Monday, April 27, 2009

The End of the Road


For whatever reason, my family's always had a thing for Pontiacs.

When I was a kid, my mother drove a Grand Prix which, in one of my earliest memories, was stolen from a mall parking lot in Miami. She's gone through several updated models of the same car since and continues to drive one to this day. When I was 17, I drove a Pontiac Fiero GT -- a long since discontinued quasi-roadster that was essentially two seats, a V6 engine and not much else. It remains probably my favorite of all the cars I've owned in my lifetime, and not simply because of the obvious nostalgia attached to it. The damn thing was just a blast to drive.

These days, with the exception of the Solstice, most Pontiacs look alike and don't offer much in the way of the visceral thrill that, say, the GTO or the Trans Am once did. Still, it's sad to see the entire brand go, maybe because there is so much American mythology behind it.

The demise of Pontiac also sends an ominous and undeniable message about the state of our economy and what it means for all of us: Not even history can trump the absolute authority of the bottom line right now.

The Wall Street Journal: GM to Cut 21,000 Hourly Jobs, Eliminate Pontiac Brand/4.27.09

11 comments:

Al said...

Nostalgia alone should not keep ANY brand afloat, be it PanAm, Pontiac or Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific. When Honda, Toyota, BMW, Mercedes and even Saturn can build cars here in the US (and do so profitably) it's clear that the problem is not with manufacturing, it's with doing it with a painfully out of date Detroit mentality.

Hell they made the Aztec, they deserve to die.

Jeremy said...

Ah, the Fiero... those suckers had the tightest darn gear pattern.
My stepmom had one when I was a kid and I drooled over it continuously.

The first car I bought myself was a used Firebird, and drove it until a tree fell on it during a wind storm.

I also had a Pontiac Phoenix, basically the Pontiac version of a Chevy Citation, but still a damn fine little car.

They were all fine, fine automobiles.

Chris said...

What Al said. They stopped making anything worthwhile a long time ago.

Al said...

I naturally meant Subaru, not Saturn (which is also GM...and also going bye-bye).

chenry said...

I love Pontiac, but they haven't done much worthwhile since the 70s.

1969 Pontiac GTO, the Judge. Fuck. YES.

DragonIV said...

I still like my 00 GTP. :) And I'd buy one of those ugly G8s--they are great driving cars.

But yes, GM needs to whack even more brands than they are already planning to remove. They need to be just chevy/cadillac, and be prepared to survive selling as few as 6-8M cars per year. Of course, the bond holders are revolting (we knew they would), so expect to see them in bankruptcy in another month.

Fungi said...

I bet the Bandit is heart broken right now. Poor Trigger.

Anonymous said...

It was time for it to go, along with the old racial joke:

PONTIAC:
Poor Old Negro Thinks Its A Cadillac

@Black folks:
No racial hate or offense intended.
It is just the last chance to share
an old racial joke.

Sara said...

Right on, man. My favorite car (that I've owned so far) was a Grand Prix, and in about 15 minutes I'll be riding around Honolulu in my roommate's '84 Trans Am. I know nostalgia doesn't pay the bills, but some Pontiacs were pretty awesome!

Kermit said...

Ahhh...

My first car was a '78 Trans Am with the bird on the hood and everything. 6.6 liter, 3 speed. Awesome. I got it in 1995 and it lasted until 1996 when the leaf springs shot through the frame into the trunk. Was the best thing in the world to drive and one day, I'll get another. As for the current incarnation of Pontiac... feh.

Natvegasgirl said...

I had a Fun-ero too in the late '80s. I loved that car, it was so much fun to drive and as for the sunroof that came off and stored under the hood, well could anything be any cooler? Drive a convertible Mini-Cooper now, almost as much fun but not quite.