5 cars that made the Pontiac great (5 that ruined it)
Pontiac was one of the most successful car brands because it produced muscle, sport, and a host of other types of cars for decades. General Motors has succeeded in transforming Pontiac’s image of grandma’s car as it was called in the 1950s to every gasoline enthusiast’s dream ride.
However, from the late 60s Pontiac began to struggle, as it gradually lost its dominance in the market, even after the launch of several models of Firebird, Solstice and GTO. Pontiac even tried to market minivans and trucks, but they didn’t work. In 2010, General Motors tried to convert Pontiac to a Scion clone, and that also failed, so they decided to unplug.
The late automaker almost made it with the Pontiac G8 GXP, which hit the showroom in 2009, but it was already too late. To fully understand how things went wrong for the iconic automotive brand, here are 5 cars that made Pontiac great and 5 that completely ruined its reputation.
Highlight: 1967 Pontiac GTO
The polished “chain link” grille and sculpted edges of the 1967 Pontiac GTO make it arguably one of the finest muscle cars ever made. In fact, it’s no surprise that in 1968 the Pontiac GTO won the award for Motor Trend Car of the Year, which is perhaps the most prestigious award in the automotive industry.
To grasp the success of the 1967 Pontiac GTO, you need to know how many units. According to Amazing Classic Cars, the hardtop model of the Pontiac GTO has sold over 65,176 units, while the Cabriolet and Sports Coupe models have sold 9,517 and 7,029 respectively. If these numbers are to be trusted, it goes without saying that Pontiac had a good race with the 1967 GTO.
Ruined it: 1973-1977 Pontiac Astre
In 1977, General Motors made history by introducing the Iron Duke engine, but they didn’t know that would be the death of the Pontiac Astre. The Iron Duke was developed to replace the three-speed motor option, and it was widely accepted for its early durability.
But things quickly went downhill when users realized it wasn’t powerful enough, as it produced around 75 to 85 hp and peak torque of 130 lb-ft. In 1978, General Motors discontinued the Pontiac Astre.
Nailed: 1973 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am 455
Insurance rates for muscle cars skyrocketed around 1973, so automakers were reluctant to continue producing them. In addition, muscle cars were considered to be energy intensive, which made them quite expensive. Against all odds, Pontiac developed the Firebird Trans Am 455.
Equipping the muscle car with a Super Duty engine, the Firebird Trans Am 455 not only became popular, but it was also considered the the fastest car ever made by Pontiac. When the Firebird Trans Am 455 was taken for a test drive at Orange County International Raceway, he covered a quarter mile in 13.751 seconds at a speed of 103 mph.
Ruined it: Pontiac G8 ST
First of all, of all the names Pontiac could have called the G8-based sport truck, it decided to go with public opinion. As Craig Bierley, Director of Product Marketing for Pontiac, says, âG8 ST was one of the most popular suggestions, and we noticed a much larger trend towards simple, easy-to-remember names. ”
Perhaps it was the rather lackluster name, the global economic downturn, or the fact that a “ute” pickup was not really the best product for the US market that contributed to the dismal sales of the G8 ST, as it only sold around 5,000 units per year. General Motors decided to unplug the G8 ST in 2010 after realizing that it was no longer financially viable.
Nailed: 1963 Pontiac Catalina 421
Towards the end of the 1962 drag season, Pontiac realized it was losing ground to Super Stock heavyweights like Chevrolet and Ford as they rolled out bigger engines and other special parts. In an attempt to pick up the pace, Pontiac engineers developed the Catalina 421.
This classic muscle car has been given a number of modifications, including drilling about 120 holes in the frame rails to achieve a lighter and stronger vehicle, nicknamed âSwiss cheeseâ. In 1963, the Catalina 421 was driven by Howard Maselles, an employee of Packer Pontiac, who set a record of 12.27 ET at a speed of 114.64 mph.
Ruined it: 1988-1993 Pontiac Le Mans
General Motors and Daewoo got it all wrong with the 1988-1993 Pontiac Le Mans in two ways. First, the name “Le Mans” was misleading, as the car is actually a sedan, not a GTO as the automakers have tried to imply. Due to this wrong approach, Pontiac Le Mans is considered one of the most misleading car names the low.
The second way iconic automakers failed was by posting a deceptive ad that promised affordable feel with great features. After several Le Mans owners began to refer to it as a “death trap” along with numerous recalls citing seat belt failures and a host of other problems, sales plummeted and Pontiac decided to stop the car. production.
The nailed: 1958 Pontiac Bonneville
Until 1981, the Bonneville performance muscle car was called the Parisienne in Canada. Considered one of the largest Pontiacs in history, the Bonneville weighed around 2300 kg and reached a length of 230 inches.
The 370 CID V8 engine which generated over 225 hp and the Tri-Power engine option which produced 300 hp consolidated Pontiac Bonneville’s position as one of the fastest and most powerful muscle cars of its time. , selling over 12,000 units.
The ruined: 1981-1987 Pontiac T1000
The Pontiac T1000, later known as the “1000”, first enjoyed a good run in the United States and Canada, selling over 433,000 units, thanks to its user-friendliness. But in 1982, General Motors hit a stumbling block because the 82 model year T1000 failed the then government-mandated emission control system compliance test.
With the development of Ford’s front-wheel drive Escort in 1981, the Pontiac T1000 gradually began to lose its relevance in the market and was eventually discontinued five years later after sales reached around 46,000 units.
Nailed: 1967 Pontiac Firebird 400
In an effort to distinguish the Firebird from the Camaro, Pontiac released five distinct models of the Firebird – base six, 326 V-8, HO, overhead six and 400 – dubbing them âThe Magnificent Fiveâ. The Firebird 400 stood out by selling over 37,937 units, thanks to its twin exhaust, V-8 and rugged drivetrain characteristics.
When Eric Dahlquist took the Firebird 400 for a test drive in 1966, he compared the Pontiac Induction Ram Air to some of the fastest cars of the day, such as the 383 Barracuda and the 390 Mustang.
Ruined it: Pontiac G6
In 2005, Oprah Winfrey presented an all-new Pontiac G6 to her audience of 276 people. Considered one of the biggest publicity stunts of all time, Pontiac had the brilliant strategy of selling the G6 in the US market.
Sales soared from 16,185 the previous year to 157,644 the following year. But you can’t sell that much with a mediocre product. The Pontiac G6 has been recalled four times by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), many G6 owners citing issues such as turn signal switch problems, electric power steering failure, and BCM connector failure.
After 84 years of making amazing cars, Pontiac closed its doors in 2010. Today we list the 15 models we would like to see on the market again.
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