THE ORIGIN OF THE BRAND:
Ponni Motors Corporation (POMOCO) was founded in 1943 by a group of Italian industrial engineers, established somewhere in the state of Michigan, United States of America.
The brand was born with the objective of making economic cars for the people after the World War II, and to compete with the biggest automobile makers like GM, Ford and Chrysler.
https://i.imgur.com/zdkZjjO.png Photo taken in front of the brand-new factory, 1946.
• FIRST ATTEMPT: (1948-1952, USA)
A year after the war, POMOCO opened their first factory, and in 1948, after three years of investment and development the company released it’s first car, the Ponni 8-Luxe. A sedan that sported a brand-new 280ci V8 engine.
https://i.imgur.com/Emy9gEw.png • Ponni 8-Luxe
The car’s most prominent features were its low fuel consumption (26mpg), decent power (140bhp), loads of torque at low RPM (145ft-lb @500RPM - 221ft-lb @1900RPM) and a decent top speed (99mph). And of course,
a competitive price.
However the car had no chance and sold poorly in its four years in the market, only covering one third of the expected sales. Mainly because the three giants were well-established in the country and the public preferred
their more comfortable, reliable, better equipped and nicer looking cars.
And if it wasn’t enough, in 1952, the excess of stock forced the company to lower the price of the car by a 15 percent to cover the costs of maintenance and to be able to pay the employees.
All of these problems almost led the company to bankruptcy; but they still had one ace up their sleeve.
• SECOND ATTEMPT: (1959-1966, USA)
In 1953, one year after the Ponni 8-Luxe poor sales, the company began to create a more modern platform for a full-size sedan with the middle-upper class clients in sight.
Just when everybody thought POMOCO was gone forever, the company revealed in January of 1959 the Ponni Sportsbarge in this singular ad:
The ad created such a hype that when the car was released two months later, in March, it sold well over the brand’s expectatives.
The car was offered with a new 285ci V8 engine. It made a respectable power of 186bhp and a high 265ft-lb of torque, all of that with a reasonable fuel consumption of 19.6mpg, thanks mainly to its manually operated 4 speed-w/overdrive transmission and a meager 3620lb ready-to-run weight.
https://i.imgur.com/IcUP61l.png • Ponni Sportsbarge
The car’s journalists praised its awesome ride comfort, highlighting the softness of the engine and its power and torque delivery at low RPM. But hated the lack of an automatic transmission.
These critics kept the car selling well and the public loved it’s design.
In 1962, a few years after it’s release, the brand started to offer a 3-speed automatic transmission and a lower trim version of the Sportsbarge, named Litebarge to cover a wider range of clients. It featured the same V8 engine but detuned to 158bhp and 240lb-ft of torque, and a more basic equipment.
The 1965’s version of the car was sold with some minor body changes, featuring a reworked interior and a more powerfull version of the 285ci V8 engine.
In 1966, POMOCO ceased the production of the Sportsbarge, due to it not meeting the basic safety requirements.
• GOING CHEAPER AND FURTHER: (1963-1975, USA & EUROPE)
Thanks to the Sportsbarge’s instant success in the US market, POMOCO wanted to expand their operational area and to cover a wider range of customers, in this case, the lower-mid class.
The Ponni Ainbarg 1100 was born in the late 1963s with that idea on mind. It featured a lightweight fiberglass body, a 4-speed manual transmission and a tiny 1099cc (67ci) OHV inline-4 engine, power and torque were rated at 48bhp and 58.1ft-lb, respectively. The car got a good fuel consumption of only 27.1mpg, thanks to its low curb weight of only 1450lb.
https://i.imgur.com/rsqGQvm.png • Ponni Ainbarg 1100
The car was available on the USA first and later in a few Southamerican and European markets, were it become most popular and better received, as it was used as a base-car for rallying.
However, the car didn’t last much in North America, due to its lack of basic safety and got retired from the market in the early 1966s. But in Europe, it was another story, more and more people became fans of this particular model, in just a few years there were some rally-series born were only these cars were allowed to compete.
POMOCO took advantage of this situation and started to offer different trims in the late 1969s, like the nimble City 800 and the mighty Rally 1300s, e.g. This was possible due to the migration of the company to the European market.
Finally, the Ainbarg got discontinued in the 1975 after the people seemed to lose their interest in it because of the release of the second generation Ainbarg.
• A CHANGE OF AIR: (1964-1969)
At a time where the Big Three were disputing the title for the biggest and most popular automaker of the USA. POMOCO was having a tough time trying to sell their products, when some of the most famous motor test magazines popularly named their cars: “coffin on wheels”, which really were, these had almost no crumple zones and lacked overall body strength.
