Pontiac Motor Cars
Recently, I asked my Facebook friends to name their favorite car. One of my high school classmates replied with a 1970 Pontiac LeMans Sport. I have close to 100 photographs of Pontiac Motor Cars in my portfolio, but none from 1970. The closest I could come was a 1969 Pontiac GTO, so I stole this image on line, isolating the car and backing it with our high school colors, Green and White. “Green and White will never give in!” Donna Kaye, this post’s for you.
Early Pontiac History
William C. Durant founded the General Motors Company in 1908, with Buick as its first marque. By 1920, GM built cars under the names Chevrolet, Oakland, Oldsmobile, Buick and Cadillac. Corporate strategy was to move customers from the low priced Chevrolet, step by step, ultimately putting a confirmed GM owner into the luxurious Cadillac. By the mid 1920s, it became apparent that the gaps were too large between the five makes, so GM instituted a companion make program. Four new marques came into being in 1926 and ’27. Only two survived the Depression. Cadillac’s companion, the LaSalle lasted until 1940. Oakland’s companion, the Pontiac, outdid its senior and in 1931, Oakland ceased to exist. Both Buick’s Marquette and Oldsmobile’s Viking died in 1930 and ’31 respectively.
Built to bridge the gap between Chevrolet and Oakland, Pontiac was little more than a Chevrolet with a 6 cylinder engine. Chevrolet at the time ran on 4 cylinders. Pontiac proved popular, and by 1931 had replaced its parent. The Depression years hit the automotive industry hard, and Pontiac itself was on the chopping block briefly. One Pontiac designer came up with a gimmick. All Pontiacs would have a silver streak running back from the enter of the radiator grill. This design would continue to appear on Pontiacs through 1956. Mac’s MotorCityGarage has a great article on the history of the Silver Streak.
My Personal History with Pontiac Motor Cars
Pontiac was not on my father’s radar. I remember him looking at both Chevrolets and Oldsmobiles. When we lived in El Cerrito, he even considered a Cadillac until his superiors told him in no uncertain terms that Methodist ministers did NOT drive Cadillacs. I cannot remember him ever looking at a Pontiac.
As for me, one of the first toys I actually remember receiving as a gift was a brown and white plastic Pontiac pickup with blue wheels. Yes, there was very little authentic about this toy, but I can see it clearly today, probably 65 years after someone gave it to me. No, I do not remember who gave it, but I know it did not come from my parents. I even wrote a song about that toy. And no, I won’t sing it to you, even though I remember the song, music and lyrics, in their entirety.
Pontiac did build various truck models, including a version of Chevrolet’s El Camino, the El Catalina as a concept. Officially, however, Pontiac ceased being a truck maker in 1928 when GMC absorbed all future Pontiac trucks. My brown and white Pontiac was definitely a 1950s model, even if it had no actual truck for a basis. The closest I have seen is a 1951 Sedan Delivery I found parked at the Hardware Store in Thompson Falls, Montana.
Growing up, I built a lot of AMT model cars. I started building them in 1960, as I recall, and continued into High School. AMT made plastic models of many leading car lines, but I tended to specialize. Most commonly, I built Fords and Mercurys, the marques my father drove. But the model cars I remember best were all Pontiacs, including a 1962 Tempest and a 1964 Bonneville convertible. I still have those in a box in the garage.
Driving a Real Live Pontiac
In yesterday’s post, I wrote about living on Faculty Circle on the Rocky Mountain College Campus in Billings, Montana. I mentioned our next door neighbors, the Turners, and their two sons, both much younger than I. The Turners drove a Pontiac station wagon. I clearly remember getting into the driver’s seat in that car, with the Turner kids in the car with me. I must have been seven years old. Somehow I released the parking brake, and the wagon started rolling backwards. It rolled into Faculty Circle, and was headed toward the ditch the separated the road from the green play area. How I stopped the car I don’t remember, but we did avert disaster. Not until I was learning to drive for real did I get into the driver’s seat again .
I hesitate to mention my most intimate experience with a Pontiac. GM introduced the Chevrolet Camaro and the Pontiac Firebird in 1967. They were the pony cars designed to compete with the Ford Mustang and Mercury Cougar. On a hitchhiking trip, I rode in a Firebird from Reno to Sacramento. Suffice it to say that the first time I ever had … was in that Firebird. I’ve had a soft spot in my heart for them ever since.
Clubs for Pontiac Motor Cars Owners and Friends
The Pontiac Registry states its goal as “to build the single largest source of Pontiac information, services, and entertainment in the world.” Similar in scope is the Pontiac-Oakland Club International which focuses on Pontiac, its parent Oakland, and GMC trucks. Both clubs list local groups, with The Pontiac Registry showing affiliated groups in forty-one states and seven foreign countries. With any collectable you would be well served joining one of these clubs. The members share a wealth of information and can give recommendations on pretty much everything you need to know.
For today’s guest site, I’m featuring the new blog put up by my fellow blogging class mate Stephanie who says she suffers from “Crafting Attention Deficit Disorder.” She admits that she made that diagnosis up. Check it out and let her know how you think she’s doing. This is a first attempt and I give her credit for jumping in to something new. She calls her blog The Lucy Bird.
Today’s Recipe of the Day is for Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja. If you’ve never heard of Ropa Vieja, it’s a Cuban dish, basically a Beef Stew. The name translates as “Old Clothes,” but don’t let that stop you. These days, having a recipe that you can throw in the slow cooker and forget until supper time seems like an appealing prospect to me.
In keeping with our theme, today’s video showcases a 1970 Pontiac LeMans Sport that Coyote Classics had/has? for sale. The video was posted March 2nd, 2020, so the car could still be available, if you’re interested. Check it out on Youtube.
And once again, we come to the end of the day. I didn’t post any new flower pictures. I think the three Pontiacs I did post are quite lovely and don’t need the competition. See you tomorrow!