The one of me with my Mother is in front of my Dad’s 1955 Dodge Crusader. I am certain it was taken at Niagara Falls for a visit and possibly an outdoor picnic. The concrete and steel fence in the background is the giveaway. In this photo, the car is solid blue. At one time or another, the car was two tone, but it had been repainted following a crash my Dad was in. He may have (probably) had too much to drink and had the wreck. I loved this car, it’s what led me to be a Mopar guy.
The other one is of me standing next to my Dad’s 1966 Plymouth Valiant. I believe we would have been going to visit my parents life long friends who lived at Camp Borden, an old army base in Ontario, near Barrie. That gentleman helped to foster my interest in photography. We were unable to keep this Valiant for long. While out of town, my Dad crashed it and had it not been for a sturdy guard rail he would have met his maker that day. I believe his license was taken away, again, never to be restored.
Nice stuff Lee. My mother had a firm grip on me around Niagara Falls until I was a teenager due to my interest in climbing fences and getting really close to water 🙂
My Grandfather had a 64 Valiant, which he crashed too. I think a Canadian Valiant would be a fine old car to have if I didn’t already have the beetle.
Well, cool. The cars, I mean, not the crash-prone dad.
(A ’66 Valiant, that is, but not a Plymouth; in Canada the Valiant was a make, not a Plymouth model ’til ’67.)
I have wondered about that myself, but never read up on it at Allpar. Thanks for the point on the Valiant. My Chrysler history book is not clear on that subject.
Looked it up. Just as I thought – Canadian cars. The Dodge Crusader was an American style Plymouth Plaza (cheap model) with a Dodge front end. Apparently the Valiant was the opposite – a Dart with a Valiant front end. I guess they got identified by their faces.
(That didn’t post the first time, with no message. I usually get the one about posting too fast after not commenting for days. I haven’t bothered signing in because it doesn’t seem to make any difference. Actually posting or not seems to be at random.)
The only Canadian Valiants that had the US Dart body with the US Valiant front clip were the ’63 and ’64 models. The ’65 Valiant range in Canada included both Valiant-shaped Valiants and Dart-shaped Valiants, but no mixed-parts cars. The ’66 Canadian range included only Dart-shaped Valiants.
Does anyone know why in the ’50’s-’60’s cars sold in Canada by Ford, GM, and Chrysler were all some mashup of their American equivalents? Chrysler seemed to switch front ends. GM sold Pontiac Parisiennes which were Pontiac bodies with (clearly non-wide track) Chevy underpinnings and interiors. Ford sold Meteors which were Fords with different grilles and chrome, and then Frontenacs which were the same deal only really Falcons. Growing up in Buffalo NY I first spotted the Chrysler mashups and Meteors.
I just did a little research. I always thought the phenomena was because of some Canadian laws, but it seems to be just marketing. The just marketing reason seems inadequate with the expense of for example tooling up all those grille and chrome trim parts for the Fords. Clearly some CC article is called for unless there already is one (?)
An answer you’re likely to get if you ask a Canadian “What’s a Canadian?” is “Not an American!”. That sentiment alone could well account for the differences. Zoom out to incorporate its practical effects and yeah, you’re going to wind up with a different set of tastes and preferences and motivations and priorities and all the other factors that go into the decisions about what gets built and bought. Add in local supply chains, politics, driving conditions, and history, in an era without before any free-auto-trade pact between the US and Canada, and you’re going to get even more differences in the cars available in the two markets.
There are a couple of reasons for the different cars north of the boarder, much of it is due to the low population density, and the fact that Canadians are thrifty. It is also due to the way that the US mfgs set up their dealer networks in the US and the attempt to use the same method in Canada that didn’t work out as well as in the US.
So Ford and Mercury franchises were completely separate systems. The problem is that for what ever reason the Mercury ASR made a sale in a small town before the Ford guy did. So you had a Mercury dealer that soon found out they didn’t have many people willing to step up to the Mercury price level. So Ford of Canada created the Mercury 114 which was the shorter Ford Body with a Mercury front end and dash. (This is also why Mercury trucks existed in Canada)
That was great in the less populous areas, however in the metro areas the Ford dealers cried foul. So the next thing you know you have Ford dealers selling badge engineered Mercurys as Monarchs and Mercury dealers selling Badge engineered Fords as Meteors.
When the Falcon came around Ford decided to get in front of this issue and created the Frontenac as its own brand that was available to both Ford and Mercury dealers.
At GM in less populous areas the standard was to pair Chevy with Olds and Pontiac with Buick and GMC. This kept the steps of the Sloan ladder clearer because a fully loaded Chevy could be more expensive than a Pontiac, a top trim Poncho could be more expensive than an Olds ect.
The problem again in Canada was the fact that the Pontiac Buick dealers didn’t have a car for the meat of the market. So GM created CPC or Chevrolet Pontiac Canada. They proceeded to crank out the cheaper Chevy based Pontiacs on the same Canadian line. If you really wanted a Bonneville or other US Pontiac you certainly still could order one but it would be significantly more expensive since it was a US built car subject to a tariff.
Similar things happened over at Chrysler and is why Fargo trucks existed.
I wish I knew of a picture of my Grandma’s 55 DeSoto. I could say that it made me a Mopar guy in the same way, but I had no idea that DeSoto was a Chrysler Corp division until years later.
I also have fond childhood memories of a1955 Dodge. It was my uncle’s awesome for the day two-tone Royal Lancer 2 door hardtop. He would let me start it up and twirl the steering wheel, super boosted by Chrysler’s full time power steering. He was a Dodge man all his life, his first being a ‘48 Dodge Custom sedan and his last a 2002 Dodge Intrepid, with a ‘63 Polara, ‘67 Monaco, ‘74 Royal Monaco and a ‘84 Diplomat Salon in between. All were well-optioned, top of the line models. The ‘74 even had the 440. A true Mopar fan his whole life.