Pontiac, the iconic American muscle car manufacturer, ceased to exist yesterday. The company was known for putting out souped up roadsters that first started appearing in the 1960s. By the late 1970s, the same issues that had taken its toll on every other GM product line had affected Pontiac as well, and quality nose dived. A case in point: my parents bought a blue station wagon in 1983, and the day after they took it off the lot, the transmission failed.
Pontiac cleaned up quality, and in so doing, standardized their products to the point where they didn’t really make any sense in the GM family. In becoming like any other GM subsidiary, they had lost their edge. In the bankruptcy agreement reached with the federal government last year, it was clear that a few brands had to go on the chopping block, and Pontiac was one of them.
So, Pontiac joins the long list of companies that have disappeared during our lifetimes. And I’ve always had a special place in my heart for Pontiac. My great, great grandfather, Edward Murphy, founded the company as the Oakland Buggy Company in Pontiac, Michigan, in 1893, converting it to an auto manufacturer in 1907 and selling a stake to GM in 1908, the other half being sold to the company after his death shortly thereafter.
Farewell Chief Pontiac.