Pete Estes

ER Classics Desktop 2022

The muscle man

Now the enthusiasm for the muscle car is growing nicely - because, say, what's better than a thick, pounding and roaring V8? - It might be nice to know who was at the cradle of all that violence at Pontiac. 

Least known

Three men are actually responsible for that powerhouse, of which Elliot Marantette is 'Pete' Estes, perhaps the least known of that triumvirate. His colleague Bunkie Knudsen was already a legend during his life, while John DeLorean actually was, or became later in his life because of all the scandals surrounding the DeLorean sports car.

Charles F. Kettering

Pete Estes achieved the most, he made it the highest boss at General Motors. In the sixties he played a key role at Pontiac. Two decades earlier he made a name for himself at Oldsmobile where he collaborated with, among others, the fascinating Charles F. Kettering. This applies as the inventor - and patent holder - of the electric starter, as already mounted in 1912 on the then Cadillac. He was also the one who discovered a glossy lacquer on a drawer at a jeweler in New York, which in turn led to the next invention of 'spraying' such lacquer. The Duco company grew up with it! Estes learned a lot from Kettering, so they built the legendary Oldsmobile Rocket V8 engine together. After leading Pontiac full of fire for five years, he took control of the GM department at Knudsen's departure in 1961. In just four years he managed to give Pontiac a sporty image. Think of lightweight (...) specials such as the Super-Duty Catalina 421 from 1962 and 1963, with which Pontiac's PR man Jim Wangers set world times on the drag strip. Such a same car could also simply be purchased in the store ... Then Estes also gave the GTO the light of day ...

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