Tuesday 28th April 2009
PONTIAC BITES THE DUST
Iconic brand to be axed as GM restructures
Pontiac will become the latest automotive casualty of the global credit crunch, as GM has confirmed speculation it will kill the once iconic US brand.
Smokey and the Bandit - legendary!
Yesterday’s announcement formed part of a wider restructuring that will see GM reduce the number of brand nameplates it produces from 48 to 34 by 2010 – a reduction of 29 percent, that also includes the proposed sell-off of Saab and Opel here in Europe.
While the Pontiac line-up has offered little in recent years to whet enthusiast appetites, PHers should observe a respectful minute of silence for a brand that brought us The Bandit’s black and gold liveried Trans Am, complete with ‘flaming chicken’ bonnet adornment in 1978. Yes, it may have offered only a paltry (poultry?) 220bhp in standard set-up, but that was a sign of those emission-strangulated and fuel crisis-stricken times.
The first true 'muscle car' - '64 GTO
But it’s the late, great GTO to which the world owes Pontiac its biggest debt of gratitude. Launched in 1964 to instant acclaim, the GTO was basically a low-rent econobox hot-rodded with a 325bhp 389ci V8, classic four-barrel carb, a manual transmission and stiffer suspension. In part the brainchild of Pontiac’s then engineering boss John De Lorean, the GTO is widely regarded by those in the know as the first real ‘muscle car’. RIP Pontiac – by your deeds shall ye be judged!