Home » The True Last-Ever Pontiac Has Been Found, And Thankfully It’s Not A Total Wreck

The True Last-Ever Pontiac Has Been Found, And Thankfully It’s Not A Total Wreck

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Late last year, General Motors-focused news sites were aflutter over reports that someone located the last-ever Pontiac. The car, a 2010 G6 with VIN 1G2ZA5EB5A4166962, saw its face torn off in a collision. That car was a total loss, earning a salvage title and it was sold for just $450 at auction. A car that was believed to be the second-to-last Pontiac, another G6, was also destroyed in a crash and sold off in an insurance auction. But the truth is, neither of them was really the Final Pontiacs.

Thankfully, what appears to be the one, true Final Pontiac has been located, making those other cars merely the second and third-to-last Pontiacs. And this car, also a G6, has lived a far better life.

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This news comes to us from Nick Hernandez from our Discord server. I have updated my original article about these cars, but I also think this is big enough news that it deserves its own standalone follow-up. Thanks to Pontiac fanatics and a museum, the brand now has a more fitting, heartwarming finale than a salvage auction. 

The Final Pontiac is a 2010 G6 painted in white and it was located by the historians of the Pontiac Transportation Museum. A week ago, the museum published a video about this car, which has a VIN ending in 963, making it a later production example than the prior two vehicles believed to be the last ones:

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As is well-known today, part of GM’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009 involved trimming fat by killing off brands and getting funding from the federal government. One of several brands that wouldn’t make it out of the other end was Pontiac. By the end of 2009, what had until recently been GM’s “sporty” brand managed to sell just 178,300 cars. This was a far cry from Pontiac’s best-ever sales year in 1984 when the brand moved 850,000 cars.

The last car to get adorned with Pontiac’s red badge is a 2010 G6 that was built at the Orion Township Assembly Line in January 2010. Like the other GM brands that fell to the ax, Pontiac died with little fanfare. There were no official celebrations, no tributes, and the brand didn’t even get to go out by building something epic. Just a failure in perhaps the saddest chapter in American motoring history. Pontiac, a brand that was known for its excitement and cars worthy of hanging up on your bedroom walls, ended an impressive 84-year run by fading into the night. The last cars to roll out of its plants weren’t even cars to be sold to regular customers, but rental fleets.

There have long been guesses and estimations about what was the very last Pontiac. At one point, it was believed that the last Pontiac was a G3 Wave that was built in Mexico in December 2009. However, a set of rental-spec G6 sedans beat it by being manufactured in January 2010. We now know that at the very least, two of the final three rental G6 sedans met a terrible fate. Oftentimes, the final vehicle of a brand is saved, either by a dealership, an enthusiast, or maybe even the brand itself.

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For example, the very last Plymouth was a Neon and it was saved by Darrell Davis, former Senior Vice President of Parts and Service for DaimlerChrysler. Sure, the Neon wasn’t the greatest vehicle to ever roll out of the Plymouth’s Belvidere, Illinois, assembly line, but Davis felt the car represented a part of automotive history that deserved to be preserved.

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That didn’t happen for Pontiac and that’s still sad to think about.

The Real Final Pontiac

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When Tim Dye, Executive Director of the Pontiac Transportation Museum, read about the “final” Pontiac in the news, he had to figure out how true it was. It should be noted that Dye also started the Pontiac-Oakland Museum & Resource Center in Pontiac, Illinois. I’ve been to that museum before and it made for a wonderful intake of history right in the middle of a road trip.

Anyway, Dye reached out to a friend who used to run a Pontiac dealership for their opinion. As luck would have it, that friend happened to be holding onto printouts of data regarding the very last Pontiacs to be built. The friend searched through those documents and found one more car, VIN ending 963. This car was built after the previous “Final Pontiac,” VIN engine in 962, and after the previous second-to-last Pontiac, VIN 961. According to those documents, which came from GM’s system, this car should be the true Final Pontiac.

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Dye wasn’t satiated with just knowing there was one more last Pontiac. He had to know more about it. Dye pulled up the vehicle’s CarFax and found that after assembly, it was shipped out to Boise, Idaho, where it served as an airport rental car with Avis. The car was a rental for around nine or 11 months before the rental agency put it up for auction. A former Pontiac dealership in Golden, Colorado picked up the vehicle. When the dealer found no buyers, it was put up for auction again. This time, another former Pontiac dealer in Scott City, Kansas, picked up the vehicle.

Two days after listing it for sale, an 82-year-old woman purchased the last Pontiac as her daily driver and apparently, she had no idea what she was driving. The car then enjoyed a life of routine maintenance and dry weather.

Dye says the museum reached out to the owner’s daughter looking to purchase the vehicle. At first, the woman wasn’t really on board since the vehicle represented freedom and she didn’t want to give it up. After four months, the woman decided to let the car go. Dye’s friend purchased the car and donated it to the museum.

