Suspect I’m sadder than most at the demise of Pontiac, given that I can clearly remember what earth-shattering cars the 383 cubic inch (6.3-litre) Pontiac GTO and its ilk were the height of the American muscle car era, and I can still quote you lines from Car & Driver’s GTO road test.
C&D famously pitted a Pontiac against a Ferrari GTO and said the Yank won, mainly on grounds of tyre-shredding acceleration and a low price, but it was obviously a bit of poetic licence. Still, I’ve wanted to drive (and in my dreams, own) a late ’60s GTO ever since.
However, Pontiac’s collapse, as I read it, was largely GM’s own fault. I firmly believe that car marques must be guided by their history, so when Pontiac turned to stuff like the Fiero (a US-eye view of the Fiat X1/9), then to minivans, then to God-awful nails like the Aztec. That last one was supposed to attract young buyers, though its north-end-of-a-southbound-camel styling ensured that most of the cars made stood in compounds for a lengthy period, with grass growing through their wheels.
If Pontiac had kept making sporty American mainstream cars, more or less the way Dodge has, it might have remained a worthy brand. In the circumstances, I’m pretty sure killing it is the right decision.