So Long Old Friends
Oldsmobile departed in 2004 at the age of 107, and this thanksgiving, they’ll be 2 fewer loved ones around the holiday table with Pontiac and Mercury having also having passed this year. As with the loss of a distant relative, we're sad. We have vivid but fading memories of really great times together – but we haven’t seen much of the "real" Pontiac or Mercury in the last few decades since they moved into the rest home . Both had been chronically ill, and apparently had given up on their once powerful passion for fun . Perhaps their death was most humane after all.
Oldsmobile’s demise wasn’t through the lack of investment or effort. Under division manager John Rock, Olds did make a gallant attempt at resurgence with the competitive Intrigue and the passably decent Aurora. Ultimately though, GM decided the billions spent on Olds could be better spent on brands with a stronger prognosis and the brand was finally euthanized in 2004.
If only Pontiac and Mercury had tried as hard.
Pontiac did give us the Solstice, the 2004-06 GTO and the 2008-09 G8. All were strong performers- and in the case of the G8 - a critically acclaimed model. With the Solstice, poor reliability and the inherently thin market for 2 seat roadsters ultimately limited its sales potential. Both the GTO and G8 were bonafide E-ticket rides, with spectacular performance and value. However both were rebadged Australian Holdens with little actual Pontiac DNA. Don’t misunderstand us – we absolutely adore the GTO and the G8 (we own a 2009 G8 GT) but that GM’s once vaunted performance division had to go to the other side of the world to find its driving excitement illustrated just how far Pontiac had deteriorated since its heyday.
The story at Mercury was even sadder. With each passing year, the only remarkable thing about Mercury was that the brand actually still existed. Platform engineering of existing Ford offerings had often been the order of the day at Mercury since the 1960s. But with the 1967-73 Cougar – Mercury really showed its skill with fabulous styling, luxury, image and performance that was truly differentiated from the Mustang. Although not a market success, the 1971-73 Pantera was also a bold and innovative stroke. But from 1973 to present, absolutely nobody was ‘crazy bout a Mercury.’
But all the same, we will miss Olds, Poncho and Merc. You gave us a lot of good times, and we’ll always be grateful for that. In honor of their passing, a list of my favorites, in no particular order, from the history file. We hope you approve of our selections - and we're sure that we'll hear about it if you don't!
Gyrhead's Top 10 Oldsmobiles:
Gyrhead's Top 10 Pontiacs:
Gyrhead's Top 10 Mercurys:
If you’ve got a great story, top ten list or vehicle that you’d like to share, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
© Gyrhead & Sons Restoration Parts 2010. If you like it, share this articlewith your friends. We worked hard on it so please cite the source.