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Old 04-30-2009, 09:53 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Farewell, Pontiac, you will be missed (but only a little)

For Pontiac, Quality Comes Too Late - Wheels Blog - NYTimes.com
Quote:
General Motors will phase out the Pontiac brand in 2010, said Fritz Henderson, president and chief executive of G.M., in a press conference this morning. I had heard that G.M. was giving up on Pontiac last week, at virtually the same time G.M.ís car delivery guys were taking away the test car Iíd been driving for a week: a ďliquid redĒ Pontiac G8 GXP. So in some small measure, the news, though anticipated, was personal. I felt as though I were losing my new best friend.

The G8 GXP is a terrific car. Iíd rate it at or near the top of the list of 20-odd new vehicles that Iíve tested this year, and the less rascally G8 GT is high on the list as well. As Eddie Alterman wrote in his perceptive review of the G8s in The Times last December (before he moved on to become editor in chief of Car and Driver), these impressive new Pontiacs arrived at Detroitís party as the floors were being swept and the last drunks were staggering out. ďItís too much, too late,Ē he wrote.

All too true, and, for those who recall when Pontiac was the life of that party, so sad.

Brian Williams, the anchor of ďThe NBC Nightly News,Ē remembers. His familyís first new car was a mint-green 1967 Pontiac Catalina. A couple of months ago, when G.M. began to hint that Pontiac would have a limited future (as a ďsub brandĒ with a limited range of models), I was invited to appear on the Nightly News to reminisce about what Pontiac once meant.


Itís easy to understand why anyone born after the mid-1960s may not shed any tears when Pontiac is read its last rites. Theyíve known the G.M. division mostly for its generic midsize cars like the 6000 and the Grand Prix, largely indistinguishable from Buicks, Chevys and Oldsmobiles; for its Firebirds that became increasingly alien-looking through the years; for its unimpressive Sunfires and Grand Ams and unremarkable latter-day Bonnevilles; for its half-hearted attempts to sell mummified minivans (TransSports, Montanas, Azteks) wrapped up in plastic lower-body cladding.

It was a different scene in the divisionís glory days, which ran roughly from the late 1950s till the mid-1970s, a period that neatly coincided with my own obsession for the automobile. I recall marveling at my Uncle Charlieís í57 Super Chief hardtop, whose Indian-head ornaments (one atop each front fender) glowed when the headlights were on. I spent hours pretend-driving the yellow í55 Chieftain Catalina that I ranked highly among the many cars that passed through my older brotherís hands before he graduated from high school.

But it was in the 1960s that Pontiac really got serious about building excitement, with the classy Grand Prix and the sporty 2+2 added to a line that included flashy Bonnevilles, perky Tempests, the jaunty LeMans. Headlights were stacked, grilles were split and the carsí track (the distance between opposing wheels) was widened. The modern muscle car was born when John DeLorean wedged a 389-cubic-inch V-8 into the 1964 Tempest, creating the GTO. The brand had buzz, barely a decade after its image was so boring that Pontiacs were derided as ďcars for librarians.Ē

Back to the present, and a car that is surely one of the best sedans Detroit has ever offered: For those who donít track the comings and goings of car models the way Jimmy the Greek kept tabs on the arms of NFL quarterbacks, the GXP is the high-performance version of the G8, a largish (though not unwieldy) sedan that feels thoroughly American, in the best sense of that characterization. The $40,000 GXP combines a Corvette V-8 engine with a remarkably lithe suspension, impressive brakes, superlative steering and a classy, comfortable cabin. After testing it on closed tracks, credible auto writers have compared it favorably with the BMW M5, which costs about twice as much.

If Pontiac had offered cars this good 10 years ago, it wouldnít be flat-lining now in the critical care unit. Of course, if G.M. had made a serious effort to build overengineered cars like the G8 20 years ago, there would be no talk of bankruptcy or slicing the companyís ďgoodĒ assets from its mistakes.

But the G8 damns G.M.ís management on another level, for this excellent yet very American-feeling sedan actually started out half a world away. It is heavily based on the Holden Commodore, a product of G.M.ís Australian subsidiary, and thus joins a long list of well-designed, carefully engineered, highly competitive automobiles created by G.M. subsidiaries around the world. Until recently such products were largely denied to the American consumers who have been telling the company for decades Ė with their closed checkbooks and their mass defections to foreign brands Ė that they wanted Detroit to give them world-class cars.

