Pontiac was established in 1926 and discontinued in 2009. The brand was trendy in the USA and Latin America. Pontiac was an American automobile brand owned, manufactured, and commercialized by General Motors. It was introduced as an affordable option for General Motor’s (GM) higher-end Oakland automobiles. It overtook Oakland in popularity and dethroned its parent brand by 1933.

How the Company Got Started

Pontiac’s origins date back to the Oakland Motor Car, which was founded in 1907 in Pontiac, Michigan, by Edward Murphy, a horse-drawn carriage manufacturer. In 1909, Oakland became part of General Motors. Another former buggy company executive formed a partnership the previous year, William Durant. The first Pontiac model made its debut as part of the Oakland line in the 1920s. The car, which featured a six-cylinder engine, proved so popular that the Oakland name was dropped, and Pontiac became its own GM division by the early 1930s.

Pontiac was first known for making sedans; however, by the 1960s, it had gained popularity for its fast, sporty “muscle cars,” including the GTO, the Firebird, and the Trans Am. The GTO, developed by auto industry maverick John DeLorean, was named after a Ferarri coupe, the Gran Turismo Omologato. Pontiacs were starring in such movies as 1977’s “Smokey and the Bandit,” where actor Burt Reynolds drove a black Pontiac Trans Am. The 1980s hit TV show “Knight Rider” starred a Pontiac Trans Am as KITT, a talking car with artificial intelligence, alongside David Hasselhoff as crime fighter Michael Knight.

By the mid-1980s, Pontiac’s sales reached their peak. Experts believe GM hurt the Pontiac brand in the 1970s and 1980s by opting for a money-saving strategy requiring Pontiacs to share platforms with cars from other divisions. In 2008, GM, the world’s top-selling automaker since the early 1930s, lost the No. 1 position to Japan-based Toyota.

That same year, GM, with sales slumping amid a global recession, was forced to ask the federal government for a multi-billion-dollar loan to remain afloat. On April 27, 2009, as part of its reorganization plan, GM announced it would phase out the Pontiac brand by 2010. A little over a month later, on June 1, GM filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, becoming the fourth-largest bankruptcy in U.S. history.

The Logo

Pontiac Logo history

The brand and the city Pontiac’s logo was created and located were named after the Native American rebellion leader, Chief Pontiac. The brand’s visual identity was always based on his legacy. After the brand got its name, the first Pontiac logo was designed. The company used a red and blue shield in a gold frame with the “Oakland” wordmark for a few years, celebrating its location. It was very colorful and bright, but the next logo was a breakthrough for the company.

The Pontiac logo from 1926 featured a detailed profile of the Native American man, executed in white with a gold contour. The silhouette of the man was placed on a bright red shield. The nameplate was located above the picture and was implemented in a traditional typeface using white capital letters.

In the 1930s, the brand modified its visual identity and the image of the Native American. It becomes more stylized and modern, with bolder and broader lines.

There are two color palettes the brand switches between — scarlet red and silver. Silver is used for a car emblem when red is the leading company color for printed documents and advertising.

A completely different geometric logo was designed in 1956. The symbol, known as the “Dart,” contains an arrow pointing south. The arrowhead was red with a thin black frame and an elegant white star on top. In 2002, the logo became three-dimensional. The frame is thicker now and its color changed to silver. The last Pontiac logo was redesigned and featured an emblem’s modern style and a new wordmark. The symbol is balanced and glassy now. The wordmark in all capital letters is styled in a modern sans-serif font with open “P” and “A” letters.


Pontiac was General Motors’ “sporty” brand, commercialized slightly above the Chevrolet cars, to the side of the large Oldsmobile models, and below the hopeful Buick and luxury Cadillac brand. Established in 1926, the company produced many classics such as the Bonneville, GTO, and Firebird. But, as many American brands plunged into badge-engineering in the 1980s and 1990s, Pontiac fell low enough to produce a badge-engineered minivan.

