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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

1967 Dodge Monaco and Polara

The 1967 Dodge Monaco 500 convertible was unique to the Canadian market and not sold in the United States. The attractive cabriolet listed for $3,995 f.o.b. Windsor, Ontario.

“Whatever your young heart desires, Dodge delivers it big!” shouted the advertising for the 1967 model season. There was certainly no question that the Dodge Division’s senior lines—comprised of the Monaco and Polara—were impressive vehicles in size, riding on 122-inch wheelbases. As posh as could be, Dodge promised to deliver prestige and liveliness for the young at heart. Advertising also offered the illusion of glamour, even when driving to the dentist. “Any time you step into big Dodge you get a night-out-on-the town feeling. Feels great! Is great! And you look great!”

Styling for 1967 featured a most subtle delta theme in a larger, more massive split grille than seen last season. In front, the delta dipped down into the bumper. At the top it reached upward to form part of a raised chrome eyebrow over the dual headlight pods. The centre of the grille was composed of finely ribbed vertical bars that Vee’d gently at the mid-section on the Monaco and the 500 made use of a distinct finely crosshatched design. An ersatz light bar was carried from the mid-section, across the grille to the inner headlight. The word D-O-D-G-E was spelled out in large letters on the hood and a gracefully raised wind split caressed the length of the hood to the windshield.

 In the Monaco line, Dodge offered a sleek four-door hardtop that sold for $3,431 when equipped with the 3.6-litre (225-cubic inch) Slant Six engine.

The slab sides of the envelope were punctuated with a stem-to-stern brightwork strip that turned down the extreme backside of the rear fender to end as a discrete accent mark over a heavily pronounced body flare that emphasized the rear wheel opening. On some models this brightwork was replaced with tasteful pinstriping. Fenders were flush with the bumpers. More expensive models were bedecked in rocker panel trim as well. At the rear, Monaco and Polara carried oversized delta-shaped tail lamps, slightly sunken into the bumper.

All of this added up to owning a car that would deliver pleasure. Sales personnel were trained to emphasize the performance, beauty, size, comfort and prestige. “Get together with Dodge and you realize what it means to own a marvellous car at a price that makes good, common sense.” Words like “Thrill! Jazz! Posh!” and “Whoosh!” were all added to this year’s sales vocabulary in an attempt to woo customers from the competition.

Interior of the swanky 1967 Dodge Monaco 500 was fit for a king.
Crowning the Dodge family was the Monaco 500 two-door hardtop and a sleek convertible. These king-sized beauties were equipped with sumptuous shell-type bucket seats with a fold-down centre armrest. In the rear, the bench-type seat was fashioned to resemble the buckets up front. Vinyl upholstery colours were blue, copper, red, white on black and black. The Monaco 500s were equipped with the 5.2-litre (318-cubic inch) V-8 engine. It was distinguished from lesser kin by heavy rocker panel moulding and brightwork ad well as special “500” insignias.

All Monaco and Polara models were available with the Dodge Hi-Performance 6.2 litre (383 cubic inch) V-8 as optional equipment as was the Dodge Maximum Performance 7.2 litre (440 cubic inch) V-8. The latter was not permitted when ordering three-seat wagons, however. All engines were mated to a three-speed manual transmission or for a few extra bucks one could order Chrysler’s tried and true TorqueFlite automatic transmission. Advertising teased. “Put your foot to Dodge and big Dodge Moves. Better believe it! Thing is, Dodge makes no noise about it. Dodge whispers along whether you’ve powered it with a thrifty 225-cubic inch (3.2-litre) Six, or one of the four big mile-eating V-8s.”

 The 1967 Dodge Polara station wagon carried a list price of $3,433. The plain Jane was an honest bargain capable of carrying six passengers, or everything needed for a good Grey Cup tailgate party.

