I have seen common complaints that any Pontiac built beyond 1981 is not a true Pontiac.
For me, Pontiac is a style and a mindset. We dwell on the GM corporate takeover that killed off the true Pontiac block. What makes you feel so strongly against the Chevy engines that power the Pontiacs from '82 on? The Firebird and Trans Am saw such great powerplants as the LT1, LT4, and LS1. The GTO came with a 350-horse LS1 and a 400-horse LS2. The G8 was available with 361-horse L76 and 415-horse LS3.
From a style standpoint, there hasn't been too many cars that can compete with the classic lines of the Original GTO's and second generation Trans Am. But, with that being said, the fourth generation Trans Am is one of the coolest looking cars ever built.
I just helped my friend move his 2000 Trans Am WS6 down from Georgia and it had no front bumper, just the WS6 hood. The hood and body shape alone made me sit back and appreciate how cool these cars are. (Yes, I will be owning another one soon.) Yet I still find people discrediting them as a true Pontiac? What makes this car a Pontiac is that it has personality. There is something in the car that makes it different than all the other junk on the road.
In 2002, this was all over. The Firebird was killed off and a new breed of cars was brought in. The G5, G6, Solstice, and Torrent all wore the red arrowhead. For comparison's sake, the G5 is way cooler than the Cobalt. The G6 is an extremely nice car with crisp lines. The Solstice is light years ahead of the Miata in cool points. Nobody really cares about the Torrent but I would buy one before an Equinox. To be honest, the Torrent is pretty cool and they make a GXP version that was very fun to beat the snot out of.
When I look at the brand in 2003, I don't see much interest. But 2004 brought the GTO which was a remarkable car...not really a GTO in my opinion, but a true muscle car. (I own one, so don't kill me!) In 2008 the way-cool G8 was brought over and this thing is great. The GT and GXP make for one hell-of-a daily driver.
Yes, the glory days may be gone for good but I feel those died way before 1981. I think we should consider ourselves lucky that Pontiac still managed to build great cars for us.
So, answer me this question: Why did Pontiac die in 1981? If you believe that then why are you upset over the brand's failure and dissolve in 2009?