Over time, several brands have simply vanished. Almost nobody remembers names such as Eagle or Studebaker. However, it does not mean that thee forgotten carmakers have not produced some fantastic vehicles. Some discontinued brands have manufactured legends. Pontiac is one of those defined automakers.
Following the end of World War 2, Pontiac started producing low-priced and attractive cars, such as the ’48 Silver Streak Convertible Coupe. Even when the company was showing signs of dismay, it released some absolutely gorgeous muscle cars. When looking back at the Pontiac Trans Am WS6, it’s fair to say that Pontiac hit the nail right on the end and trumped the competition.
10 Bullseye: 1959 Pontiac Bonneville
It is often believed that the ’50s witnessed the birth of some of the most beautiful American cars ever made. Their figure elongated and large engines embody the mightiness of post-war America. Even the most underrated boats on wheels have attracted some oldies fans. The Bonneville sure is not a nobody. Despite being the poor man’s full-size car, the Bonneville aged beautifully.
There are several awesome Pontiacs you can buy dirt cheap today, and the ’59 Bonneville is not one of them. In concourse condition, the ’59 Bonneville can fetch up to $100,000. Even back when it was first released, the Bonneville was unlike most Pontiacs. As the ’59 Bonnevile was made to perform well on the track, it comes equipped with a humongous 389 cu in HP Tri-Power V8 that produces a cool 345 hp. The power is transferred to the back wheels thanks to a four-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission.
9 Nice Try: 1976 Pontiac Trans-Am
The year 1976 is known among American gearheads as a terrible year in the domestic car industry. Picture this: the Mustang was decreased in size and received the same engine found on the Ford Pinto. Even the Corvette ended up suffering from the impact of both the Clean Air Act and the Oil Crisis. The Trans-Am, like the rest of all these amazing muscle cars, ended up being ruined.
The Trans Am is lucky to have been designed by truly talented engineers. Aesthetically, the car is an absolute wonder. Mechanically, things started going sour in the mid-70s. The Malaise Era is best known among gearheads as the decline of the American Muscle. Though still looking sexy, the ’76 Pontiac Trans Am is sluggish compared to its predecessors. The best engine offered in ’76 was a 455 cu in Pontiac V8 that develops a meager 200 hp. That’s quite disappointing.
8th Bullseye: 1967 Pontiac GTO
The first generation GTO is a stunning muscle car. The impressive front end shows that Pontiac put a lot of effort in creating an instant classic. Though outshone by monsters such as the ’67 Shelby GT500 Super Snake or the ’67 Corvette L88, the GTO did not fail to mesmerize generations of classic car fans. The ’67 GTO is by definition the sort of car that should not be restomodded to extreme levels.
There are several reasons why the Pontiac GTO is the muscle car of the masses. Its base version was decent for what was available on the market at the time. However, the high-output version deserves all the attention. The 400 cu in RA engine pumps out 360 hp at 5,100 rpm and 438 lb-ft of torque at 3,600 rpm. This trim can easily fetch $50,000 at auction. When thinking about it, it is a bargain for a classic car with so much power.
7 Nice Try: 2004 Pontiac GTO
The fifth generation GTO received a did not receive a warm welcome. Unlike the GTOs released during the late ’60s and early ’70s, the last GTO simply was not appealing. It is often said that Bentleys are just a fast bar of soap, and while the GTO is far from as luxurious as a Bentley, it sure could have inherited a very similar reputation.
When Pontiac released the last GTO, it focused essentially on the performance of the car. The 346 cu in V8 produces 350 hp at 5,200 rpm and 365 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. When modified, the 2004 Pontiac GTO can produce more power than the latest Shelby GT500. However, the Pontiac looks bland. Nothing about the car’s physique is attractive. Consequently, the car failed to conquer the hearts of most gearheads.
6 Bullseye: 1969 Pontiac GTO The Judge
During the late ’60s, American carmakers manufactured some truly mean machines. The base versions may not have been the most powerful, but the top of the line models were often true beasts. Pontiac had its own very peculiar toy in its lineup back in ’69. Until today, the car rhymes with rebelliousness and adventure.