The pretender to the throne was the Monaco, which came as a two- and four-door hardtop, a four-door sedan and a two- or three-seat station wagon. Now, the Monaco 500 convertible was unique to Canada and not offered in the United States. Like the Monaco 500 soft top, the Monaco convertible also boasted a power top in black, blue or white and featured an air-tempered glass black window, too.

The Monaco got around town nicely enough courtesy of the 3.2-litre (225-cubic inch) Slant Six engine as standard equipment. Other engine options were available as was a choice of transmissions.

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Monaco interiors were upholstered in vinyl and seats were of the “sofa-wide” bench variety, fore and aft for the wagon and convertible. Other Monaco models were dressed in a combination of cloth and vinyl, Interior colour choices were limited to blue, turquoise, red and tan but the cabin was still carpeted throughout with deep-pile broadloom.

 Instrument panel of the 1967 Dodge Monaco 500 featured large white-on-black dials. It boasted a centre console with optional tachometer.
Both Monaco and Monaco 500 were offered in 22 colours of Acrylustre finish, promising a new car look for longer than competitors’ vehicles. Like American Motors products, these were built of unitized construction and the  bodies treated with a seven-stage rust protection programme. The heater and defroster were standard equipment as was an aluminized muffler and tailpipe. Nice touches included an electric clock, carpeting throughout and lamps galore lit the interior. The Monaco station wagon was kissed with walnut grain appliqué on the sides and an electric tailgate was standard on the three-seat model.

The Polara 500 lineup was comprised of a hardtop, a four-door sedan and a two- or three-seat station wagon. Exterior colour choices were offered in 19 rainbow hues but upholstery selections were limited to blue, turquoise and tan.

Last year’s base Dodge Polara 880 was shorn of its number designation and returned to the lineup as simply Polara for the 1967 season. The entry-priced Polara stood alone with a very modest four-door sedan and a two- or three-seat wagon. As befitting its status, the stripper was available in only 17 exterior colours.

1967 Dodge Polaris in the design studio.
 Prospective owners were invited to “build in” the power and luxury items wanted in order to own the greatest car that even sped down the road. Optional equipment for Dodge was listed as “Jazz” and included air conditioning, tinted glass, a heavy-duty alternator and battery, automatic transmission (which came as a package when radio and power brakes were ordered), power brakes, bumper guards, disc brakes for V-8 models, an electric clock, a centre console, rear window defogger, a sure-grip differential, electric door locks, headrests and seat belts, an engine block heater, two-tone paint schemes, a number of different kinds of radios, vinyl roof treatments for Monaco and 500 hardtops, power seats, power steering, Tilt-A-Scope steering wheel, heavy-duty suspension, a trailer (towing) package, undercoating and hood silencer pad, mag-type road wheels, three-speed electric wipers and many more items that the Dodge dealer would be only to happy to list off for anyone dropping by the showroom.

A strong selling point was Chrysler Canada’s 5-year, 50,000-mile powertrain warranty. The guarantee covered defects in material or workmanship in the engine block, head, all internal engine parts, torque converter, drive shaft, universal joints, rear axle, differential and rear wheel bearings. Chryco threw in the cost of labour too, should anything go wrong.

The season turned out to be a decent one for Dodge. When the books were closed, the Dodge Polara and Polara 500 had racked up 18,912 units delivered, giving it 11th place in the domestic sales race. The Dodge Monaco and base Polara added another 13,273 sales for the calendar year.

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Copyright James C. Mays 2006
 All rights reserved.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

1950 Monarch

At $2,251 plus taxes and tags, the 1950 Monarch Sport Sedan was the least expensive model in Ford of Canada's regal family of fine cars.
At the end of World War Two, Ford’s top brass was poised to return to civilian manufacture as Canada's leading automaker. Workers in Windsor had their own ideas. Fed up with what union leaders labeled as high-handed management tactics, workers laid down their tools on Wednesday, September 12th at 10 o’clock in the morning. They had honoured the contract for government and the last vehicle for King and Country had rolled out the doors. When the shift change whistle blew, the entire work force marched out of the plant in military precision.  The strike would grow ugly and paralyze the entire country for ninety-nine, long bitter days.