Now a few of those cars are here. They are Pontiacs with Australian accents. And they are about to become orphans.
Typical of GM, they did too little, too late. The kids who grew up with Sunfires and Cavaliers as their first cars are buying Lexuses and BMWs because of the sour taste American cars left them with.

I may raise some eyebrows with this comment, but the beginning of the end for Pontiac was in 1963, when Chevy released the big block Chevrolet Corvette instead of the Pontiac Corvette. A flagship sports car that for some reason wasn't released with the badge of the company's performance division. It was all down there until the mid- to late-'80s, at which point they got their act together. They finally got their quality control issues sorted out, and pissed it away with brand dilution. The same car with 3 different sets of body panels is not seen as 3 different cars competing with the imports, it's all the same. With the G8 and Solstice, and even the G6, Pontiac had been turned around, but why would you buy a G8 instead of an Impala SS, or a solstice instead of the Sky? Maybe if they had brought cars that people actually wanted to the US ten years ago, this could have been avoided.
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Old 04-30-2009, 10:35 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Good point about the Corvette. You could argue that the Camaro was a bad idea too. That's what the Firebird was for. I disagree with you, however, that they got their act together in the mid/late 80's. Their quality remained crappy throughout the 90's and at least part of this decade. What wasn't poorly built was poorly designed (Aztek) (acres of flat cheap gray plastic on the interior) or poorly marketed (the GTO in its Holden Monaro roots very nearly beat a BMW 5 series in an overall comparison test. They should have pushed it as an alternative to the euro sport sedans, rather than something that looked like a grand am but cost more.
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Old 04-30-2009, 10:42 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Never a big fan of Sunfires or Cavaliers because I thought they were utter crap. Pontiac had some stuff going on with the GTO but scrapped them. Look at what was the Firebird, then the design changed in the 80's.Ugly isn't the word.

My brother had a 70"s Sunbird which was pretty cool but I guess that morphed into the Cavalier.

To bad for Pontiac though. Thought they may of had something with the Grand Am but I guess to hard on gas
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Old 04-30-2009, 10:51 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by shakran View Post
Good point about the Corvette. You could argue that the Camaro was a bad idea too. That's what the Firebird was for. I disagree with you, however, that they got their act together in the mid/late 80's. Their quality remained crappy throughout the 90's and at least part of this decade. What wasn't poorly built was poorly designed (Aztek) (acres of flat cheap gray plastic on the interior) or poorly marketed (the GTO in its Holden Monaro roots very nearly beat a BMW 5 series in an overall comparison test. They should have pushed it as an alternative to the euro sport sedans, rather than something that looked like a grand am but cost more.
The recent GTO was certainly a contender in the performance categories, but not in quality. Had they marketed the GTO as an alternate to the BMW 5 series or Audi A6, they would have been destroyed by every legitimate car rating organization. The ride quality was crap, the materials were crap, the design was mediocre. I can just hear Jeremy Clarkson going on and on about how Americans can't build a decent car.... ugh.

All that being said, there's a special place in my heart for the Pontiac Fiero. Sure, you had to replace the engine, transmission, and suspension in order for it to be a great car, but for some reason it was a wonderful little thing. And I still find it hilarious that a car called a Fiero would catch fire so often. It had character.
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Old 04-30-2009, 11:24 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Willravel View Post
And I still find it hilarious that a car called a Fiero would catch fire so often. It had character.
Unfortunately for Pontiac, character isn't a big selling point for new cars. Maybe they should have dug out all their old designs and re branded them as "high character" vehicles for 2010.
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Old 04-30-2009, 11:38 AM   #6 (permalink)
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The concept is great: a subcompact, mid engine, two-seater with some decent kick and aggressive styling. If executed correctly, it could do relatively great right now. Shoot, toss an electric engine and a decent battery in there and you've got something special.
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Old 04-30-2009, 12:36 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Willravel View Post
The recent GTO was certainly a contender in the performance categories, but not in quality. Had they marketed the GTO as an alternate to the BMW 5 series or Audi A6, they would have been destroyed by every legitimate car rating organization. The ride quality was crap, the materials were crap, the design was mediocre. I can just hear Jeremy Clarkson going on and on about how Americans can't build a decent car.... ugh.

