|The 1967 Beaumont was created for the Canadian market but the marque would also be built in Chile and sold in Puerto Rico and the Republic of South Africa.|
General Motors of Canada Limited first established its policy of creating unique Pontiacs for the domestic market in the 1930s. Pontiac grilles were grafted onto Chevrolet bodies with enough of Pontiac's Indian-theme--and later the silver streak trim--to distinguish one nameplate from the other. This increased profits handsomely for GM's Canadian subsidary since the company got two birds for just one stone without having to build or import Pontiac models from the States.
|The 1948 Vauxhall Velox was introduced to Canadians. A RHD model is seen here.|
After World War Two, GM of Canada began importing Vauxhalls from GM's British subsidiary but they sold in small numbers, at first.
|The posh compact Nash Rambler bowed in 1950 as an upscale station wagon and a convertible.|
In 1950 Nash created a new segment in the automobile market, the compact. Canadians recoginzed the value and responded by snapping up the small cars. At Nash, corporate thinking was that small did not mean cheap. Rambler came dressed to the nines with a radio, heater, whitewall tires and leather-trimmed seats at no extra cost. Priced virtually the same as a stripped full-size Chevrolet, Rambler caught on with the frugal, buying public.
|The 1954 Volkswagen Beetle.|
Nash was not alone in recognizing Canadians' appetite for smaller vehicles. Volkswagen took a hard look at Canadians' hunger for smaller and thriftier cars and established its first overseas subsidiary on Canadian soil in 1954. VW was on the money as consumers lined up for the pint-sized West German import.
In the fall of 1959 GM Canada began to compete with Volkswagen with its rear-engined Corvair but it missed the mark. GM brought a more traditional small car to market in 1962. Chevrolet dealers got the Chevy II and Pontiac dealers were given the Acadian.
Acadian shared a shell with the Chevy II but it was distinctly Canadian. The new brand appealed to national pride and history of the proudly tragic French-speaking colonists who arrived in the early 1500s to settle in what is now Newfoundland, the Maritime Provinces, Maine and Quebec. Expulsed en masse from their homes by British conquerors and immortalized in Longfellow's poem, Evangeline, the name still evokes strength and endurance today.
Beaumont began life as the top-of-the-line series for Acadian. Unique maple leaf chrome trim, a split grille, different interior fabrics and soft trim made the Acadian distinct, although it used the Chevy II instrument panel. Power plants were identical to Chevy II with both four- and six-cylinder engine offered.
The Acadian sold very well, taking 3.5 percent of all new car registrations that year. Acadian's strong showing slotted the new make right after Oldsmobile and just ahead of GM's popular captive import Vauxhall, sourced from Britain. The latter was displayed on Pontiac showroom floors alongside the homegrown Acadian.
While the Acadian brand was continued through 1971, the Beaumont name was chosen to adorn the larger Chevelle-sized Acadian introduced in 1964. Acadian now rode on two wheelbases. From 1964 onward the larger vehicle mated Pontiac Tempest's instruemt panel to Chevelle interior fabrics, upholstery, trim and door panels.
|The 1966 Beaumont Custom Convertible.|
In 1966 the popular Beaumont bacame a marque in its own right. Records show that 12,827 Beaumonts were sold that year. Two six-cylinder engines were available as well as Chev's 327-cubic inch V-8.
|The 1967 Beaumont was restyled.|
Nine Beaumont models were offered the following season--in time of Canada's 100th birthday. A total of 12,356 units sold during Centennial year, almost beating out Ford's Fairlane. While Pontiac's Tempest and LeMans models were available, they were expensive imports costing up to $700 more than the domestically-built Beaumont. Since the imported Pontiacs weighed a good 270 kilos (600 pounds) more and came with smaller engines, a Beaumont would knock the socks off of any Pontiac GTO. Beaumont was popular because it represented a lot of car for the money.
Despite increasing sales, the popular Beaumont was cancelled in 1969 a casualty of AutoPact, the Canada-US trade agreement that allowed trans-shipment of automobiles between our two countries without tax or tariff. It is estimated that 55,000 Beaumonts were built between 1966 and 1969.
|1969 was the final year for GM Canada's Beaumont. It was replaced by the Pontiac LeMans.|
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