MAY 19, 2009: Goodbye Poncho – The Last Pontiac dealer agreement ends…

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Because the last U.S. dealer agreements to sell Pontiacs officially expired on October 31, 2010 we decided to revisit one of our most popular “goodbye” articles.

 

‘Pontiac was recently cut loose by General Motors and while most people would agree that losing a long-term brand name isn’t GM’s worst problem right now it does signify another automotive milestone.’

 

There’s no doubt that we’re going to miss the Poncho, but, as Bob Hope once said, “thanks for the memories”.

 

Pontiac was always the ‘under the radar brand’ –  noticed but not generally hated by Ford or Mopar guys like its Chevrolet cousin.

 

Pontiac was a lower-end highly reliable car purchased by the guy who worked below the Vice President of a company (an Oldsmobile guy) and above the Assistant Sales Manager (a Chevelle guy).

 

 

Kids were seen riding in many sedate looking Pontiac sedans or wagons and while they weren’t the most well-noticed ride on the street, they still beat the hell out of more celebrated Detroit iron.

 

Pontiac’s anonymity was its strength when they decided to inject some performance into the Big Chief.

 

Fuel injected Chevys carried a neon sign on the street that said “race me” but the Pontiac carried an equal or better hammer under the hood and nobody noticed-until it was way too late.

 

Performance Ponchos were like a boxer with a sneaky right hand-you never noticed it until after you woke up on the canvas.

 

Until 1964.

 


 

That’s when Pontiac blew its cover with the legendary GTO or “Goat”. All of a sudden these nondescript Tempests became street monsters/muscle cars that any kid could afford.

 

That changed the rules and suddenly Pontiac’s legendary street credibility became public. They went in swinging and kept up the pace with The Judge, The Jury and the Firebird T/A.

 

 

Think about all of the iconic factory street machines in the 1960s and the GTO was the King of the Legend.

 

Throughout the 1970s and early 80s era of choked off and detuned smog fighters only one car really made an impact -and only one car stands out-the Firebird Trans Am with the big chicken decal on the hood and scoops everywhere.

 

 

That car gave us some hope during the disco music infested late 70s that all wasn’t lost-Detroit could still build a mean looking machine that delivered. The war wasn’t over in the US car world. We know they that they hadn’t given up because of one wild looking “I haven’t quit thinking about power over state-issued regulation”car.

 

A car from a brand that came to define the 60s muscle era.

 

A Pontiac.

 

JERRY SUTHERLAND

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