Thrill is gone — GM’s Pontiac bites the dust
Auto enthusiast looks back at the history of storied U.S. automaker
The party is finally over at General Motors’ “We Build Excitement” division, Pontiac. The company said Monday it will discontinue the brand as part of its consolidation effort, letting it slim down its payroll and concentrate resources on its remaining, strategically more important brands: Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and GMC trucks…
By Dan Carney, msnbc.com contributor
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A Pontiac car is shown parked outside Mount Clare Station in Baltimore, circa 1935. Conceived as a line of ‘athletic’ mainstream performance vehicles, Pontiacs were first produced in 1926. By 1929, half a million had been sold.
Pontiac was conceived as ‘companion’ brand to General Motors’ Oakland Motor Car line.
The first car offered by Oakland was a four-cylinder car Model A, which made its debut in 1908.
Pontiac launched the ‘Torpedo’ in 1940, taking design cues from the aerodynamic Cadillac ‘Sixty.’
The hood ornament of a Pontiac Chieftain from the 1950s is shown. Chieftains were among the first new car designs to come from Pontiac after the Second World War.
Pontiac’s Bonneville luxury convertibles first appeared in the 1950s and were packed with optional accessories.
The Pontiac Catalina was introduced in 1959 and by 1961 it was Pontiac’s best selling model. It helped to drive the division to third place in national sales by 1962.
The intermediate-sized Pontiac LeMans line of vehicles was first introduced in 1962.
A Pontiac assembly line is shown with a Pontiac Firebird under construction. The Trans Am was a specialty package of the Firebird produced between 1969 and 2002.
A 1977 Firebird Trans Am.
urt Reynolds and Sally Field are shown in a scene from the movie ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ in May 1977. The film included a series of modified 1977 Pontiac Trans Ams.
Introduced in 1984, the Pontiac Fiero sports car was the first two-seater Pontiac had produced since the 1930s.
The computerized car ‘KITT,’ which appeared alongside actor and singer David Hasselhoff in the 1980s television series ‘Knight Rider,’ was a Pontiac Firebird Trans Am.
The Pontiac Grand Prix line was launched in 1962. It was replaced by the G8 in the 2009 model year.
Pontiac’s ‘arrowhead’ logo is shown on the grille of a 2007 Pontiac Vibe. The ‘arrowhead’ logo replaced an American-Indian headdress, which was used until 1956.
Efforts in recent years to revive Pontiac as a performance-oriented brand failed to work. The stylish Pontiac Solstice small sports car was first introduced at the 2004 North American International Auto Show.
Pontiac unveiled the 2009G8 GXP at the 2008 New York Auto Show. The G8 GXP has a 6.2L V-8 engine that produces in excess of 400 horsepower, delivering 0-to-60 mph performance of about 4.7 seconds.