Realizing the state Pontiac had fallen to, GM tried to give the brand back some of its charms by introducing some unique models. However, GM realized that Pontiac was not sporty enough to truly distance itself from the mainstream Chevrolet brand during the financial crisis, so the brand was discontinued in 2009.

Pontiac sales

Many Different Models


Avg Asking Price



Used: $4,349

New: $15,675

“The Pontiac G5 enters its second year with minimal changes. All models receive side curtain airbags and satellite radio as standard equipment, while the GT trim gets stability control and OnStar as standard.”

Used: $3,624

New $ 18,765

“The 2008 Pontiac G6 receives changes in terms of trim levels and features, including standard side airbags and antilock brakes on all trim levels. A GXP trim level is new, though it's essentially the same as last year's now-discontinued GTP trim.”

Used: $6,553

New: $26,910

“The 2008 Pontiac G8 is an all-new full-size sport sedan. It boasts available V8 power, rear-wheel drive, and dramatic styling.”

Used: $4,626

New: $22,210

“The Pontiac Grand Prix features a strong V8 engine, easy-to-use controls, big trunk, comfortable ride, solid handling, and balance.”

Used $19,995

New $22,455

“The Pontiac Solstice features sexy styling, excellent grip, blazing acceleration from GXP model, and attractive pricing.”

Used $4,683

New $23,520

“The Pontiac Torrent features flexible interior design, high crash test scores, powerful V6 engine in GXP trim.”

Used $4,618

New $17,500

“The Pontiac Vibe features a roomy backseat, comfortable ride, versatile cargo area, excellent fuel economy, and reliable Toyota powertrain.”

Used $3,313

New $63,900

“The '69 GTO was one Detroit great that did indeed live up to its press release. The Judge package was the exclamation point on a Division of a decade that exemplified power, instant gratification, and excess.”

Used $46,900

New $2,942

“You don't have to be a Pontiac fan to appreciate the '69 Firebird. The simple fact is that GM's final iteration of the first-gen F-body is among the most revered models.”

Most Popular Model

1973 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am 455 Super Duty is the most popular Pontiac model ever sold. Quickly, one of the most beloved sports cars in Pontiac and Firebird Trans Am history. The 455 Super Duty was manufactured with a powerful 7.5-iter V8 engine that reached a top speed of 155 mph.

Pontiac 1973 Firebird Trans Am

A 1973 Pontiac Trans Am is now a rare find as it was a low production year for this car. Only about 4,800 total models were made, and only 252 were Super Duty models.

Pontiac Muscle Cars

Here are just a few of the famous Pontiac Muscle Cars, which made a significant impact on the automotive market.

  • Pontiac Firebird 400 was one of the top Pontiac muscle cars on the market. It was manufactured and equipped with a 400 V8, rated at 320 Hp.
  • GTO Judge was beloved during its era was its design and performance, which could be accredited to its powerful engine of 366 HP and a four-speed transmission.
  • Catalina 2+2 was released in 1965 and was outfitted with the most famous and loved 421 V8 engine with a Tri-Power intake system.
  • The Pontiac Banshee was released in 1964 and featured a powerful engine, compact dimensions, and a lightweight body.
  • The Pontiac GTO came in two versions: one with a high performance 396 V8 engine that delivered 325 HP and the other with the infamous Tri-Power form that produced 348 HP.
  • The Catalina 421 was one of the big names in car racing. Its reputation in NASCAR still speaks for it today. Generally, Catalina was one of the most sought-after two-door muscle cars in its day.
  • The Bonneville was released in 1958 as a two-door muscle car with high performance. Featuring a 370 CID V8 engine that delivered 225 HP in its base form, the Tri-Power option appropriated a whopping 300 HP, while the line fuel-injected option produced 310 HP.

The Pontiac Legacy

Despite being discontinued in late 2009, the classic Pontiac brand still has thousands of fans worldwide. It isn’t hard to see why. The cars ooze style, Americana, soul, and unique designs that still influence some of today’s modern brands. The cars changed the automotive industry forever.

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