All that being said, there's a special place in my heart for the Pontiac Fiero. Sure, you had to replace the engine, transmission, and suspension in order for it to be a great car, but for some reason it was a wonderful little thing. And I still find it hilarious that a car called a Fiero would catch fire so often. It had character.
I'm not sure we're talking about the same car. The latest version is a rebadged Holden Monaro, which the automotive press raves about. At any rate, Clarkson certainly wouldn't blame the Americans for it since it's Australian. BTW Clarkson raved about the Caddy CTS-V, so he's not wholly prejudiced against American cars, or even just GM.

The Fiero was cool in its last version. The V6 especially had a nice look and decent out-of-the-box performance. Trouble was the MR2 was competing with it (as a non-exotic mid engined RWD sport-tourer), and was better in just about every way.
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Old 04-30-2009, 12:53 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I'm talking about the GTO they released a few years back (2001-2005?) only to stop releasing soon after, and yeah I remember that being the Monaro rebranded. The suspension was really, really bad, as was the handling (if you were to compare it to Audi, BMW, or Mercedes... or even lesser European brands).

I'm still surprised that MR2 sales dropped off like they did. Could it have been a lack of advertising?
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Old 04-30-2009, 12:58 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Willravel View Post
The recent GTO was certainly a contender in the performance categories, but not in quality. Had they marketed the GTO as an alternate to the BMW 5 series or Audi A6, they would have been destroyed by every legitimate car rating organization. The ride quality was crap, the materials were crap, the design was mediocre. I can just hear Jeremy Clarkson going on and on about how Americans can't build a decent car.... ugh..
well you can hear him gush about how good the car is... on Top Gear. He does say that it got softer as a Pontiac, but that's par for the course when all imports Ford/GM seemed to do to their overseas brethren.

racing the stig

taking it sideways

OR read it in print

Quote:
View: Vauxhall Monaro VXR It's back-breakingly marvellous
Source: Timesonline
posted with the TFP thread generator

Vauxhall Monaro VXR It's back-breakingly marvellous
uly 10, 2005
Vauxhall Monaro VXR
It's back-breakingly marvellous
Jeremy Clarkson

Last week the Daily Mail broke off momentarily from writing about immigrants, Princess Diana and the value of your house, and published a photograph of my wife and me walking down the road.

Why? Well, I was carrying nothing while my wife was lumbering along beside me weighed down with a heavy suitcase.

ďLook at him!Ē it screamed. ďMaking his long-suffering wife carry his bags.Ē

What this proves, most of all, is the absolute hopelessness of the Daily Mail as a newspaper. My wife was carrying my bags not because Iím a male pig, but because moments earlier an MRI scan had revealed that Iíve slipped two discs. And that carrying heavy suitcases is something Iím not allowed to do any more.

More importantly, and this is the story those blinkered people on the Mail managed to miss, Iím no longer allowed to drive. Yup, for the next few months Iím off the road.

Partly this is because I canít look left or right, partly itís because my left arm doesnít work at all, and partly itís because Iím on a cocktail of drugs so bright and vivid I spend half the day wondering if Iím a horse and the other half answering only to the name of Stephen.

The only good news is that Iím taking steroids, so by the time Iím fixed I shall have breasts and a handbag and as a result the Daily Mail will write stories about my brave battle with a spinal injury and how Iím an example to women everywhere.

In the meantime, however, my pain in the neck means Iím not allowed to drive, which will be a pain in the backside. Mostly for my wife, actually, who will have to carry my bags to the car and then drive me to work. She may even have to write this column, because while I have a few cars stockpiled up, the list is not endless.

Maybe Iíll do some features on what life is like in the back of a Rolls-Royce or a Maybach until the steroids have worked and Iím mended. Unless they donít, in which case Iíll need an operation, and that could turn me into a drooling vegetable. In which case I'll do some stories about wheelchairs and mashed food.

Whatever, in this world where everything is always someoneís ďfaultĒ, the most important thing right now is to work out how I, the worldís least active man, managed to slip not one but two discs. I went through all the possibilities with my doctor and we decided that the blame for my condition lies fairly and squarely at the door of Vauxhall.

Apparently if you spend too long driving round corners much too quickly it will pull all the gooey stuff out of your spine, and last week I spent a very great deal of time going round many, many corners much too quickly in the new Vauxhall Monaro.

