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Excellent condensation of Pontiac then vs. now by Scott there.

Only thing I would state is that Pontiac had already begun it's transformation with the 4x2 of '56, and the FI Bonneville @ Daytona for '57. Saleswise, he's right that things bottomed in '58, but product-wise things started earlier than his implied '59.

And I would love to learn of these "many books" that have specifically detailed Pontiac's rise; clearly he's talking about Pontiac books in general- I have a number fo those already. But a dedicated, indepth '55-65 Pontiac book would be very interesting.

And look at you, "Camino", tip-toeing around over there in Pontiac land- cool.

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I've spent quite a bit of time in a number of "Pontiac lands". :lol:

I was hoping you'd see this topic.

I remember an old Motor Trend "retrospective" of the FI '57 Bonneville convertible back in pre-internet days. The car was a stunning white with a red interior dripping in chrome - not my usual style, but Damn!

I stared at that centerfold for quite some time. :AH-HA_wink:

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>>"I remember an old Motor Trend "retrospective" of the FI '57 Bonneville convertible back in pre-internet days. The car was a stunning white with a red interior dripping in chrome - not my usual style, but Damn! I stared at that centerfold for quite some time."<<

I wonder if M/T did 2 Retrospects on the P-57-B (the car is certainly worth it), because the piece in my files from 02-79 has the gorgeous!! centerfold but the car has a blue & (mostly) white interior. Pontiac was doing the 'off-shoulder' upholstery thing in the late '50s- only the frt pass & rr drvr seat back inserts are blue- reest shows white. I also stared at this car quite a bit.

Most all P-57-Bs were white, but there were 2 black cars- I stumbled on an unrestored one in a PA junkyard years ago (circa 1990), under a tarp. At the counter they told me 'Don't even ask about it!' Apparently it was owned by someone and being stored there temporarily - it disappeared a short while later & I have yet to hear anything about it.

I would absolutely love to have a '57 Super Chief Catalina- I just am in love with that name.

UPDATE: THIS states 3 black P-57-Bs were built- guess this is a different one since the one I saw did not have a Con't kit on it. 516 is a FL area code...

Edited by balthazar
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Personal Pontiac perspective--my older brother was really into Pontiacs in the '70s--he had a '73 Trans Am, a '75 Formula 400, then a '65 GTO...one of my first lasting memories of Pontiacs was in a Motor Trend Retrospective article he showed me in the late '70s--it was a two-page photo of a maroon '64 GTO in profile, IIRC. I remember how symmetrical the car was front-to-back.

The '69-72 Grand Prix, the Grand Villes, and early '70s Firebird Formulas and Trans Ams stick in my mind as very memorable cars that I noticed as a kid. Also the Can Am...remember seeing a couple of those at the Pontiac dealer in my neighborhood in Steubenville, Ohio.

'80s Pontiacs really turned me off the brand, didn't pay much attention until the recent GTO, Solstice and G8.

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Also, what helped Pontiac comeback in the 50's was being the 'star' car on 'I Love Lucy' for the trip West. [#1 show then] It was a '55 convertible.

I just saw the episode where they're heading back east and Ricky sold it. I love that show, whenever it's on I make time for it.

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Great read. Pontiac can be that division again I mean they are getting a G8 GXP, G8 ST and Solstice Coupe that is pretty maverickish. I agree bring the names back and build the cars right. Even if they remain some FWD and RWD that is fine but give them the styling/technology they need DI, and six speed automatics would be a great start.

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Back when Bunkie Knudsen took the division over in the late 50s, Pontiac was a rickety organization churning out bland products to the point that it was beginning to have trouble justifying its existence within the GM divisional structure.

Welcome home Pontiac. The above statement clearly represents the heritage of Pontiac.

Unless, you happen to be of a certain age (mainly seeing Pontiacs of the 60's and early 70's), Pontiac has always been boring, ugly and craptacular. Why is everyone so revisionist about its history? It was started as the poor man's Oakland and not meant to be a high performance car.

Pontiac needs to get attractive and interesting quickly or IT NEEDS to GO!

