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Biography of Pontiac - History

Biography of Pontiac - History

Pontiac (1720-1769) Ottawa war leader: Pontiac is credited with having led Native Americans against the British in the French and Indian Wars. After the defeat of the French, Native Americans were dismayed by the scorn of the British. Tradition asserts that Pontiac was the man who organized Native American tribes to resist British expansion. The skillful use of guerilla warfare enabled the Native Americans to seize a number of frontier posts, but the garrison at Detroit resisted their attacks. Pontiac and other Native American leaders were partly inspired by Neolin, a Delaware prophet who declared that the "dogs clothed in red" needed to be driven away. The incidents called "Pontiac's Rebellion" were only part of a 40-year period of resistance to the British imposition on tribal autonomy. Pontiac eventually settled for peace. He was killed in 1769 by a Native American of the Peoria tribe.

City of Pontiac michigan

Mayor Deirdre Waterman&rsquos

Official Biography

On January 1, 2014, Dr. Deirdre Waterman was sworn-in as Mayor of the City of Pontiac, the first woman mayor in Pontiac&rsquos long and storied history. In 2017, Mayor Waterman made history once again as the first mayor to earn a second term, signaling a strong message and mandate that Pontiac citizens believe in her vision for the future. As Mayor, she governs the city that she spent over four decades of her career collaborating with others to solve some of the city&rsquos most challenging issues.

Under her diligent leadership, the City of Pontiac has recovered from the depths of 10 years of financial crisis and distress to achieve fiscal solvency and the restoration of municipal home rule. Through hard work and dedication, Mayor Waterman has been able to successfully stabilize the city&rsquos finances and employ strategic planning, piloting significant progress &ndash incredibly, a $14 million general fund surplus during her first tenure as an elected official.

Mayor Waterman has pursued an aggressive agenda to revitalize neighborhoods, restore youth services, create pipelines of job and career opportunities for residents, and attract new business sectors and economic growth. The Mayor&rsquos leadership is making an extraordinary impact &ndash Pontiac, as Sandro DiNello, President of Flagstar Bank said, &ldquois lucky to have her.&rdquo

Prior to assuming her Mayoral office, Deirdre Holloway-Waterman dedicated her life in service to others. Born in New York City and coming of age in Detroit during a period of great change, she was surrounded by social architects and community activists from a young age which energized her to support causes that championed the rights of all people.

As the daughter of the late Dr. Horace Holloway, a pioneering physician who fought his way past segregation to become one of the first black doctors on staff at the former Highland Park General Hospital, she was inspired early on. Her mother, Dorothy Byrd Holloway, an accomplished musician and music instructor ingrained in her core values and principles of what a just society looks like. Her mother was the first African-American woman to serve on the board of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and continues to be an instrumental figure as one of the founding members of what is now known as the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. Mayor Waterman was brought up to understand that education and service to others was a civic duty.

A graduate of the University of Chicago, Mayor Waterman concentrated her studies to earn dual degrees in Biology and Political Science. She later received a medical degree from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN. She completed her residency at the Kresge Eye Institute at Wayne State University to become the first African-American female ophthalmologist in the state of Michigan.

Mayor Waterman moved to Pontiac as the wife of the late Judge William J. Waterman and as a leading businesswoman who would go on to open her own practice, Holloway Eye Care. Many Pontiac residents have been patients in her practice. Her remarkable partnership with Judge Waterman resulted not only in the births of their children, Shana and Toussaint, but also in a life devoted to the highest values of human dignity in service to social change.

Judge William Waterman, fought and made history winning a landmark case and focusing national attention on desegregating Pontiac schools. In 1969, as one of the lead attorneys for the NAACP, he began representing the plaintiffs in Davis v School District of the City of Pontiac. This case would set precedent as the first district in the north to be ordered to use busing to achieve integration. This order and progressive step toward equality was not met favorably by all. Despite school buses being bombed, vandalized, and threats made to them and on the lives of their children, Mayor Waterman and her husband remained devoted advocates of the philosophy of social justice.

Mayor Waterman would later stand with her husband as he took the oath of office as the first African-American judge appointed to serve on the bench of the 50 th District Court. He would be re-elected three times. She encouraged him to develop programs such as the Waterman Club &ndash an initiative that targeted troubled youth to complete their education and seek gainful employment in lieu of jail sentences. Through the Waterman Club many former offenders went on to graduate from college and live successful lives. In 2003, the 50 th District Court was renamed in his honor and is now known as the Honorable William J. Waterman Hall of Justice.

In addition to raising a family and working alongside her spouse, Mayor Waterman also championed women&rsquos rights and established a distinguished career in her own right. Dr. Waterman stepped up as a leader in her professional career and has never passed up an opportunity to nurture the development of others. She has empowered many young professionals with the tools to succeed by providing internships and invaluable mentorship in medicine and now in public service.

She has served as Chairwoman of the National Medical Association, Region IV, as well as two terms as Finance Chair for that organization. She was also President of the Associated Healthcare Providers and is listed in the first edition of Vital Signs: Michigan, citing African-American achievement in healthcare. Her dedication to the health of others was further demonstrated through service work as an international medical volunteer. She has served in Ghana, Liberia, and India where she performed eye surgery as well as provided healthcare in underdeveloped and impoverished communities. Further, Dr. Waterman served as Vice Chair of the then-North Oakland Medical Center and served as Finance Chair during its transition to Doctors&rsquo Hospital of Michigan, helping ensure hundreds of jobs remained in the City of Pontiac.

