Top 5: Cool Canadian Classics
by Rob Sass on Wednesday, March 4th, 2015
“Chevrolet certainly had an interesting way of celebrating the Camaro’s birthday – they killed it at age thirty-five.”
1965 Acadian Beaumont Sport Deluxe
1956 Studebaker Flight Hawk
2002 Chevrolet Camaro SS 35th Anniversary
2002 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am WS6
Canada has an automotive heritage every bit as rich as that of the United States. Some extraordinarily interesting collectible cars have been produced here over the years.
These are five favourites:
- 1965 Acadian Beaumont Sport Deluxe – Similar to the American Chevrolet Chevelle, the Beaumont Sport Deluxe followed the original muscle car formula of the Pontiac GTO by stuffing the most powerful engine readily available into the smallest body. Only twenty-three were built with the potent L79 327 cubic inch, 350 hp engine option. All were built in GM’s Oshawa, ON plant.
- 1974-75 Bricklin SV-1 – The Bricklin was a gullwing door sports car that was built in what was then a relatively under-employed part of New Brunswick. Generous tax-incentives were paid out of the provincial coffers to get Malcolm Bricklin to locate his factory there. If it all sounds familiar, it should, this was essentially the DeLorean story played out seven years earlier in Canada rather than Northern Ireland. Sadly, it ended much the same way with not even two years of production of the Bricklin “safety sports car” before the whole operation folded up owing the government of New Brunswick over $20 million. Power came from either Ford or AMC V8s.
- 1956 Studebaker Flight Hawk – The Hawk was a particularly fine-looking coupe that was a derivative of the 1953 Robert Bourke/Raymond Loewy Starliner coupe. Oddly, only the 1956 model year base six-cylinder Flight Hawk coupes were built in Canada in Studebaker’s Hamilton, ON plant where the last Studebakers rolled off the line just ten years later in 1966.
- 2002 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am WS6 – Most Americans are blissfully unaware that William Shatner and Michael J. Fox are actually Canadian. They’d likely be equally surprised to find out that one of the most quintessentially American muscle cars was actually Canadian. The last (and some argue the best) Pontiac Trans Am with the WS6 package was assembled alongside its F-body cousin the Chevrolet Camaro in Sainte-Thérèse, Quebec where production had shifted in 1993.
- 2002 Chevrolet Camaro SS 35th Anniversary – Chevrolet certainly had an interesting way of celebrating the Camaro’s birthday – they killed it at age thirty-five. The SS shared the Corvette-derived LS6 powerplant with the above-mentioned Trans Am WS6. In its convertible form, it is quite collectible. After F-body production ended in 2002, GM closed the plant, which was the last GM plant operating outside of Ontario.
Rob Sass is the vice-president of content for Hagerty Insurance. Hagerty is the world’s leading specialist provider of classic car and boat insurance. Learn more at hagerty.ca.