Saturday, April 25, 2009

Au Revoir, Chief Pontiac!

First it was Oldsmobile. Now the weakened state of General Motors has brought us the demise of another great American automotive brand. GM will eliminate the Pontiac from its stable of cars.

During the muscle car performance days, Pontiac said "We build excitement". The "Wide Track Pontiac" was touted as a better handling car than its competitors. The Bonneville, Grand Prix, and Sunbird gone forever. Who can forget Burt Reynolds as "The Bandit", driving his performance Pontiac Firebird from Atlanta to Texarkana and back, being chased by Jackie Gleason as Sheriff Buford T. Justice of Texas?

Yet, it was the even older Pontiacs that I have a fondness for. The 1950s versions with their light up hood ornament of Chief Pontiac has to be the coolest auto decoration ever made. The very first car I remember riding in as a very small child was my parents' old 1938 Pontiac. I used to love sitting in the back, looking out the small triangular window near side rear of the passenger compartment.

So off to history Pontiac goes, joining not just the Olds, but Plymouth, DeSoto, Cord, Hudson, Rambler, Studebaker, LaSalle, and others that once owned America's streets and highways before anyone had ever heard of a Toyota or a Hyundai.

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