Itís been around for a while now, the Monaro, and nobody seems to have paid it much attention. Small wonder, really, when you consider that itís an Australian car, with an American engine. Sure, weíll buy colonial wine and weíll concede that theyíre good at sport, but thatís chiefly because they plainly do very little else.

In the past 200 years Australia has only invented the rotary washing line, and Americaís sole contribution to global betterment is condensed milk. The notion of these two great nations coming together to make a car doesnít fill anyone from the worldís fountain of ingenuity with much hope.

Especially when it lumbers into battle sporting a Vauxhall badge.

The thing is, though, that the original Monaro was a little gem. Or to be more specific, a rough diamond. With a 5.7 litre V8, and 19th-century technology feeding all that torque to the road, it was a crude but devastatingly effective mile-muncher.

Think of it as an Aussie from the outback. Maybe he canít quote Shakespeare. Maybe heís never heard of Terence Conran. But he can smash all the teeth clean out of your mouth with a single punch. That was the Monaro.

And now thereís a new version. At first glimpse the prospect is even more exciting because it has a restyled bonnet full of aggressive vents and holes, and because underneath it gets an even bigger engine. A 6 litre V8 from the last Corvette.

Sadly, all is not sweetness and light, because the Monaro is sold in America as a Pontiac GTO and the new version was designed specifically for Uncle Sam. That means itís all gone a bit soft. And for some extraordinary reason theyíve moved the 60-litre fuel tank to a point directly above the rear axle. This means the carís handling will change depending on how much fuel you have on board, and also that the boot is nowhere near as big as it should be.

So, does the extra power from the bigger engine compensate for this? Or is this the automotive equivalent of the American version of The Office: a good idea ruined by the Septics? To find out, I took it to a track and drove round and round until, as we know, my spine disintegrated.

The first thing worth noting is that the power isnít delivered in a zingy, revvy European way. Itís more a suet pudding than a champagne sorbet, but thereís certainly no shortage. And as a result youíll go from 0 to 60 in 5.3sec and onwards to 185. Thatís pretty quick.

The lazy engine certainly suits the whole feel of the car. It lumbers rather than darts, it feels heavy and lethargic. But then you might have said all this about Martin Johnson. And that really is the point of the big Vauxhall. Itís second row, not a winger.

The gearbox, especially, is worthy of a mention. The lever looks like itís come from the bridge of a 19th-century ocean liner and the effort needed to move it around is huge. But then this is a muscle car. Itís not for sheilas.

My favourite part, however, and youíll only really trip over this on a track, is the way it goes round corners. The angles of oversteer it can achieve, thanks mainly to its long wheelbase, are absolutely ludicrous, and if you keep your foot planted, so too is the volume of smoke from the back wheels. If you have the mental age of a six-year-old, and I have, you would never tire of sliding this massive car from bend to bend.

In fact, after I wore one set of tyres down to the canvas, I went straight round to a tyre shop, bought two more, and then proceeded to wear those down to the canvas as well. This car is that much fun.

Of course, itís not what youíd call luxuriously appointed. There are plenty of toys to play with, and lots of space for four, too, but the quality of the plastic and the feel of the carpets beggars belief. Until you look at the price. This car, this 6 litre V8 185mph muscle car, is less than £37,000 ó the same as a BMW 535 diesel.

Yes, the BMW is more of a quality product, but which would you rather have, a night out with a vicar or a few pints with your mates at the pub? When it comes to fun, the Monaro is truly wonderful, and itís not bad at cruising either.

The seats are sublime, it glides over bumps, and at 70mph the engine is barely turning over, so itís quiet as well.

It all sounds great but thereís one problem. You can still buy the original, harder, 5.7 litre car. Yes, this only offers up 349bhp compared with the 6 litreís 398bhp. But youíre pressed to spot that difference on the road.

And hereís the clincher. The 5.7 is only £29,000. Put simply, there is no better bargain on the market today.

Thank you, by the way, for all your e-mails on the Ford GT. There have been hundreds and hundreds. Now that I canít go anywhere I have time to read them. And Iíll let you know what youíve all decided.