Previously, Mayor Waterman ensured that the Pontiac Public Library remained open and a beneficial asset to city residents. She was founding President of the Friends of the Pontiac Public Library, advocated for the library millage&rsquos successful passage and was elected by the people to the Pontiac Public Library Board of Trustees in 2009. Her peers chose her to lead the board as Chairwoman. Mayor Waterman also served on the Pontiac Charter Revision Commission in 2012 and 2013 before resigning to run for the Office of Mayor.

Mayor Waterman is a lifelong member of the NAACP, serving many terms on the various chapter executive boards. She is also a proud member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and was a chartering member of the Oakland County Chapter of the Links, Incorporated. Mayor Waterman has volunteered with many community groups and associations including the Urban League and Mosaic Youth Theatre.

It is the privilege of Mayor Waterman&rsquos public life to work on behalf of the people of Pontiac. She is an active member of Plymouth United Church of Christ. In recognition of Mayor Deirdre Waterman&rsquos extraordinary achievements, community service and contributions, she has received numerous honors, including the most prestigious awards and highest acknowledgments of most recent including:

2016 &ndash Oakland University William-Beaumont School of Medicine &ndash Commencement Keynote Speaker
&emsp &emsp &emspOakland County Ministerial Fellowship &ndash Chief Architect of Progress Award

2017 &ndash Crain&rsquos Detroit Business &ndash Newsmaker of the Year
&emsp &emsp &emspDetroit Chapter of NABJ & UAW Ford &ndash Trailblazer of Black History Award

2019 &ndash Detroit NANBPW &ndash National Sojourner Truth Meritorious Service Award


Pontiac was born circa 1720. His father was Ottawa, and his mother was Chippewa. His family raised Pontiac as an Ottawa, although he had numerous friends among his mother's people. Little is known of his early years. He probably traded with the French merchants that moved into modern-day Michigan and Ohio in the late 1600s and 1700s. By 1755, he had become an important leader of the Ottawas.

Pontiac subscribed to the religious beliefs of Neolin, a prophet among the Lenape during the 1760s. Neolin encouraged his fellow American Indians in the Ohio Country and parts west to forsake all British goods and customs. He felt that American Indians' dependence on these items had infuriated their gods. The reason why the American Indians in the Ohio Country currently suffered at the hands of the British was because they had forgotten the true ways of their people. European ways would condemn the American Indians' to eternal suffering. Neolin encouraged American Indians to separate themselves from European ways and not become dependent on them. Although Neolin urged American Indians in the region to reject all European customs, missionaries from the Moravian Church also influenced his views of what he called the Great Spirit.

Pontiac was deeply influenced by Neolin's revivalism, but also felt the American Indians had to remain militarily strong to drive the Europeans out of the Ohio Country. This became especially important with conclusion of the French and Indian War in 1763. The Treaty of Paris (1763) turned all French lands in North America over to the English. American Indians feared the loss of their traditional ally and also believed that British settlers would flood the Ohio Country. To prevent the incursion of whites, Pontiac and the Ottawa encouraged Ohio Country American Indians to unite and rise up in 1763. The Ottawa attacked Fort Detroit in May 1763. Many people today view this as the beginning of Pontiac's Rebellion. The Shawnee, the Munsee, the Wyandot, the Seneca-Cayuga, and the Lenape also raided British settlements in the Ohio Country and in western Pennsylvania during 1763. In the autumn of 1764, the British military took the offensive against the American Indians. Colonel John Bradstreet and Colonel Henry Bouquet each launched invasions of the Ohio Country from Pennsylvania.

Pontiac's Rebellion essentially ended in the autumn of 1764, but Pontiac did not formally surrender to the British until July 1766. The British promised him no harm as long as he agreed never to wage war against the British again. Pontiac spent the remainder of his life with his family on the banks of the Maumee River. In 1769, Pontiac was murdered by an American Indian. It is not clear why he was killed. The british may have paid a man to kill Pontiac to deprive the Ottawa of one of their leaders. On the other hand, it may have been the work of a group of American Indians who were upset with Pontiac's refusal to wage war against the British. Pontiac's death, like most of his life, remains a mystery. His dream of a united American Indian front against the Anglo-American encroachment on American Indian lands in the Ohio Country did not end with him. Other native leaders, such as Tecumseh and Little Turtle, would also try to form American Indian confederations to stop the westward expansion of white settlers in the late 1700s and early 1800s.

Encyclopedia Of Detroit

The Odawa (Ottawa) chief called Pontiac was known in his village as Obwandiyag. He was likely born about 1720 somewhere along the Detroit River. One of his parents was Odawa and he was raised in that tradition. Descriptions of Pontiac as an adult are contradictory. Contemporaries described him as “remarkably well-looking, of medium stature,” or “a tall man, not handsome.” He had several wives and at least one son.

By the age of 25 or 30, Pontiac was a leader who took part in anti-English councils and negotiations with the allies of the French. During this time, he also came under the influence of Neolin, a member of the Delaware tribe who was viewed as a prophet. This movement had some references to Christianity, but also urged the members of the tribes to return to their old ways of doing things. Pontiac adopted only part of the message, turning this message into an anti-English campaign that kept the European technology.

