Sometimes, slapping a famed name on a not so great car isn’t enough to pull buyers in. But, General Motors tried the approach with the 1988 Pontiac LeMans.
Unlike the LeMans that came before it, the new LeMans was not a large four- or two-door car; it was a small two-door hatchback with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine good for 96 horsepower in its most sporting GSE trim. The car even received Recaro-style seats.
The ad proclaimed affordable thrills with standard equipment aplenty, but the car was immediately tarnished with reports of poor quality. The LeMans was actually a rebadged Daewoo LeMans, itself based on the Opel Kadett at the time. Sales died, and the LeMans died with the fact. The car went away after only a handful of model years in 1993.
It’s actually not a terrible looking car, but it hardly fit Pontiac’s “We Build Excitement” tagline. However, it wouldn’t be the last time a foreign GM brand would attempt to save Pontiac. We all know how it ended with the Holden-sourced G8, though.