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People also forget that Pontiac isn't even part of the original GM; it is the only "Companion Brand" (Pontiac, Viking, Marquette, LaSalle) that became more successful than its parent brand, eventually superceding Oakland.

What GM needs is someone with the balls to return the company and its divisions to a Sloane model of pricing and focus. That would pretty much solve everything, instead of nearly every division overlapping with another and selling something at nearly every price point.

Edited by Croc
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Welcome home Pontiac. The above statement clearly represents the heritage of Pontiac.

Unless, you happen to be of a certain age (mainly seeing Pontiacs of the 60's and early 70's), Pontiac has always been boring, ugly and craptacular. Why is everyone so revisionist about its history? It was started as the poor man's Oakland and not meant to be a high performance car.

Pontiac needs to get attractive and interesting quickly or IT NEEDS to GO!

But for those of us who remember the Pontiacs of the 60's and 70's, the Pontiac name has a majical touch...

I could live forever on a planet where the only cars were 60's and 70's Pontiacs. Seriously.

Chris

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Oh, and I feel the same way as the writer in the link Camino posted-the G8 really does bring back the feeling of the old Pontiac.

Chris

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I love Pontiac.

I don't like the current Pontiac lineup.

To me the trouble with GM in general is that it seemed to be hijacked by MBAs and accountants.

That always produced mediocrity. No passion. Cars as products.

When one follows ones passion, dollars will follow.

When Pontiac has a passionate car guy leading it again, they will make money.

I think he's right, Lutz doesn't get Pontiac. And the whole 'BMW on a budget' thing just makes me cranky. Just be Pontiac again.

The past is so bright you gotta wear shades...

brightfutureox1.jpg

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>>"Back when Bunkie Knudsen took the division over in the late 50s, Pontiac was a rickety organization churning out bland products to the point that it was beginning to have trouble justifying its existence within the GM divisional structure."<<

Who wrote this ?? Pontiac was no more "bland" than Chevrolet or Oldsmobile, and in fact was outselling Olds from WWII thru '53, when Olds finally edged by. There were some discussions internally RE Pontiac in the early '50s, but the division certainly was not "rickety" nor was it in any danger of being discontinued, PMD just lacked a strong identity- that's it. That turned around starting in '57, when Pontiac indeed began to denote performance, as it did majorly thru the '60s & '70s.

THAT'S the heritage of Pontiac.

Pointing to anything earlier than when they made their mark is akin to claiming a pro football star's heritage is his jr high school football performance : it ignores the accomplishments that put him in the public eye.

>>"What GM needs is someone with the balls to return the company and its divisions to a Sloane model of pricing and focus. That would pretty much solve everything, instead of nearly every division overlapping with another and selling something at nearly every price point."<<

That's pretty much what I've advocated for years on this board- increasing the autonomy of the brands- they were at their strongest when they competed against each other as well the rest of the market, and the fact that they were part of a corporation was immaterial to the public; these were different makes building different cars. The overlap factor will be rendered immaterial also if differentiation returned.

I know: no money. :sad:

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I agree with the competition thing...it gave us a lot of creativity.

Also agree that when the car guys take over, Pontiac can be profitable again.

Chris

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The BMW on a budget thing is not a new concept. Most of you Asian up scale cars are all using the BMW/Benz formula. How many of the older Lexus had many of the Benz lines.

BMW pioneered the near luxury perfomance cars and many have tried to mine the market as that is where the profits are at lower voulme.

When some us call for Pontiac to be a Econo BMW be don't mean to copy them in full but to offer true modern performance cars that are not the crude muscle cars of the past.

The idea of Pontiac heritage will carry you only so far. Nostalgia is a good thing to a point but it also limits you to expand into new areas and with many people it can also be as much of a turn off as turn on. Note the polarizing effect of the HHR.

The herritage Pontiac need to carry fromt he 60's in the leading edge perfromace in 4-6-8 cylinders but also blaze trails with the latest technology. We are not selling Pontiacs to the same people fromt he 60's as most of them are driving CTS or are dead.

