Mudcat Café message #2572684 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #118826   Message #2572684
Posted By: JohnInKansas
21-Feb-09 - 05:05 PM
Thread Name: BS: Bye, bye, Pontiac...
Subject: RE: BS: Bye, bye, Pontiac...
Pontiac has had a number of sporty models over the years that were a bit on the "special memories" side, but for many years now the main line of GM cars have been a close "family."

At least in the "family car" main line, in the 80s and 90s, you could get a Chevrolet at the bottom of the line and add the right options to turn it into, from the performance/convenience/comfort aspects of it all, into a Pontiac.

You could also get a Pontiac and add a few things and pretty much have an Oldsmobile.

Go a little further with the add-ons and it was a Buick, and at the top of the heap theoretically you had a Cadillac.

There were minor styling differences, but the functional parts that you could add or subtract were all the same, although some times with "model specific" part numbers. (The same actual part, just different numbers.)

The trick was to buy the one that had all the "standard parts" that were really useful to you, with the least number of "fluff and feathers" options that didn't really get you anything, so that you needed the fewest "extras" to get exactly what suited you.

Outside the "performance models" where Pontiac stood out to some extent, the Buick was the first line "above" a Chevy that added a significant amount of door and body insulation that you couldn't get as an option in the lower tier models, and an "optioned up" Chevy could be built to your spec that was just like the baseline Buick except for the extra door insulation that made the Buick doors slam with a nicer thunk. And the "optioned up" Chevy would end up very close to the same price as the baseline Buick.

Ignoring the styling differences, in the family sedan line that was the core of the family, neither Pontiac nor Oldsmobile really added much (that was really useful) that you couldn't get by pick-and-choose in the Chevy. Buick had a couple of useful things that were standard and couldn't be optioned in on the "lesser models," and Caddys had one or two more; so there were some small "decision points" in picking the one that was best for you. For the most part, with the same parts, they were very close to all being the same price.

From the bottom of the line you had to add (and pay for) options that were "standard equipment" in the higher tier lines, and you couldn't "back down" by taking out what came with the "more expensive" line (at least not easily).

Each line did have "side models" that were a bit different, and in some years the "performance" Pontiacs were fairly distinctive. IMO those are the ones that people may have wonderful (if inflated) memories about when the name fades away.