By 1763 Pontiac was an influential leader in the Detroit area. That year he led a surprise uprising against the British at Detroit, which failed when the British learned of the attack. He and his forces later returned and laid siege to the fort, but ultimately it was never taken. While his attack on Detroit failed, many of the other attacks made on other regional outposts by members of the loosely organized confederation, did succeed - 8 out of 12 resulted in victory for the Native Americans and their allies. These attacks are known as Pontiac’s War.

After his attempt in Detroit, Pontiac travelled widely throughout the areas now known as Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. His message to the Native People living there was that they should oppose the English and support or look to the French Father, as he called the King of France, for leadership. By 1764 the tribes of the Maumee and Wabash were in conflict with the Shawnee. Pontiac negotiated peace between these two groups.

Pontiac’s success led him to believe that he was the leader of a large confederation of Native American tribes. As a result, he began to act as if he were an absolute ruler. By 1768 he had gone from revered leader to a man without a home. On April 20, 1769 he was murdered by a nephew of Makatchinga, a Peoria chief of the Illinois Confederation in or nearby the village of Cahokia, Illinois.

Obwandiyag (Pontiac)

Obwandiyag (Pontiac), Odawa chief (born c. 1720 along the Detroit River died 20 April 1769 in Cahokia, Illinois Country). Obwandiyag was the leader of a loose coalition of Indigenous nations that opposed British rule in what became known as Pontiac’s War (1763–66). The uprising is regarded by many as a historical antecedent to more contemporary Indigenous rights movements.

Pontiac's War was the most successful First Nations resistance to the European invasion in our history (City of Detroit Archives).

Early Life

Little is known about Obwandiyag’s early life. Historians believe he was probably born around 1720 along the Detroit River. Obwandiyag may have served with the French and Indigenous forces that defeated Major-General Edward Braddock at Fort Duquesne in 1755.

Pontiac’s War

Obwandiyag is best known for his leadership of Indigenous peoples against the British regime in North America in Pontiac’s War. The conflict began soon after the Seven Years’ War (1756–63) — known as the French and Indian War in the United States — and the fall of New France.

Under Obwandiyag’s leadership, an alliance of Odawa, Wyandot, Potawatomi and Ojibwa ignited hostilities in the spring of 1763. On 28 May, the group attacked a contingent of 96 British soldiers at Point Pelee, about 25 miles from the mouth of the Detroit River. Some of the soldiers escaped, but the majority were either killed or captured. Indigenous forces laid siege to Fort Detroit. Fort Michilimackinac, Fort Sandusky, Fort St-Joseph, Fort Miami and other military installations fell as the resistance spread throughout the Pays d’en haut. In late July, British troops tried to break the siege of Fort Detroit but were ambushed by Obwandiyag’s forces at the Battle of Bloody Run on 31 July.

Despite these victories, Obwandiyag had difficulty holding the alliance together. His direct control was limited to the warriors around Detroit, but even that group disintegrated little by little as the Ojibwa and Odawa returned to winter hunting grounds. The resistance lost much of its momentum and was formally resolved three years later at a peace conference in Oswego, New York.


Obwandiyag was a key signatory to the peace treaty signed on 23 July 1766. He insisted that Indigenous peoples were not surrendering their land by making peace. His presumption of power, however, led to resentment among Indigenous delegates and undermined his already fragile leadership. Obwandiyag was banished from his village sometime before 1768. On 20 April 1769, he was killed by a Peoria assassin outside a trading post near Cahokia, Illinois.


On May 9, Pontiac surrounded Fort Detroit by his over 900 supporters and cut off the supply of essentials to the fort. The siege continued for a while. Followers of Pontiac also attacked other British forts and settlements. Soon, they overtook control of nine out of such eleven British forts present at that time in and around Ohio valley. On July 31, 1763, Pontiac handed down a crushing defeat to a British consignment at the &ldquoBattle of Bloody Run.&rdquo

Pontiac&rsquos men also demolished Fort Sandusky. However, in spite of all these developments, he could not prevent the British to get reinforcement to protect Fort Detroit. Unable to capture Fort Detroit even after a three-month-long siege, Pontiac finally withdrew and retreated to the nearby Illinois County.

Pontiac Car Models List

1926 was the year of establishment of Pontiac, an American car brand overtaking a popular General Motors subsidiary company, Oakland. It also replaced the Oakland’s factory and for its existence became a make for Chevrolet. Pontiac sales reached countries including Mexico, Canada, where they are the most popular, and the United States. Mainly, they are selling high performance vehicles.

Unfortunately in 2009, General Motors decided to stop the production of the brand due to financial problems, and decided to end it by 2010. General Motors then continued the production of their core brands, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, and Buick. The last Pontiac cars were sold in December 2009.

Related Other US Automotive Company Lincoln Car Company

Pontiac started with the name of “The Pontiac Buggy Company” in 1893. Their first vehicle named “The Pontiac” was released on the fall of 1907. This vehicle weighs at around 1000 pounds and is a highwheeler mainly powered by a water-cooled two-cylinder 12 horsepower engine.

Until 1956, Pontiac has been using a Native American headdress as its logo. This was then updated after one year with an American red arrowhead. This is also known as the Dart. One main distinction of Pontiacs is their Silver Streaks – which are slender strips of stainless steel coming from down the middle of the hood extending to the grille.

