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Sunday, March 6, 2011

1960 Pontiac

 Pontiac was the second best selling car in the Dominion of Canada  in 1960. 
From St. John’s to Victoria folks were in an expansive mood as the 1950s closed. Citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador marked their tenth anniversary in Confederation. National pride swelled as the Conservative government poured money into opening up the Arctic, our own back yard. The Montreal Canadiens had won the Stanley Cup four years straight. Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, came to open the St. Lawrence Seaway and join in the national festivities on Dominion Day. Prime Minister Diefenbaker went to Outlook, Saskatchewan to preside over construction ceremonies for the new $185 million South Saskatchewan River Dam project. Major General Georges Vanier was installed as the first Francophone Governor General. In 1959 we were a nation of people who was sure that we could tackle anything and do it well.  

The 1959 Pontiac Parisienne Safari.
Against this vibrant post-war backdrop, automobile owners in this country discovered a love affair with Pontiac. It continued throughout the 1950s and just wouldn’t quit. Every year consumers bought more than they had the year before. By 1958 folks were so enamoured with their value and style that Pontiac displaced Ford from its traditional number two spot. 

Visit my old car website at http://www.theoilspoteh.ca 

Brand new for 1959, Pontiac sold very well. There was no reason to mess with success and the hot selling car was mildly facelifted for the 1960 selling season. Tucked under a heavy brow of a hood, last year’s massive split grille gave way to a series of thin, horizontal slats, vee-d outward ever so gently at the centre and divided by a simple single vertical chrome bar. This was flanked by a round parking light-turn signal and quad headlamps. The sides were elaborately sculpted. A deep ridge and valley ran nearly the entire length of the body, disappearing briefly in the front door. A midline bow was perfect for brightwork accents and a speed line emphasized the rear wheelwell opening.  

The 1960 Pontiac Laurentian two-door sedan cost $3,468 when equipped with the 4.3-litre (261-cubic inch) six-cylinder engine and weighed in at 1 873 kilos (4,130 pounds).
From the rear, Pontiac was unmistakable. Dual fuselage taillights topped the leading edge of the trunk lid that curved out gracefully to meet the large chrome bumper. Stylists added a javelin-like turn signal-backup lights and emphasized them with deeply cut curves that drew the eye to the centre of the trunk and the Pontiac insignia. 
The 1960 Pontiac Parisienne Vista four-door hardtop convertible.
The greenhouse was extremely generous; the rear window cut high into the roofline. Vista was the name given to four-door hardtop convertibles and Sport Coupe designated two-door Pontiacs without a B pillar. 

Advertising admonished Canadians to be proud of the designers who had developed and perfected the formidable lines of the 1960 Pontiac. Invited to the showroom to examine it for themselves, salesmen told consumers they would find the new Pontiac’s clean styling to be as fresh as a winter morning.

Visit my old car website at http://www.theoilspoteh.ca 

The value leader for the Pontiac tribe was the Strato-Chief, represented by a single two-door sedan and four-door sedan with a $2,905 price tag. Modestly trimmed they might be but they were still pure Pontiac and powered by GM’s 261-cubic inch six-cylinder engine. 
The 1960 Pontiac Strato-Chief two-door sedan listed for $2,389.

For an extra $124 one could ditch the six and have the power of the 4.6-litre (283-cubic inch) V-8 under the hood. In addition to the sedans, a pair of tough and practical two-door Safari wagons was offered with six- or eight-cylinder mills. The two-door wagon sold for $3,261 when equipped with the six and $3,386 with a V-8. This body style was not seen in the US this year and it would not return to Canadian showrooms for 1961. The two-door Safaris joined a pair of six-passenger, four-door Safari wagons, again with a choice of six- or eight-cylinder power plants under the hood. They sold for $$3,344 and $3,464, respectively. 

Besides the sedans, six-passenger and eight-passenger, four-door Safari wagons were available a la Laurentian. The four-door, eight-passenger wagon listed for $3,762.
The Mid-line Laurentian family was better dressed than Strato-Chief. Laurentian boasted a two- and four-door sedan, a two-door Sport Coupe and a four-door Vista Sedan. The fancy hardtop listed for $3,555 and came equipped only with the V-8 power plant. The thrifty owner would opt for the 4.3-litre (261-cubic inch) six-banger while the hotfoot could pony up the extra pennies for the 4.6-litre (283-cubic inch) V-8 mill. 

The instrument panel of the 1960 Pontiac Parisienne was exceptionally clean.
The ooh! la! la! top-of-the-line Pontiac was the sophisticated Parisienne. Here one found the usual two- and four-door sedans, a stylish Sport Coupe for $3,375, a four-door Vista Sedan with a price of $$3,850 (the most expensive Pontiac in the lineup) and a sensuous convertible could be had for $$3,715. All Parisiennes were decked out in chrome, brightwork and upscale appointments. In addition, there was a pair of luxuriously trimmed six-passenger Safari wagons. 

If the homegrown Pontiac clan didn’t possess the necessary pizzazz, certain imported Catalina, Ventura, Star Chief and Bonneville models were available to the consumer for a premium price. If the full-sized Pontiacs were too big to own and operate, the dealer stocked the compact Envoy, a badge-engineered Vauxhall, sourced from GM in Britain. The choice was up to the buyer.
The 1960 Envoy was sold by Pontiac dealers Canadawide.

Dressing up one’s Pontiac with optional equipment was as easy as watching snow fall. One could buy an electric antenna to go with the Sportable radio or the Wonder Bar Radio. To keep toasty warm there was the Circ-L-Aire heater and defroster unit or the Direct Aire heater and defroster. Power steering, power brakes, power windows, the self-shifting SuperHydramatic Transmission all made driving more pleasant. Perhaps the most distinctive add-on for the 1960 Pontiac was the Continental spare tire and wheel cover.

General Motors of Canada celebrated a banner year. Pontiac sales amounted to 64,785 units for the calendar year. The Oshawa, Ontario-based manufacturer broke production records that it had set back in 1953. Passenger car production for 1960 gained a whopping 16.6 percent over the 1959 mark. The company was riding high and told the press that GM’s Canadian production represented a full 27 percent of all GM vehicles built outside of the United States. Oshawa boasted 13,500 employees and payroll was $73 million—a full $8 million more than the previous year. Stretched to the bursting point, a $3.5 million warehouse and office building was erected in Montreal to better serve the Quebec market. 

 Visit my old car website at http://www.theoilspoteh.ca 

 Copyright James C. Mays 2007 
All rights reserved.

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