Home Page About Us Contribute

Escort, Inc.

Tweets by @CrittendenAuto

By accessing/using The Crittenden Automotive Library/CarsAndRacingStuff.com, you signify your agreement with the Terms of Use on our Legal Information page. Our Privacy Policy is also available there.

"Second Tier" Pontiacs

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Opinions expressed by Bill Crittenden are not official policies or positions of The Crittenden Automotive Library. You can read more about the Library's goals, mission, policies, and operations on the About Us page.

"Second Tier" Pontiacs

Bill Crittenden
August 30, 2014

The discussion today in Pontiac Cars & Tech (a Facebook group) was about "second tier" Pontiacs. Scott Cook started a heckuva discussion with:

What is it like owning a Pontiac that's not a GTO, or a Firebird, or a TA, or a early 60 luxury liner Bonneville convertible? So that leaves us GP owners, Tempest, Lemans, Catalina, ETC all playing second fiddle. We are the 2nd tier of Pontiacs that have every reason to have 100% the pride as the more popular models. In 1969 72,287 GTO's were sold compared with 112,000 Grand Prix's. Hummm. To be clear I love all the older Pontiacs and frankly quick look at the 27 GTO's in a row and focus on the guy out there with his 1961 Tempest. I had a 67 Goat but a guy with more money then sense pried it from my hands and I fake squealed all the way to the bank! I guess what I am saying here is Pontiac is a love affair and its not limited to just the few models. Bravo to all that bring back these beauties and a special bravo to those who put their money, heart and soul into the 2nd tier cars that they could never sell for what they put into them, now this is true love! One of the things I love best about my 69 GP is I can push a switch on my drivers door to take down the power window so I can say hello to those the big 428 is passing, PRICELESS! Pontiacs forever! All due respect intended.

As I always say, there's a reason people keep around the best and highest performing cars, in this case the GTO and the Firebird. But then that also makes them common at car shows.

Hey, if your dream is a 1969 GTO Judge in orange, go for it. To each their own. But when I go to a show, I really appreciate the oddballs. The cars that are rare now because nobody else wanted to keep them.

So many 6-cylinder cars from the muscle era have been turned into "clones" with the big engines and badging of the highest performing car lines. But for those who aren't as familiar with the brand, in the 1960's Pontiac produced a 6-cylinder overhead cam engine and badged all of the cars it came in as "Sprint." In two years of covering the Indian Uprising show in St. Charles, attracting over 400 and 300 cars, I've seen just TWO Sprints: one each year.

As the rarity of the budget models has increased over time, they got quite a bit of attention from certain aficionados of the group. As did a very rare (especially in this country) Beaumont SS396.

The announcer even attracted a crowd over to a little Pontiac G3. The G3 was a classic Pontiac owner's daily driver and was taking the classic's spot in the prepaid, for charity event when the older car ran into some mechanical trouble. Less than 1,000 G3's made it to these shores in between the announcement of production (just a rebadged Chevrolet Aveo) and the demise of the marque. It was the last new Pontiac model ever.

"Second tier" may be a term for collectible value or popularity, but it certainly doesn't describe the love their owners feel for these cars. Owning one is often a labor of love that involves a lot of internet and swap meet hunting...you can't just call up Year One for a lot of odds and ends like you can for a '69 Firebird.

Parts, repair information, and accessories are all harder to find, for a vehicle that won't get nearly as much attention from the casual car watchers among the public and won't ever return financially what's been invested into it.

But thanks to them, car shows consist of so much more than Mustangs and Camaros, and Pontiac classes more than GTO's and Firebirds. Even among the GTO group, the odd and rare '73 and '74 models definitely fall into the "second tier" category and the owners are among the nicest guys at the shows.

The Fiero, the Grand Prix, anything made before 1964, modern FWD full size Pontiacs (Grand Prix/Bonneville), the last muscle cars (2004-2006 GTO & the G8), the Le Mans, and so many more that I could write a book on why they are all interesting and worth keeping around. The owners of these "second tier" Pontiacs are first tier in my book.

Connect with The Crittenden Automotive Library

The Crittenden Automotive Library at Google+ The Crittenden Automotive Library on Facebook The Crittenden Automotive Library on Instagram The Crittenden Automotive Library at The Internet Archive The Crittenden Automotive Library on Pinterest The Crittenden Automotive Library on Twitter The Crittenden Automotive Library on Tumblr  

The Crittenden Automotive Library

Home Page    About Us    Contribute