So vital was Ford to the national economy that the work stoppage affected virtually everyone. Many Canadians demanded that the Prime Minister recall Parliament, which was pirogued for Christmas recess, to deal with the strike. Every day grassroots opinion grew louder for Ottawa to take over Ford and run it as a Crown corporation. The government dithered while Windsor turned into a battle zone.  Supreme Court Justice Rand finally brought the dispute to an end with his brilliant landmark ruling that all employees would pay union dues but Ford could maintain an open shop.

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The strike was just the tip of the iceberg. There was more corporate woe. Ford’s American parent was in serious trouble. Once the world’s leading auto manufacturer, the company was floundering badly. Now in his eighties, Henry Ford still ran the show-on paper-but showed little to no interest in the day-to-day affairs of business.  Analysts had downgraded The Ford Motor Company to a “B” player, just a notch above independent Studebaker. Fortunately, young Henry Ford II was the right man to replace his grandfather and the company’s fortunes began to brighten considerably under his astute leadership.

            Once the strike was settled, top brass at Ford of Canada speedily redefined the corporate image.  For the 1946 model year, Mercury and Lincoln products were separated from Ford dealerships in a bid to increase the company’s presence throughout all nine provinces.  (Newfoundland and Labrador had not yet joined Confederation.)
The 1946 Mercury pickup trucks were assembled in Windsor, Ontario and Burnaby, British Columbia.

  The newly formed dealer body was also given Mercury trucks to sell, to make the parting sweeter. The Lincoln-Mercury sales arm started out with 353 dealers and a highly profitable line of products.  Those 760 Ford dealers would not do without, either, they would handle a new line of passenger cars. 
The marketing department at Ford of Canada made sure that the new Monarch leaned heavily on our royal  heritage with the United Kingdom.

The new brand was announced to Canadians on March 21, 1946. Christened Monarch, it reflected Canada’s close ties to Britain. Ford Canada’s execs gambled that Monarch was the perfect product to plug the gap between the entry level Ford and the mid-priced Mercury. If the white collar boys in Windsor were right, they’d get two mid-priced cars for the price of one and steal significant market share from Oldsmobile, Pontiac, De Soto, Dodge, Nash and Hudson in that tiny, but oh-so-prestigious segment of the Canadian market.
1946 Monarch

            Monarch started life with on a Mercury body shell and used its chassis and V-8 power plant as well. Monarch was cloaked in highly distinctive trim, a unique grille and crowned with a regal lion motif. While sharing an engine with Merc, Monarch was billed as having a 95 horsepower rating while the Big M registered an even 100. The difference seems to have been nothing more than a little white lie cheerfully encouraged by some highly creative ad copy.

Canada’s newest automobile brand made its debut with two and four-door sedan models, a club coupe, a ragtop and four-door wooden-bodied wagon. For the wagons, maples were milled in Ford’s own private forests in Michigan and the wood shipped to Windsor.  Only 33 of the Monarch wagons were built in 1947.

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Backed by the famous blue oval, the total for the new marque was a respectable 3,858 units in its maiden year. Execs in Windsor could raise a pint in victory. Putting things into perspective, Some 20,000 Mercury cars had been built in Canada that year and Monarch sales added almost 25 percent to that figure. The gamble had paid off handsomely.

 In its second year, Monarch production was 6,670 units but the beautiful woodie was replaced by an all-steel wagon, of which exactly 40 were built.  Only 723 Monarchs were built in 1948 (a very short model year) and were offered only as two and four-door sedans. Ford closed the doors of its assembly plant in Vancouver, British Columbia that season and production was concentrated in Windsor, Ontario. The vibrant post-war economy was in full swing and the Federal Government of Canada, having finally balanced its budget, dropped restrictive taxes on domestic consumer goods.
A 110-horsepower V-8 added plenty of speed to Monarch’s elegant pomp and circumstance.

