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Pontiac

The Pontiac Buggy Co was founded in Pontiac, Michigan in 1893 by Edward Murphy, who turned to car manufacture in 1907 as the Oakland Motor Car Co. Murphy died and Oakland was acquired in 1909 by General Motors. The first car badged as a Pontiac was in 1926, a downmarket version of the Oakland. Oakland disappeared, and Pontiac found its role, positioned between Chevrolet and Oldsmobile. In fact from 1932 Pontiacs were made by Chevrolet, sharing much componentry (and the same basic body from 1941). In 1933 a new straight eight engine was given to Pontiac, retained until 1954. 1935 saw the 'Silver Streak' style for the first time. Larger Pontiacs, such as the Streamliner, had the same basic body as smaller Oldsmobiles and Buicks. In 1955 the cars gained a new V8 engine, but sales were weak, so Semon E 'Bunkie' Knudson took over as General Manager. He was responsible for more exciting cars such as the Torpedo Deluxe 8 and the Chieftain Super Deluxe sedans and coupes. The most exciting departure was the befinned 1957 Pontiac Bonneville. In 1963 'wide-track' Pontiacs with their split grille took Pontiac to third best-selling US marque. The smaller Tempest and Le Mans were also popular. In 1964 Pontiac produced the first US muscle car, the GTO, thanks to John DeLorean's success in getting a mid-size Tempest with a full-size V8 engine past the GM hierarchy. It was followed in 1967 by the Firebird 'pony car' and by both the Firebird TransAm and the Grand prix coupe in 1969. Pontiac's contribution to the smaller-car response to the oil crisis was the Fiero coupe, launched in 1984, and recalled due to its habit of bursting into flames. Larger Pontiacs were mostly badge-engineered versions of other GM cars, though there were also the TransSport and Aztec mpvs. A new Firebird sharing the Holden-Vauxhall Monaro platform was not a great success, but in 2005 the Solstice returned to V8 power after three decades. rnPontiac launched the Vibe in 2006, but in 2010 GM axed the Pontiac brand.
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