The Pontiac car company draws its name from the town of Pontiac, Michigan, where Edward M. Murphy first established the Pontiac Buggy Company in 1893, which specialized in making horse-drawn carriages. Several years later, in 1907, when Murphy realized the future was in motor driven vehicles, he turned the buggy company into the Oakland Motor Car Company.
This company was bought by General Motors in 1909 after the timely death of its founder. The first Pontiac car was the Five Passenger Coach in 1926, introduced to the public at the new York Auto Show. It was a six-cylinder engine meant to be powerful enough to outrun the 4-cylinder cars on the road at the time, but still be cheaper than most models.
The success of this first model which sold in record numbers spawned the next six-cylinder car, the Pontiac Big Six in 1929, so named because of the increased displacement and horsepower. At first Pontiac cars were marketed by GM as a low-price version of their Oakland models, but starting with the 30s, the company tried to ditch the image for "reliable but otherwise boring” cars.
They set their eyes on a more younger market, and tried to capture their attention with faster, better looking cars such as the Torpedo Deluxe 8 and the Chieftain Super Deluxe which also came in coupe versions. A thing also worth mentioning is the fact that Pontiac was the first to offer engine options for the same car to the customer.
But the first defining model for Pontiac was the 1957 Boneville, the one who introduced the fin design that would define a whole era of American cars. Among American cars manufacturers, the Pontiac was now seen as a car that was flashy like a Chevrolet but reliable and cheap like an Oldsmobile or a Buick.
In 1964, the first American muscle car was born and it incidentally was a Pontiac, the GTO (Grand Turismo Omologato). From then on, the 60s was going to be all about going as fast as you can with the biggest engine possible. The only thing is that you looked good while doing it in a Pontiac. While the other manufacturers were quick to imitate this trend, the GTO remains the original muscle car.