The following is text from Wikipedia as last modified on August 11, 2010, at 02:50.
Pontiac introduced the Astre, a rebadged variant of the Vega, in Canada September, 1972. Marketed for the 1973–74 model years, the Astre featured Pontiac's trademark split grill, emblems, steering wheel, and re-styled taillights (notchback and hatchback). The Astre was introduced in the US September 1974 as a 1975 model, giving Pontiac dealers a needed fuel efficient subcompact.
The Astre used the Vega 140 cu in (2.3 L) engine through 1976. Transmissions are the 3 and 4-speed manual, 5-speed manual with overdrive (1976–77 option) and the 3-speed automatic. SJ models, optional on hatchback and wagon, feature soft nylon upholstery, cut pile carpeting, padded and cloth covered door panels, and a fabric headliner, plus rally instruments, the two barrel engine, four-speed or automatic (over a 3-speed manual) gearbox and radial tires. A GT package was optional for the hatchback and wagon.
A unique package was offered in 1975. Dubbed the Lil wide track it was the creation of Jerry Juska of Dymar who created the package to help in the slumping sales of the Astre. Juska took his ideas to Dave Landrith of Motortown corporation who specialized in custom auto work. The package included a front air dam, rear spoiler, appliance wire mag rims, window louvers, a chrome exhaust tip, and bright stripe decals for the hood, body sides, rear spoiler, door handles, and wheel centers. They assembled a couple of cars in Jan and Feb, 1975 and took pictures to local Detroit dealers where the package gained acceptance. Dealers liked the car and started ordering .. The package added a little over $400 to the price of the Astre but dealers felt the difference in looks was worth the price. Production was switched from an old warehouse in suburban Detroit to a factory beside the Lordstown Vega/Astre plant. An estimated 3000 Lil Wide track Astres were ordered by dealerships,, and eventually the package components were offered as a dealer installed kit.
Pontiac introduced the 151 CID (2.5 L) OHV "Iron-Duke" inline-4 engine for the 1977 model year. An updated version of Chevy's Nova engine last offered in 1970, the Astre used the engine for its final year. A new vertical design grill was used and Aluminum wheels (13") were a new option. Astre Formula was introduced, which included the handling package, chrome valve cover, three-piece spoiler, Formula T/A steering wheel and special decals.
Car and Driver in a 1975 Astre road test, said, "For $180 over the price of a Vega, the Astre features upgraded interior trim-primarily the items for which Chevrolet charges $134 in their custom interior. You also have the opportunity to go one big step up in luxury if you choose the SJ line which is available in hatchback and wagon body styles."
Car and Driver in a 1977 Astre road test, said, "The Astre is the Vega-polished and refined and significantly improved, but still a Vega in perhaps its ultimate state of development..It remained for Pontiac to do what Chevrolet probably should have done in the first place: the substitution of the marvelous old Chevy II cast-iron four-cylinder econo-motor for the much-troubled aluminum-block Vega engine. Sliding in and starting the engine was a revelation because its so quiet and smooth compared to the Vega. Also the Astre's interior trim was judged more plush than Vega's."
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View photo of 1973 Pontiac Astre - 188KB
View photo of 1975 Pontiac Astre - 1,087KB
|1971-1975 Pontiac Astre photographed in Montreal, Quebec, Canada at Gibeau Orange Julep.|
Photo by Bull-Doser
June 13, 2007
View photo of Pontiac Astre - 98KB
|Been a while since I've seen one of these - Pontiac's version of the Vega - the Astre. In cool 70s orange too.|
Photo by dave_7
April 19, 2009
View photo of Pontiac Astre - 1,384KB
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