Another Pontiac trademark is a split grille design, the “grilled-over” which are taillights in multiple strips, and their pointed arrowhead nose.

In 1946, Pontiac started investing on power and began working on their V8 engine. Supposedly, an L-head engine is the original plan to be made but due to incompetence of this engine when compared to the OHV Oldsmobile V-8, they decided to redirect to an OHV design.

Image source: wikipedia.org

A few more years after, Pontiac debuted a more powerful version of the V8. This engine was fully equipped with a powerful racing camshaft. They also installed 4-barrel dual carburetors to this model.

The Full Pontiac Models

An iconic figure when it comes to hardtop vehicles, the Pontiac Catalina is an amazing ride that definitely stands the test of time!

Making a Statement

As one of the most popular hardtop rides during the 50’s, the Pontiac Catalina presents itself as not only a classy ride, but an affordable one as well.

Given the importance of having these sorts of vehicles to make an impressive statement during those years, the Catalina allowed motorists the chance of not only making a great impression – the car definitely has the right set of tools to manage any sort of problem one may encounter on the road during those days!

Retaining the Look

Throughout the remainder of its life, Pontiac made sure to keep up the consistent look of the Catalina’s tough (yet sleek) appearance. As such, motoring beauty has further expanded into a legend with Pontiac’s efforts, so much so that even with the discontinuance of this ride, collectors have marked the Catalina as one of the most attractive (and impressive) rides of its time.

All hail to the chief! The Pontiac Chieftain, as one of the latest automobiles released right after World War II, signified the coming of a brighter motoring era.

Beauty and Brawn

Built to last and designed to impress, the Pontiac Chieftain is a car that not only introduced impressive horsepower (for its time, which would be during the 50’s), but then impressive motoring innovations that delighted both motorists and passengers those years.

Perhaps as a precursor to infotainment (which was a delightful vacuum tube radio) features and passenger comfort facets (such as a tissue paper dispenser and seat warmers), the Chieftain definitely took on its namesake to lead cars among the pack during the yesteryears.

Marilyn Monroe, anyone?

Yet, perhaps, one of the most iconic images of the Pontiac Chieftain would be its picture with the legendary Marilyn Monroe. Now, doesn’t that mean a lot when it comes to a car?

Go for value, both in price and performance, with this compact wonder vehicle. The Pontiac Cobalt is a ride that can truly command presence and respect on the road!

Elemental Power

Citing its namesake, the Pontiac Cobalt may seem to be a simple car. But with its well-thought of features, this is a car that will deliver. Hence, it’s the ride that motorists with families may want to be in, given its no-frills features and emphasis on safety!

Not Losing on Excitement

Yet, even with its basic or simple appearance, the Cobalt can still be jazzed up to bring in some much-needed road thrills. “Sport” versions are available, with these variants introducing even more powerful engines (without losing out on fuel economy).

For a wild and exciting sports ride, look no further than the Pontiac Fiero! Conceived during the early 80’s as a two-seater powerhouse of a sports car to compete against the popular Corvette, the Fiero paved its own way (and garnered its own plethora of followers) as another hot ride to consider in motoring history.

Exotic Looks

Perhaps one of the most memorable features that anyone can remember about the Fiero is its dynamic and exciting looks. With a sleek and sharp hood coupled with hidden headlamps, the design matched up to the power it housed from within.

Wild Performance

Although the Fiero’s power may not be at par with its contemporaries, this car still has some fine features that owners can be proud of. A key feature of note is the Fiero’s suspension system – designed to perform, drivers have optimal control over this wild car!

When you say hot, the closest thing that may come to mind in the motoring industry is the Pontiac Firebird. As probably the most popular model ever to come out from Pontiac, this super beast of a muscle car is a mainstay among lists of the most famous cars in the world!

Distinct Look

One of the most appealing features that any muscle car has would be its tough yet sleek body frames. The Firebird takes this aesthetic touch a step further, with its iconic hood and headlamps.

No matter the model or variation of the Firebird, one can definitely identify the vehicle with its memorable and attractive shape!

Firebird Power

But more than its looks, the Pontiac Firebird does not lose out when dishing out some amazing horsepower. Originally built to match up against the powerful Mustang, the Firebird stands out on its own with its intimidating force from within.

Probably most known for its appearance in the hit series Breaking Bad, the Pontiac Aztek is a vehicle that definitely breaks the bad out of any SUV in the market.

It is the one that knocks

As a highlight vehicle manufactured by General Motors, this 4-door crossover SUV has the stuff that balances function and style – which, for the lack of a better term, best personifies the said TV series’ protagonist, Walter White! After all, who would have known that a beast lies within this often-underestimated ride?

More than the Blue Sky high

We just can’t stop and help ourselves in comparing the Aztek to Breaking Bad, so we’ll be sure to give you more analogies! The Pontiac Aztek dishes out the thrill benefitting of the Blue Sky hit in the show, with its (advanced during its launch, which would be sometime during the early 2000’s) innovative rapid-prototyping tech ingrained in the vehicle.

Intelligent from within, this SUV also delivers when it comes in performance: the Aztek’s spacious interior creates various space-saving solutions – just perfect for any aspiring Heisenberg of a motorist out there!

Image source: wikipedia.org

The Pontiac GTO is a car designed and manufactured by Pontiac, an American automaker. It was first released in 1964 and then its production ended in 1974. It was then transferred to Holden, another General Motors subsidiary in 2004 and it continued until 2006.