 For 1949, Monarch and Mercury shared a new body. Dealers received an in-house newspaper called the Monarch News. The first issue was dated May of 1948, its eight pages jam-packed with pictures and specifications.  Monarch production shot through the roof in an extremely long model year as 11,317 units were built as four-door sedans and club coupes. 
  The 1950 Monarch six-passenger convertible carried a hefty retail price of $3,089 before taxes, though it did feature power windows and power front seat as standard equipment.

            Billed as “more beautiful than ever for 1950,” the Monarch line doubled in size as a breathtakingly beautiful convertible and a two-door, prestigious maple and mahogany woodie wagon joined the Sport Sedan and the Six-passenger Coupe.  Prices were cut and that stimulated sales, too.

The 1950 Monarch Sport Sedan.
            Advertising promised would-be owners that they would “ride like a king in a 1950 Monarch. ”  All Monarchs loafed along the nation’s highways and byways with a thunderous 110-horsepower V-8 under the long, low hood. Occupants did indeed ride like royalty on the “personalized comfort of Select-0-Seat front seat springing” covered with deep foam rubber cushions.
Instrument panel of the 1950 Monarch was borrowed from its Mercury cousin.

 The ragtop could be ordered in two exclusive colours, namely an eye-popping Mirada Yellow or an eye-turning Matador Red. It boasted a power top and three choices of leather interior colour combinations. “Take the wheel of this superb beauty and enjoy the greatest driving thrill ever!” the sales brochure urged.

The Monarch station wagon was deemed as “right for every occasion!”  This cavernous vehicle was big enough to qualify for its own Postal Code and offered comfort and safety for eight passengers in three seats upholstered in the owner’s choice of red or tan leather. Advertising boasted that,  “Easy removal of the centre and rear seats quickly converts the Monarch station wagon into an efficient light utility vehicle with 188 cubic feet of storage space.” The stylish station wagon measured an impressive 214 inches in length, a full seven inches longer than sedans. It was also the most expensive Monarch at $3,523, costing $106 more than its ritzy ragtop stable mate. 

The Six-passenger Coupe was sold as a “Monarch of many uses” and offered itself to be “a personal car for business or pleasure, in town or country.”  The Sport Sedan whispered luxurious promises of being all “new in comfort.”

            Monarch’s option list was as long as a winter’s night on Ellesmere Island. Touch-O-Matic overdrive, a six-tube radio with push buttons, seat covers, rear fender skirts, white sidewalls, chrome trim rings to dress up those hubcaps,  exterior sun visor, road lamps (for rain and fog) and back-up lights were among the goodies one could add to one’s vehicle. Monarchs could be ordered in any of six solid colours, as trio of extra-cost two-tone schemes or three extra-cost, metallic finishes.

No body style breakouts were recorded but the final total for the 1950 model year was 6,056 new Monarchs registered and on the roads from St. John’s to Victoria.

It was the swan song year for Monarch’s wagons, though the Monarch line would continue on, entrenching itself deeply with consumers. Without a doubt, the 1950 Monarch station wagon is one of the most rare post-war production wagons ever built by a North American automaker. Only three are known to exist. But one never knows, eh. There is always the hope that a 1950 Monarch woodie does exist, quietly waiting in noble exile, in a barn somewhere in Wild Rose Country, a scrapyard in la belle province or hidden away from the elements in a shed just down the road from Green Gables. 

Visit my old car website at: The Oilspot Eh!

Copyright James C. Mays 2004 All rights reserved.

Monday, August 15, 2011

1978 Oldsmobile

The 1978 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Regency Sedan listed 
for $8,192 f.o.b. Oshawa, Ontario. It weighed in 1,740 kilos (3,836 pounds).

