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Most Unattractive Pontiac


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  • Founders

We've had many discussions throughout the years on what made Pontiac great. From looks to performance to awesome options... What about the opposite end of the spectrum though? What Pontiac model was "unattractive" to you? This can either be from an aesthetics, mechanic or any point of view, all I have to say is don't take the easy way out with saying the Aztec :P.

For me it was the Pontiac Montana. Never thought the Pontiac being the "Excitement" or "Performance" brand should have been in the mini-van game. While I am sure it was a great mini-van as we had a Chevy Venture when I was younger, it just seems like GM was forcing it and trying to make Pontiac useful in the wrong sense or went too crazy in it's "rebadging" scheme. Nothing to me says "Excitement" about a Montana (except maybe that V8 Montana I posted earlier this year). Looks really didn't bring much to the table being from the early 00's either.

What do you think? What was the most unattractive Pontiac?

 

Pontiac-Montana.jpg

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  • Founders
14 hours ago, beulahboi said:

I think the Trans Sport was WAY worse lol

eeek.jpg

Certainly valid in aesthetics. Think the same sentiment is valid overall for a mini-van in the Pontiac lineup though :)  

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I am not taking the easy way out, but I think a lot of people, certainly the automotive press, would jump all over the Pontiac Aztek. I've heard it's styling described as "an angry dumpster on wheels". I think that is a tad harsh, but to each their own I guess. However, the people that owned and drove the Aztek LOVED IT!!! My wife and mother-in-law included. So while it might have been a styling failure compared to it's sporty concept version, it was considered rather successful by its faithful owners. It was a very versatile vehicle, especially with the pull out rear drawer, and optional camping tent.

The original plastic body cladding of the late 90s did nothing for the Aztek. Removing all the body cladding was a good call by Bob Lutz back in the day.

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1999 Pontiac Aztek Concept Car. The concept was quite attractive and sport looking. What was delivered was not quite so much....

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Edited by Frosty
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I think a case can be made for the Pontiac G3 Wave. This is a classic case of badge engineering / me too marketing. The Pontiac G3 Wave is essentially a re-badged Chevy Aveo, a GM Daewoo-built sub-compact. 

 

image.png.631c923a61afd38c0d0845bb2ee18a51.png

It had a relatively low price tag, but its sister Chevy Aveo and the platform as a whole was beaten up pretty hard by Forbes and Consumer Reports as one of the worst sub-compacts. Forbes labeled the Aveo as one "Worst-Made Cars on the Road".  The Aveo and Aveo 5 placed 2nd and 3rd on Consumer Report's list of 'Worst in Fuel Economy' for subcompact cars. Consumer Reports even called it "Worst in overall safety'. In the end, no one in the Pontiac buying public really wanted one or understood why Pontiac was even selling them. except perhaps to meet CAFE rules.

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While not 100% on topic, I think the "body cladding era" did Pontiac a huge disservice. Some of the cladding was good, some was not. However, I think most would agree it went on far too long across the entire product line. It made Pontiacs look like "cheap plastic cars" to many buyers/would-be buyers.

Grand Am

image.thumb.png.a31c3865c93220b3942e8ea43eadf83b.png

 

Grand Prix

image.thumb.png.5ac5e9959a9f846a3e5b0787c384a4f4.png

 

Trans Sport

image.thumb.png.5dd3aa5c42ba85185835ea5a79f43df8.png

Late model Fiero

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3rd-Gen Firebirds/Trans Ams/Formulas

image.thumb.png.3a2885d6ade4b4d1a2faa81c62050ffb.png

 

Bonneville

image.thumb.png.b8a21755470f77373be2ec7f9d8da83a.png

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Let’s talk about the 1988-1993 Lemans made by Daewoo. GM put a highly revered Pontiac name on an import that ultimately was a recall nightmare for GM and Pontiac. It had no less than five recalls. It was not powerful or particularly good looking.

image.thumb.png.cc27d0a48be14c0614ed318052ba76bd.png

Edited by Frosty
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Not many of us remember the 1987-1991 Pontiac Tempest. It was a re-badged Chevy Corsica sold only in Canada, and just as ugly as the Corsica was since GM did little to make it a true Pontiac.

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Edited by Frosty
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  • Founders
6 hours ago, Frosty said:

While not 100% on topic, I think the "body cladding era" did Pontiac a huge disservice. Some of the cladding was good, some was not. However, I think most would agree it went on far too long across the entire product line. It made Pontiacs look like "cheap plastic cars" to many buyers/would-be buyers.

Grand Am

image.thumb.png.a31c3865c93220b3942e8ea43eadf83b.png

 

Grand Prix

image.thumb.png.5ac5e9959a9f846a3e5b0787c384a4f4.png

 

Trans Sport

image.thumb.png.5dd3aa5c42ba85185835ea5a79f43df8.png

Late model Fiero

image.png.3e9b1d0a161ecc4c1fec89e17cc6d98f.png

3rd-Gen Firebirds/Trans Ams/Formulas

image.thumb.png.3a2885d6ade4b4d1a2faa81c62050ffb.png

 

Bonneville

image.thumb.png.b8a21755470f77373be2ec7f9d8da83a.png

Think this suffered under the design dark ages of the 90s 😂

2 hours ago, Frosty said:

Let’s talk about the 1988-1993 Lemans made by Daewoo. GM put a highly revered Pontiac name on an import that ultimately was a recall nightmare for GM and Pontiac. It had no less than five recalls. It was not powerful or particularly good looking.

 

Completely forgot about this!

new girl ugh GIF

6 hours ago, Frosty said:

I think a case can be made for the Pontiac G3 Wave. This is a classic case of badge engineering / me too marketing. The Pontiac G3 Wave is essentially a re-badged Chevy Aveo, a GM Daewoo-built sub-compact. 

