED MODERN SPORTS CAR. BUT IT WAS MANDATED BY THE SUITS ON THE 14TH FLOOR TO BE BUILT AND MARKETED AS A 92HP ECONOMY RUNABOUT. BY THE TIME THE FIERO FINALLY GOT AN ENGINE AND SUSPENSION THAT FULFILLED ITS SPORTING PROMISE, THE BEAN-COUNTERS WENT AND KILLED IT. BANKRUPTCY IS TO GOOD FOR THE BASTARDS! (Pontiac advert Circa 1984)

1985 PONTIAC GRAND AM  - BY ITS THIRD ITERATION, THE GRAND AM FINALLY ACHIEVES SUCCESS ON THE SALES CHARTS. FOR ANYONE WHO APPRICIATES STYLE AND DESIGN, IT'S ENOUGH TO MAKE YOU WEEP. ( www.cargurus.com )

1985 PONTIAC GRAND AM - BY ITS THIRD ITERATION, THE GRAND AM FINALLY ACHIEVES SUCCESS ON THE SALES CHARTS. FOR ANYONE WHO APPRICIATES STYLE AND DESIGN, IT'S ENOUGH TO MAKE YOU WEEP. (www.cargurus.com)

1988 PONTIAC BONNEVILLE SSE  - CONSIDERED BY MANY TO BE THE BEST AMERICAN SPORTS SEDAN OF THE 1980S. PERFORMANCE-WISE, THE SSE ABSOLUTELY DELIVERED THE GOODS. BUT WHEN IT CAME TO LOOKS, WELL... ENDURA, TOO, CAN BE ADITCTIVE (www.youtube.com)

1988 PONTIAC BONNEVILLE SSE - CONSIDERED BY MANY TO BE THE BEST AMERICAN SPORTS SEDAN OF THE 1980S. PERFORMANCE-WISE, THE SSE ABSOLUTELY DELIVERED THE GOODS. BUT WHEN IT CAME TO LOOKS, WELL... ENDURA, TOO, CAN BE ADITCTIVE (www.youtube.com)

Harbengers of the End Days

IF THERE WAS A SINGLE CAR THAT SYMBOLIZED GENERAL MOTOR’S UTTER DISREGARD FOR WHAT MADE PONTIAC GREAT, IT WAS THE  1988 PONTIAC LEMANS BY DAEWOO.  THEY   PUT   THE NAME OF THE GREATEST RACE IN MOTORSPORTS ON AN 80HP PIECE OF CRAP MADE BY ITS DAEWOO SUSIDIARY, THEN SLAPPED ON A CHEEZY SPLIT GRILL AND CALLED IT A PONTIAC. I'LL SAY IT AGAIN, BANKRUPTCY IS TOO GOOD FOR THE BASTARDS!! (Pontiac ad art circa 1988)

IF THERE WAS A SINGLE CAR THAT SYMBOLIZED GENERAL MOTOR’S UTTER DISREGARD FOR WHAT MADE PONTIAC GREAT, IT WAS THE 1988 PONTIAC LEMANS BY DAEWOO. THEY PUT THE NAME OF THE GREATEST RACE IN MOTORSPORTS ON AN 80HP PIECE OF CRAP MADE BY ITS DAEWOO SUSIDIARY, THEN SLAPPED ON A CHEEZY SPLIT GRILL AND CALLED IT A PONTIAC. I'LL SAY IT AGAIN, BANKRUPTCY IS TOO GOOD FOR THE BASTARDS!! (Pontiac ad art circa 1988)

1989 PONTIAC TRANSPORT  - WHAT CAN YOU SAY, REALLY. IT WAS "THE PONTIAC OF MINIVANS."

1989 PONTIAC TRANSPORT - WHAT CAN YOU SAY, REALLY. IT WAS "THE PONTIAC OF MINIVANS."

The  1990 Pontiac Grand Prix  was part of GenerAL MOTORS' $8 Bil REDESIGN OF OF ITS MIDSIZE CARS. FORD'S NEW FWD TAURUS WAS EATING GM'S LUNCH. IT WAS INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT then THAT THEY GET THIS CAR RIGHT. They did not get it right. You wanted to like The new GP. It was terrific looking inside and out. It was quick and the engine had a throaty snarl. It was a car you'd like to see on the street, or in your neighbor's driveway... but not your own. GM made too many compromises. lousy ergonomics, cheapness of the controls, those awful door-mounted SEATBELTs, GM was still building cars for itself, not its customers. (www.GMForum.com)

The 1990 Pontiac Grand Prix was part of GenerAL MOTORS' $8 Bil REDESIGN OF OF ITS MIDSIZE CARS. FORD'S NEW FWD TAURUS WAS EATING GM'S LUNCH. IT WAS INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT then THAT THEY GET THIS CAR RIGHT. They did not get it right. You wanted to like The new GP. It was terrific looking inside and out. It was quick and the engine had a throaty snarl. It was a car you'd like to see on the street, or in your neighbor's driveway... but not your own. GM made too many compromises. lousy ergonomics, cheapness of the controls, those awful door-mounted SEATBELTs, GM was still building cars for itself, not its customers. (www.GMForum.com)

Last Gasps

Watching a NASCAR race today, we have to squint for the decal grill on the front to see WHAT the make of thOSE same-shaped RACERS IS . It's hard to remember the point where "stock cars" stopped looking even remotely stock, UNTIL YOU REMEMBERED THE  1986 Pontiac Grand Prix 2+2 "AEROBack."  THIS was likely the last production car whose shape was influenced by those FAST oval race tracks. (www.pinterest.com)