Vital statistics

Model Vauxhall Monaro VXR
Engine V8, 5967cc
Power 398bhp @ 6000rpm
Torque 391 lb ft @ 4400rpm
Transmission Six-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Fuel 17.6mpg (combined)
CO2 384g/km
Acceleration 0-60mph: 5.3sec
Top speed 185mph
Price £36,995
Verdict A seat-of-your-pants back-breaker, drives like itís got XXXX in the tank
Rating 4/5
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Old 04-30-2009, 02:48 PM   #10 (permalink)
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That seems inconsistent to me. He laid into the C6 Vette because of the suspension, and it's some of the best I've ever had the privilege of driving on. I don't claim to have any kind of special expertise with cars, I don't have any formal training, but I know when a car doesn't hurt my back because the suspension it too stiff, or when a car drives like a boat because it's too loose. Having Koni adjustables teaches you to find the middle ground between comfort and performance. The GTO (and by extension the Monoro) has decent suspension for an American car, in fact I'd say it stands ahead of anything from Ford or Dodge, but it's not stiff enough for turns and it's not refined enough to be balanced overall. I'd choose the Vette's suspension even for every day use over the GTO or even the CTS-V any day. Comparatively, they drive like Mustangs. But I'm getting off topic...

Pontiac (as a part of GM) really helped to give the world muscle in a way that Europe and Japan couldn't. With our neighbors across the sea, you either had economy and low price or performance and high price, unless you wanted to drive something that shared dimensions with a can of Coke. I've driven a Challenger, a Charger, and even the G-body Grand Prix. American muscle represented style, power, even a culture for people that wanted to appreciate cars without having to pay some ridiculous price. It's a shame that in my lifetime I wasn't able to witness Pontiac in it's prime. Those that were should lament the passing of an integral part of Americana.
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Old 04-30-2009, 04:42 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Willravel View Post
I'm talking about the GTO they released a few years back (2001-2005?) only to stop releasing soon after, and yeah I remember that being the Monaro rebranded. The suspension was really, really bad, as was the handling (if you were to compare it to Audi, BMW, or Mercedes... or even lesser European brands).
Well, compared to, say, an Acura, yeah, the suspension sucked. But as you said in a later post for an "American" car it was pretty damn impressive.



Quote:
I'm still surprised that MR2 sales dropped off like they did. Could it have been a lack of advertising?
Well first off they changed it from this:



to this:



This was still on the early end of the "make everything look like a box that got attacked with a can opener" styling craze and they 1) hadn't gotten it right and 2) were still seen as ugly, especially by drivers of the 2nd gen MR2's like the first one I pictured.

Second, the insurance on a mid engined rear wheel drive convertible 2 seat sports car is freaking insane compared to the insurance on a 2+2 sports coupe.

And third, as I have sadly learned, parts for the MR2 tend to run the gamut from expensive to insane. For instance, the rear tires on a 2nd gen MR2 are used by two cars on the planet. The MR2, and the front wheels of the Countach. Guess how much I pay for rear tires every 15,000 miles.

It's a great car, but it's expensive to own, and unless you do some serious work to it, modern day sport sedans blow its doors off. An Acura TL (not even the speedy Type-S) is as fast as my MR2 turbo was stock, and I had to do a lot to the car to keep up with modern cars. There just isn't much room for the engine in the things, so it's very easy for the bigger cars to shove something powerful in there and run away from you.
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Old 04-30-2009, 04:59 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Gone but never dead. I will still end up owning some Pontiacs one day soon. Something from the pre-late '60's back to the late '40's.

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Old 04-30-2009, 06:46 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by MSD View Post