 

image.png.631c923a61afd38c0d0845bb2ee18a51.png

It had a relatively low price tag, but its sister Chevy Aveo and the platform as a whole was beaten up pretty hard by Forbes and Consumer Reports as one of the worst sub-compacts. Forbes labeled the Aveo as one "Worst-Made Cars on the Road".  The Aveo and Aveo 5 placed 2nd and 3rd on Consumer Report's list of 'Worst in Fuel Economy' for subcompact cars. Consumer Reports even called it "Worst in overall safety'. In the end, no one in the Pontiac buying public really wanted one or understood why Pontiac was even selling them. except perhaps to meet CAFE rules.

This made my shortlist. I didn’t put it as at least the end of the day it’s just a soul crushing car, not a soul crushing minvan that seats up to 7 :lol: . I kid! 

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Let's consider the Pontiac Firefly, again another Canadian only model, aka the Chevy/GEO Sprint and the Suzuki Swift. Another underwhelming sub-compact.

 

image.png.929a8f971d4d99ca3d67e6c71e67687d.png

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Now the Pontiac G4/Sunfire was another badge engineering exercise, like most of the rest. However, it was based on the rather successful Cobalt/HHR platform. The downside came with the less than exciting styling. While it had the Pontiac split grill, it did not look like a typical Pontiac of the day. Uninspired styling to say the least.

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This is my own personal gremlin. I owned a 1981 Pontiac Phoenix, the Pontiac version of the Chevy Citation. GM's first FWD X-body was notorious for it's brake problems along with the Pontiac inline 4, called the Iron Duke, which earned its nickname as the Iron Puke. This motor was the last motor built at the Pontiac engine plant in Pontiac too.

I purchased my '81 in 1985 after I totalled my 1984 Trans Am. This was my daily driver until my 1986 Trans Am was built and delivered in November 1985. My carpet was always wet. One day I found out why, the floorboards were completely  rusted though already! However this was a very roomy vehicle for a compact/mid-size.

i disliked this car so much I swore I’d never own or drive another FWD car again. While my wife owns a Traverse, my own daily drivers have all been based on RWD platforms ever since. Trans Ams, GMC Jimmys, S10 Blazers, Avalanche, Envoy, and now a Colorado. Heck even the kid’s Hummer H3 is RWD.

image.png.4ebfee3c551a9d9739b976dca7576093.png

Edited by Frosty
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The 79-81 front bumper on the beautiful Trans am and Firebirds was the most butt ugly thing I have ever seen. They went from the breath taking look of the 76-78 to making me puke at the site of the later bumpers. 

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I would agree with that sentiment but I eventually grew to accept the styling to some degree. I think what I find more egressis about these cars is Pontiac did away with the Pontiac 400 and Olds 403 engines (6.6 Liters) and gave us only the anemic Pontiac 301/301 Turbo or the Chevy 305 (California) in 1980 and 1981. A muscle car without the muscle.

The early 3rd-gens weren't much better performance wise until the Trans Am GTA came out with the Corvette 350 in it.

Edited by Frosty
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I hate to sound like I'm picking on the sub-compacts but I'm not really trying to, but they are so blatantly bad cases of badge engineering. Next case. the Pontiac G2 / Daewoo Matiz / Chevy Spark. To me this looks like a bug needing to be squashed.

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  • Founders
24 minutes ago, Frosty said:

I hate to sound like I'm picking on the sub-compacts but I'm not really trying to, but they are so blatantly bad cases of badge engineering. Next case. the Pontiac G2 / Daewoo Matiz / Chevy Spark. To me this looks like a bug needing to be squashed.

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Was this the one that was only sold in Mexico or something? Vaaaaguely remember it.

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1 hour ago, Ringo64 said:

Was this the one that was only sold in Mexico or something? Vaaaaguely remember it.

Yes it was Ringo. Mexico only - it was later replaced / called the Chevy Spark in Mexico too.

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1 hour ago, Frosty said:

Yes it was Ringo. Mexico only - it was later replaced / called the Chevy Spark in Mexico too.

That thing was ugly, glad it never came to the USA. Should be burned with fire.

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I know that I am not addressing the topic hardly but I had forgotten how ugly some of our Pontiac's were.. So many ugly ones to have so so many GREAT LOOKING ONES...

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  • 1 year later...

While you are bashing the plastic-clad Grand Ams of the 90s, just remember they were good looking and VERY popular in the US at the time.  I had a white 94 GT 4 DR that looked like it belonged to a storm trooper, but looked damn sporty for family car.  Then they bulked up on the resin in the late nineties and they never recovered.  

The Aztek just needed a lift and some flares over wider tires.  

@Ringo64 - The Sunfire was a Cavalier, before Cobalt and the G5.

I drive an 06 Montana.  Found this site looking for custom ideas.  It's nothing exciting, but compared to a Venture, well, AWESOME GRILL!  😕

As for my thoughts on ugliness, I second the nomination for the 80s LeMans above.  I remember that travesty and wish I didn't! 

Where do we list all of our other past Pontiacs?

Edited by OTP
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39 minutes ago, OTP said:

Where do we list all of our other past Pontiacs?

Howdy!

You can create your own topic to introduce yourself or detail anything you wish which would fall in the corresponding forum.

For example, this is our introduce yourself forum where you can introduce yourself to the community: https://foreverpontiac.com/forum/3-introduce-yourself/

43 minutes ago, OTP said:

@Ringo64 - The Sunfire was a Cavalier

Believe you meant Frosty ;) . I never mentioned the horrible decision of the Cavalier :lol: 

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