Watching a NASCAR race today, we have to squint for the decal grill on the front to see WHAT the make of thOSE same-shaped RACERS IS . It's hard to remember the point where "stock cars" stopped looking even remotely stock, UNTIL YOU REMEMBERED THE 1986 Pontiac Grand Prix 2+2 "AEROBack." THIS was likely the last production car whose shape was influenced by those FAST oval race tracks. (www.pinterest.com)

THE  2000 PONTIAC GTO  WAS THUNDER FROM DOWN UNDER. IN A HEROIC EFFORT TO RECESSITATE A ONCE PROUD BRAND - ONE THAT HAD BEEN LEFT FOR DEAD ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD, BOB LUTZ - THE ULTIMATE DETROIT CAR GUY - WENT TO AUSTRALIA TO BRING STATESIDE THE FANTASTIC  HOLDEN MORANO GT  . IT SEEMS THE GM-ERS FROM OZZIE HADN'T FORGOTTEN WHAT A MUSCLECAR LOOKED OR FELT LIKE. ( www.fastlaps.com )

THE 2000 PONTIAC GTO WAS THUNDER FROM DOWN UNDER. IN A HEROIC EFFORT TO RECESSITATE A ONCE PROUD BRAND - ONE THAT HAD BEEN LEFT FOR DEAD ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD, BOB LUTZ - THE ULTIMATE DETROIT CAR GUY - WENT TO AUSTRALIA TO BRING STATESIDE THE FANTASTIC HOLDEN MORANO GT . IT SEEMS THE GM-ERS FROM OZZIE HADN'T FORGOTTEN WHAT A MUSCLECAR LOOKED OR FELT LIKE. (www.fastlaps.com)

End Days

2001 PONTIAC AZTEK  - MIND THE THE GAP BETWEEN CONCEPT AND EXECUTION; IT'S A WIDE ONE. THE AZTEK WAS PRESCIENT IN ITS ANTICIPATION OF THE CROSSOVER CRAZE. BUT, AFTER GM'S BUREAUCRATS HAD WORKED IT OVER WITH THEIR CUDGELS OF CONSUMER RESEARCH AND BRASS KNUCKLES OF CORPORATE MANDATES, WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN THE DECADE'S GREATEST AUTOMOTIVE SUCCESS, BECAME IT CRUELEST JOKE (Pontiac ad art circa 2001)

2001 PONTIAC AZTEK - MIND THE THE GAP BETWEEN CONCEPT AND EXECUTION; IT'S A WIDE ONE. THE AZTEK WAS PRESCIENT IN ITS ANTICIPATION OF THE CROSSOVER CRAZE. BUT, AFTER GM'S BUREAUCRATS HAD WORKED IT OVER WITH THEIR CUDGELS OF CONSUMER RESEARCH AND BRASS KNUCKLES OF CORPORATE MANDATES, WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN THE DECADE'S GREATEST AUTOMOTIVE SUCCESS, BECAME IT CRUELEST JOKE (Pontiac ad art circa 2001)

BREAKING BAD - WHEN FAILURES ARE COLOSSAL ENOUGH, THE PASSAGE OF TIME CAN TURN THEM INTO CULT FIGURES

BREAKING BAD - WHEN FAILURES ARE COLOSSAL ENOUGH, THE PASSAGE OF TIME CAN TURN THEM INTO CULT FIGURES

IT'S HARD TO KNOW WHAT TO make of THE 4TH GENERATION FIREBIRD. THE THREE PREVIOUS FROM 1967, 1970 AND 1982 LOOKED SO ELEGANTLY BRUTAL AND YET PRIMED FOR ACTION. THE  2002 PONTIAC FORMULA FIREBIRD  LOOKS WICKEDLY POWERFUL, FOR SURE. BUT ALL THAT POWER APPEARS OVERWHELMED BY THE PRODIGIOUS LADLING ON OF LARD ( www.edmunds.com )

IT'S HARD TO KNOW WHAT TO make of THE 4TH GENERATION FIREBIRD. THE THREE PREVIOUS FROM 1967, 1970 AND 1982 LOOKED SO ELEGANTLY BRUTAL AND YET PRIMED FOR ACTION. THE 2002 PONTIAC FORMULA FIREBIRD LOOKS WICKEDLY POWERFUL, FOR SURE. BUT ALL THAT POWER APPEARS OVERWHELMED BY THE PRODIGIOUS LADLING ON OF LARD (www.edmunds.com)

2006 PONTIAC G3  - SOMEONE IN THE C-SUITE THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA. IF THE CAR GODS VALUE JUSTICE, THEN THAT SOMEONE IS  STILL  LOOKING FOR WORK (www.GMcarParts.com)

2006 PONTIAC G3 - SOMEONE IN THE C-SUITE THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA. IF THE CAR GODS VALUE JUSTICE, THEN THAT SOMEONE IS STILL LOOKING FOR WORK (www.GMcarParts.com)

A Parting Gift

2008 PONTIAC G8 GT  - "MAXIMUM BOB" LUTZ MADE ONE MORE TRANS-PACIFIC SHOPPING TRIP. DID HE ALREADY KNOW THE JIG WAS UP? DID HE WANT TO LET PONCHO FAN'S LAST MEMORY BE A FOND ONE? ITS NICE TO KNOW NOT EVERYONE IN GM's C-SUITE WAS A stupid BASTARD. ( www.motortrend.com )

2008 PONTIAC G8 GT - "MAXIMUM BOB" LUTZ MADE ONE MORE TRANS-PACIFIC SHOPPING TRIP. DID HE ALREADY KNOW THE JIG WAS UP? DID HE WANT TO LET PONCHO FAN'S LAST MEMORY BE A FOND ONE? ITS NICE TO KNOW NOT EVERYONE IN GM's C-SUITE WAS A stupid BASTARD. (www.motortrend.com)

Copyright@2018  by Mal Pearson