I may raise some eyebrows with this comment, but the beginning of the end for Pontiac was in 1963, when Chevy released the big block Chevrolet Corvette instead of the Pontiac Corvette. A flagship sports car that for some reason wasn't released with the badge of the company's performance division. It was all down there until the mid- to late-'80s, at which point they got their act together. They finally got their quality control issues sorted out, and pissed it away with brand dilution. The same car with 3 different sets of body panels is not seen as 3 different cars competing with the imports, it's all the same. With the G8 and Solstice, and even the G6, Pontiac had been turned around, but why would you buy a G8 instead of an Impala SS, or a solstice instead of the Sky? Maybe if they had brought cars that people actually wanted to the US ten years ago, this could have been avoided.
Brand dilution wasn't the only thing that killed Pontiac; GM actively neglected their 'excitement' brand by doling out high performance variants to every division except Pontiac. Aside from the GTO and Firebird, I'm hard pressed to name any other performance model, while I have no trouble coming up with loads of high performance vehicles from Chevrolet, Buick, Oldsmobile, and even GMC. Instead, they were saddled with nothing more than Chevys with split grilles. If Pontiac was a real person, GM would be arrested and charged with criminal negligence for the treatment of their 'excitement' division.
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Old 05-04-2009, 01:20 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I'm not particularly brand-conscious on cars. I really like my Pontiac Vibe, but by the time I replace it, something else will catch my eye, I'm sure.
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Old 05-05-2009, 10:19 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Willravel View Post
All that being said, there's a special place in my heart for the Pontiac Fiero. Sure, you had to replace the engine, transmission, and suspension in order for it to be a great car, but for some reason it was a wonderful little thing. And I still find it hilarious that a car called a Fiero would catch fire so often. It had character.
Ah, the Fiero, an answer to a question nobody asked.

Unfortunately, that question was "what happens when you start with an engine that's prone to overheating, give it insufficient cooling, and surround it with highly flammable body panels?"

The proper thing to do with those was the LS1 swap.
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Originally Posted by shakran View Post
Well first off they changed it from this:

I miss the days of the "Ferrari, Jr." looking MR2.
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Old 05-05-2009, 11:38 AM   #16 (permalink)
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and here I am considering buying a G8 GT.

oh well.. I'll just find something else.
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Old 05-05-2009, 11:54 AM   #17 (permalink)
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. . . . I may raise some eyebrows with this comment, but the beginning of the end for Pontiac was in 1963,. . . .
You certainly raised my eybrows. I think the best years ever for Pontiac started in 1963.

I personally owned two 1965 LeMans, a 1965 Tempest, a 1967 Le Mans, and a 1974 Catalina. They were some of the most stylish, low maintenance, and affordable cars I've ever owned. The '65-'67 GTOs, along with the '68-'70 Firebirds, are perhaps the epitome of "classic muscle cars." And even the non-muscle versions would move - the 326 V-8 was a great engine (for its time, and considering gas was 33 cents a gallon) I will admit to my Catalina being a gas hog, though - at 400 cubic inches, and with a 4-barrel carburetor, it used a gallon of gas just to back out of the garage.

Yes, they started to go downhill after the mid-70s. There was the 6000, the Fiero, the Aztek, and the absolutely blasphemous "return" of the GTO - an overpriced, underperforming, hideous looking piece of crap that should have never been graced with that sacred moniker.

Personally, I will miss the Pontiac brand.

.
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Old 05-05-2009, 12:31 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I agree that those were the good years, but selling the manufacturer's flagship sports car under anything other than its performance brand was a really dumb move.
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Old 05-05-2009, 12:55 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I see your point, MSD. Plus, the share of advertising GM devoted to Chevrolet as compared to Pontiac was ridiculously lopsided, too.

What I couldn't understand was the cross-branding of so many vehicles. Yes - we all know that the Camaro and Firebird were similar. But now it's even worse. I currently own a GMC Envoy. It was also sold as a Chevy Trailblazer, an Oldsmobile Bravada , and even as an Isuzu Ascender.

In fact, the only difference between most GMC products and Chevrolets is that a lot of optional equipment on the Chevy comes as standard on the GMC (similar to Ford and Mercury). Why spend all that effort and money on different makes of the identical model? Just for brand loyalty?
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Old 05-06-2009, 05:25 AM   #20 (permalink)
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They're under the misconception that people will see 4 different vehicles competing against whatever other choices there are. With advertising, also notice how many commercials recently have been for GM or OnStar rather than for actual vehicles.
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Old 05-06-2009, 01:59 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Yes - but in one of their more recent commercials (maybe two weeks ago?), they referred to themselves as GM / Pontiac / Buick. As if the decision had been made which brands would survive. Yes - they actually left out "Chevrolet."
That same day I saw the first, "We're not going anywhere" Saturn commercial. I guess they didn't get the memo.

And, of course, Cadillac has always separated themselves from their lowly GM cousins.
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Old 05-06-2009, 02:24 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by MSD View Post
I agree that those were the good years, but selling the manufacturer's flagship sports car under anything other than its performance brand was a really dumb move.
I don't think that was the dumb move. The Corvette is so iconic that it transcends the Chevrolet nameplate. It wouldn't have mattered if it was a Buick Corvette

The dumb move was following up with SuperSport versions of the rest of the Chevrolet lineup.

