Sunday, September 20, 2015

1952 Pontiac Chieftain DeLuxe 4-door Sedan

"BE sure to see the great 1952 Pontiac! It brings you General Motors' sensational new Dual-Range Hydra-Matic Drive* — coupled with Pontiac's great high-compression engine — and a new high-performance, economy axle. At the touch of your finger, you can elect to have tremendous acceleration and snap to go! Or, with equal ease, you can choose an altogether different type of performance; silken, gliding, gas-saving — perfection itself for the open road. In other words, you have the power you want — where and when you want it. And there are many other advancements in the new Pontiac, too. Better see it — drive it — today. It's a sensation!"

The tone of this Pontiac ad sounds like half a decade ahead of time. Remember, Pontiac was GM's most conservative division, and who was in the game for performance in the early 1950s most certainly went shopping somewhere else. Pontiac, instead, was the choice of the sound and prudent folks who were looking for a handsome looking but still reasonably priced automobile. The abundance of shiny chrome trim and a long accessory list made many forget that the Pontiac was essentially a pimped Chevrolet, albeit one with a longer bonnet and an optional eight cylinder engine underneath. To most buyers, the Pontiac appealed as a car that would let the world know that they could afford more than a Chevy.

Pontiac's approach — solid quality rather than innovation — had brought the company forward in the 1930s and 1940s. When the American car market began to become saturated at the dawn of the 1950s, however, this strategy began to backfire: customers were more and more longing for the latest and greatest in automotive fashion. Now, an Indian chief as figurehead and Streamline Art Deco styling cues were clearly a thing of the past. Yet, it ain't easy to give up on a strong identity: Pontiac would hold on these brand symbols for four more years, before new management had the courage to turn things upside down and make the stuffy brand an desirable icon for America's youth.

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