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Chief Pontiac


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Hello there!

I'm an italian student and i'm collecting some informations about Pontiac.

I was wondering if there is any kind of connection between chief Pontiac and the values of Pontiac cars.

It's only a choice based on the place of birth? Or he actually represents something?

Thank you! 

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Ok, Thank you for the long answer!

In my head the indian chief represents strength or freedom, so i thought that his icon wasn't a casual choice.

I'd like to ask another question, if it is in topic. 

What does represent a Pontiac car? I mean the idea of driving and life that this brand represent

I hope i'm not asking too much!

thank you!

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The image of Pontiac has changed over the decades PinziPictures. When Pontiac was first created, it was part of the GM Companion Make Program that became in the mid-1920s and ended during the Depression. With the exception of Chevrolet (which was GM's entry level priced car division), every GM car division has a Companion Make to help the price voids between GM models. Oakland had Pontiac, Oldsmobile had Viking, Buick had Marquette, and Cadillac has LaSalle. So initially Pontiac was position (marketing and price wise) to be between Chevrolet and Oakland. It would be the next price point for a GM buyer who wanted to step up from Chevrolet but may not be able to afford an Oakland.

GM wisely used the Indian for the symbol for Pontiac for many of the points you mention. The first 1926 Pontiac had an Indian head on the thermostat. As the 1930s and 1940s, an Indian figure could be found on the hood, grille, steering wheel horn button, or hub caps.

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By the mid-1950s, Pontiac's reputation and image had become very stodgy. An old man's car if you will. So when Bunkie Knudsen took over as general manager of Pontiac, he immediately began to change the image by going racing and introducing performance. He began the famous "Widetrack" era, but this also lead to the end of the direct use of the Indian figure references. So when the last Chieftain and Star Chief cars were built, the last direct Indian symbols went with them. However, Pontiac did switch to its now famous arrowhead logo until it ended production in 2010.

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John DeLorean took over the Pontiac from Knudsen in the early 1960s. He continued Pontiac's racing and high performance activities until GM banned direct factory sponsorship in 1964. Then he took performance to the streets with the likes of the GTO and Firebird/Trans Am cars. So Pontiac went on to become a performance brand that everyone had to play catch up to.

Once unleaded fuel, federal emission standards, and the Arab Oil embargo hit the USA in the mid-1970s, performance cars were done away with by all major car companies, save Pontiac's Firebird Trans Am. It carried the performance mantle for Pontiac into the early 1980s.

In 1980s and 1990s, Pontiac lost its way within GM. Pontiac lost much of its own identity due to corporate reorganization, unimaginative styling, over use of plastic body cladding, and basically becoming re-badge/re-engineered Chevrolets and Buicks. In the 2000s, GM tried to change this by bring back the GTO using the Holden Monaro, developing the Solstice roadster and Pontiac G8. The vision was to make Pontiac a rear wheel drive competitor to BMW. Alas, GM's financial problems and bankruptcy didn't allow this business plan to succeed and thus Pontiac was sacrificed to allow GM to move forward.

One of Pontiac most successul marketing slogans was "We Drive Excitement" and "We Build Excitement". So in the end, Pontiac's were seen as high performance (and more expensive) version of their Chevrolet counterparts. It was just horribly mismanaged for nearly 25 years and it could not recover from it.

Does this answer your question?

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He's even more impressive in person. I'm hoping he'll get around to writing a book before his memory gets faulty and we loose that treasure trove of trivia.

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Pro - you are second person in as many months who have suggested that I take up writing the great American novel. I actually do have any idea for a book.

4 hours ago, stratman said:

You rock, Frosty!... most impressed! :bowdown::dancingpontiac::cheers::indian:

Thank you stratman.

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33 minutes ago, Frosty said:

Pro - you are second person in as many months who have suggested that I take up writing the great American novel. I actually do have any idea for a book.

I'd buy it!

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Ok... help me with my U.S. history, Frosty,  but wasn't there a famous chief that united a bunch of tribes from like Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky and damn near drove the stinkin' white man out of the area. He was maybe the only chief to unite so many tribes? I thought it was Pontiac. I learned a lot of Virginia history in school (*cough* the state with the most history *cough*), so my midwest history is a bit hazy.

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stratman - perhaps you are thinking of the Indian chief Tecumseh. He was a Shawnee indian. He was a year old when Pontiac died. He organized a large tribal confederacy that was largely in the midwest (which became known as Tecumseh's Confederacy) which opposed the United States during "Tecumseh's War" and he became an ally of Britain during the War of 1812.

Isn't Virginia the state that go so big for its britches that they had to split it into two? Into West, By God, Virginia and the Commonwealth of Virginia (I couldn't resist! Sorry stratman.)?

 

P.S. I will be spending this Friday night in Wytheville VA on my way to Hilton Head SC.

Edited by Frosty
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Tecumseh!... thanks Frosty! So... you weren't a history major per chance?

 

Visiting fabulous downtown Wytheville, eh? (that's With-vul, btw) I'm only 3 hours north on I-81! Have a safe trip Frosty.

 

As far as the whole VA vs WVA thing...

 

west_virginia_rectangle_decal_zpswgmasv9

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Nice.

This coming from the guy whose sense of direction is so keen that his indian name should be Chief Wearda Fekawi!  He hasn't figured out that by living in Quebec that he is still technically in Canuckistan, despite what the local provincials may think otherwise.

Edited by Frosty
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14 hours ago, stratman said:

Tecumseh!... thanks Frosty! So... you weren't a history major per chance?

 

Visiting fabulous downtown Wytheville, eh? (that's With-vul, btw) I'm only 3 hours north on I-81! Have a safe trip Frosty.

 

As far as the whole VA vs WVA thing...

 

west_virginia_rectangle_decal_zpswgmasv9

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Thanks for the safe trip wishes stratman. One of these days we will catch up with each other.

Edited by Frosty
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41 minutes ago, Frosty said:

Nice.

This coming from the guy whose sense of direction is so keen that his indian name should be Chief Wearda Fekawi!  He hasn't figured out that by living in Quebec that he is still technically in Canuckistan, dispute what the local provincials may think otherwise.

I'm using that!

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