Over the weekend, an iconic American car brand made its journey from current to history. Pontiac, GM’s big name brand from the ’60s, finally went out of business on October 31, a year after the announcement was made about its closure.
The brand, which GM introduced in 1926 (though the first Pontiacs had come about 19 years earlier), had a chequered time during its existence – a slump in the 50s nearly put an end to it, while the 60s was undoubtedly its most successful period (when it sold nearly a million cars at its height in 1968). By the time the 80s arrived, the brand was going into decline, and the last two decades have seen a slow, painful move towards the end, with the final nail hammered home by GM’s financial woes during the last economic crisis.
It certainly had standouts – the GTO from 1964-1974, originally built on an A-body Tempest platform with a 325hp 6.4 litre V8, then finally on a Ventura’s X-body chassis (the one just above), was one. Those old enough should certainly remember Burt Reynolds’ ride in Smokey and the Bandit as the second-generation Firebird Trans Am Special Edition from 1977.
Of course, there was also KITT, of the original Knight Rider series fame. The Knight Industries Two Thousand was essentially a third-generation 1982 Pontiac Trans Am, naturally ‘loaded’ with everything from a molecular bonded shell body armour to rocket motor-assisted turbo boost, which gave KITT the ability for bursts of speed in excess of 200mph.
So, consigned to history, it all is then.