Out of the ashes rises a beautiful and powerful beast of a vehicle. And when pertaining to compact (with a touch of muscle car power) vehicles, the Pontiac Phoenix is a great example of a car that exudes the power of the mythical creature.

What’s in a Name?

As a replacement to the Pontiac’s Ventura model, this rear-wheeled compact vehicle is indeed a vast improvement. Depending on the version, Iron Duke engines were outfitted in the Phoenix, providing an impressive oomph for motorists craving for the need of speed and power.

Those Awesome Days

In production during the years of 1977 to the early 80’s, the Pontiac Phoenix may be a good representation of a car that delivers in both quality and road performance.

Not to mention, with its muscle car sensibilities, this car still delivers an edge for suburban motorists who aspire for something awesome in their lives.

Get in the flow of the amazing power of the Pontiac Torrent. Released during the 2006 to 2009 years, this General Motors SUV is an amazing vehicle that can provide both class and power for lucky owners.

Budget Power

Perhaps what makes Pontiac Torrents such a hit those years is the affordability it has compared to its contemporaries. Versus its counterparts, such as the BMW X3, the Torrent can deliver the same (if not, even more) horsepower.

Best of all, the amount of power contributed doesn’t need to be expensive – the Torrent was way more affordable than other models in its category!

Star Quality

Given the appeal it has, it came as no surprise that the Pontiac Torrent has been in the spotlight on TV history. As one of the main prizes of the Survivor series (during the TV hit’s 2005 season or run), the car is more than enough reason for participants to work hard and win the games!

Muscle car power with the added factor of a feminine touch! Perhaps this is what General Motors wanted to introduce during the late 50’s, with its ever-popular model, the Pontiac Parisienne.

The Strength of a Woman

Citing its namesake as tribute to the female gender. The Parisienne offers exlusive class and grace without losing out on the power that General Motors cars are known for.

And for a full size car, control and performance is at an optimum level, wherein even the most cautious of drivers are assured of a carefree drive in this vehicle.

A Class of its Own

Citing the impact of the Parisienne, General Motors actually dropped this model with no replacement version at all. Perhaps of its reputation as both a trusted and appealing vehicle, the Pontiac Parisienne is a definite and unique car that truly has no comparison in the industry.

For a sunny hardtop muscle car, look no further than the Pontiac Ventura! Named after the city found in California, this is one hardtop that can perfectly define the fun and exciting vibe of the place it was derived from!

True Classic

Muscle cars, and all of its other derivatives, are generally known to be collector items. For the Pontiac Ventura, the iconic and classy reputation of this line of vehicles is further excelled. With all of the key features found in a muscle car ingrained within the vehicle, the Ventura has always been destined to be a classic.

Always in Shape

True to its form in providing only the best for drivers, Pontiac made sure that each version of the Ventura would only contain the best innovations of its time. As such, owners were always happy with the integrations in the car – a solid reputation backed stronger with the classy style it exudes!

Marvin Pontiac

R&B enigma Marvin Pontiac was born Marvin Toure in Detroit on March 30, 1932 he was the son of a Jewish New Yorker mother and Malinese African father, with the latter legally changing the family's last…
Read Full Biography

Artist Biography by Jason Ankeny

R&B enigma Marvin Pontiac was born Marvin Toure in Detroit on March 30, 1932 he was the son of a Jewish New Yorker mother and Malinese African father, with the latter legally changing the family's last name to Pontiac (believing it to be a proper American surname) before abandoning his wife and child in 1934. Two years later, Pontiac's mother was institutionalized, and the boy relocated with his father to Bamako, Mali, where he absorbed the region's musical traditions before settling in Chicago at the age of 15. There he began playing the harmonica, suffering a beating at the hands of local blues legend Little Walter, who accused the teen of stealing his harp sound and signature riff. A humiliated Pontiac then hopped a bus to Lubbock, TX, where he served as a plumber's apprentice and, according to rumor, robbed a bank. He also began performing on the Louisiana-Texas club circuit.

In 1952, Pontiac signed to the Austin-based Acorn label, scoring a minor hit with the lascivious "I'm a Doggy" somehow his records also made their way to Africa, with "Pancakes" emerging as an underground smash in Nigeria. The increasingly eccentric musician's relations with Acorn owner Norman Hector quickly became strained, however, and Pontiac only agreed to re-enter the studio on the condition that the label chief mow his lawn. Despite a small but fervent fan base -- renowned painter Jackson Pollock was reportedly such an enthusiast that he sent Pontiac several paintings which the singer promptly threw out -- he receded from performing during the mid-'50s, and little is known of his subsequent activities prior to a 1963 arrest for bicycling naked through the streets of Sidell, LA.

Pontiac next resurfaced in 1970, claiming he'd been abducted by aliens a year later he returned to his native Detroit, where he was soon hospitalized in the Esmerelda State Mental Institution after creating a disturbance at a local International House of Pancakes. His behavior remained erratic until his death in June of 1977, when he was fatally struck by a bus Pontiac was just 45 years old. His cult following increased exponentially over the decades, however, and in the spring of 2000, disciple John Lurie issued Marvin Pontiac's Greatest Hits through his own Strange & Beautiful label, finally wrestling the singer's music out of the hands of record collectors and making it available to the general public for the first time. Rumors that Pontiac is but a figment of Lurie's imagination continue to swirl.

