Pontiac was the name of a rebellious Indian Chief who gave his name to the Michigan city of Pontiac and where the Oakland company started making cars in 1907. In 1909 William C Durant collected Oakland for his burgeoning General Motors business and in 1926 created the 'Pontiac' brand as a companion to Oakland, but in 1932 the 'Oakland' brand was dropped. The Pontiac brand was marketed one notch above Chevrolet, but in fact the cars were very similar underneath, however Pontiac did achieve a good reputation for its six cylinder engine and followed this up by becoming the cheapest car to offer an inline eight cylinder engine. In 1935 Frank Hershey gave Pontiacs 5 chrome strips the ran down the centreline of the bonnet and also the boot (trunk) known as Silver Streaks to give the brand some distinction; these continued for almost 20 years. Pontiac went for one-piece windscreens in 1953, and gained their first V8 in 1955. Pontiac continued to run alongside developments in other GM brands, such as launching its own Firebird version of the sibling Chevrolet Camaro, as well as its own muscle cars.
But in 2010 a struggling GM culled the 'Pontiac' brand.
Pontiac Chieftain 1949 Silver Streak 8
The 5 chrome strips continued on the bonnet and down the bootlid (trunk) and were the 'Silver Streak' hallmark of Pontiac between 1935 and 1957.
Pontiac Chieftain 1951
The 5 chrome bars are the 'Silver Streaks' given by Frank Hershey in 1935, and which ran down the centreline of all Pontiacs for about 20 years marking the brand out from lesser Chevrolets.
Pontiac Chieftain 1951 ornament
Pontiac Chieftain 1951 4-door Deluxe Sedan - bonnet ornament. The chief's head lit up when the main lights were lit.