1935 Pontiac

The 1935 Pontiac featured fenders that were larger and more rounded than before. As in 1933-1934, though, they were stamped with horizontal "speedlines" just behind the wheel openings.

The 1935 Pontiac seemed to anticipate buyer's needs post-Depression.
The 1935 Pontiac seemed to anticipate buyer's
needs post-Depression.

Full use of "suicide" doors on every model was a new -- and somewhat retrograde -- feature; rear-hinged doors were falling out of favor and Pontiac had previously used them only at the rear of four-door sedans.

Split windshields were also used for the first time in 1935 to create a vee effect, and they would remain through 1952.

The body itself was a more modern and streamlined design than before. Dimensions would vary by body style and chassis, but there was a basic continuity in terms of general shape, running boards, rear fenders, and bumpers. All Pontiacs were based on the General Motors "A" Body, which was shared with Chevrolet.

While the 1935 Pontiac's look was all new, its construction details still had much in common with its predecessors. Fisher Body's all-steel "turret top" for coupes and sedans was a definite advancement over the previous fabric roof panels, but bodies still derived much of their structure from wooden inner framing, as was the norm in those days.

Though lightweight and initially quite sturdy, wood was prone to rotting over time, which reduced rigidity. This situation would cause such maladies as sagging doors and weather-sealing problems, to say nothing of diminished crash safety.

Like the exteriors, the interiors of six- and eight-cylinder models shared the same basic layouts. Differences included fabrics, control knobs, and the choice of bench or bucket seats.

There were significant differences on the mechanical side as well. A new L-head six-cylinder engine was released to help Pontiac compete in the lower-price brackets. It was designed by chief engineer Benjamin H. Anibal and shared nothing with Pontiac's previous sixes, which were produced from 1926-1932.

The new six was similar to the Pontiac straight eight in a variety of details and was a related design, though it was not simply an eight with two cylinders chopped off. It was thoroughly conventional in design, though well-built and very durable, due in no small part to its four main bearings and fully counterweighted crankshaft.

The six's cylinders were larger than the eight's, with a bore of 3.38 inches and a stroke of 3.88 inches. This compared to the eight's 3.19-inch bore and 3.50-inch stroke. As a result, the displacement of the six was not much smaller than that of the eight: 208 cubic inches versus 223 for the eight.

With a single-barrel Carter carburetor and a 6.2:1 compression ratio, the new six made 80 bhp at 3600 rpm. This was remarkably close to the eight's 84 bhp at 3800 rpm, also developed with 6.2:1 compression and a single-barrel Carter carburetor.

The inline eight was only in its third year of production, but had already received upgrades. A revised intake manifold and a new version of the "GMR" cylinder head (developed by General Motors Research, hence the name) was adopted in 1934, adding seven horsepower to the engine's original output. For 1935, new micropolished rod and main bearings provided additional durability to an engine already noted for its toughness.

For more on the 1935 Pontiac's mechanics, continue on to the next page.

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