As the United States was coming out of the economic devastation of the Great Depression, car buyers were seeking much more utility and value for their money than ever before, and found it in the 1935-1936 Pontiac. A more conservative, more practical mindset was now the order of the day. Closed cars were far more frequently ordered than open body styles, as were engines of smaller displacements, usually sixes.

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Pontiac's new design (seen here on a 1936 Pontiac) was Art-Deco inspired.
Pontiac's new design (seen here on a 1936 Pontiac)
was Art-Deco inspired. See more pictures of classic cars.

With the market focus on these specific qualities, Pontiac found itself in a remarkably good position when the new 1935 models appeared in showrooms in late 1934.

As they were in the low end of the medium-price field, Pontiacs generally cost more than the typical Ford, Chevrolet, Plymouth, or Willys. Still, they were affordable for many people and represented an excellent value.

Seen in the context of the time, the 1935-1936 Pontiacs were in an interesting "in-between" period in the evolution of the marque.

Before them had come a line of eight-cylinder-only cars with a European-influenced exterior design, fabric inserts for the tops of closed bodies, and a Dubonnet independent front-suspension system. After them would come a more modern chassis and all-steel body construction.

This interim generation had several unique features that separated it from the cars that came before. Most obvious was the exterior design. Like its predecessor, the new design was the brainchild of Franklin Q. Hershey, a Californian who was a designer for coachbuilder Walter Murphy, and more recently had come over from Hudson.

To learn about the styling of the 1935-1936 Pontiac, see the next page.

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