Pontiac’s origin story takes us all the way back to the year 1893 in Pontiac Michigan as the Pontiac Buggy Company. In 1907, founder Edward Murphy changed the name to Oakland Motor Car Company and began producing automobiles.
Pontiac officially became a GM brand in 1926 presenting itself to the world at the New York Auto Show with a five-passenger car. After 80 years of production in 2009, GM announced the end of the Pontiac, stopping production as this brand had become no longer profitable generating a mere 10% of GM sales reported CNBC.
While every year sees fewer and fewer Pontiacs on the road, the nostalgia increasingly grows. Of the greatest Pontiacs that make Jalopnik’s list, these are some of our favorites.
For 47 years, there was the Bonneville, making its appearance in 1954 as a luxury trim level designation and then as a stand-alone model in 1958.
Some of this model’s high points were the 1999 SSEi which brought 240 hp with its supercharged V6 and the 1959 model wearing quadruple fins. Through the years, a Bonneville could be had in every body style including, 2-door convertible, coupe, 4-door sedan, and even a 4-door station wagon.
2010 Pontiac G8 ST
The ST which stands for sports truck was a very practical way of describing what others may have referred to as a modernized El Camino. Definitely nothing like it on the road of its day, MotorTrend described the target audience for this vehicle as “the warm smile states people with motorcycles, wave runners and the like”.
It came equipped with a 73.9 inch-long bed and a towing capacity of 2000 pounds, rear-wheel drive, and two passenger seating capacity. The engine, a 6.0-liter, V8 delivered 361 hp and 385-lb-ft of torque.
The advent of muscle cars arrived in ’64 with the GTO. HowStuffWorks explains that the mid-sized vehicle sporting a powerful V8 was the first of its kind considering. Pontiac exceeded its expectations selling a whopping 32,450 of these cars. This is much more than the earlier predicted sales of 5,000. The listed price was $2,799 and would retail today for $23,165.
1978 Trans Am
Associated with Burt Reynolds’ character, Bandit, this classic car is sure to evoke many a memory. According to AutoWeek, this car delivered on speed reaching 0-60 in seven seconds.
Power output from the ’78 model had declined, no longer giving 310 hp as in former years but a modest 180 hp from the standard engine. This doesn’t snuff out the enthusiasm for the ’78 as Trans Am, as enthusiast Frank Robertson can attest to. He searched 24 years to find a restored one and reports “frequent thumbs-up from fellow motorist”.
1988 Pontiac Fiero GT
Although having the makings of a “fun little sports car” according to CNN business, it took GM a few years to iron out the kinks. Introduced in 1984, it lacked pep, burdened by its 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine.
Unfortunately, an overly small oil reservoir led to engine problems and fires. By 1988, Pontiac gave the Fiero a V6, proper suspension, an improved look and fixed the oil/fire issue. Sadly though, after a five year run, the model was discontinued. Automotive News says despite its problems, the Fiero is credited with attracting many first-time buyers to the Pontiac brand.