A-Z Of Marques No 57: Pontiac

The marque: Originally invented by General Motors in 1926 as a cheaper priced "running mate" for the Oakland line of cars, it survived its progenitor and lives still.

The history: The only badge created by General Motors (rather than acquired) to last for a long time. The first cars boasted a 3.6-litre six cylinder engine and the "Chief of the Sixes" tag has pretty much been Pontiac's appeal ever since. Notable cars include the 1935 Silver Streak, described as 'the most beautiful thing on wheels"; the 1941 Torpedo; the compact 1961 Tempest and, legendarily, the 1966 GTO. This muscle car offered a 6.5-litre or 7.5 litre V8, with about 125 mph for US$3,000 - a huge sales succcess. Smaller Firebirds and Trans Ams followed and the 1975 sub compact Astre. Now Pontiac is marketed as the younger, sportier GM brand and a new GTO is being made. Fans must hope it doesn't follow Buick and Oakland for that matter, into oblivion.

Defining model: 1966 GTO.

They say: "Driving excitement."

We say: For much longer?

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