America has lost a lot of cool cars and manufacturers throughout history. When cars and brands die, some folks try to preserve the very last examples as pieces of history. That doesn’t always happen, and the last of a car just ends up being someone’s daily driver. The last Pontiac ever built is a G6. It wasn’t saved, and now thanks to a recent report, we know that it got pretty mangled in a crash.
Part of GM’s Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in 2009 involved killing some brands and taking government bailout money. One of those brands was Pontiac, and by the end of that year, the brand had sold just 178,300 cars.
The last car to wear Pontiac’s red badge is a 2010 G6 that was built at the Orion Township Assembly Line in January 2010. It was once believed that the last Pontiac was a G3 Wave that was built in Mexico in December 2009, but the G6 beat it by ever so little. Oftentimes, the final examples of a brand are saved, either by a dealership, owner, or maybe even the brand itself. A similar treatment for Pontiac’s last cars given the brand’s rich history, but things were tense in 2009. The final Pontiacs’ fates were as sad as the brand’s itself.
Pontiac Was A Big Deal
So Pontiac has been gone for about 13 years now. In its final era, the brand lost its luster as a builder of muscle cars that make your heart race just looking at them. Instead, it struggled to attract buyers with fare like front-wheel-drive sedans and rebadged minivans. Still, the marque fought for its existence with legitimately good ideas like the curvaceous Solstice small sports car and the punchy G8 sedan. Even the Aztek was ahead of its time.
It wasn’t always that way. As the New York Times reported when Pontiac died, Pontiac was once so much more. In 1984, 850,000 Pontiacs found a home. Several decades ago, Pontiac carried the image of a brand that built hot muscle cars with tons of sex appeal.
Pontiac had humble beginnings in 1907 when Edward Murphy, a builder of horse-drawn carriages, opened the Oakland Motor Car Company. General Motors was founded a year later and in 1909, Oakland joined GM. The first Pontiac was produced in 1926. The Series 6-27 was a more affordable option in the lineup. Pontiac proved to be so popular that in 1931, the Oakland brand was phased out in favor of Pontiac. Over time, the brand would end up producing such bangers as the GTO, Trans Am, and the Bonneville. Today, these cars still have a strong fanbase, including the little Fiero.
Even Pontiac’s 1980s slogan was fun: “We Build Excitement.”
Pontiac even found itself on film from Smokey and the Bandit to Knight Rider, and who can forget gearhead classic, The Cannonball Run? The GTO even found itself in music, perhaps most famously in the Ronny & the Daytonas track, GTO. There’s really too much Pontiac goodness to talk about to really describe how strong the brand was, especially in the 1960s into the 80s (and heck, I haven’t even mentioned cars like the straight-8-powered Chieftain from the 1950s ), but you’ll just have to trust me: Pontiac was legit.
The brand was never able to top its 1984 sales record, but it wasn’t without Pontiac trying. The Firebird and Trans Am morphed into a sleek sports car shape and the tire-shredding Holden Monaro became the modern GTO. And Pontiac even had a good inexpensive option with the Vibe. But it wasn’t enough, and Pontiac’s sales were on a steady decline even years before the Great Recession.
The Final Pontiac Saw A Sad Fate
The news about the final Pontiac comes to us from GM Authority, and it’s so sad that I just have to share it. The last Pontiac is believed to have VIN 1G2ZA5EB5A4166962, and this car has lived a dutiful, but rough life. I pulled the car’s reports, and they indicate that after the car was built, it was shipped off to Hawai’i. A fleet car sporting a 2.4-liter four making 164 HP driving the front wheels, it went into rental service. The white G6 served in that role for about a year and four months, when it ended up at an auction with 27,725 miles. After it was sold at the auction, the G6 got shipped to California, where it was offered for sale.
The second owner picked up the car in August 2011, traveling over an additional 67,000 miles in just over three years. The records show that the second owner seemingly took good care of the car, and the G6 got oil changes every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. It even seems like the second owner had a preferred place for maintenance, too, getting work done at a Midas in Costa Mesa or Anaheim.
Then tragedy struck the world’s final Pontiac. On February 1, 2015, a total loss was recorded to the G6’s CarFax record. The G6 was totaled by insurance due to a collision. Weirdly, the car lost 7,848 miles between the last oil change and the total loss report. There’s also a whole year of nothing between an oil change in September 2013 and another in September 2014.
Incredibly, the car’s story doesn’t end there. It popped up on Copart in fall 2015, where it sold for a cheap $450. The auction house report noted that it didn’t run and didn’t have keys. The state of California issued the car a salvage title and just a few months later, it was shipped down south to Mexico. The trail goes cold from there, with the only note being that someone purchased OnStar for the vehicle just two days ago. So, it seems that the last Pontiac is out there somewhere, but its glory days are probably behind it.
The Second-To-Last Pontiac G6: Also Wrecked
Somehow, this story has yet another twist. For a couple of years, some members of the VINwiki community thought that this 2010 G6, VIN 1G2ZA5EB3A4166961, was the last. With the discovery of the latest G6, it’s now believed to be the second-to-last G6. It met a similar fate, getting wrecked and earning a salvage title. That one ended up in an IAA auction in 2020, where it sold for just $1,500.
This car is presumably still out there, wearing a rebuilt title brand.
Looking back on Pontiac’s history and its last gasps for fresh air, it’s sad to see that this is how the last cars of a once-famous automaker have fared. If these truly are Pontiac’s last cars, hopefully they eventually one day they find their way back home. They’ve been through a lot, not unlike the defunct brand that produced them.