Royal Pontiac: The original GM performance parts dealer


As the 1950s drew to a close, Pontiac Motor Division was evolving its “grandpa” image to a younger man’s brand. The new general manager, Semon “Bunkie” Knudsen, and his well-assembled team of engineers had developed a highly competitive racing program, which included NASCAR and was growing into NHRA. To support this highly successful program, Pontiac engineers had created a full catalog of special factory racing parts.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/02/19/royal-pontiac


The Royal story is not complete without mentioning Jim Wangers
participation .Jim worked for McManus John and Adams, Pontiac’s ad agency was was instrumental in the Royal team, often actually doing most of the driving on the drag strips. I think Milt would agree.
Bill Collins


First of Bill it is an honor to have Pontiac Royalty such as yourself comment on our Pontiac story! You are so correct Jim Wangers had a pivital role in the Royal Pontiac Story. Honestly is there anything Jim didn’t do to help promote Pontiac?! We will be talking about Jim more in depth and of course your role in the origin of the GTO in 1964 in a future article!


Used to do real well with Pontiac’s in So Cal in the later '60’s-mid '70’s: '67 GTO HO, '70 GTO RA IV and '70 TA RA V. They were fantastic cars, with looks, class, quality and excellent performance. They were at the top tier of performance cars of their day. Too bad that Ed Cole had a seemingly hatred of Pontiac and only wanted Chevy to be THE performance division of GM. So Chevy got all the funds they wanted for performance while Pontiac had to scrounge and hide their engineering projects. Still, PMD did very good with what they had. Loved them…still do. Hope to have a Pontiac engine powered project sometime in the future.


Why didn’t Royal Pontiac have a 1963 Swiss Cheese Catalina if they were PMD performance dealership. Packer Pontiac, largest Pontiac dealership in the USA who was a few miles down the road had one.


In 65, I had my GTO running in the 12s, after blueprinting,& balancing, with the help of Royal’s head gaskets, & rocker arm lock nuts. Set the East Coast Drag news record with it.