Pontiac

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Pontiac

Arguably the 2nd most successful GM division, behind Chevrolet. The marque was “invented” by GM in 1926, the name being taken from the town of Pontiac, Michigan, where the cars were built. And as with the rival (Chrysler) Plymouth, the Pontiac’s had almost overnight success, some 200,000 being sold in 1929 alone. But the depression would take its toll on many, and Pontiac was hit hard, sales in 1932 slumping to a mere 50,000. While many of Pontiac’s sister marques fell by the way, GM President Alfred Sloan was determined that Pontiac should survive – but to do so would require some serious rationalisation.

Pontiac were forced to draw heavily upon the parts bin of Chevrolet, and then be sold under the Buick and Oldsmobile dealer network. With the threat of Pontiac’s losing their identity altogether, stylist Frank Hershey and chief body engineer Roy Milner set about ensuring the Pontiac’s looked as different as possible to other GM division cars – quite a feat considering the rationalisation plan meant many body panels had to be shared. The Pontiac Eight of 1933 was a brilliant success, it featuring a silky smooth straight eight engine designed by Benjamin Anibal. The reputation of the Eight would spread, given the cars durability and reliability, and the engine would remain the mainstay until a new V8 arrived in 1955. By the late 1930’s sales, and the division, were in full recovery mode.

After World War 2 Pontiac went from strength to strength, the Star Chief and Chieftan convertibles leading the way when American cars became long, wide and low riding. Through the 1970’s it was Japanese competition and rising fuel prices that Pontiac were forced to contend with, the challenge being met with a plethora of fairly plain but easy to live with iterations such as the Phoenix, Grand Le Mans and Grand Am. The mid engined Fiero offered some driving excitement, and the Firebird Trans Am remained a leading muscle car. But it was the popular Grand Prix model that ensured the marque would continue to enjoy it’s position as the 3rd best selling brand in the US.

Pontiac GTO  

Pontiac GTO

1964 - 1974
In the two years following the release of the Pontiac GTO every car company tried to emulate it, but none were able to match the combination of style, performance, and mystique. More >>
Pontiac Firebird  

Pontiac Firebird

1967 - 1969
There is an interesting story behind the creation of the 1967 Pontiac Firebird. Then head of the Pontiac Division was John Delorean, who had envisioned a much sportier car to compete with the Ford Mustang. More >>
Pontiac Firebird 400ci V8  

Pontiac Firebird 400 V8

1967 - 1969
Like a dog big in the bollock department, the Pontiac had an edge over all of its rivals. It was an aura of excitement about the car, and its boldness, a car happy to wear its underpants on the outside – or maybe no pants at all. No other muscle car of the time had the audacity to plant an optional tachometer in a waterproof pod out on the hood... More >>
Pontiac Parisienne  

Pontiac Parisienne

1958 - 1986
For most of its life, the Parisienne was the Canadian nameplate for the Bonneville, sold in Pontiac's Canadian showrooms, while American Pontiac dealers sold the Catalina, Ventura, Star Chief and Bonneville (the Catalina and Ventura were also available in Canada). More >>
Pontiac Firebird Trans Am

Pontiac Firebird Trans Am

1970 - 1976
Perhaps the most dissappointing of the re-design was that the new model no longer came available as a convertible - perhaps a true muscle car could not be marketed successfully as a drop-top. For whatever reasons, the Firebird lineup was reduced from six to four. More >>
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