Sunday, May 3, 2009

Top 10 best Pontiacs of all time

With the death of Pontiac, we really ought to remember what was so great about Pontiac. First, some history: Pontiac was first launched in 1926 as a companion to the Oakland brand, which was purchased by General Motors way back in 1909. In 1949, Pontiac introduced a brand new model that was intended to usher in a new sporty flair to the automaker's stately line of automobiles. Though the new model was fairly successful, it was held back by the long-running straight-eight engine that had been used since the early 1930s. And since then, Pontiac is known as the sporty brand in GM. So some were fantastic muscle cars.

10. 1955 Pontiac Catalina:

This has started it all. It was nothing like the line-up from Chevrolet. This was actually the first Pontiac to feature a classic V8 engine, at which GM didn't know. So since then, Pontiac would hone its image as GM's performance brand.

9. 1963 Pontiac Tempest:

Where everyone thinks that the Ford Mustang that started the compact sports car, it wasn't actually. It was this, the Tempest, which originally was revealed in 1961. But the 1963, got upgrades that made it a technological showcase at that time. Where it featured a 326 cubic-inch V8 engine, the weight distribution was 50/50. Because it also had four-wheel independent suspension, it handled like something new to that age, a true sporty feeling that was even better than the Mustang.

8. 1964 Pontiac GTO:

While the Tempest was designed to be a sports car and care about handling, Pontiac went back to roots, and thought big. They've invented the GTO, which was the start of the muscle car era. It was way bigger and heavier than the Tempest, but became so popular, that it inspired an entire genre of performance cars in America that followed. With a 389 cubic-inch V8 engine, that developed 348 hp, there was nothing that was as fast as the GTO.

7. 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix:

We can't mention Pontiac, and leave the Grand Prix behind. The Grand Prix was the definitive Pontiac of the late '60s. Pontiac were still building the GTO, but the Grand Prix is a even bigger, but more luxurious. However, this wasn't a muscle car, it's best described as the "bad-boys" criminal car that is best suited for the Mafia. Specially that the 390 hp V8 engine was more powerful that the police can catch.

6. 1969 Pontiac GTO The Judge:

With the success of the original GTO, Pontiac decided to come up with a more muscular version that was an eye-candy, but still scary in its way. The package for the 69 GTO called The Judge, which combined bright colors (often an orange hue Pontiac called Carousel Red), loud graphics packages and a rear spoiler to stand apart from lesser models. However, Pontiac also offered a RAM VI to the 389 cubic-inch V8 engine, to pack overall 377 hp. That time where muscle cars were the "its" cars in America, Pontiac decided that it was the last GTO to come.

5. 1973 Pontiac Trans Am:

This was the replacement to the GTO, the Trans Am. With the Trans Am, Pontiac came up with a rival to the Ford Mustang, and introduced the f-body muscle car design. The Firebird up-front on the hood that was added as an option, made the Trans Am one of the best looking muscle cars. With a 455 cubic-inch V8, which was factory rated at 310 hp, it had less power than the GTO. However, the Trans Am's bigger engine, but lighter body, meant it had more torque than the GTO, which made it a serious fast-back muscle car as well.

4. 1978 Pontiac Trans Am:

In the late '70s, the refreshed Trans Am took the t-top shape as it defined an entire decade of American performance. In its age, this Trans Am was featured in most of movies as the "chase car". In the being of the '80s, the Trans Am was also the KITT car of Knight Rider. Of course, performance was down compared to what was available at the start of the decade, but Pontiac still offered a 220 hp 400 cubic-inch V8 engine mated up to a four-speed manual transmission. However, it was in the late '80s, early '90s that Pontiac has given up on its love of fast cars and outlandish in-your-face muscle cars. So this was the last proper Pontiac muscle car.

3. 1984 Pontiac Bonneville:

The Bonneville was always in the shadow of the GTO and Trans Am. Until the '80s, where both muscle cars were dead. At that time when GM and Pontiac switched to the X-body style, the Bonneville was converted to a four-door sedan. While that seemed weired and hateful, the Bonneville was the start of the American sports sedan. It underpinned a Caprice, but the Bonneville was shorter in length and had a sharper look. This Bonneville also featured sport bits that weren't in the Caprice. The 305 cubic-inch V8 was more powerful too. It seemed the '80s showed the entrance death of muscle cars, but this Bonneville kept some true Pontiac DNA.

2. 2005 Pontiac GTO:

We move from the mid '80s, to the beginning of the new millennium. While it's a big step, however there wasn't anything special in the time-line margin. In the '90s, most American cars were bad. They lost their steam, and became agricultural. But in 2002, Pontiac brought the GTO back to life. Although it was an Australian import from Holden, the 5.7L V8 was pure American LS1 engine. Later on, a LS2 6.0L replaced. However, this GTO was aimed at the modern-day Ford Mustang, which the GTO couldn't win. While the GTO had 375 hp, it was heavier and therefore slower than the Mustang. Even so, the GTO's price tag was more expensive by around $5,000 because of high import rates. So it was a sales-failure, but it was also an inspirational-success to see Pontiac back to its ogrins and roots.

1. 2009 Pontiac G8 GXP:

This was the last Pontiac ever produced. And what a great way to end 83-years of great American motoring. The G8 GXP has fixed all the GTO's problems. Despite still being a Holden import, the G8 has changed to a four-door sedan to change its competition class, to cars like the Dodge Charger. But as an Australian build quality, it was more aimed to mid-size luxurious like the BMW 5-Series. In fact, the G8 GXP's price tag of around $36,000, it was barely the price of a base 5-Series. Nevertheless, the G8 GXP's powertrain, which is a 6.2L LS3 V8 with 414 hp, which launch it to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds, it was actually a hit on the M5. So the G8 GXP ended up as a true performance bargain.

This ends my tribute to Pontiac. If you've got any better Pontiacs that you think is one of the best, tell us about it in the comments.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

1989 Turbo Trans Am should be on any Pontiac best list!

Advertise with us