Pontiac as a niche market can showcase new options and ideas for GM and then help spread it to the rest of the line up.

The Muscle car died in 1970 it is time for GM and Pontiac to move on and compete with todays cars.

The niche market while is a step back in some ways will also give Pontiac freedom to do things they could have never done and prevent them from making models they should have never rebadged.

Time to stop living in the past when there is so much more out there to be explored. If they had rerlived the past in the 60's Pontiac would not even be a topic today. We need a Delorian mind set but with todays best parts.

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>>"BMW pioneered the near luxury perfomance cars"<<

Actually, that would be the Grand Prix that pioneered near-luxury performance, having more of both than BMW offered in the '60s.

>>"We need a Delorian mind set but with todays best parts."<<

Right: the rebel streak, the outlaw spirit. In today's homogenized industry, I don't think it would take all that much to make big strides forward, image-wise

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>>"BMW pioneered the near luxury perfomance cars"<<

>>"We need a Delorian mind set but with todays best parts."<<

Right: the rebel streak, the outlaw spirit. In today's homogenized industry, I don't think it would take all that much to make big strides forward, image-wise

Yeah..not too many characters (at least visibly) in the auto biz these days.. too bad Lutz isn't 20 years younger...

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I have always pontered where GM would have been today if John made it to the top.

We may have had good product but we still may have had a too large of company to deal with todays maker.

As for The Grand Prix... it was termed as personal luxury car.

The near Luxury performance cars did not really start showing up till the mid 70 in any kind of numbers and BMW pretty much st the market with their lower end cars. Today all the Lexus, Audis and Acuras are not copies of a GP.

Edited by hyperv6
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marker?

personel?....do you mean personal

st?

BMW?...lower end cars?

Accuras?...do you mean Acuras?

Copies of GP?

I'm so confused.

I sukc at typping too... :P

For the record why IS IT NOT Accura? Stupid J_____s. :lol:

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>>"As for The Grand Prix... it was termed as personel luxury car."<<

As ususal, I am going to take issue with your take on vintage Pontiacs.

Sure, pundits lumped the GP uncerimoniously into the 'personal luxury' catagory, but F them.

Pontiac RE the GP ('64) : >>"...Grand Prix conjures up an image of crisp, uncluttered styling and off-the-line performance in a very special Pontiac car!

Crouching {nice 'tiger' reference!} under the GP hood there's a 306-HP Trophy V-8, the most powerful standard engine of any Pontiac. Optional engines up to 421 cubic inches, 370-HP for the other than faint hearts. Bucket seats, the kind that make you feel part of the car {they are excellent!} are part of the standard package. Likewise, a tachometer (with manual transmissions) or a vacuum gauge (with HydraMatic) and center console are also standard. An optional 4-speed manual will more than pacify the purist. If not, add aluminum wheels and brake drums. They dissapate heat- if you still need a reason after you see them."<<

-- -- -- -- --

>>"The near Luxury performance cars did not really start showing up till the mid 70 in any kind of numbers and BMW pretty much st the market with their lower end cars. "<<

Numbers are immaterial. BMWs were like ghosts in the U.S. in the early '70s. And '70s BMWs - "luxurious" ???

1963 GP interior ~

P1010030.JPG

1972 BMW interior ~

c12_0612_12z%201972_bmw_2002_tii%20inter

I don't think so, Tim. {Caught a few Home Improvement reruns this week...} Nice board-flat 'buckets', BMW! :lol:

-- -- -- -- --

BMW helped popularize the tiny, premium-priced 'sports sedan' market, but they were initially NOT luxurious in the least, nor did they have any performance to speak of other than competent handling (3-series was still out-accelerated by a Chevy Beretta in the early '80s). Here, BMW started nothing and was quite late to the party.

Edited by balthazar
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I sukc at typping too... :P

For the record why IS IT NOT Accura? Stupid J_____s. :lol:

For me it was a typo as I had just gotten up.

Unlike some anal retented B pillar........ Oh never mind :deadhorse:

Edited by hyperv6
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