Nobody Built ‘80s Concept Cars Better Than Pontiac
To some it may seem like just yesterday. 2015 will mark six years since the belts stopped whirring on the Pontiac production line. Six years since you could order a brand new Solstice roadster, six years past a fresh-faced G8 muscle sedan. And while many may say, “look at all the fantastic cars General Motors has built since then,” it’s hard to shake one lasting feeling. Pontiac always felt special. It had an x-factor, and perhaps nothing emphasized that Pontiac zing quite like the wild concept cars it crafted in the ‘80s. During that decade, GM wasn’t exactly at the peak of its performance game, but a look at these four ‘80s Pontiac concepts would suggest otherwise. 1986 Pontiac Trans Sport Concept
It’s hard to lust for a minivan, but this is certainly an exception. It’s the vehicle that restarted Pontiac concept car production after nearly a decade of dormancy – the sleek ’86 Trans Sport (get it?). The minivan featured one gull-wing side door, a head-up windshield display, a computer to book travel reservations, and a TV screen rear-view mirror.
Not convinced of its coolness? It paired a three-speed automatic with a turbocharged 2.9-liter V6 to spin 235 horsepower to the front wheels. Remember… this is a van.
1987 Pontiac Pursuit Concept
The edgy Pontiac Pursuit shows just how forward-thinking the Pontiac development team was. The two-door, four seat concept came with space age styling to complement its removable top, but also featured drive-by-wire four-wheel steering and an automatically adjustable pneumatic-suspension, which lowered autonomously for high speed and raised for bumpy roads. Power came courtesy of a 2.0-liter, 200 horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder. Heady stuff.
1988 Pontiac Banshee IV Concept
If it looks like a ‘90s Firebird, then it did its job. In 1988, Pontiac revitalized its ‘Banshee’ concept car nameplate for the fourth and final time, putting the brand’s sports car styling back under the microscope. It boasted doors operated by infrared signal, another iteration of heads-up display, more rear-view TV monitors, and an early navigation system. Its 4.0-liter V8 was rather less inspired… and made just 30hp over the four-cylinder in the Pursuit.
1989 Pontiac Stinger Concept
The Stinger is simply wonderfully weird. It was designed with the young folks in mind, and came fitted with every possible thing a young person could ever need - portable vacuum cleaner, camping stove, sewing kit, calculator, dust pan, picnic table, pull-out radio and binoculars, just to name a few. The all-wheel-drive vehicle wore carbon fiber body panels and once again sported a pneumatic active suspension. Strangely, there was a button to toggle either a soft or hard ride.
The madness didn't stop in the '80s either. Pontiac debuted its eye-catching Sunfire concept in 1990 (seen at top), followed by the quirky Salsa concept car in 1992, which was billed as an all-weather hatchback, convertible and two-seat delivery truck. Odd. Sadly, we won’t be seeing any new Pontiacs in the foreseeable future, so these will have to tide you over for quite a long, long time.
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