...to shed a tear over Pontiac, now that People's Automobile Manufacturing Collective #1 has decreed that their "Excitement (& fake hood scoop & plastic cladding) Division" is going to go the way of Studebaker. It's a shame, because the Solstice and the G8 are the only interesting things coming out of ZIL these days. Allegedly they will be kept alive, presumably as Chevies.
I've only owned three Pontiacs: a ratty '70 GTO, a V6 Fiero, and an '84 Trans Am in black and gold with every option except David Hasselhoff and a wheezy five-liter carburetted smog motor that wouldn't pull a greased string out of a cat's ass. The GTO was, well, a GTO; you felt cool just driving it. I enjoyed the Trans Am for what it was, too; a good-looking, good-handling boulevardier from the dark ages of Detroit performance, when we were still wandering the emissions wilderness out of which the microchip-controlled fuel injector hadn't yet led us.
The Fiero, though... There was a car that embodied everything wrong with GM in microcosm. The idea was to produce a sporty-looking commuter runabout with as many off-the-shelf components as possible. Of course, Pontiac being Pontiac and advertisers being advertisers the world thought they were getting a sports car, rather than a lardy, plastic-over-steel two seater with no luggage space, undermotivated by an anemic pushrod four cylinder device that could only be called an engine because it was bolted to the input end of the transmission.
Handling was mediocre, performance was dull, fuel economy was average at best, plus it had all the luggage and passenger space shortcomings of a two-seat mid-engine sports car with none of the "sports". Lethargic performance combined with typical new-model recalls and rumors of spontaneous combustion in the engine room, and the car never really took off. Pontiac engineers added a V6 version, redesigned the suspension, offered a Getrag 5-speed manual option... the 1988 GT version of the Fiero was a capable little sports car, but by then nobody was paying attention. The car sank without a ripple. Now the whole division is about to do likewise.
Hey, if that's what it takes to get rid of the people who designed the Aztek...