Pontiac is deader than its native American namesake, due primarily to building a lot of really mediocre cars. For today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe, we've got one of the mediocrest.
As we've seen this week, Pontiac, at one time, built a number of desirable cars. But companies don't go out of business making cars people want. Companies go under when the level of product crapitude exceeds the tolerance of the general car-buying public. To demonstrate Pontiac's downward slide, let's have a gander at some examples of the medium from which most people form their brand-image of a car maker- the TV ad:
We went from this in 1966:
Two hot chicks in an agile (pronounced aj-eyel) 4-speed GTO. Notice how her legs don't move when she shifts gears, now that's a good synchro!
To this in 1985:
No hot chicks, no manual transmissions, just Danny Douchebag AND HIS MOM. Geez, even the oedipal market didn't pan out for Pontiac. But that didn't stop them from years of making underpowered, cookie-cutter cars like the Sunbird.
The lineage of the GM H-body cars began with the justifiably maligned Chevrolet Vega which begat the Monza, which begat the Pontiac Astre, which begat the Pontiac Sunbird. Several body styles were offered on the 97.5 inch wheelbase, including the Ferrari 365 GTC/4- homage hatchback, a two-door wagon, and a notchback coupe.
Today's candidate hails from the next-to-last year for this generation of sunbird- 1979, and is the notchback bodystyle beloved by many an Applebee's patron. It's powered by the '79- only, 130hp 305cid Chevy V8, and has only put 35,000 miles under its faux wire wheel hubcapped tires. The seller also touts matching numbers as a selling point, but the number that comes most readily to mind with this red vinyl interior is #2, or possibly 666.
All this could be yours for a measly $5,000. That's less than next year's advertising budget for the brand! Five grand for an American rear-wheel drive V8 'Bird does sound attractive until you realize it's a Sun instead of a Fire. But still, they're not going to be making any more, so you might want to latch onto a nice one while you still can.
So, is $5,000 a Nice Price for a fine example of a Phoenix namesake that shall never rise again? Or should this Sunbird follow Chief Obwandiyag into the big hunting ground in the sky?
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