And then letting Buick build performance cars. As well as Oldsmobile, and GMC, and even Saturn.

The reality is that Pontiac was never the Excitement division. That clearly belonged to Chevrolet, and whatever excitement Pontiac had fizzled at the end of the muscle car era.

GM killed Pontiac's spirit long, long, long ago.
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Old 05-06-2009, 03:29 PM   #23 (permalink)
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. . . .It wouldn't have mattered if it was a Buick Corvette . . . .
It would make even more sense now if it was. Chevy priced the Corvette out of the young man's market years ago. The average age of new Corvette owners has risen so much in the past three decades, it might as well be a Buick!
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Old 05-06-2009, 04:25 PM   #24 (permalink)
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I think it's time for Smokey and the Bandit IV.
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Old 05-06-2009, 10:59 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Good. My dad bought a ' 96/97 Pontiac Grand AM because he thought Pontiac was the shit. Well he was wrong. That car gave us heaps of trouble. We don't drive that car anymore so it's just taking up space at our drive way. I'm glad to see it dead. They have way too many brands any how.
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Old 05-08-2009, 06:00 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Currently I drive a few year old G6, will I have trouble finding parts and/or repairs in a few years?
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Old 05-08-2009, 07:10 AM   #27 (permalink)
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No. GM isn't going out of business. You'll still get parts.
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Old 05-08-2009, 02:12 PM   #28 (permalink)
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The ride quality was crap, the materials were crap, the design was mediocre.
When did you even drive one of these ? There's been one in my driveway for almost 3 years yet I have no idea what you're talking about.

For under 30k you got a LS2 and 400HP, nowhere near as good looking a car as the vette but look at the prices here.

And again the retails for these BMW's and Audi's numerous people are comparing it too really don't help your points.

It wasn't about plush interior or amenities, it's about going really fucking fast in a straight line, just like the new camaro is, and they do this very well.

Oh and it doesn't sound like a Weedwacker.
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Old 05-21-2009, 04:16 PM   #29 (permalink)
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I have to say that some of the negative comments sent in Pontiac's direction on these posts are point blank WRONG. Point 1. Last model run GTO (BTW those who actually know the car know that it was brought over from AU for US model years 2004-06) The biggest draw back to the reintroduction of the GTO was the complete redesign of the Mustang. Shorty before the release of the "retro" styled Mustang, the GTO was released and a lot of people said they didn't like the styling because it was boring, plain, and just the same ole Pontiac. I owned an 04 GTO and I agreed to a point that it was the same ole Pontiac, but that is why I bought it. The new thing to do was to owe a throw back style car...It was too late for the GTO then. I still liked it. I have zero complaints about the quality of the car. I did not have issues with it at all. Holden makes good cars, period. The GTO is no Infiniti or Acura in terms of materials used and won't handle a road track like a Corvette, but neither were it's intended market. Point 2. G8 This car is an excellent choice for it's target market. While people compare it's performance and size to a 5 series BMW, you really can't compare the quality of the components used to a $50+k vehicle. I have driven the G8 on several occasions and nearly purchased one right before this announcement came out. If you have a Infiniti/Acura/BMW diet and look at a Pointiac/Chevy/Ford/Dodge THEY ALL LOOK LIKE CRAP (interior wise), but you can buy almost 2 of them!!! The G8 would have been a turning point for Pontiac, had it ran it's cycle. A good solid car, performance, quality, looks, and price. That is a debate that will never come to pass, unfortunately. Long live the the Chief!
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Old 05-21-2009, 06:30 PM   #30 (permalink)
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I have to say that some of the negative comments sent in Pontiac's direction on these posts are point blank WRONG. Point 1. Last model run GTO (BTW those who actually know the car know that it was brought over from AU for US model years 2004-06) The biggest draw back to the reintroduction of the GTO was the complete redesign of the Mustang. Shorty before the release of the "retro" styled Mustang, the GTO was released and a lot of people said they didn't like the styling because it was boring, plain, and just the same ole Pontiac. I owned an 04 GTO and I agreed to a point that it was the same ole Pontiac, but that is why I bought it.
Yeah. I suppose I'm in the minority, but I liked the fact that it looked like a Grand Prix / Grand Am. Sleeper car. Same reason I liked the Impala SS when they reintroduced it with a Caprice body. I like stealthy performance.

