Monday, November 1, 2010

So long, Pontiac. You will be missed. Great commercials from a great brand.

When we woke up this morning, the automotive world was forever changed. Pontiac, General Motors’ “Excitement” division, officially went out of business at midnight. All dealer contracts expired, and the brand that brought us the Firebird, the Super Duty, and the GTO, is no more.

For students of automotive history, this is truly a sad day. Who can forget all the great cars that Pontiac produced over the years? Was there ever a better looking car than the ’61 Ventura? Was there ever a better turned-out personal luxury car than the ’64 Grand Prix? Would the Bandit have been the Bandit without his Trans Am?

Pontiac lasted for 84 years. That’s longer than most of us have been alive. And even though you didn’t hear much about it toward the end, it still had a loyal following. Surprisingly, the final new models in the Pontiac stable were among the best in their history. The G8 was a truly world-class muscle car. The Solstice was a critically acclaimed sports roadster. Even the bread-and-butter G6 was a very nice midsized offering, and the hardtop convertible version of that car was like nothing else in the GM stable.

Instead of getting stuck on how unfortunate it is that things were allowed to get to the point where this could happen, let’s take a look at Pontiac’s illustrious past, and check out some of the television advertisements from the company’s glory days.

1959 Pontiac Car of the Year.  Wide Track wheels adhere when you steer.  I mean cling to the thing, so that every curve is a turn for the better.

1962 Pontiac Grand Prix.  It's luxurious, without being stuffed shirt about it.  Plus, it's a great way to pick up a bathing beauty.

1969 Pontiac Wide Track.  Breakaway in a Firebird.  Breakaway in a Grand Prix.  Breakaway in a GTO.  If Pontiac was supposed to be fun, this video sent that message loud and clear.

1969 GTO Judge.  All ride for the Judge--the special great one.  Paul Revere and the Raiders sing of the virtues of the hottest  GTO.  Heck, there might even be some subliminal imagery in this one.

1980 Trans Am Turbo.  A 4.9-liter message of appreciation to true believers--the way Pontiac knows how to deliver it.  Heck, even today, a turbocharged V8 would be pretty cool!

1984 Sunbird Turbo.  This is basically the same kind of small car technology that manufacturers are working with today for gas mileage and performance.  True, this isn't a car that you'd want now, but it seems pretty cool in the ad.  And that tag line jingle--just awesome.

1986 Trans Am.  So hot.  So sexy.  So 1980s.

1987 Pontiac Drive.  This commercial might be cheesy, but it rocks, and it'll give you goose bumps.  Now ads are all about gas mileage and economy.  This right here makes you crave a Pontiac.  Clearly, they were in the "Excitement" business.

2001 Trans Am. This is a classic.  The Trans Am is hungry for ricers.  You gotta' love it.  To bad the muscle car by Pontiac really doesn't live.

2008 Pontiac G8 GT.  Right up until the end, someone at Pontiac still knew how to do it right.  This is just a reminder of what's dead and gone forever.

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