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Pontiac - Pathfinder series

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About Pontiac

Pontiac is a marque of automobile produced by General Motors and sold in the United States, Canada and Mexico from 1926 to the present. In the GM brand lineup, Pontiac is a mid-level brand featuring a sportier, high-performance driving experience for a reasonable price, and its advertisements appeal to younger customers.

History

Pre-war years: 1926-1942

The Pontiac brand was introduced by General Motors in 1926 as the 'companion' marque to GM's Oakland Motor Car line. The Pontiac name was first used in 1906 by the Pontiac Spring & Wagon Works and linked to Chief Pontiac who led an unsuccessful uprising against the British shortly after the French and Indian War. The Oakland Motor Company and Pontiac Spring & Wagon Works Company merged in November 1908 under the name of the Oakland Motor Car Company. The operations of both companies were joined together in Pontiac, Michigan (in Oakland County) to build the Cartercar. Oakland was purchased by General Motors in 1909. The first General Motors Pontiac was conceived as an affordable six cylinder that was intended to compete with more inexpensive four cylinder models. Within months of its introduction, Pontiac outsold Oakland. As Pontiac's sales rose and Oakland's sales began to decline, Pontiac became the only 'companion' marque to survive its 'parent', in 1932.

Pontiac began selling cars with straight 6-cylinder engines. In 1933, it moved up to producing the cheapest cars with straight 8-cylinder engines. This was done by using many components from the 6-cylinder Chevrolet, such as the body. In the late 1930s, Pontiac used the so-called 'torpedo' body of the Buick for one of its models just prior to its being used by Chevrolet as well. This body brought some attention to the marque.

For an extended period of time, prewar through the early 1950s, the Pontiac was a quiet and solid car, but not especially powerful. A flathead (side-valve) straight eight offered both the quietest and smoothest possible operation, with an appropriately soft suspension and quiet muffler offering the feeling of luxury without the expense. These combinations proved attractive to the vehicle's target market - a reserved lower middle class that was not especially interested in performance or handling and was seeking good value and a roomy vehicle in a step up from the entry-level Chevrolet. This fit well within parent GM's strategy of passing an increasingly prosperous customer up through the various divisions. Straight 8's are slightly less expensive to produce than the V8's that were growing in popularity, but they were also heavier and longer than a V8. Also, the long crankshaft suffered from excessive flex, which restricted straight 8's to relatively low compression and modest RPM's. In this application the inexpensive (but poorly-breathing) flat-head valves were not a liability.

Dowdy to Fun: 1946-1954

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4-door
5-seat
S6 12v 4.3L OHV M-3
110.4 kW / 148.0 hp / 148.0 hp  312.0 N·m / 230.1 lb·ft / 230.1 lb·ft
   

Pontiac Pathfinder (1957)

4-door 5-seater sedan (saloon), petrol (gasoline) 6-cylinder 12-valve straight (inline) engine, OHV (overhead valve, I-head), 4276 cm3 / 260.9 cu in / 260.9 cu in, 110.4 kW / 148.0 hp / 148.0 hp @ 3800 rpm / 3800 rpm / 3800 rpm, 312.0 N·m / 230.1 lb·ft / 230.1 lb·ft @ 2000 rpm / 2000 rpm / 2000 rpm, manual 3-speed transmission, rear wheel drive

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