Pop Smoke

Known for his breakout single "Welcome to the Party," Brooklyn's Pop Smoke combined gravelly vocals with erratic production to become the face of Brooklyn's rising drill scene. Within just a year of his debut, he made a rapid rise in the mainstream, landing in the Top Ten with sophomore mixtape Meet the Woo, Vol. 2. Tragically, soon after achieving this chart peak, he was gunned down on February 19, 2020.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Pop Smoke (born Bashar Jackson) got his start in music almost by accident during studio sessions with various associates in 2018, Smoke secretly began to record his own vocals. Couched firmly in Brooklyn's rising drill scene, Smoke combined his booming, smoky vocals with the sonics of Chicago and London drill, producing an explosive collection of street-driven anthems. After remixing Sheff G's iconic "Panic, Pt. 3" for his debut single, "MPR," Smoke released the follow-up single "Welcome to the Party," produced by U.K. drill's 808Melo. Racking up millions of streams in just days, Smoke's track swiftly became Brooklyn drill's biggest success thus far, prompting remixes from the likes of Skepta and Nicki Minaj and bringing the local subgenre to the international stage. Capitalizing on his rapid rise, Smoke released his debut project Meet the Woo in July 2019, produced exclusively by 808Melo. After Meet the Woo spawned the second key hit "Dior," Smoke rounded out 2019 with an appearance on JackBoys, the chart-topping compilation from Travis Scott and his Cactus Jack crew.

Kicking off 2020, Smoke issued a Meet the Woo sequel featuring artists from Quavo to A Boogie wit da Hoodie. The mixtape, titled Meet the Woo, Vol. 2, continued the work of his drill-heavy debut, paying homage to the genre's U.K. roots through a Charlie Sloth freestyle while expanding on the melodic aspects of the Brooklyn scene. This project saw even greater success for the rapper, peaking at number seven on the Billboard 200 and charting across Europe. However, just weeks later on February 19, Pop Smoke was shot during a home invasion and died he was 20 years old.

In July of that year, Victor Victor and Republic issued the rapper's first posthumous release, Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon. With executive production from 50 Cent, the album touched base on a variety of styles, with features ranging across the musical spectrum, and topped the Billboard 200. A deluxe edition, with a more drill-driven approach, arrived just a few weeks later.


DeLorean was born on January 6, 1925, [3] in Detroit, Michigan, the eldest of four sons of Zachary and Kathryn (née Pribak) DeLorean. [4]

DeLorean's father was Romanian, born in Sugág village, Alsó-Fehér County, Austria-Hungary (currently Șugag, Alba County, Romania), who worked in a mill factory Zachary emigrated to the United States when he was twenty. [5] He spent time in Montana and Gary, Indiana, before moving to Michigan. By the time John was born, Zachary had found employment as a union organizer at the Ford Motor Company factory in nearby Highland Park. His poor English skills and lack of education prevented him from higher-paid work. When not required at Ford, he occasionally worked as a carpenter. [6]

DeLorean's mother was a fellow Hungarian citizen of Hungarian origin. [7] [8] [5] [9] [10] [11] She was employed at the Carboloy Products Division of General Electric throughout much of DeLorean's early life. [7] She took work wherever she could to supplement the family's income. [12] She generally tolerated certain intermittent episodes of erratic behavior by her husband, but during several of the worst times of Zachary's violent tendencies, she took her sons to live with her sister in Los Angeles, California, where they stayed for a year or so at a time. [6]

DeLorean's parents divorced in 1942. John subsequently saw little of his father, who moved into a boarding house, becoming a solitary and estranged drug addict. [13] [14]

DeLorean attended Detroit's public grade schools and was then accepted into Cass Technical High School, a technical high school for Detroit's honor students, where he signed up for the electrical curriculum. DeLorean found the Cass experience exhilarating, and he excelled at his studies. [15] His academic record and musical talents earned him a scholarship at Lawrence Institute of Technology in the Detroit suburb of Highland Park (today known as Lawrence Technological University and located in Southfield). The small college was the alma mater of some of the automobile industry's best engineers. [15] At Lawrence, he excelled in the study of industrial engineering and was elected to the school's honor society. [ citation needed ]

World War II interrupted his studies. In 1943, DeLorean was drafted for military service and served three years in the U.S. Army [16] and received an honorable discharge. He returned to Detroit to find his mother and siblings in economic difficulty. He worked as a draftsman for the Public Lighting Commission for a year and a half to improve his family's financial status, then returned to Lawrence to finish his degree. [13]

While back in college, he worked part-time at Chrysler and at a local body shop, foreshadowing his later contributions to the automotive industry. DeLorean graduated in 1948 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering. [ citation needed ]

Instead of immediately entering the engineering workforce after earning his degree, DeLorean sold life insurance. He developed an analytical system aimed at engineers and sold "about $850,000 worth of policies in ten months". [17] However, he found the work boring and moved on to work for the Factory Equipment Corporation. DeLorean states in his autobiography that he sold life insurance to improve his communication skills. [18] Both endeavors were successful financially, but these areas held little interest for DeLorean. A foreman at Chrysler's engineering garage recommended that DeLorean apply for work at Chrysler and DeLorean agreed. Chrysler ran a post-graduate educational facility named the Chrysler Institute of Engineering, which allowed DeLorean to advance his education while gaining real-world experience in automotive engineering. [18]

