Pontiac is an American automobile brand owned, manufactured, and marketed by General Motors. It was launched as a complementary brand to GM's more expensive range of vehicles. In 1933, the brand surpassed the parent brand in popularity. Today, the brand offers a wide range of sports cars and SUVs. However, the brand will cease operations at the end of 2010. Pontiac was founded in 1907 in Pontiac, Michigan. Edward Murphy founded it. General Motors acquired it in 1909. It introduced the first Pontiac in 1926. Its nickname was the "Chief of the Sixes" because it had a six-cylinder engine. It debuted at the New York Auto Show that same year. It was so successful that it gradually changed its name to Pontiac. An Ottawa Indian chief carried this name in the 18th century.
In 1927, Pontiac launched the model line with an inline six-cylinder engine. At the time, it had the shortest displacement of all American cars. Within six months of its introduction at the 1926 New York Auto Show, it sold 39,000 units of the 6-27. Within 12 months, that figure had grown to 76,742 vehicles. The following year, it became the best-selling six-cylinder engine in the United States. In terms of total sales, it ranked seventh. When Wall Street crashed in September 1929, sales of Pontiac vehicles plummeted. GM executives decided to keep Pontiac. In the 1930s and 1940s, Pontiac produced coupes and sedans. From the mid-1930s through the mid-1950s, Pontiac vehicles had a unique style. It was known as the "Silver Streak." It had an Art Deco style chrome "speed line" that extended along with the hood to the bottom of the windshield.
Masterpieces of Pontiac
Most Pontiac models produced in the 1960s and 1970s were similar to other GM models or siblings. However, the front and rear design, interior, and engines were retained. In 1961, the new Tempest received a completely new design. It was one of three small cars introduced that year. The others were the Skylark and the F-85, and Cutlass. Late in the 1961 model year, the LeMans' more sophisticated version was introduced. The name came from the French 24 Hours of Le Mans auto race. Although the Tempest's powertrain was similar to the Corvair introduced the previous year, it had little in common. GM planned to introduce a Pontiac version of the Corvair. However, Bunky Knudsen did not support the idea. The Polaris project became a stand-alone Clay variant and was subsequently canceled. Instead, it gave the DeLorean project the green light with a "rope-shaft" design.
In the 1990s, Pontiac introduced models such as the Sunfire and the Montana van. Due to customers' changing tastes, it slowly lost sales. Hoping to regain its former glory, the division began implementing a plan. It eliminated obsolete models. And it introduced all-new models with distinctive styling and personality. In 2000, the Bonneville underwent an overhaul for the first time since 1992. In 2002, the Firebird and Camaro production was discontinued due to declining sales and a market saturated with sports cars. Production of the coupe version of the Grand Prix also ceased.