Bidding Farewell to Pontiac

The GM muscle car brand officially closed on Sunday

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After 84 years of existence, General Motor's Pontiac brand has finally gone out of business. GM decided to pull the plug on the long-ailing automaker last year as a part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy exit strategy. On Sunday the closure was finalized as GM's agreements with Pontiac dealers expired. The company still holds a special place in the hearts of car buffs who fondly recall its "muscle car" glory days. Here's how Pontiac's being remembered across the Web:

  • From Good Times to Bad, writes Hugh Collins at Daily Finance:

In its lifetime, it produced iconic muscle cars like the GTO and starred in movies such as Smokey and the Bandit. In the final stages of its existence, the brand suffered from a lack of customer interest and its position within a troubled General Motors... For the younger generation, the Pontiac was a fusty relic, or worse the brand associated with much reviled Aztek small SUV.

There was a time in American life, before miles per gallon and efficient enforcement of speed limits, that people, okay, men, wanted cars that not only went fast, they looked fast. They looked like they could get pulled over standing still. You look at a classic GTO or Firebird and you can feel that, you can almost hear the V8 under the hood whispering to you... When muscle cars where king, Pontiac was at the top. That split grill just screamed power. Looking at them parked you could almost feel the road rise to meet you as you went faster and faster, the roar of a V8 making all conversation impossible.

  • Pioneered the Muscle Car, writes Nick Bunkley at The New York Times:

The G.M. brand that was advertised for “driving excitement,” Pontiac brought Americans the Bonneville, GTO, Firebird and other venerable nameplates. Sportier than a Chevrolet but less uppity than an Oldsmobile or Buick, the best Pontiacs, recognizable by their split grille and red arrowhead emblem in the middle, were stylish yet affordable cars with big, macho engines. Its biggest triumph was the GTO, developed by Mr. DeLorean, the brand’s rebellious chief engineer, in violation of a G.M. policy dictating the maximum size of a car’s engine. The GTO was a hit, and the age of the muscle car had begun.

  • Let's Not Forget the Aztec, writes the Ace of Spades blog: "One of the primary reasons this patient died on the table was producing a long series of mediocre vehicles so damn butt ugly, they looked like well...a Pontiac Aztek. Seriously, I'd rather be seen driving a clapped out smoke belching Trabant than be seen in an Aztek. At least the clapped out Trabant has a certain panache. That fugly car just looks wrong, almost like it was styled by some prop design reject who escaped from a $10,000 low budget Elbonian knockoff of RoboCop."

  • The Nail Is Finally in the Coffin, writes Jeff Glucker at Autoblog:

Pontiac has been dead for some time now, at least from a manufacturing point of view. The Vibe was the last vehicle to roll of a Pontiac assembly line, marking the end of new car production for the brand in August of 2009. However, the former automaker has been stuttering and mumbling to itself while lying in its death bed. After all, new cars still needed homes and buyers eventually ponied up dough for the keys to the ghostly souls of a marque that once built the king of muscle cars: the GTO. Now, though, the very last new Pontiacs have been sold and the brand is completely, officially, no-doubt-about-it dead.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.