27
Apr
09

See you at the crossroads

Pontiac has been officially given the death-knell, and I’m sad to see them go.  “The Pontiac Brand will be phased out by the end of 2010” says their updated viability plan press release. My hands-on Pontiac experience has been less than stellar. The Sunfire was easily one of the worst cars I have ever had the misfortune to drive/see/touch, and the G6 was so much fun, I got my license suspended in it. Hoo-ray.

I’m dedicating this post to one particular Pontiac, the 1976 firebird Trans Am 400 my folks got married in.

1976transam400img31

1976transam400img2

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The apple, it seems, does not fall too far from the tree.

Many optimist are attempting to stave off the pain by hoping that, when the economic shitstorm clears, Pontiac will return, but only time can tell. So until the debut of the Pontiac Lazarus Coupe, take a look back at some of the greats in Pontiac’s History, share a few memorable stories, and pour one out for the dart.

Here are some links:

Autoblog’s report plus GM’s full press release: here

Autoblog also put up their top 10 Pontiacs List

Jalopnik reports that the Vibe and Solstice won’t live on

and Jalopnik puts up their own top ten list, which I think I like better than AB’s.

-Alex K.-

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3 Responses to “See you at the crossroads”


  1. April 27, 2009 at 6:27 PM

    Being a small bore guy, I always felt the Pontiacs were tanks. But I was so impressed by the Solstice last year, I was tempted to put in my order then and there. Finally a human scale Jaguar from the bloated US makers. So sad is their demise at this time with such great success in the dumbed down Grand Am series. Thanks, Alex

  2. 2 MarkO
    April 28, 2009 at 8:25 AM

    The United Stares of America was, at one time, the greatest industrial nation on earth. We “gave” it all away. In retrospect, we needed to restrict, or at least tax the importation of goods.. especially automobiles. One could argue that American cars would still be the “crap” of the 70’s that drove even the rednecks to drive Toyotas.
    I don’t remember where I read this statistic, but I understand that $1600.00 comes right off the top of every General Motors car and truck sold to pay for benefits such as Healthcare and pensions for existing and retired GM workers. How competretive can we be with other world markets? When all of our factories are shut down and boarded up, who will manufacture our military munitions (IE: tanks etc)? “WHO YA” GONNA CALL”…. China? India? What if we are at war with one of them? We’ve lost our edge.
    As for my personal experience with Pontiac, My last one was an ’85 Trans Am. Built to last a LUNCHTIME, but quite a bit of fun. ALL cars, foreign and domestic, have come a long way since then, aided by refinements in both design and manufacturing. I understand that the Pontiac G8, along with the GTO, are truly world class….but not USA built. (HOLDEN/Australia)
    It’s hard to imagine Pontiacs at ORPHAN car shows, but who would have thought we would see Oldsmobiles there, parked next to the Studebakers, Nashes,and Packards.
    GM spent ZILLIONS creating these brands, building an image and making their names known.
    To throw that down the toilet is rediculious. They should make all GM dealerships just thst, GM DEALERSHIPS, selling all the brands in their respective niches. Keep the name Poniiac alive as a specialty sub-brand, a more performance orientated brand of GM. What do you think?

  3. May 31, 2009 at 10:24 PM

    I saved several thousand dollars to buy my first car but my mother borrowed the money and I never got it back. At 19, I had amassed a total of $1,500.00 and set out to buy a VW bug. My future ex-husband advised that if I was going to get a car, it had better be something with “metal” so if I got in an accident, I could walk away, which he convinced me wouldn’t always be the case with a VW bug.

    I called on an ad in the Los Angeles times for a 1968 Pontiac Firebird and we drove to Pasadena to look at the car. There it was in the driveway, baby blue, slightly oxidized and 100% original. The “little old lady from Pasadena” explained to me that the car had been her husbands since new and she had no use for it. When I sat in the car, the smell drove me crazy and took me back to childhood. She “let the car go” for $1,200.00.

    I drove straight to Pismo Beach and took the car out on the sand along the shore “because I could” and snapped the very first photo of my car. We next drove it to Big Sure for the weekend and it did just fine. It had a 6 cylinder Overhead Cam engine.

    In the coming years, we did a full restoration, new paint, tires, wheels and even the interior which I personally did after investing in a rather expensive sewing machine that sewed through leather and more. We took the car to car shows and road trips all over the western United States. I recall middle aged men trying to stop me on the highway to buy the car on a monthly basis. I had painted it dark brown with metal flake because every other color car was on the road. Of course, people would tell me the car was beautiful but I should papint it black or red or some other color, or they would say, “Why don’t you get a Camaro, why’d you get a Firebird” since 1968 Camaro’s were HOT back then.

    While I do know much more about cars now having spent the last 16 years in the collector car realm and yes I would not have changed a thing about the car had I known now what I know then, but the car gave me years of pleasure. I owned 5 more 1968 Firebirds and 2 1967 Firebirds in the following year, but they were never as special as my first Pontiac.


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