These declarations really influenced the people, the cars’ sales decreased a 32 percent in 1964 over last year’s sales. This continued with 1965 being 26 percent and 1966 being 61 percent.
These poor sales almost led the brand to a second possible bankruptcy, being saved only by the fact that the company sold their factories to Chrysler.
This situation determined the leaving of POMOCO from the USA to later establish themselves in Europe, where their cars were a success.
In 1967 the CEO Marcello Ponni ordered to build 6 factories, which were distributed all over the continent. All of these were opened in 1969.
• THE AFFORDABLE SPORTSCAR: (1974-1981, EUROPE)
The company realized in the early 70s that the hype for the Ainbarg wasn’t going to last much longer, and started developing a car with a similar but at the same time different concept in mind.
In 1974 the Ponni Ainbarg II saw the light, a safer and more balanced car than its last generation. It was destined to compete with the second generation Ford Escort and Opel Kadett C in Europe.
Initially the car offered a 1.3l OHV I4 engine rated at 66bhp and 66ft-lb of torque, which was capable of delivering 27.3mpg due to its more aerodynamic shape and low weight (1800lbs).
https://i.imgur.com/SBH9lSN.png • Ponni Ainbarg II
In 1975 the car was selling well, but the fans of the brand were asking for a sportier version of the car. POMOCO answered with the RS1700.
It featured a 1.7l OHV I4 engine, which gave 86bhp and 80ft-lb of torque for roughly the same weight (1860lbs), all of this gave it a respectable 110mph top speed. The car’s interior remained the same, but the exterior revealed new air vents for the brakes, four headlights, a lip in the front bumper, a spoiler in the back and a new exhaust tip.
https://i.imgur.com/XYNmslm.png • Ponni Ainbarg II RS1700
In 1979, in a way to celebrate 5 years since the launch of the second generation of the car POMOCO launched the RS2100, a 500 units limited edition. A 154bhp and 134lb-ft of torque monster capable of rocket itself from “nor to 60” in a supercar-territory of 7,6 seconds until reaching a 130mph top speed.
This edition featured a reworked front bumper with three grilles just above the aerodynamic lip, a set of taller and wider racing wheels and a pair of side vents for the brakes. Also, a 5-speed manual transmission was equipped in the last 100 units of the car.
https://i.imgur.com/oV4PYCX.png • Ponni Ainbarg II RS2100
Despite the Ainbarg II being a commercial success for POMOCO, it was outsold by the Escort since its launch by a 15 to 1 relation, mainly because it was more expensive and there were less aftermarket racing parts available for it. Also, it didn’t enjoy any important success in the world of rally, but not because it was a bad car, it was because the Escort was better in all the ways, its six consecutive years of winning in rally clearly confirm that.
A MATTER OF GENERATIONS: (1982-1989, EUROPE)
With the rising demand of the fans for a new generation of the successful Ainbarg II, POMOCO thought it was time to make a completely renovated car.
In 1979 the develop of this new car started. It was first going to feature a 1.6l OHC I4, but the engineers thought it wasn’t enough. So a more advanced 2.0l I4 took its place.
The car got unveiled in the 1981 Geneva Motor Show as the Ainbarg III, the fans of the brand were taken by surprise because of its highly aerodynamic shape (for its era) and its sporty look.
It was shown with a 2.0l DOHC 16V I4 engine, the same one that a year later went into production. It was capable of developing 130bhp and 113ft-lb of torque, even while fitting a three-way catalytic converter.
Most of the people expected the car to have a tinier engine as an entry-level other than the 2 liter, but they were wrong. POMOCO thought it was unnecesary to have a smaller entry-level engine, so they didn’t offered one.
In 1982, the car was only offered with the 2 liter engine and competed with the 2.3l V6 engined Sierra. It had a 2100lb curb weight and gave back an impressive 36mpg.
https://i.imgur.com/aEqmpiF.png • Ponni Ainbarg III 2.0l
In 1983, in order to compete with the new Sierra XR4i, POMOCO started to offer a new version of the car fitted with a 3.0l DOHC 16V I6 engine fed by a couple of four-barrel carburetors. It also featured more complete equipment and a reworked exterior.
This new engine produced 195bhp and 171ft-lb of torque, which gave the car the capability of reaching an impressive top speed of 155mph, just after getting from 0 to 60 in 7.4s.
https://i.imgur.com/kqSDYVz.png • Ponni Ainbarg III 3.0l
Sorry for my poor English, I’m Argentinian.
However, I hope you enjoyed it.