It’s hard to believe GM killed off Pontiac 8 years ago. The last Pontiac to roll off the assembly line was a normal G6 needed to fill a fleet order. No special ceremony, no major announcement, just gone. You would think GM would have put more effort into a proper farewell to the maker of cars like the Trans Am, GTO, G8, the crazy Fiero and ugly but daring Aztek. We think of Pontiac as a strong brand that was gobbled up by the Great Recession that started in 2008, but that’s not exactly the case.
The guys at Donut Media put together a video on the history of Pontiac, and it includes how NASCAR saved the brand from meeting its maker back in the 1950s. People were starting to think only older folks drove Pontiacs, and that killed sales. To revitalize the brand, Pontiac decided to get involved in NASCAR with legendary racer Henry “Smokey” Yunick behind the wheel. The brand’s success with professional racing ultimately led to the GTO sparking off the original muscle car era and a massive increase in sales. So basically, NASCAR helped save Pontiac and create the greatest era in automotive history. Thanks, NASCAR!