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Pontiac Laurentian

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Laurentian
Vehicle Model

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Wikipedia: Pontiac Catalina: Canada and Canadian exports

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A car produced by Pontiac for the Canadian market.


History

The following section is an excerpt from Wikipedia's Pontiac Catalina: Canada and Canadian exports page on 8 July 2019, text available via the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

From the 1950s through 1970s, GM of Canada offered a unique hierarchy of full-size Pontiac series different from the American Catalina, Star Chief, Executive and Bonneville lines. In Canada, Pontiac was marketed as a low priced car, rather than a medium price make as in the U.S. Closely paralleling Chevrolet's Biscayne, Bel Air and Impala series, by 1959 the Canadian models were named Strato Chief, Laurentian and Pontiac Parisienne. When Chevrolet introduced the "Super Sport" as a distinct model line in 1962, GM of Canada soon made available a similarly equipped Pontiac "Custom Sport" (rebadged Pontiac "2+2" in 1967 to mirror a name used by Pontiac in the US for a sporty model based on its Catalina series). And when Chevrolet rolled out its topline Caprice model in mid-1965 to compete with Ford's newly introduced upscale Ford LTD, GM of Canada introduced the "Grande Parisienne" trim series for the 1966 model year.

Like all Canadian Pontiacs built from 1955 to 1970, Laurentians used full-size Chevrolet chassis, drive trains, and other parts, but using a body shell similar in style to, but not interechangeable with, the U.S. Catalina. For example, a 1964 Pontiac Laurentian looks like a Catalina, but has more in common with the Chevrolet Bel Air. Through at least 1967, however, the Laurentian wore the three "stars" normally associated with the Pontiac Star Chief/Executive series, even though other exterior trim pieces were similar to the Catalina.

The Laurentian was available in all the body styles used for the Chevrolet Bel Air, including hardtop coupes and sedans, through the 1962 model run. After 1963, hardtops were offered only in the Parisienne and Grande Parisienne series, which paralleled the Chevrolet Impala and Caprice respectively. However, two-door hardtops returned to the Strato-Chief and Laurentian series in 1969 because Pontiac discontinued its Catalina 2-door sedan in the U.S. after the 1968 model run.

The Canadian model line nameplates were never sold in the U. S. They were built for the Canadian market and for export from Canada as disassembled "crate" or "kit" cars. The one exception came when the Parisienne became an American Pontiac offering beginning in mid-1983 through 1986, although by this time the U.S. and Canadian offerings were identical. As the only remaining full-size Pontiac model available at the time, the Canadian Parisienne had been coveted by US dealerships as a flagship model to fill that market segment and compete with the Caprice offered by Chevrolet dealers. The existing name was deemed suitable for the purpose and production was simply extended to cover both countries.

Right-hand drive Parisiennes and Laurentians were assembled from CKD kits by GM Holden in Australia and by GM South Africa in South Africa; and from SKD kits by GM New Zealand in New Zealand.


Photographs

1960 Pontiac Laurentian 1960 in Tehran, Iran
Photo by Ali Moharami
View photo of 1960 Pontiac Laurentian - 3.4MB


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