• Apr 27, 2009


With Pontiac's death official, we decided it was only appropriate to take a look back to find the ten greatest vehicles that defined the brand's performance. As you will see and undoubtedly already know, there was a time when Pontiac really did build excitement.

First, some history: Pontiac was first launched in 1926 as a companion to the Oakland brand, which was purchased by General Motors way back in 1909. In 1949, Pontiac introduced a brand new model that was intended to usher in a new sporty flair to the automaker's stately line of automobiles. Though the new model was fairly successful, it was held back by the long-running straight-eight engine that had been used since the early 1930s. That was all about to change with the introduction of the first model on our Top 10 list. Want to know more? Read on.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 85 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'd add:

      1962 Catalina 421 SD
      1992 SLP Firehawk
      any year WS6 Firebird Formula.

      It's a shame that this once legendary brand has been reduced to it's current lineup, let alone sentenced to an undignified death.
      • 5 Years Ago
      So one of he best Pontiacs is a Holden?

      Oh yeah, Ausrialia makes better GMs than Detroit does. lol
        • 5 Years Ago
        I can admit when I goof. You're totally right... I completely misread your comment.

        Kneejerk reaction... too used to the anti-GM trolls that live here at Autoblog.

        That being said, I'm in partial agreement with you...

        Australia definitely makes better Pontiacs than Detroit does (lately, at least), though some of the other Detroit machinery is pretty bitchin' right now.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Who, exactly, do you think owns Holden?

        "lol"
        • 5 Years Ago
        Buddy, read what i wrote again. This time do it with your glasses.

        Btw, i have been watching Holden's racing team and Peter Brock's Holden dealer accomplish more for GM in European racing than any other US effort until the C5R.
      • 5 Years Ago
      In addition to the Solstice GXP, you need to make room for the 6th generation Grand Prix (1997–2003). You can drop the earlier GP.

      The 97-03 GP offered great looks, reasonable price and lets not forget the supercharger! GM dropped the ball when it spent considerable amounts of money on the replacement, but made it look like nothing more than a refresh.

      Had GM kept up the Grand Prix name (and the Grand Am), Pontiac would still stand for something.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I just hope the G8 stays alive in some form or another. Impala please
      • 5 Years Ago
      No Turbo TA? WTF is wrong with you people? Those cars had more potential than any Pontiac ever out of the box, and with only 1,555 of them they are exceedingly rare. Most of the list is ok, but a Pontiac 6000 and no TTA, you all are out of your minds.
      • 5 Years Ago
      455 SD yes!
      78 black and gold no.
      where is the turbo charged GTA of the 80s?
      catalina?

      perhaps they should have pulled it back a bit and made it top ten model lines instead of just specifics (firebird et al)
        • 5 Years Ago
        Was waiting for someone to mention the Catalina. The '65 2+2 is one of the best looking cars Detroit ever built.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Really, these are the top 10? I admit I am not the foremost expert on the history of Pontiac, but I cant really wax nostalgic for many of these models. There has to be a better list, no?

      GTO is the best Pontiac ever, and one of the most iconic cars ever.

      Fiero? Eh, probably not.

      Grand Prix - Other than the 1999 GTP I owned, I feel the rest are forgettable. I did like mine!

      Firebird - Not a great car but iconic for sure. Deserves to be on the list in some form.


      Thing is, I can think of far more crap or average Pontiac than I can great Pontiac.

      I am not sad in the slightest to see them go. The two good products they sell now can easily be translated into Chevy or Buick offerings should the market warrant it.
      • 5 Years Ago
      No Solstice GXP?

      No Turbo Trans-Am?

      2002 Trans-Am WS6?

      Comon guys...
      • 5 Years Ago
      :'(. 'nuff said.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I still say make them Chevys.

      Once the reduction in make and models is complete, then GM has to be strict with quality control.

      Make them the best that they can be.

      I knew line up for Chevy is needed now.

      Not sure about Buick? They sell great in China. Buick needs updating here and fewer makes and models.

      • 5 Years Ago
      My first new car was a Pontiac Grand Prix SJ. Silver/Black with a 1/4 Black roof.
      Boy did I love that car! Paid $5700.
      • 5 Years Ago
      You forgot the Solstice GXP! Your list is lacking without it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Dude: "You forgot the Solstice GXP! Your list is lacking without it."

        Dude's got a point there. The Solstice GXP and Sky Redline both offered GM's 2.0L direct-injected turbo 4-cylinder Ecotec engine, arguably one of the most advanced 4-cylinder engines ever offered by GM in a "mainstream" product (some would argue that Saab has been running turbo 4s for much longer, but not at 260hp when the Solstice GXP debuted).

        Further... whether or not you believe the Kappa architecture was a game-changer for Pontiac (& Saturn/Opel/Daewoo), the Solstice caused a lot of people who would have never looked at a Pontiac to finally take notice. If only the sales reflected this.
        • 5 Years Ago
        TBlueMax,
        Your'e right about the 2.0 DI Ecotec being a great engine, but Saab released a 2.3 4 with 260 HP for MY 2006 9-5s. The GXP debuted in 1/06, right? So Saab and the 2.0 Ecotec came out with 260 at about the same time. I think the 260HP 9-5 was on sale when the 260HP GXP was first shown. (The B235R 2.3 Saab engine makes full torque from an even lower 1900 RPM)

        I'm not sure, but wasn't Saab's turbo experience beneficial in producing the 2.0 Ecotec? (And why isn't that engine in the 9-3 range?) All told, the ecotec is a fantastic engine for what it is.

        For all the gems in the Pontiac history, there sure was a lot of fluff. Pontiac did bring to my attention the fact that big, bulbous plastic body cladding makes for "Driving excitement."

        ~P
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