Pontiac Catalina 2+2
In the mid-60s, the Pontiac GTO was on the forefront of the exciting new muscle car movement. And the GTO was stealing the headlines, but Pontiac also had the Catalina 2+2. The regular Catalina was a great looking, decent selling model. And in 2+2 form, it transformed into a true Gran Turismo with a luxury interior and fire-breathing engine.
Since the Catalina was a full-size model, it was eligible for engines over 400 CID, according to the GM rules of the time. This meant that the Catalina 2+2 came with the famous 421 V8. But, if you wanted, you could get the Tri-Power intake system. That system was the same as on the GTO, boosting the power to 376 HP.
1967 Pontiac GTO
The GTO was the undisputed king of the muscle car movement. But in 1967, this model received an important mechanical update, keeping it on the top. Design-wise, they changed little, but under the hood, it was significant.
The venerable 389 V8 with the Tri Power option was gone. Pontiac replaced it by the new 400 V8 which came with the famous Ram Air intake system. This change allowed the GTO to deliver even better performance numbers. Also, it opened the doors to more powerful and faster cars from Pontiac.
Pontiac Grand Prix GXP
Despite the name, most people didn’t consider the Pontiac Grand Prix to be a performance car. So, by the early 2000s, it was just an ordinary GM sedan. However, Pontiac presented the GXP package and suddenly, the front wheel drive Grand Prix was a hot performance car. The GXP package consisted of a 5.3-liter V8 with 303 HP going to the front axle.
Also, it got a revised suspension and gearbox. This transformed this family sedan into a highway missile. The GM engineers invested a lot of time to make this front wheel drive car handle like a European performance sedan. The GXP even had wider front wheels than the back to fight torque steering and improve road holding.
Pontiac Solstice GXP
Although the Solstice GXP Coupe sports car couldn’t save the company, it was one of the best Pontiacs they ever made. This is because it was a competent little car with great potential. Pontiac envisioned it as a little sports coupe to fight the Audi TT and BMW Z4.
But, the Solstice GXP Coupe was faster and nimbler than most of its rivals. With a 2.4-liter turbocharged engine and 260 HP on tap, the Solstice GXP Coupe delivered a vivid performance and competent handling. Unfortunately, not a lot people understand the value of this great model.
Pontiac Trans Sport
Back in the early ’90s, minivans were as popular as SUVs are today. And GM had several models for eager buyers. But one of the most interesting was the Pontiac Trans Sport they produced from 1989 to 1999.
The Trans Sport wowed car customers with its spacey styling and enormous interior space. Also, it came with some unusual features, like sliding rear doors. The basic technical layout was conventional, but the design really stole the show. However, the sales were good and people still remember the cool looking Pontiac minivan from the ’90s.
Pontiac El Catalina
In 1960, Pontiac wanted to expand their portfolio. They even thought of producing some sort of light delivery vehicle or truck. The closest thing GM had was the popular Chevrolet El Camino they based on a full-size Chevy car platform. So, the Pontiac R&D department took the El Camino and mounted its own 1960 Catalina body.
Then they chopped and reshaped with the El Camino rear glass and truck bed. They called the finished concept the El Catalina. And it was more beautiful and elegant than the El Camino. Interestingly, GM didn’t have anything against the project. But Pontiac decided it wasn’t worth the investment since the market was small and management didn’t want to gamble.
These are the 20 best, most important and memorable Pontiacs they ever made. Some are older than others, but they all share one thing: they changed automotive history. Which one would you drive if you had the chance? Many car fans would like to see some of the older models make a comeback. And who knows, maybe they will someday.