As a concession to environmental concerns, the Oldsmobile Division of General Motors had shrunk its full-sized passenger car lines in 1977.  The Ninety-Eight, the Delta 88, the Toronado and the Custom Cruiser station wagon all went under the knife. The newest incarnations from one of the auto industry’s pioneer marques got a much needed makeover that took advantage of weight and space efficiency achieved by the latest in engineering techniques and radical design concepts The Canadian public liked the new luxury packages and the sleek, slim elegance presented. They rewarded Oldsmobile with an appreciable increase in sales.

The models were returned for their second season on the market with minimal sheet metal changes. Surprisingly no Oldsmobiles of any kind were built by GM Canada in 1978; all were imported from the US. Regardless of its point of origin, the GM Division compared itself to the genius of the visionary Leonardo da Vinci in reinventing itself and showing off its new excellence in automobile design.

 Faux wood was used heavily on the 1978 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight instrument panel. For another $646 one could add GM’s Four-Seasons air conditioning.
The big news at Oldsmobile this season was under the hood. In keeping with its long-standing tradition of being GM’s experimental division, Oldsmobile introduced the world’s first V-8 diesel engine for passenger cars. Advertising bragged, “It saves like a diesel…runs like a V-8…because it’s both.”  To promote confidence among would-be consumers and boost sales, a complete directory of gas stations selling diesel fuel throughout Canada and the United States was compiled and placed in the glove box. The 5.7-litre diesel promised to be as smooth and quiet as any gasoline powered vehicles and save plenty of money at the fuel pumps.

Starting the diesel-powered Olds was a little different from one equipped with a gasoline engine. Once the key was at the “On” position, an amber light on the instrument panel instructed the operator to “WAIT” while the glow-plugs preheated the combustion pre-chambers. When hot, a green light then indicated it was time to “Start.”

 For $6,861 one could purchase a 1978 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale Coupe.
The diesel engine option cost an additional $996.
Traditional engines were still the norm. The Delta 88 made use of the 3.8-litre V-6 mill, though the 4.3-litre V-8 was optional. The 5.7-litre V-8 was standard in the Custom Cruiser and the Ninety-Eights. Toronado was blessed with a 6.6-litre V-8 and that mighty muscle was an extra-cost choice for all of the other full-sized Oldsmobiles. To avoid lawsuits, Oldsmobile issued a disclaimer that the engines used in its cars could have been sourced from other GM divisions.

Downsized or not, The Ninety-Eight models were still highly respectable land yachts. This part of the Oldsmobile family was equally divided between the Regency and Luxury or LS (both were used) demarcations, a coupe and sedan in each. All formal and elegant, the tasteful sedans and coupes were the epitome of sumptuousness with their velour loose-cushion look seating arrangements. There were power assists for every task a driver might perform.  Advertising could say with pride, “…the greater pleasures greet you when Regency takes to the road. It moves with an ease you might not expect in a luxury car. It’s surprisingly maneuverable—nimble in city traffic, quick and precise in its response to the wheel. All of which make its velvet big-car ride just that much more pleasurable.”

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Moored next to the Ninety-Eights on the Oldsmobile dock were the Delta 88s. The more posh version was set apart by its Royale insignia and distinctive trim. It pledged to be a new benchmark of function because it was the leading edge of full-size car design. All of the traditional big car elegance of Oldsmobile could now be had at the cost of lesser vehicles.

The 1978 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser carried a $7,400 price tag and
 weighed in at 1,835 kilos (4,045 pounds).

Not forsaking the station wagon market, the Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser boasted a clean, square cargo area wide enough to hold a standard sheet of plywood. Velour seats whispered, “You’ve arrived,”  with this marina pleaser. The front centre armrest was standard as was carpeting throughout. A fully automatic ride leveling system was employed for a magnificent ride.