Quote:
Holden makes good cars, period.
Seconded. One of the saddest things about Pontiac dying is that we probably will not, at least for a good long time, see another Holden snuck over here disguised as an American car.

Quote:
If you have a Infiniti/Acura/BMW diet and look at a Pointiac/Chevy/Ford/Dodge THEY ALL LOOK LIKE CRAP (interior wise), but you can buy almost 2 of them!!!
But see, that's one of the problems. GM is famous for its acres of boring grey plastic on the interior. Which admittedly is better than the 80's and early to mid 90's when they were famous for acres of HOLY SHIT THAT'S RED interiors

Look at a Honda Civic. The interior looks like a damn luxury car compared to even a higher-end GM car. You can make good looking interiors without having to price them with the Acuras. GM just chose not to.


Quote:
The G8 would have been a turning point for Pontiac, had it ran it's cycle. A good solid car, performance, quality, looks, and price. That is a debate that will never come to pass, unfortunately. Long live the the Chief!
Saw one on the road today, actually. From the outside anyway, they got that car right. Looks very good. Much better than just about any (normal) (non-Corvette) GM has in the last 30 years.
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Old 05-25-2009, 11:00 PM   #31 (permalink)
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i will miss Trans Am and Firebird, but thats about it
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Old 05-26-2009, 12:57 AM   #32 (permalink)
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Well, compared to, say, an Acura, yeah, the suspension sucked. But as you said in a later post for an "American" car it was pretty damn impressive.





Well first off they changed it from this:



to this:



This was still on the early end of the "make everything look like a box that got attacked with a can opener" styling craze and they 1) hadn't gotten it right and 2) were still seen as ugly, especially by drivers of the 2nd gen MR2's like the first one I pictured.

Second, the insurance on a mid engined rear wheel drive convertible 2 seat sports car is freaking insane compared to the insurance on a 2+2 sports coupe.

And third, as I have sadly learned, parts for the MR2 tend to run the gamut from expensive to insane. For instance, the rear tires on a 2nd gen MR2 are used by two cars on the planet. The MR2, and the front wheels of the Countach. Guess how much I pay for rear tires every 15,000 miles.

It's a great car, but it's expensive to own, and unless you do some serious work to it, modern day sport sedans blow its doors off. An Acura TL (not even the speedy Type-S) is as fast as my MR2 turbo was stock, and I had to do a lot to the car to keep up with modern cars. There just isn't much room for the engine in the things, so it's very easy for the bigger cars to shove something powerful in there and run away from you.
Not to threadjack, but those are 2nd and 3rd gen MR2's.

The first MR2 looks very much like the Pontiac Fiero (my favorite affordable car and I have proudly owned 3).

I'll miss Pontiac. But perhaps Chevy will absorb some of their sports cars, like the Firebird (which they have the sister car Trans Am), the Grand Prix and Grand Am.

For me tho, the Fiero was truly the only Pontiac I'd truly ever own.
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Old 05-26-2009, 05:16 AM   #33 (permalink)
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Not to threadjack, but those are 2nd and 3rd gen MR2's.
I know. The question was why MR2 sales dropped off. Going from the 2nd gen to the 3rd gen was a factor, as was the fact that by the time the 3rd gen came out, everyone and his dog was drooling over the idea of getting the biggest vehicle they could find.


Quote:
The first MR2 looks very much like the Pontiac Fiero (my favorite affordable car and I have proudly owned 3).
I very nearly bought a Fiero once. Went with a Honda instead. The Fiero was the right idea with the wrong execution. Don't just turn a citation backwards and slap a wedge body on it. Make a ground-up mid engined RWD sports car and see what happens. By the time GM did that with the last Fiero, it was too late. The minivans and SUV's were already taking over.

Quote:
I'll miss Pontiac. But perhaps Chevy will absorb some of their sports cars, like the Firebird (which they have the sister car Trans Am), the Grand Prix and Grand Am.
The Trans Am is a Firebird. You're thinking Camaro. And the new Camaro will probably get a hopped up version that will blow a firebird away.
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