Just a quick note to let you all know that I did indeed take the Pontiac on the Great Beater Challenge. I am working on a updates right now and hope to get it out soon. I promise it will be worth the wait.
Nice pic. On the Trans-Canada to Banff?
The unique (hazy) look to the picture is due to the wildfires burning in British Columbia. It also appears to me like your Pontiac has a wide-tracking stance.
Yay! Looking forward to reading all about your adventure.
Guilty, yes I have been stalking Mr Saunders online to find out if both he and the Pontiac survived, and if they had fun.
Awaiting the report. Beautiful photo…
Check out their Facebook page for a preview: The Great Beater Challenge 2018. Fun stuff. They had one DNF.
Looking forward to it! Having followed your past GBC endeavours I know this will be epic!
I’m looking forward to reading of your adventures as well.
I imagine there’s no paint pan hood scoop this time, not on that classic. ;o)
Oh man, that wonderful photo above of the Laurentian on the road made my mind jump to an album cover of long ago: Wes Montgomery’s “Road Song”.
I am also looking forward to hearing all about your adventures with the Pontiac at the challenge. I will always have a soft spot for Pontiac sedans of this vintage, as one of my early cars was a ‘65 Star Chief, and my grandpa drove a ‘63 Catalina, which he kept in immaculate condition for many years.
But a Chevy w/ Pontiac cladding is not a real Pontiac.
Pontiacs were a cut above most GM products in the 1960’s, which is why their sales soared. The Canadian “Pontiacs” were something different and unique.
Despite the good looks, having the Chevy stuff makes them not the same.
In a nutshell NOT WIDETRACK and not the Pontiac engine and transmission. Not a Pontiac. A Canadian hybrid.
Classy davis, what’s YOUR Pontiac look like?
I’d hate to be your kid.
It is what it is. It is a genuine Canadian Pontiac. Frankly, I like this Laurentian more than a comparable Catalina precisely because it’s more distinctive and probably rarer. A big Pontiac with a big Chevy truck six; what’s not to love?
So is a ’64 Tempest that shares almost everything under the skin with other A Bodies and used a Chevy six a genuine Pontiac? And for how long were Pontiacs genuine Pontiacs? Even when they used Buick and Chevy and Olds engines, in the late 70s and 80s on?
where's the WIDE-TRACK and the other attributes that made it better than the Chevies?
In the 1960’s US full size Pontiacs had things that set them apart from the pack while these Canadian cars are essentially Chevies that looked like Pontiacs.
That doesn't make it a bad car – it’s a great effort
But as I said this is a Canadian Pontiac which is far different than the one that set the pace in the US in the 1960’s.
GM essentially reversed the process later on and imported the Canadian full sizers and sold them in the US
Oh puhleeze, really? A “Pontiac” is a car, made by GM, with a Pontiac badge on it. The fact that this car came from a GM factory in Canada with different parts than a car made in a GM factory in the US makes no more or less of a genuine whats-it than any other car.
Spend some time looking through this site. If there is ANY generalist automotive site that discusses the differences between US and Canadian Pontiacs in depth, it’s Curbside Classic. At no point did this post suggest Dave’s lovely beast had Widetrack or any other attributes unique to the US-built models. The readers and commenters here are for the most part already apprised as to the differences; coming in this late and expounding your ‘knowledge’ with such an unpleasant tone is not how it rolls here.
You’re missing the real elephant in this room.
davis, the real problem with your comment is context. This article and the whole series about David’s Laurentian is all about bringing a car back to life, and entering it in this event. It’s an homage to beaters, not an opportunity to belittle this Laurentian and make claims as to why it’s not a genuine Pontiac. That debate might be appropriate somewhere else, but certainly not here.
Wow. Tough crowd. When I read davis’ initial comment, it didn’t seem too “unpleasant” to me. In fact, I wasn’t aware of the differences between Canadian and American Pontiac’s of that vintage. His very first words were, “nice car”. And it is. Then it seems all he did was post a few facts punctuated with his opinion. I’ve been reading Saunders series on this car with much interest. I’ll certaimly disagree with davis and say that it’s a Pontiac as much as any other Pontiac, it’s just a Canadian Pontiac.