Finally, to complete the division’s full-sized offerings, the personal luxury Toronado led the Oldsmobile armada. Front-wheel drive was its edge in the marketplace. “The weight of the engine rides over the wheels which power it forward. This helps provide road-gripping traction—as you are pulled along, rather than pushed. And the confidence this generates is a singular pleasure as you ride in the inner world of Toronado.”  Leather upholstery, Four-Season air conditioning, automatic transmission, power brakes, power steering and power windows along with an AM/FM stereo were all standard equipment. An XS package added a sunroof and a unique panoramic rear window.
 The most expensive Oldsmobile in 1978 was the $10,520 Toronado Brougham.
This one features the extra-cost XS package with sunroof and the unique wraparound rear window.

Potential owners were invited to add on to their Oldsmobiles to give them that “final personal touch.”  A CB radio could be added to the AM/FM stereo setup or one could have the 8-Track Stereo (the ultimate music machine) configuration. Two sunroofs, special wheels and wheel discs, Tempmatic or Four-Season air conditioning, reclining front seats, Tilt-and Telescope steering wheel or the Tilt-away wheel, a lighted vanity mirror, a Rallye instrument cluster, cruise control, a fuel economy meter, a pulse-wipe windshield wiper speed setter., cornering lamps, a three-way dome reading lamp, a door handle “nite lite” that lit up the interior and the keyhole, a stowaway spare tire, an automatic leveling system, a choice of light or sound monitoring systems. There were power door locks, power windows, and six-way power seats and a power trunk lid release. 

If the owner wasn’t yet tired of checking off little boxes on the order sheet, there was the limited-spin axle assembly, a variety of performance-ratio rear axles, trailering equipment, suspension packages, tinted glass, a trip odometer, a remote control mirror with an outside thermometer, convenience light packages, a digital clock, body side mouldings, vinyl roof and much more.

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Exterior colours for the fill-sized Oldsmobiles were Silver Metallic, Light Blue Metallic, Carmine Red Metallic, Light Camel Metallic, Medium Camel Metallic, Dark Camel Metallic, Russet Metallic, Light Green Metallic, White and Black. Paint stripes could be had in nine colours, and special, extra-cost two-tone paint treatments applied Silver, Light Blue, Light Green, Camel Beige or Dark Carmine to the lower body half.

The Delta 88 turned out to be the best selling Olds for GM Canada for 1979. Calendar year sales were 18,754 units delivered. The Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight and Toronado figures were lumped together and they accounted for 8,456 more sales. It was the seventh year in a row for GM Canada to shatter records; the giant from Oshawa claimed 55 percent of all cars sold domestically.

Copyright James C. Mays 2006 All rights reserved.

Monday, August 1, 2011

1966 Renault 8

Price tag for the 1966 Renault 8 was $1,998 f.o.b. Winnipeg.
An automatic transmission added a C-note to the total bill.
Renault and Peugeot, operating under the name SOMA (Societe de Montage Automobile), produced automobiles in Canada from November 1965 to January 1973. SOMA was a Quebec government Crown corporation. The two automakers shared an assembly plant located on Montreal’s south shore in the charming village of St. Bruno.

The Renault 8 bowed to the public on June 22, 1962 after market studies showed this was the car that  loyal Renault owners would most like to graduate to upon outgrowing their diminutive Dauphines.  Designers created an almost square, boxy, upright look for the package and—like Dauphine--positioned the 956-cc engine in the rear. Unlike Volkswagen, the Renault 8 mill was water-cooled with a radiator located at the extreme rear of the car.

 Instrument panel of the 1966 Renault 8 was nothing if not functional. 
The automotive press didn’t care much for the car’s angular styling and were particularly critical of the instrument panel. Those who were feeling generous called it Spartan. Some went so far as to say it was reminiscent of “one born of poverty during the war years of the 1940s."

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There was however, high praise for the fantastically over-upholstered seats and the wisdom of installing disc brakes on all four wheels. Superior marks were also given for a new kind of recirculating heater and for copying Rambler by making use of safety door handles on the car’s exterior.

 Interior of the 1966 Renault 8 was generous for four passengers.

