(Found In) Hoover/Foster (Oakland, California): 1969 Pontiac Bonneville 428 Convertible

IMG_4416The truth of the matter is that we can’t lead forever. As much as we crave the stability and consistency in life, time and competition makes sure that we never become stale. Pontiac found itself the leader of a new type of youthful, vibrant, and enthusiastic market of automobiles in the early 1960’s, far away from the gussied up Chevrolet with a Straight 8 that it was at the beginning of the 1950’s.

By the end of the 1960’s, success had started to spoil the sweetest of milk on the market. While all of Pontiac’s line-up in 1964 presented a sporting rakishness, just a mere 5 years later, like a number of American Brands, the Tin Indian tried to field itself in categories it was none too well adjusted to fit into.
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(Found In) Ralph Bunchie (Oakland, California): 1970 Pontiac Bonneville 455 Hardtop Coupe

img_4854For the full decade of the 1960’s, Pontiac had been on a miraculous winning streak. Hitting a stride walking into the decade, they found themselves the perpetual #3 brand, ousting long time 3rd favorite brand, Plymouth, from their customary slot with a blend of prestige, panache and performance.

The performance anxiety started to settle in during the late 60’s with pressures coming in all directions, as the stewarts of Pontiac’s swing to the near top of the industry left for better pastures or bigger paychecks. Where did that leave the Pontiac Bonneville in its 14th season as a perennial favorite chariot of the near-luxury field?

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(Found In) Cragmont (Berkeley, California): 1965 Pontiac GTO

image (31)In the middle Sixties fires shot among brands, the Pontiac GTO probably ranks a close second to one of the most potent bullets of the decade. Like the Ford Mustang, it satisfied a thirst for wild abandon behind smaller, sportier, more powerful machines from Detroit’s big three. The GTO maximized profits even further than the Mustang since it shared its humble body with other mid-sized Pontiacs, which, in reality, meant it shared quite a bit with offerings from Chevrolet, Oldsmobile and Buick as well.

Pontiac, holding court as the third most popular brand in America in the mid 60’s, saw that its latest crowned performance prince became the winner above all others when it came to the image of being the best jock on the road. For its sophomore season, it secured its ranks on the Varsity team of performance cars in the United States.

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(Found In) The Bayview (San Francisco, California): 1958 Pontiac Star Chief Catalina 2 Door Hardtop Coupe

23985721980_fc3af3262e_kToday we feature a little Black Lives Matters automotive history alongside the trajectory of the Pontiac Motor Division in the late 1950’s. Our subject car has a story too precious to pass up in terms of our collective history. It follows the intersection of race, class, consumerism and pride all wrapped up in chrome dreams from Baghdad By The Bay. 

With a photo a little out of format for our blog, we bring you one very special Pontiac Star Chief. Pride of multiple generations of San Franciscans both migrant and born, its a cherished family heirloom that moves along the streets nearly 60 years later.
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(Found In) Adams Point (Oakland, California): 1962 Pontiac Tempest Convertible Coupe

12306004_10153168671557201_719705256_n General Motors’s efforts at providing reduced sized motoring during the early 60’s delivered an engineering 1-2-3 punch. For 1960, ’61 and ’62, three different compact models from America’s premiere manufacturer took home the coveted Motor Trend Car of The Year award.

1961 belonged to the Pontiac Tempest. Where would Pontiac go for the encore season of 1962? Perhaps a little bit more sport, as par for the course in recent tradition in the scope of offerings from the “Tin Indian.” Have a coupe, have a convertible! All stripes of fun were in as the littlest Pontiac tried to offer the virtues of GM’s “excitement” brand in a more tidy, better handling package.

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(Found In) Portola District (San Francisco) – 1962 Pontiac Grand Prix 2 Door Hardtop Coupe

11301581_10152876411207201_154592208_nThe personal coupe/personal luxury market took many a year to mature into the market definition it would become in the early 1970’s. As strides were made by individual brands in the early 1960s, there was a question of which tactics would be the most successful.

The key elements to this style of automobile were the perfect ratio of luxury, performance, style and accessible price. The 1953 Studebaker Coupes pointed in the initial direction, as did the 1958 Thunderbird. The initial response from all other brands ran a full gamut of responses. Pontiac had a special way of dealing with the dilemma as well.
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(Found In) West Oakland – 1964 Pontiac Bonneville 2 Door Hardtop Coupe

image (26) Pontiac was decidedly sitting pretty in a number of ways by 1964. When it came to standard American Cars, Pontiac was setting the standard most aspired to. The stacked headlamps and voluptuous hips adoring the rear fenders would be features copied either in part or in whole by brands throughout the automotive spectrum starting in 1965.

In a rosy automotive market Pontiac found itself sitting pretty in the #3 Spot, having dispensed with Rambler and Plymouth and closing in on the three quarters of a million mark of Arrowhead Army members shuttling down American Interstates during the 1964 model year.

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