Posts from ‘Pontiac’
If you’re my age (around the half-century mark), you’ve been programmed since high school to fully appreciate the dangers and potentially disastrous consequences of drinking and driving. And, indeed, since I began college in 1983, the legal penalties for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol have become significantly harsher.
Just a thought: What if the 1974 Pontiac GTO was never actually named “GTO?” What if, instead of disappointing GTO loyalists, this extensively upgraded compact Pontiac had instead been called the Ventura GT?
The Chevrolet Vega was meant to be a technical and efficiency tour de force. The good-looking, lightweight little car featured a number of cutting-edge features, and was positioned to prove that the Bow-Tie Brand—and on a broader scale General Motors—was in a position to take on the low-cost and fuel-efficient imports that were starting to show up in dealerships at the beginning of the Seventies.
Pontiac of Canada was well known for selling gently tweaked variations of Chevy products for exclusive distribution north of the border. The 1976-1987 Pontiac Acadian for example, was actually a retrimmed Chevrolet Chevette.
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.