Posts from ‘Pontiac’
To perform a quick case study on how different the automotive world is today from what it was in 1979, consider the following:
Ford is doing it right now with a subcompact crossover (EcoSport) imported from India. Cadillac did it with a German import badged on these shores as Catera. Honda did it with rebadged midsize SUV (Passport) that was actually built by Isuzu.
The very last Pontiacs were sold as 2010 models, though production of all Pontiac models had ceased by late 2009. The demise of General Motors’ “performance division” was certainly a sad affair, but truth be told, the brand had become largely unrecognizable to many marque enthusiasts. With a largely alphanumeric naming scheme and an intentionally toned-down design theme meant to attract Japanese-car intenders, the Pontiac of the 21st century bore little resemblance to the nameplate once known for Wide Track design and the GTO.
If you’re looking for proof that 1982 was a transitional year for the domestic auto industry, check out the dealer sales-training video for the then-new Chevrolet Cavalier below. It’s worth noting that Chevy’s cutting-edge front-drive subcompact car is being promoted with two-tone paint and white sidewall tires.
Wikipedia describes a soccer mom as “a married middle-class woman who lives in the suburbs and has school-age children. She is sometimes portrayed in the media as busy or overburdened and driving a minivan or SUV. She is also portrayed as putting the interests of her family, and most importantly her children, ahead of her own.” Per Wikipedia, the term started showing up in the national media in 1982.
Jim Rockford is the only TV detective with a driving move named for him. The late James Garner, who played Jim Rockford, didn’t invent the reverse 180-degree “J-turn,” but he used it so often in The Rockford Files television series that the maneuver is forever associated with the character. To execute a “Rockford,” Jim Rockford would drive about 35 mph in reverse, then let off the gas, turn the steering wheel sharply, and pull on the emergency brake. The car’s front end would swing around 180 degrees, and Rockford would be off—now driving forward.
As far as recessions go, the economic dip of the early Eighties wasn’t much of a downturn. Apparently the Fed overdid it a bit, and tightened the money supply a bit more than banks and lenders liked.
In order to sell General Motors brass on the idea of building a small, two-seat coupe, Pontiac marketing types made a few interesting concessions.
Fact: You can’t sell a station wagon in the United States anymore. Fact: You can dress a station wagon up like an SUV and sell that, as evidenced by the popular Subaru Outback.