He briefly attended the Detroit College of Law, but did not graduate. In 1952, DeLorean graduated from the Chrysler Institute with a master's degree in Automotive Engineering and joined Chrysler's engineering team. DeLorean attended night classes at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business to earn credits for his MBA degree, which he completed in 1957. [ citation needed ]

Packard Motor Company Edit

DeLorean's time at Chrysler lasted less than a year, ending in 1953 when he was offered a salary of US$14,000 (equivalent to US$135,420 in 2020) at Packard Motor Company under the supervision of the engineer Forest McFarland. DeLorean quickly gained the attention of his new employer with an improvement to the Ultramatic automatic transmission, giving it an improved torque converter and dual-drive ranges it was launched as the "Twin-Ultramatic". [19]

Packard was experiencing financial difficulties when DeLorean joined, because of the changing post-World War II automotive market. While Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler had begun producing affordable mainstream products designed to cater to the rising postwar middle class, Packard clung to their pre-World War II era notions of high-end, precisely engineered luxury cars. This exclusive philosophy was to take its toll on profitability. However, it proved to have a positive effect on DeLorean's attention to engineering detail, and after four years at Packard he became McFarland's successor as head of research and development. [20]

While still a profitable company, Packard suffered alongside other independents as it struggled to compete when Ford and General Motors engaged in a price war. James Nance, president of Packard, decided to merge the company with Studebaker Corporation in 1954. A subsequent proposed merger with American Motors Corporation (AMC) never passed the discussion phase. [21] DeLorean considered keeping his job and moving to Studebaker headquarters in South Bend, Indiana, when he received a call from Oliver K. Kelley, vice president of engineering at General Motors, a man whom DeLorean greatly admired. Kelley called to offer DeLorean his choice of a job in any of five divisions of GM. [22]

General Motors Edit

Pontiac Edit

In 1956, DeLorean accepted a salary offer of US$16,000 (equivalent to US$152,304 in 2020) with a bonus program, choosing to work at GM's Pontiac division as an assistant to chief engineer Pete Estes and general manager Semon "Bunkie" Knudsen. Knudsen was the son of the former president of GM, William Knudsen, who was called away from his post to head the war mobilization production effort at the request of President Roosevelt. [22] Knudsen was also an MIT engineering graduate, and at 42 he was the youngest man to head a division of GM. DeLorean and Knudsen quickly became close friends, and DeLorean eventually cited Knudsen as a major influence and mentor. DeLorean's years of engineering at Pontiac were successful, producing dozens of patented innovations for the company, and in 1961 he was promoted to the position of division chief engineer. [16]

DeLorean was widely known at Pontiac for the Pontiac GTO (Gran Turismo Omologato), a muscle car named after the Ferrari 250 GTO. As a slightly bigger Chevrolet, the Pontiac brand reached third place in total annual industry sales in the United States. To highlight the performance emphasis of the brand, the GTO debuted as a Tempest/LeMans option package with a larger and more powerful engine in 1964. This marked the beginning of Pontiac's renaissance as GM's performance division instead of its previous position with no clear brand identity.

The car and its popularity continued to grow in the following years. [23] DeLorean received almost total credit for its success – conceptualizing, engineering, and marketing – becoming the golden boy of Pontiac, and was rewarded with his 1965 promotion to head the entire Pontiac division. [16]

At the age of 40, DeLorean had broken the record for youngest division head at GM and was determined to continue his string of successes. Adapting to the frustrations that he perceived in the executive offices was a difficult transition for him. DeLorean believed there was an undue amount of infighting at GM between division heads, and several of Pontiac's advertising campaign themes met with internal resistance, such as the "Tiger" campaign used to promote the GTO and other Pontiac models in 1965 and 1966. In addition, there was Ed Cole's decision to ban multiple carburetors, a method of enhancing engine performance used by Pontiac since 1956, starting with two 4-barrel carburetors ("2x4 bbl") and Tri-Power (three 2-barrel carburetors ("3x2 bbl")) since 1957.

In response to the "pony car" market dominated by the wildly successful Ford Mustang, DeLorean asked GM executives for permission to market a smaller version of the Pontiac Banshee show car for 1966. DeLorean's version was rejected because of GM's concern that his design would take away sales from the Corvette, their flagship performance vehicle. Their focus was on the new Camaro design. Pontiac developed its version, and the Firebird was introduced for the 1967 model year.

Shortly after the Firebird's introduction, DeLorean turned his attention to the development of an all-new Grand Prix, the division's personal luxury car based on the full-sized Pontiac line since 1962. Sales were sagging by this time, however, but the 1969 model would have its own distinct body shell with drivetrain and chassis components from the intermediate-sized Pontiac A-body (Tempest, LeMans, GTO). DeLorean knew Pontiac Division couldn't finance the new car alone, so he went to his former boss Pete Estes and asked to share the cost of development with Pontiac, having a one-year exclusivity before Chevrolet would release the 1970 Monte Carlo. The deal was done. The 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix featured sharp bodylines and a 6-foot-long (1.8 m) hood. The interior included a wraparound cockpit-style instrument panel, bucket seats and center console. The new model offered a sportier, high performance, somewhat smaller, and lower-priced alternative to the other personal luxury cars then on the market, such as the Ford Thunderbird, Buick Riviera, Lincoln Continental Mark III, and Oldsmobile Toronado. The 1969 Grand Prix production ended up at over 112,000 units, far higher than the 32,000 1968 Grand Prix units built from the full-sized Pontiac body. [ citation needed ]

During his time at Pontiac, DeLorean had begun to enjoy the freedom and celebrity that came with his position and spent a good deal of his time traveling to locations around the world to support promotional events. His frequent public appearances helped to solidify his image as a "rebel" corporate businessman with his trendy dress style and casual banter. [ citation needed ]

Even as General Motors experienced revenue declines, Pontiac remained highly profitable under DeLorean, and despite his growing reputation as a corporate maverick, on February 15, 1969, he was again promoted. This time it was to head up the prestigious Chevrolet division, General Motors' flagship marque.