The thing I find most fascinating about this site is the wide range of knowledge on the most mundane of topics auto-related. I thought I was quite knowledgeable, but it’s apparent I know barely more than squat. How these people here who obviously lead otherwise normal and varied lives find the time to research this stuff, and then write about it, astounds me. It’s all I can do just to visit every few days, read the stories, and sometimes write a disjointed comment, or two.
Carry on gentlemen, and continue to educate and entertain me…
Yes, he did say “nice car”. Then, “But…..”
Have you ever received a real compliment followed up with a “but”?
Oddly, by his logic, most GM cars with their mismatched to marque V8s are not “real” either. The tone of his comment, whether intentional or not, was denigrating to the idea of a Canadian Pontiac being considered as anything but less than the American version. I don’t think anyone was being harsh in their replies, considering. And his backtracking on futher comments seems to support that he may understand that his comments were not well received.
Here’s the deal, if you put your 2 cents out there, don’t get upset when others offer their own 2 cents back in reply. There are lots of opinions out there, and a little civility goes a long way.
Not to be a smartass but the car is participating in an event called the great BEATER challenge, so getting upset and piling on a commenter for denigrating GM Canada for making a Cheviac is a bit confusing to this reader.
It’s a 60s Pontiac built the way Roger Smith era GM would have built it.
Yep. Nice car.
As a Candian I am happy we have the Canadian hybrids. Something unique we can call our own.
As for the smokey conditions of the photo, as a forester in BC, my apologies but not much we can do about it. Makes for wonderful pictures at times, just like this one.
I take these as a good (and timely) reminder of what the Auto-Pact did for the Canadian auto industry. The only reason these existed was to get around tariffs, and after 1965 their raison d’être vanished.
Trainman makes the good point: to a Canadian, this is a Pontiac, with all the good as well as challenging memories it brings. To disparage it as somehow “not quite Pontiac” because it has different features from the American version is to treat it, and by extension the people who remember it fondly, as somehow “less-than.” I don’t think david meant that, but that’s what can happen. By the way, I took my driving test and got my first traffic citation in a ’68 (American) Catalina, and while I remember it fondly as my family’s consensus Best Sedan Ever, handling was not its strong suit.
No need to apologize for the smoke. Mother Nature does what Mother Nature wants. We are foolish to assume that we can have no long-term effects on Mother Nature, while at the same time acting as if we should be able to complete control Mother Nature. Be safe out there.
I am ok with it being a Cheviac mix. Gives a different look but with the Chevrolet mechanical bits I have easy find and cheap parts. Sure it doesn’t the wide track and handle corners all that great. I am ok with that. It is just a neat old car.
If anyone thinks a wide track ’61 Pontiac actually handles different enough from a ’61 Chevy or Laurentian for anyone to tell the difference in 2018 is deluded. They both handle like crap compared to modern cars, and the difference back then was questionable/debatable. The reality is that the wide track was put on the 1959 Pontiac for its looks. If it made any difference in handling, it was hardly significant.
Wait till Davis finds out about GM putting Oldsmobile engines in “Cadillacs”.
He’s going to be pissed.
Thank you David. It’s been a genuine privilege to follow your purchase, and preparation for the Beater Challenge. Especially enjoyed your tour of the seller’s collection. You made a great choice in the Laurentian. I am just old enough to remember when the last of these were still seen on Southern Ontario roads. Really appreciate all the Canadiana you have contributed to Paul’s site.
Your update photo is beautiful. It entirely looks like a vintage cover pic for one of the provincial or gas company road maps issued at the time. In fact, the 1963 Alberta Official Road Map features a red Laurentian. 🙂
That’s a beautiful photograph–postcard quality!
Looks like it was taken in the early ’60s.
That’s awesome, thanks!
That is fantastic. Nice work.
Nice work Don! Clever touch as well, bumping up the saturation for period authenticity.
These Canadian GM cars were what we got locally assembled in New Zealand they work ok, A friend decades ago had a similar car so I’m quite enjoying this series.
Canada and the Canadian Rockies are in one word, Majestic, especially with crisp, clear winter air.
The Canadian GM cars are a delightful occurrence, unique to time and place, that I’m happy to have learned about. Dave, good luck on your escapade.
Pic at frozen Agnes Lake, high above Lake Louise, Alberta, April, 2018
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