On This Day, April 27th

1. 2009: GM officially announces that it plans to discontinue the Pontiac brand

PHOTO: caranddriver

PHOTO: caranddriver

On this day, General Motors officially announces that they plan on discontinuing the Pontiac brand due to economic hardships the company had been suffering the previous couple of years. Pontiac was one of the originating car companies back in 1907 and had been going strong for almost a hundred years. There was a time when Pontiac stood for muscle cars and big bold engines. But as time when on Pontiac started to take a turn for the worse. The last 10 years or more they started selling re-badges Chevrolet vehicles sometimes at a cheaper price than the Chevy’s themselves. So not only was Pontiac non profitable for the last few years of its life, but it also cost GM money when people would by Pontiac versus the Chevy’s the vehicle was based off. Interestingly about a month later General Motors filed what would be the fourth largest bankruptcy in his American History.

2. 1956: Rocky Marciano decides to end his career at the top

Rocky Marciano was the only heavyweight boxer to finish his career undefeated with a 49-0 record with 43 of those wins by knockout. And to think, he wanted to be a baseball player, he had a dream of playing professional baseball just like every other kid in America. But when he returned from serving in the U.S. Army in 1946 he actually went and tried out for the Chicago Cubs. As you can probably guess things didn’t go so well for him at the tryouts so Marciano went back to what he knew he was good at: boxing. He had boxed in the army to get out of kitchen duty but realized he was a natural. Marciano had his first professional bout in 1947 and would go on to have one of the best careers in boxing history. On this day in 1956, he announced that he would be retiring from boxing while he was the reigning heavyweight champion of the world so that he could spend more time with his family.

3. 1865: The Sultana steamboat explodes on the Mississippi River

On this day back in 1865, just a short time after the Civil War had ended, what is said to be a boiler malfunction causes what would be the worst maritime disaster in United States history. The Sultana was a steamboat that was carrying an estimated 2,100 passengers, all of which were either Union Veterans or Yankee survivors, on their much awaited journey home after the long brutal war. Most of the levees and damns in the area had been devastated by the war and the Mississippi was running at near flood conditions so when the Sultana exploded more than half the passengers were killed instantly, but the other half were thrown into the surging waters and most of them ended up drowning. Only an estimated 400 passengers survived.