Chevrolet Edit

By this time, DeLorean earned an annual salary of US$200,000 (equivalent to US$1,411,434 in 2020), with yearly bonuses of up to US$400,000 (equivalent to US$2,822,868 in 2020). He was ubiquitous in popular culture. At a time when business executives were typically conservative, low-key individuals in three-piece suits, DeLorean wore long sideburns and unbuttoned shirts. [24] He invited Ford president Lee Iacocca to serve as best man at his second wedding. [ citation needed ]

DeLorean was a limited partner in a pair of American professional sports franchises. The first was the San Diego Chargers, as part of a syndicate led by Gene Klein and Sam Schulman that bought controlling interest for $10 million in August 1966. [25] [26] The other was the New York Yankees, of which he was one of fifteen investors led by George Steinbrenner and Michael Burke, who completed the purchase from CBS for $10 million on January 3, 1973. [27] [28]

DeLorean continued his jet-setting lifestyle and was often seen hanging out in business and entertainment celebrity circles. He became friends with James T. Aubrey, president of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, and was introduced to celebrities such as financier Kirk Kerkorian, Chris-Craft chairman Herb Siegel, entertainer Sammy Davis Jr., and The Tonight Show host Johnny Carson. [ citation needed ]

The executive offices of General Motors headquarters continued to clash with DeLorean's nonconformity. When he was appointed, Chevrolet was having financial and organizational troubles, and GM president Ed Cole needed a manager in that position to sort things out. The new model Camaro was due out for the 1970 model year, and it was rapidly falling behind schedule. Redesigns for the Corvette and Nova were also delayed, and unit sales had still not recovered from the past four years of turmoil, much of that because of the bad publicity surrounding the Corvair and well-publicized quality-control issues affecting other Chevy models, including defective motor mounts that led to an unprecedented recall of 6.7 million Chevrolets built between 1965 and 1969. DeLorean responded to the production problems by delaying the release of the Camaro and simplifying the modifications to the Corvette and Nova. He used the extra time to streamline Chevrolet's production overhead and reduce assembly costs. By 1971, Chevrolet was experiencing record sales in excess of 3 million vehicles, and his division alone was nearly matching that of the entire Ford Motor Company. [ citation needed ]

The Vega was assigned to Chevrolet by corporate management, specifically by GM president Ed Cole, just weeks before DeLorean's 1969 arrival as Chevrolet division's general manager. In a Motor Trend interview in August 1970, DeLorean said, "Vega will be the highest quality product ever built by Chevrolet." [29] By DeLorean's orders, dozens of extra inspectors were assigned to the Vega assembly line and the first two thousand cars were road-tested. He stated, "the first cars, from a manufacturing standpoint, were well built." But in 1972, General Motors Assembly Division (GMAD) took over the Chevrolet Lordstown assembly plant and adjoining Fisher body plant. Their main goal was to cut costs and more than 800 workers were laid off, many of whom were additional inspectors. This led to assembly-line vandalism, with workers intentionally slowing the line, leaving off parts and installing others improperly. Incomplete and often non-functioning cars soon filled the factory lot, which then had to be reprocessed and repaired by a team assigned to this task by DeLorean. A one-month strike followed, and dealers did not receive enough cars for the demand in 1972. DeLorean regrouped for the 1973 model year with Vega sales of 395,792. The one-millionth Vega was built in May 1973, a month after DeLorean's GM resignation. [30]

In 1972, DeLorean was appointed to the position of vice president of car and truck production for the entire General Motors line, [16] and his eventual rise to president seemed inevitable. However, the idea of him assuming that position was almost intolerable to GM executives, and on April 2, 1973, he announced that he was leaving the company, telling the press, "I want to do things in the social area. I have to do them, and unfortunately the nature of our business just didn't permit me to do as much as I wanted." However, it had been rumored that he had been fired. [24] GM gave him a Florida Cadillac franchise as a retirement gift, [23] and DeLorean took over the presidency of The National Alliance of Businessmen, a charitable organization with the mission of employing Americans in need, founded by Lyndon Johnson and Henry Ford II. GM was a major contributor to the group and agreed to continue his salary while he remained president of NAB. [ citation needed ]

DeLorean was sharply critical of the direction GM had taken by the start of the 1970s, as well as objecting to the idea of using rebates to sell cars:

"There's no forward response at General Motors to what the public wants today. A car should make people's eyes light up when they step into the showroom. Rebates are merely a way of convincing customers to buy bland cars they're not interested in." [24]

Watch the video: The Life and Death of Pontiac: RCR Car Stories (January 2022).