Amazingly, when they popped the trunk, the signatures from those Ohio factory workers were still there. (Editor’s Note: Kudos to whoever penned in that Wu-Tang clan symbol on the right. —PG)

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The woman who owned the car for 11 to 12 years and just never opened up the spare tire well under the trunk, where the signatures were. The car needed detailing and some paint to bring it into museum condition, but otherwise, it appeared to be in good shape.

A More Fitting End To Pontiac

Now that the Final Pontiac is safe and sound in a museum, I think the Pontiac story can now close on a more positive note. It may have left the factory without fanfare, but its builders certainly cared enough to leave their names on it for someone to find in the future. The woman who bought the G6 used the vehicle to give her the kind of freedom many car enthusiasts get from their own rides.

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If you’re interested in taking in nearly a century of Pontiac history, including this car, pay Dye’s museums a visit. Both are in the Midwest. I’ve been to the Pontiac-Oakland Museum & Resource Center in Pontiac, Illinois, and it’s extremely well done. Admission is technically free, but the museum suggests a $5 donation for each adult, which I think is more than fair. It looks like the true Final Pontiac is at the Pontiac Transportation Museum in Pontiac, Michigan. The museum doesn’t say on its site what admission to the Michigan location is, but I bet it’s worth it.

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Pontiac may not have gone out in a blaze of glory, but I think giving someone mobility and workers something to be proud of is still a fitting end. If anything, it’s way better to go than a pair of insurance auctions. Good job, Dye and friends!

(Images: Pontiac Transportation Museum, unless otherwise noted.)

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Brian Maher
Brian Maher
8 months ago

The biggest inaccuracy with this article is that it was stated that, in January, 2010, a FLEET of 2010 rental G6’s were manufactured. This is patently false. What I CAN say is true is that, long after the 25,289 2010 Pontiac G6’s were manufactured (all in calendar year, 2009), along with all remaining 2010 Pontiacs of ANY type (again, all manufactured in calendar year, 2009), there was ONE, SINGLE 2010 Pontiac G6 that was actually built in January, 2010. Actually, it was the only 2010 Pontiac of ANY type that was actually built in 2010. That brought the grand 2010 Pontiac G6 total up to 25,590.

Take a look.
Here’s GM’s US Passenger production from their Investor website from December, 2009: https://investor.gm.com/static-files/2a6cc3fc-dd83-468b-9547-50a114b79af5

And here’s the one from January, 2010, showing the FINAL Pontiac ever manufactured, a 2010 G6: https://investor.gm.com/static-files/0d7f67cf-2921-4d97-ad26-1a6e75a3e7bf

(And here’s December, 2010 so you can see no other Pontiacs were ever built in calendar year 2010 other that the lone G6 that January): https://media.buick.com/dld/content/Pages/news/us/en/2011/Jan/0104_gmsales/_jcr_content/rightpar/sectioncontainer/par/download/file.res/DecemberProduction.pdf

So, if, and ONLY if, that white G6 from that article was the only Pontiac that was actually manufactured in calendar year, 2010… the “25,590th Pontiac” if you will, then yes, that’s IS the final Pontiac.

CTSVmkeLS6
CTSVmkeLS6
9 months ago

That’s excellent they found/ rescued it now a piece of history. I dig that it has the young buck 3500v6 version of the good ol 2.8l 60v6 that debuted in the X car Citation.. G6s will be running bad and rusted all over the Midwest for another 20 years judging by the 5 to 10 A body Cierras and Buick Centuries I see every day in Southern Wisconsin. Much love for the cockroaches!

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
9 months ago

, it was believed that the last Pontiac was a G3 Wave that was built in Mexico in December 2009. However, a set of rental-spec G6 sedans beat it by being manufactured in January 2010″

I recall reading or hearing about the G3 Wave almost was the last Pontiac and someone at GM specifically extended G6 production to avoid that from happening.

Myk El
Myk El
9 months ago

I’ve been to that museum after Mercedes’ recommendation. Stopped by when I was driving my GTO back to Colorado from where I bought it in Michigan. It’s not a big museum, but has to be one of the best in terms of lighting and displays I’ve seen.

ColoradoFX4
ColoradoFX4
9 months ago

Very cool. So we know what happened to the last Plymouth, and it looks like the last Oldsmobile ended up with a collector, but what about the last Mercury, Hummer, Saab, or Chrysler?

Wait, I’m being informed Chrysler is not technically dead and there are still vehicles with “Chrysler” badging being manufactured today. So never mind there, but what of the others?

Richard Truett
Richard Truett
9 months ago

Now that we know about the last “true” Pontiac, here are the deets on the last false Pontiacs:
https://www.drive.com.au/news/holden-commodore-ss-v-series-special-edition/

Richard Truett
Richard Truett
9 months ago

Another great story from Mercedes.

Trust Doesn't Rust
Trust Doesn't Rust
9 months ago

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I think I’d like to see an article of the very last cars to roll off the line from a dead marque.

ADDvanced
ADDvanced
9 months ago

I had the misfortune of renting a G6 once. Good god. Terrible visibility, hard suspension but at the same time body roll, wtf. My favorite part was they put the door pulls on the interior on the very edge of the door, so you had to grab the map pockets to shut the door. What a piece of shit.

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