I watched con-man magician David Blaine do some stunt the other day involving a bunch of hot air balloons and an impressive O2 free rise to 20,000 ft that involved putting on a parachute in the air…anyway, I think that David is a remarkable showman/daredevil, but he’s got nothing on the disappearing rear glass of a vintage Poncho Safari wagon. Where’d it go? Did it go down into the tail gate that is now lowering into the bumper, or did it go up into the headliner…I am so confused. But what I’m NOT confused about is the incredible beast that is this next car. Find this 1973 Pontiac Catalina Safari offered for $11,500 in Antioch, CA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
The Pontiac G8 GXP isn’t the fastest car you can buy for the same amount of money, or even the fastest sedan you can buy with 400+ horsepower that’ll hit 60 mph in 4.5 seconds (similar to a 2005 BMW M5 for reference). There are all kinds of European super sedans that are just as fast, if not faster…but they’ll all drain your bank account faster than a 22 year old trophy wife with a Louis Vuitton habit. The G8 GXP however, is powered by an American 6.0 liter LS3 V8 that’ll make donuts till the cows come home AND it doesn’t have a fancy self leveling air bag suspension (cough cough AMG E63) or turbos that are harder to replace than Batman’s parents (ahem, RS6). What it does have is some ridiculous Pontiac styling and an interior sourced from the leftover plastic at the McDonalds beverage lid factory and power..sweet..raw…American…power, assembled by Aussies. Find this 2009 Pontiac G8 GXP offered for $19,500 in Hattiesburg, MS via craigslist. Tip from Ramjet.
This next car had me confused for a few minutes. The seller lists it as a Pontiac 2+2…and there was a model of Poncho called the 2+2 that was a full sized Catalina based big brother to the GTO…but this mid eighties thing has some interesting NASCAR aero looks…which reminded me of a car that we had called the Aerocoupe in the past…but Pontiac didn’t use the Aerocoupe name (that was used on the Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS version) on their version of the custom aero nose, bubble glass back, and fiberglass trucklid with spoiler…they inexplicably called it the Grand Prix 2+2. Find this 1986 Pontiac Grand Prix 2+2 offered for $14,000 in Dayton, OH via craigslist. Tip from Jeff.
The average man looks at the Zimmer Quicksilver the same way he’d approach a jar of Peaches and Cream Body Butter (TM)…disdain and a total lack of understanding. But not you and me, buddy. We understand. We’d love to flick this Fiero based beauty apex-to-apex through the twisty hills of Kentucky the same way we’d slather our bodies in Peaches and Cream Body Butter and run naked through forest as deer and chipmunk nibbled at our backside. Ah, that was a wonderful summer…and it wasn’t a dream, it was real…you were there and you were there…and we’ve got the scars to prove it. Find this 1986 Zimmer Quicksilver bidding for $2775 reserve-not-met with 4 days to go, located in San Diego, CA via eBay.
Redbird? What’s a Redbird? I know what a Firebird is, but I’m not familiar with this Redbird…at least that’s what went through my head when I got this next tip from Rock On! A quick internet search later and I was an expert on Pontiac’s Colorbird offerings from the malaise era…if I could believe anything from a site curated by a hitman or another optimized for Netscape Navigator. It appears that Pontiac sold special colored versions of their TranAm starting in ’77 with the blue Skybird, followed by the ’78-’79 Redbird and ending with the ’80 Yellowbird. Today’s feature is a Redbird, which was only available with a Roman Red exterior, red cast alloy wheels, and Muppet Bordello Red interior. The number of Elmos that were tickled to death to finish that interior sickens me. Find this 1978 Pontiac Firebird Redbird offered for $6500 in Everette, WA via craigslist.
In 2008 Pontiac released a special version that Pontiac called the T2 Championship Edition to commemorate their 2007 podium sweep in the T2 class in SCCA club racing. Total production of the T2 GXP is under 100 cars (some say 88, others 90), but it was only available for 2008, all were yellow with light grey stripping on hood and on trunk, T2 stripe/badge on sides of hood, and had T2 SCCA Champion stitching on the two-tone seats to replace the standard GXP script. If you are one of those straw hat wearing SCCA cone chasers, this is the car for you! Find this 2008 Pontiac Solstice GXP T2 SCCA Edition offered for $12,995 in Dallas, TX via craigslist. Tip from Brad.
A Pontiac dealer in 1977 must have been a very confusing place to visit. On the fancy side of the dealership you could get a full sized Bonneville, Safari, Grand Prix, and the recently downsized Catalina..which was now on par in size with a LeMans. One your way past the performance oriented Firebird you would find smaller cars like the Phoenix and the Ventura…but eventually you’d stumble upon a few unloved things in the corner including a subcompact Sunbird and the Astre. Where did all of these cars fit in the realm of GM’s Chevy, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, GMC, Buick, Cadillac brands?…I think you’d need a pivot table to properly understand it. But here is what you need to understand — this is a Vega powered by Pontiac’s iron duke 4-cylinder…which is the only reason it is still on the road because those alloy block engines in the Vega were dreadful. Find this 1977 Pontiac Astre Safari Wagon offered for $6,500 in Lucerne Valley, CA via eBay.
This next car might look like something that Jim Rockford would have chased down the bad guys (with a paint color change, of course) and done some serious J-turns or Bandit would have evaded Buford T. Justice across scores of county lines…but with the base (Buick sourced) 231ci V6 mated to a 3-speed auto, this car would have a hard time chasing down a kid on a bicycle, much less evading some baddy with a Pontiac LeMans or a full sized Ford. Despite that…I can appreciate that someone looking to get into the classic car hobby with an affordable and approachable classic could do much worse. Find this 1980 Pontiac Firebird Esprit bidding for $3600 no-reserve in Tempe, AZ with less than 1 day to go on BringATrailer.
I can’t help be feel a certain sense of sadness whenever I see a fifth generation (2004-2006) Pontiac GTO…or more accurately, a 3rd generation Holden Monaro. The GTO/Monaro was a product of the indiscriminate globalization we’ve experienced in the past few decades, but in a good way. It gave us in the USA a chance to experience some Australian goodness, some good old fashioned fun from the land down under…but it ended with the shuttering of the Elizabeth, South Australia plant in 2017 and the inevitable announcement that GM was killing the Holden brand after the 2021 model year. GM will continue to sell cars in Australia, but they will come from plants in Korea, Thailand, Canada, Germany, and the USA. It is a shame because the GTmOnaro was a better Camaro than the Camaro relaunched in 2010 and we only have our fickle buying habits to blame. Find this 2006 Pontiac GTO offered for $16,500 in Lafayette, LA via craigslist. Tip from RamJet.
I firmly believe that the 6 digit odometer, the prevalence of maintenance tracking apps like Carmax/Autocheck, and the rise of global internet auctions have somewhat turned car collecting into something akin to stamp collecting. There was a time when you judged a vehicle’s value based on a thorough inspection, a good test drive and your ability to tell if a car was junk…but these other tools (Carmax/Odo etc) have turned some of the car hobby into this armchair valuation game where 90s Miatas with 225 miles on the odometer are treated like they are something special. And this next car is a prime example, except I wouldn’t buy it without a good inspection and I wouldn’t assume the odo hadn’t flipped a few times, and I wouldn’t let it sit in my garage collecting dust while I waited to sell it for profit. Drive the dang things, that’s why they have wheels folks. Find this 1974 Pontiac Ventura Custom bidding for $12,000 with a few hours to go located in Fourmile, KY via eBay.