Think You Know Pontiac? What's A "Sunburst"?

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Thread: Think You Know Pontiac? What's A "Sunburst"?

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    News Contributor Premium Member Perian's Avatar
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    Think You Know Pontiac? What's A "Sunburst"?

    Automobile Magazine
    August 10, 2020



    If you feel like you've seen just about every Pontiac model, we've got one that you might have missed. That model is the Sunburst, and it's by no means the easiest Pontiac model from the 1980s to find today.

    Just where did this burst of sun come from?

    Originally it came from Japan of course, but the Pontiac version was offered only in Canada even though the U.S. and Canada received this car under several other different badges. And it hails from a curious time for Pontiac in North America, one during which it was desperate to field small cars but didn't actually want to design any from scratch.

    This is how the Isuzu Gemini, styled by Giorgetto Giugiaro, came to be offered by GM in the U.S. and Canada in the mid 1980s. The Gemini underneath offered a sharp design and clever engineering as well as excellent ergonomics, and in hindsight was far enough ahead of its time to appear more modern than a lot of Pontiac's own designs from the following decade. The sedan and hatch duo paired a front-wheel drive layout with inline-four engines ranging in size from 1.3 to 1.5 liters, offering excellent fuel economy for the time in addition to tidy road manners. Thanks to Isuzu's deal with General Motors, the model filled an important gap that until that time had been filled by the very aged Chevette, at least until the arrival of the Pontiac Le Mans.








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    News Contributor Premium Member Perian's Avatar
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    Re: Think You Know Pontiac? What's A "Sunburst"?

    You learn something every day. Assume we knew this vehicle as part of our "Geo" family.









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    Re: Think You Know Pontiac? What's A "Sunburst"?

    "styled by Giorgetto Giugiaro,"

    Styled? Wow, what a genius.
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    Re: Think You Know Pontiac? What's A "Sunburst"?

    Quote Originally Posted by ksr View Post
    "styled by Giorgetto Giugiaro,"

    Styled? Wow, what a genius.
    Looks like he picked the wrong week to stop drinking.
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    Re: Think You Know Pontiac? What's A "Sunburst"?

    Giugiaro = vastly overrated.

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    Re: Think You Know Pontiac? What's A "Sunburst"?

    Quote Originally Posted by 09W View Post
    Giugiaro = vastly overrated.
    Voted , 'The Designer of the Century', by his peers.
    Vastly overrated? I don't believe so.
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    Re: Think You Know Pontiac? What's A "Sunburst"?

    Quote Originally Posted by 09W View Post
    Giugiaro = vastly overrated.
    It's not bad, but Sunburst is a name more suited for an orange Solstice, not a gray, generic rebadged Japanese econobox. GM was using any outsider to burnish a product's brand, such as "tuned by Lotus" and this designer's name. Who knows what on the car he designed

    Even a good designer can be foiled by a GM Committee, cost constraints, etc, especially in those times. If you are generous, then the fire alarm scene from The Jerk applies:"Don't call him genius, call him s-head".
    Last edited by Greg Burr; 08-11-2020 at 04:28 PM.

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    Re: Think You Know Pontiac? What's A "Sunburst"?

    Quote Originally Posted by yello430 View Post
    Voted , 'The Designer of the Century', by his peers.
    Vastly overrated? I don't believe so.
    +1
    Giugiaro is also an inductee of the Automotive Hall of Fame.
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    Re: Think You Know Pontiac? What's A "Sunburst"?

    My crazy aunt had a sunburst...manual. Before that a mercury bobcat, also manual. After the sunburst a Saturn sc1 I believe. She really liked undesirable cars

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    Re: Think You Know Pontiac? What's A "Sunburst"?

    Very interesting that there was a Pontiac Sunburst. It was the sister car to the late, lamented Chevy/Geo Spectrum.

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    Re: Think You Know Pontiac? What's A "Sunburst"?

    He's done a lot of nice cars and even more "blah" cars like this one. I guess the blah one's put the bread on the table.

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    Re: Think You Know Pontiac? What's A "Sunburst"?

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackGTP View Post
    He's done a lot of nice cars and even more "blah" cars like this one. I guess the blah one's put the bread on the table.
    At some point, you gotta pay the bills!
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    Re: Think You Know Pontiac? What's A "Sunburst"?

    Quote Originally Posted by kenman923 View Post
    Very interesting that there was a Pontiac Sunburst. It was the sister car to the late, lamented Chevy/Geo Spectrum.
    They were identical twins!
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    Re: Think You Know Pontiac? What's A "Sunburst"?

    I guess like anyone in design; he's had good days and bad.

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    Re: Think You Know Pontiac? What's A "Sunburst"?

    I never saw a Sunburst in Canada in the 80's, maybe it was more of a regional thing. I do remember the Passport and Asuna nonsense though, probably because they were actual brands that had their own sign at Pontiac-Buick dealers.

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