Automotive Evolution

Bonneville.  Catalina.  Chieftain.  Firebird.  Gran Prix.  GTO.  LeMans.   Safari.   Star Chief.  Tempest.  Trans Am.

All Pontiacs.  All gone.  G.M. is about to make the Pontiac nameplate go away.

Growing up, my very middle-class neighborhood was full of Chevys and Fords.  We were a Chevy Bel Air wagon family.  If you had a Pontiac, you were doing well.  Buicks were beyond reach.  Cadillacs, out of the question.

My dream car was (and is) the 1966 GTO. 

'66 GTO.  Yeah, turquoise.  You got a problem with that?

'66 GTO. Yeah, turquoise. You got a problem with that?

With the GTO, the Firebird and the Trans Am, Pontiac became the youth-oriented G.M. division.  The Pontiac division sold wide-track excitement! 

And then Pontiac (and its parent) lost its way.  I could tell you what a ’59 Bonneville or a ’65 Tempest looked like, but what do they offer now?  The G3, G4, G5, G6, and G8.  What’s the difference?  I have not a clue, and I suspect G.M. doesn’t either.

G.M.’s vision of the future apparently doesn’t include Pontiac.  Oh well.  Maybe it’s time, like Oldsmobile’s time came in 2004.  It’s definitely time for G.M. to get its act together.  Lest you think I’m a hater, know that I drive one of its vehicles.  My last one for a long time.

But I still want that ’66 GTO.


About Gerry

I've been covering Connecticut news and sports since 1974. I know, I don't look that old.
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7 Responses to Automotive Evolution

  1. Dan McCarthy says:

    I may have only been a licensed driver for maybe 11 years or so, but up until recently I’ve only owned GM cars. My last one was a ’92 Buick Roadmaster that saved my life after a pretty nasty wreck.

    Anyway, as sad as it is to see Pontiac go, the only really interesting vehicle in its current fleet is the G8 sedan- which is actually an import from Holden, GM’s Australian subsidiary!

  2. Linda says:

    When I got my license at 16, my mother had a 1968 Firebird – automatic, but with bucket seats and pin-striping. She let me drive it to school sometimes and on weekends. It was so cool! My brother had a GTO. Of course, he wouldn’t let me near it. (Gerry, we were very middle class, but very into cool cars.) I’ve always thought that the U.S. had the best looking cars, with Oldsmobile and Chrsyler way ahead of their times in style. With the talent pool and technology the U.S. has, there is no excuse for what’s happened to the auto industry. It’s very sad, but I’m also very angry because it didn’t have to become this way.

  3. Gerry says:

    Dan, that car was a beast. But my all-time standard for tanks was the ’53 Buick. Google that sucker. It could eat you for breakfast.

    And Linda, I couldn’t agree with you more. My father eventually graduated to a Buick Electra 225 I wasn’t allowed to touch, and my mother segued to a ’68 Dodge Coronet, which moved. And I do mean moved. I recently drove past an auto body shop and saw one in the lot, ready for restoration. I had to stop and take a brief stroll down memory lane.

  4. I had a 1967 GTO white with black interior….a family car that was fast as hell..the marriage ended, the love of the car did not!

  5. Graham says:

    Ah, all you young folks out there. My first car was a very used 1953 Chrysler New Yorker. It was an automatic transmisssion BUT had a clutch to get from neutral to drive or reverse AND you had to take your foot off the gas to let the car shift from 1st to 2nd gear.
    The radio had to “warm up” before it came on and the electrical system was only 6 volts!
    But what a great car………I drove that for years and it never let me down. No computer chip problems, no injector problems, just a plain Hemi engine with a 4 barrel carberator and $.19/gallon gas!!!!!!!!!!!! and that came with a free glass or plate ( I think we still have some of those plates somewhere).

  6. Don says:

    2 of the 3 cars I have owned have been Pontiacs (’89 Firebird and ’02 Grand Prix) and no one is sadder to see them go then me my friend. I still have dreams of someday owning a 1980 black Trans Am with a big gorgeous gold Firebird on the hood….T-tops of course! They ruined the brand with the elimination of all the names that everyone knew.

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