The death of a muscle car legend

Jeremy Elwood, SBJ Reporter Fans of the GTO, the Firebird, the Bonneville, the Grand Am and “wide-track design” are mourning today.

CNN reports that General Motors, in an effort to avoid the big B – that’s bankruptcy – will announce on Monday that it’s killing off Pontiac, the brand largely credited with creating the American muscle-car industry with the 1964 introduction of the Tempest LeMans GTO.

According to inside sources, Pontiac was not cited as one of GM’s four core brands in its recent viability plan; those four were Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac.

And despite GM efforts to combine Pontiac dealerships with Buick and Cadillac – and despite the fact that Pontiac outsold both of those brands last year – the company has apparently decided that there’s no place in its lineup for the badge and its eight decades of history.

Now, I’m not old enough to remember much of Pontiac’s heyday – although some of my earliest memories are of the original Knight Rider, which featured a modified Trans Am Firebird. And I know that we need to conserve energy and use less oil, something Pontiacs weren’t always known for.

But there’s something about this brand … the sound of the engine, the speed around the corners, those fins … that represents the pinnacle of classic Americana.

It should make every true autophile a little nostalgic today, not to mention worried about which nameplate will be next.

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