Canadians bought 413 of the Gallic econo-boxes in 1962 and 1,127 more of them in 1963. The following year folks from St. John’s to Victoria took home 1,126 Renault 8s equipped with standard transmission and 1,054 more with the newly available automatic shifter.

In November of 1965, the Canadian assembly plant opened in St. Bruno, Quebec. Advertising now boldly proclaimed Renault’s products were now “Built in Canada” and the Renault 8 offered “more performance, safety, comfort and economy than any other car in its class.”
The 1965 Gordini version of the Renault 8 blasted off  the asphalt with 89 horsepower.
For 1965 the sales tally for Renault 8 was 1,397 units delivered with manual gearboxes and 151 units with the optional automatic transmission. In addition, a lone hotted-up Gordini pocket rocket was sold here, too.

1966 was the final year for the Renault Dauphine in Canada.

For 1966 there was an almost bewildering array of Renaults glittering on the showroom floor. It was the last year for the diminutive Dauphine and records show that a Metric dozen—ten—were sold that year.
Renault produced its one millionth 4 on February 1st 1966.

Consumers could choose among the Renault 4, the Renault 10 and the new flagship, the Renault 16.  Company records also show that seven Estafettes—Renault’s small box van--were sold here, as well.

The 1100-cc engine could propel the 1966 Renault 8 to 136 kilometres per hour.
The Renault 8 returned for its fifth year on the market equipped with the more powerful Sierra 1100 cc (67.58 cubic-inch) engine under its hood. The mill generated a healthy 46 horsepower at 4600 RPM. The engine was tough, boasting a five main-bearing crankshaft.  The gearbox was a four-speed affair, fully synchromesh. That was good enough to put the pedal to the metal and hit 140 kilometres (85 miles) per hour (ancient Canadian units of velocity).

The versatile Estafette was part of the Renault lineup from 1959 to 1980.
Only 2270 millimetres (89 ¼ inches) in the wheelbase and 398.78 centimetres (157 inches) in overall length, the dapper car was extremely nimble on the road, courtesy of rack-and-pinion steering aided by not one but two dampers. The turning circle for this road rat was a scant  9.2 metres (30 foot four inches). A Renault 8 could hold the road with the best of them because it featured independent four-wheel suspension with coil springs and telescopic shock absorbers. Just to be on the safe side engineers threw in an anti-roll bar at the front of the envelope.
 An exploded view of the 1966 Renault 8. The four-door sedan weighed in at 759.7 kilos (1,675 pounds). 
The Renault 8 came with two-speed electric wipers and a heater-demister as standard equipment. Also included in the base price were twin-jet windshield washers, emergency flashers, seat belts—front and rear—back-up lights, bumper over-riders, exterior rear-view mirrors, side markers, a tool roll and mud flaps.

The 1966 Renault 10 was assembled in St. Bruno, Quebec.

Extra cost items were carefully chosen and included automatic transmission, leather and cloth upholstery, an AM/FM push-button radio, a cigar lighter, a roof rack, a ski carrier, spot- or fog lamps, white wall tires, dressy wheel trim, a tow bar, dual mufflers, a tachometer, an oil pressure gauge, head rests and--oh-so-Continental—Renault driving gloves.

The 1966 Renault 8.
Final sales for the Renault 8 for the 1966 calendar year were 485 units delivered with the standard transmission and 445 units with automatic transmission. A total of two Gordini models was added to the final tally. Sales of the 8 were eclipsed by the far more popular Renault 10 Major. It didn’t matter much, anyway. Officials at Renault Canada could smile broadly; the total number of vehicles sold throughout the Dominion of Canada hit 4,437 units, an increase from the 4,326 units delivered in 1965.

The Renault 16, launched  in April of 1965, was European Car of the Year in 1966. The large, luxurious hatchback is shown here in an upscale setting intended for Canadians.

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Copyright James C. Mays 2007
All rights reserved.