I am simply not paying enough attention these days. I just learned on the weekend that they ceased making Pontiac cars way back in 2010. How could I not have known that?
In that GM has allowed a venerable marque to follow that of the Oldsmobile that was scuttled a few years earlier.
I never owned a Pontiac. My dad never owned a Pontiac. He was stuck at the Chevrolet level and Pontiacs were for those a bit more upwardly mobile than Chevy guys, but not quite as posh as Olds or Buick guys. Caddies were beyond the pale back when the so-called Detroit ‘Big Three’ dominated the auto markets. “What, the Japs make cars? What next, the Koreans? Yer a riot, Ralph.”
Pontiacs were pretty neat cars in their day. The early ones of my experience were pretty much like Chevs except they came with an optional 8-cylinder engine. They also had those ubiquitous stripes to set them apart from Chevs. I don’t know why Pontiacs had stripes any more than why Buicks had portholes along the fenders.
Later in their time and back when gas was still about 40-cents a gallon – that’s a ‘gallon’! — Pontiacs moved out of the clunky family car realm and into something sexier. There was the Bonneville with about 400 horses, for example. Friends from California back when I was about 19 drove from San Jose to Vancouver starting at midnight on a Friday and arrived in Vancouver around noonish Saturday. Stayed for a few hours and then headed back to SJ to be on time for work Monday. They, in their Bonneville broke every speed-limit known to humankind and while they earned a few speeding citations in the process, they made it back alive. Good times.
Then there was the Firebird, of Smoky and the Bandit fame. Pontiac’s version of the Camaro , yet somehow it never quite had the class and remained a kind of downmarket, lout pipes ‘good-ole-boy’ machine that would have been owned by those Duck Dynasty or Deliverance guys.
There was, of course, the Fiero. Never as popular as it might have been and unique in that it was made out of plastic.
And that is pretty much my Pontiac lore but it somehow doesn’t seem right that they are gone when I was still missing the Oldsmobile.