Released in 1969, the judge was an attempt from Pontiac to attract a younger crowd. Pontiac wanted to add a more rebellious and adventurous touch to its very serious GTO. The judge received several distinctive additional parts, including a bunch of decals and a spoiler. Performance-wise, the judge rocks a Ram Air IV V8 factory rated at 370 hp. That is an insane amount of power for an inexperienced driver, especially knowing that the judge produces far more than 370 hp.
5 Nice Try: 1985 Pontiac Fiero
The ’80s were a weird decade. American carmakers were simply incapable of coping with the increasingly stringent regulations. Dodge decided to turn the Almighty Challenger into a fuel-efficient, badge-engineered garbage can on wheels. Others came up with entirely new vehicles that were equally repulsive and boring as the Mitsubishi turned Challenger.
Admired by some, hated by most, the Fiero is a far cry from the almighty Trans Am and GTO. Unlike these iconic Pontiacs, the Fiero comes with a 2.8L V6 that produces a little less than 150 hp. Though the car is minuscule, it still does not change the fact that the Fiero is more like a Japanese compact car than an all-American muscle car.
4 Bullseye: 1970 Pontiac Trans-Am
1970 was a great year for the domestic automotive industry. Dodge releases its legendary Challenger with the 426 Hemi. The same year, Mercury produced the last year of the first generation Cougar Eliminator. Pontiac was not going to remain in its corner. It once again turned to the Firebird Trans Am, but made sure to release limited editions that would one day be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The first generation Trans Am was simply gorgeous. However, the second generation looks even better. Despite its resemblance with the Camaro of the same era, the Trans Am is not as played out as its more popular cousin. In ’70, the Ram Air IV was made available on the Trans Am. The power plant is a 400 cu in V8 factory rated at 375 hp. Needless to say, Trans Am equipped with the Ram Air IV engine can often cost a hefty sum.
3 Nice Try: 2002 Pontiac Aztek
There always comes a time in a gearhead’s life when the big-block V8 equipped rubber burning machine must be traded in for something more family-friendly. Though cars such as the Durango Hellcat have the best of both worlds, they are not accessible to everyone. Pontiac quickly realized that, and decided to create a vehicle that would please most high school physics teacher.
The reason why the ugly Pontiac Aztek is becoming cool is quite simple: it was Walter White’s car in the captivating TV show Breaking Bad. Struck with cancer, the main character is an underpaid physics teacher that naturally drives a lemon. Production moved ahead with the Pontiac Aztek. The Aztek is both painfully ugly and atrociously slow. When modified, the Aztek still looks like a lemon, only with expensive aftermarket parts.
2 Bullseye: 2001 Pontiac Trans-Am WS6
To most people, Pontiac died in the late ’70s. While the Trans Am was nowhere as impressive as before, it was still a bestseller in ’79. Following that era, most Trans Am were simply disappointing. This is however far from being entirely true. The last Trans Am WS6 is the muscle car that should have revived the entire muscle car scene back in the early 2000s.
There are several things everyone forgot about the Pontiac Trans-Am. Most gearheads are unaware that the WS6 package did not start with the last generation Trans Am. However, the 2001 Pontiac Trans Am is far from being the slug the original WS6 was. Underneath the hood sits a 5.7L LS1 V8 that makes 325 hp at 5,000 rpm and 350 lb-ft of torque at 4,200 rpm. Power is sent to the wheels thanks to a six-speed Tremec T56 manual transmission.
1 Nice Try: 2010 Pontiac G6 GT
It is quite easy to see when a car manufacturer is going through a rough patch. Porsche, for example, banked on the Boxster to revive the company. Despite being a lousy two-seater, the Boxster sold quite well. Pontiac, wanting to maintain its image as the affordable subsidiary of General Motors, released a couple of dubious vehicles before being putting out misery.
The Pontiac G6 GT is a pure subscription. The four-door mid-size sedan is as attractive as an old avocado. The car seemed to have been designed by a five-year-old after having ingested an indecent amount of sugar. The car’s performances are as exciting as its physique. The 3.5L V6 produces only 219 hp at 5,800 rpm and 220 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. No wonder most people have forgotten about the G6.