What to do......? Then a light bulb goes off in your head..... "Hey, wait.... doesn't Pontiac have an 800 number....? BINGO!"
Good luck, buddy......
A call to Pontiac's Customer Service Center might net you a copy of the car's invoice, but when it arrived, you'd find all of the pertinent pricing information crossed out..... or, if copied by an overzealous employee, you might get (as I did for one of my older cars several years ago) the entire sheet blacked out. But for the most part, a car's information couldn't be tracked unless you had the paperwork or could get in contact with the car's previous owner(s).
Today, virtually any Pontiac's documentation is a snap to obtain, thanks largely to one particular service: Pontiac Historic Services of Sterling Heights, Michigan. The brainchild of Jim Mattison, noted Pontiac historian, PHS can for a small fee of $35.00 research the VIN of any Pontiac built from the late 1950s to models produced up to ten years prior to the current model year, i.e. 2000....1990. Models produced since the cut-off year (1990) are still referenced and researched by Pontiac and its Customer Service Center, free of charge.
So, what do you get for the $35.00 fee, you ask? To be sure, a lot of stuff that you won't be able to get anywhere else, that's for sure. Just about anything you would want to know about your car will be included. Let's just cut to the chase, shall we? Here's a shot of the complete package:
As you can see, it is quite a complete package that PHS compiles for each car; the one illustrated here is for our Gunmetal 1988
GTA. There's a little bit of everything in here..... and it's all good. Now for a closer look......
The package is fronted by a nice, professional-looking cover letter from PHS which describes the packet, its contents, and also has a few tips for decoding the build sheets on some older Pontiac models. The next sheet is this:
Aha......! Now we're getting somewhere. The first sheet you'll see is the copy of your car's official factory invoice. All copies of invoices are made from the best example that PHS can find in Pontiac's files. All the pertinent information is present and most of the specific information about your car is highlighted. The next sheet (not pictured) is a copy of the order sheet for that particular year, with copies of the interior colors and equipment levels attached as well.
Also included next is a copy of Pontiac's official photo for the model and year your car was produced; this is an extra nice inclusion, as these photos are extremely hard to find nowadays.
Another addition to the package is the appropriate Pontiac press release that corresponds with the model and year of your car. Each year Pontiac sends out a press release to the media that covers each model in detail; the photo above shows the release for the 1988 Firebirds.
Also included in the packet is a listing of production totals of the model specified; the other sheet(s) are instructions on the steps to take when storing a car, either short or long term, and the steps to take to put it back on the road after the storage period is over. The photo above shows these items.
The largest single inclusion in the package is pictured above: the Vehicle Specification package that is submitted to the federal government in order to obtain certification for each model year. Everything about your car is included in this pamphlet; event the most minute facts and specs are listed.
These sheets are in reference to PHS's latest addition to their list of available items: authentic Pontiac window sticker reproductions. Available at extra cost, these are exact duplicates of the original window stickers, right down to the type fonts and all. Here's a shot of the '88 GTA's sticker:
This new feature offered by PHS is a great development for Pontiac collectors and enthusiasts alike. The price for each window sticker is $28.00; additional copies of a car's sticker are available at a reduced cost, and lamination of the sticker is another extra cost option.
Rounding out the package, naturally, is a pitch for Pontiac's current models. PHS includes a new model Pontiac catalog in every package they send out, along with various other items of information and interest to the Pontiac enthusiast. Here's a shot of the new catalogs and other items:
So, as you can plainly see, the Pontiac Historic Services packet provides a lot of information on a particular car that is not available anywhere else; their individual service is the envy of the automotive industry. No other marque's history is maintained like Pontiac's, and PHS, while not actively owned or affiliated with Pontiac, does more to preserve this history than any other company or institution in existence today.
Through the activities of PHS, virtually any Pontiac owner can now know all the information that the factory had on their car when it was new. For those of us collectors and enthusiasts who really love our cars, it is an invaluable service indeed.
Click here to visit PHS's official web site, and to learn more about how you can get your own car's PHS information packet on its way to your door right now!