Pontiac Grand Prix
Pontiac Le Mans
Pontiac Le Mans GT
Pontiac Timeline 1926-2010
1926: The Pontiac brand was introduced by General Motors.
1948: The Hydra-matic automatic transmission was introduced.
1950: The Catalina was introduced.
1952: Pontiac introduced the model Chieftain.
1956: Semon "Bunkie" Knudsen became general manager of Pontiac. E. M. Estes and John Z. De Lorean were heads of engineering.
1954: The Bonneville name first appeared in 1954 on a pair of bubble-topped GM Motorama concept cars called the Bonneville Special. It entered the production lineup as a high-performance, fuel-injected luxury convertible in the 1957 model year and was loaded with every conceivable option as standard equipment with the exception of optional air conditioning.
1959: Pontiac came out with its now famous "V" emblem, with the star design in the middle.
1961: The new Tempest, one of the three B-O-P (Buick-Olds-Pontiac) "compacts" was introduced, the others being the Buick Special and Skylark and Oldsmobile F-85 and Cutlass. And toward the end of the 1961 model year, a fancier version of the Tempest called "LeMans," a misspelling of the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans auto race in France. The Tempest's powerplant was a 194.5 ci inline-four-cylinder motor, derived from the right bank of the venerable Pontiac 389 V8. In 1961, Knudsen had moved to Chevrolet and Estes had taken over as general manager. Estes continued Knudsen's work of making Pontiac a performance-car brand until 1964, when DeLorean replaced Estes as general manager.
1962: The Grand Prix first appeared in the Pontiac line. Early models had full access to the Pontiac performance option list, including the factory-race Super Duty 421 power train installed in a handful of 1962 and 1963 cars.
1964: The Tempest and LeMans transaxle design was dropped and the cars were redesigned under GM's new A body platform. The most important of these was what is now considered by many to be the original muscle car, the GTO, short for "Gran Turismo Omologato". In spite of a GM unwritten edict against engines larger than 327 ci in intermediate cars, DeLorean (with support from Jim Wangers from Pontiac's ad agency), came up with the idea to offer the GTO as an dealer option package that included a 389 ci engine rated at 325 or 348horsepower. According to lore, by the time the GM brass had a chance to question the move, DeLorean had over 5,000 orders for GTOs in hand.
1966: Due to the popularity of the GTO option, it was discontinued as an option on the Tempest LeMans series to become the separate GTO series. 1966 saw the introduction of a completely new overhead camshaft 6-cylinder engine in the Tempest, and in an industry first, plastic grilles were used on several models.
1967: This was the first model year for the Pontiac Firebird pony car.
1968: The Endura 'rubber' front bumper on the GTO was introduced and the first of a series "Ram Air" engines, which featured the induction of cold air to the carburetor(s) for more power. This line culminated in the Ram Air IV and V round port cylinder headed engines.
1969: Pontiac moved the Grand Prix from the full-sized lineup into a G-body model of its own based on the A-body intermediate chassis. The GTOs and Firebirds received the Ram Air options, the GTO saw the addition of the "Judge" performance/appearance package, and the Firebird also got the "Trans Am" package.
1971: The car that formed the foundation of the Pontiac muscle car line, the Tempest, was dropped, after being renamed 'T-37' and 'GT-37'.
1973: Pontiac restyled its Grand Prix, mid-sized LeMans and compact Ventura models and introduced the all-new Grand Am as part of the LeMans line. Also in 1973, the new Super Duty 455 engine was introduced.
1975: Pontiac introduced the new sub-compact Astre, a version of the Chevrolet Vega.
1976: These models were the last of the traditional American large cars with large engines. The Sunbird joined the line as a more sporty option to the conservative Astre.
1977: Pontiac replaced the Ventura with the Phoenix. The Firebird continued to fly high on the success of the 'Smokey and the Bandit' film, still offering Formula and Trans Am packages, plus a Pontiac first- a turbocharged V-8, for the 1980 and 1981 model years.
1984: Next came the Fiero. A two-seat, mid-engined coupe.
1988: With the exception of the Firebird and Fiero, all Pontiacs switched to front-wheel drive platforms.
1990: Model year that launched the Pontiac's first minivan and light truck, the Trans Sport.
1995: The Sunbird was replaced with the (still J-body) Sunfire.
1996: The last year for the 6th generation Grand Prix.
1997: Led the way for an all new Grand Prix, which debuted with the Wide Track chassis making a return spearheaded by the "Wider is Better" advertising campaign.
1999: The model year that saw the replacement of the Trans Sport with the larger Montana minivan.
2000: This year marked the first redesign of the Bonneville, since 1992. The TransAm received the LS-1 motor which produced 305hp.
2002: Both the Firebird/Trans Am and Camaro were discontinued as a result of declining sales. The coupe version of the Grand Prix was also discontinued.
2003: It was announced that the Grand Prix would be in its last year of its generation, with an improved 7th generation on the way for 2004.
2004: The re-introduction of the Pontiac GTO (based on the Holden Monaro in Australia) took place, effectively replacing the spot left by the TransAm. The GTO was also initially powered by the LS-1 V8.
2005: This year was the demise of the V8 Bonneville, however, the Grand Prix introduced a new trim level, the GXP. The Grand Am was also discontinued in this year, and replaced with the new G6. The Sunfire was also discontinued this year, later on it was replaced with the G5.
2006: Marked the introduction of the Solstice roadster.
2007: Saw the introduction of the G5 coupe, which replaced the compact Sunfire.
2008: The introduction of the G8 sports sedan, based on the Holden Commodore, and built in Australia on the same assembly line. 2008 marks the end of the Grand Prix legacy.
2010: Pontiac will introduce the G3 hatchback, which is a rebadged Chevrolet Aveo. This was the end of an era for the Pontiac Division. It was discontinued in December 2010 as a division of GM.
Pontiac Grand Prix
Pontiac Le Mans
Pontiac Le Mans GT