April 29, 2009

WIBC News Article Quotes Sanders and Belk

Car Clubs Bid Sad Farewell To Pontiac
GTO Was First "Muscle Car"
Article by Stan Lehr posted online April 28, 2009 at:

Your father's Pontiac is history. GM is dropping the nameplate born in 1926 and the car clubs are in mourning.

Bill Sanders of Noblesville, President of the Indy GTO Association, says he and his members are "not surprised but our Pontiac flags are flying at half mast." Sanders points to the design of the new GTO introduced in 1994 as an example of what went wrong at Pontiac. He says the car was "less than enthusiastically embraced" when it was unveiled to a meeting of the National GTO Association in Denver.

Pontiac was once a solid entry in the "muscle car" market. Others like Ford have forged a comeback, but Pontiac continued to struggle. Sanders says Ford "had a better idea" with the retro-look Mustang.

Bill Belk of Culver, Indiana, says he hates to see Pontiac die but he understands the decision to eliminate a brand that was not as profitable as some of the other GM nameplates like Buick or Cadillac. Belk, the owner of eight Pontiacs including five Fieros from the 1980s, says the price of automobiles--at $25 to $30 thousand dollars--makes profit margins harder to maintain. He recalls, "You used to buy a house for that kind of money."

Sanders and Belk say GM's decision could add value to their classic Pontiacs. But both say that's not an issue for them or their club members. Sanders says, "We drive our GTO's. Most of them aren't museum pieces."