Pontiac was founded in 1926 during the economic boom time of the roaring twenties by GM itself, as a complimentary line and brand to the Oakland Motor line of vehicles. Basically in the 1920s GM had a price scale system that worked quite well, with a brand for each price range. The low end started with Chevrolet, followed by Oakland, Buick, and finally Cadillac, however there were price gaps in a few years, so in order to fill the gaps GM made a few more brands to stick in the middle areas. Pontiac was one of those. The final layout looked like this: Chevrolet would have no companion, Pontiac was the low end partner to Oakland, Viking was the lower end to Oldsmobile, Marquette was the lower end to Buick, and LaSalle was the lower end to Cadillac (which was at the top).

Pontiac Logo

All of the filler brands failed – except Pontiac. Pontiac became so popular that it dominated Oakland, and actually shut down the Oakland brand and line – even though it was spawned from Oakland itself. Throughout the Pontiac run in the early days of the car, it was seen as a quiet and nice car, however it was no beast. After the war ended this changed quickly, as the brand saw that the younger generation was not interested in a car seen as being made for being just quiet and reliable.

By 1949 the new models appeared, with new styling, chrome, and lots of different variations, resulting in the Chieftain model that replaced the old favorite Torpedo. Following this came one called the Star Chief, and finally their sales began to climb back up. Throughout the latter fifties and early sixties they began to introduce better, bigger, and faster engines, starting in 1955 with a 173 horse V8 that gave the cars a kick. Throughout this time the horsepower and the overall design changed, and finally it reached its peak in the 60s with cars that had new sleeker bodies and engines that were rated as high as 285 horses without modification. With all of these things culminating in powerful cars, it led to their entry into the muscle car war of the late 60’s. However in the early 70’s the Feds were getting involved with more safety regulations, insurance costs were coming up, and a fuel crisis began.

Pontiac G8 GT - 2008

Because of this they reeled back from super performance cars – although they did attempt to keep the image. Compact and Sub-Compact designs began to be common and more of the cars that were lighter, smaller, and had better fuel emissions were sold. The shifts in focus lead to Pontiac becoming associated with more luxurious economically sound vehicles. However in 1982, they changed pace with the new firebird, which lead to a return to power in their cars, going to dramatic radical designs that involved just a two seated vehicle for young thrillers.

In the later 90’s Pontiac yet again stopped focus on performance and went to minivans and other such things – GM had ordered the Firebird car taken out back and shot, along with the Chevy Camero, there was no funeral service after. Following this, two years ago Pontiac started to redesign everything in its line and go back to making power based vehicles, with the new G5 this year, and the G8 in two years from now.

Filed Under: General


RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.