“The Great One” was Pontiac’s answer to a youth market with attitude and disposable cash. Detroit exploited a generation’s rebellion by creating cars with machismo to burn. In 1964, John DeLorean, Pontiac’s chief engineer, shoehorned the division’s biggest V8 into the timid little Tempest compact with electrifying results.
In The Seventies, for the first time in American history, the government intervened in the auto industry. With the 1973 oil crisis, the Big Three were ordered to tighten their belts. Automotive design came to a halt, and the big-block Trans Am became the last of the really fast cars. The muscular Firebird had been … [Read more…]
The Pontiac Fiero was typical of John DeLorean. American manufacturers had watched for over a decade as Europeans like Fiat, Ferrari and Lamborghini had produced exotic, mid-engined sports cars. DeLorean was the first to believe that America could match that success, and do it more cheaply. The Pontiac Fiero (the name means ‘proud’) was the … [Read more…]
When John DeLorean, Pontiac’s chief engineer in the 1960s, named the first Pontiac GTO after the Ferrari 250 GTO, it was considered almost sacrilegious. The letters stand for Gran Turismo Omologato, that is, homologated (accredited) for GT racing. General Motors had banned advertising that associated their marques with racing, a keystone of Pontiac’s strategy.
Many American model lines involve confusing nomenclature — especially when names continue for decades — and so it is with the 1960s Pontiac Grand Prix, which made its debut in 1962 and has been around ever since. But first series cars belong squarely to the Swinging Sixties, as the second series (from 1969) dropped the … [Read more…]