Canada-exclusive classics - BMW E36 M3, Chevrolet Maple Leaf and more


Canadians, we’re special, and we’ve got the cars to prove it. While the rest of the world mistakes us for Americans, a handful of shrewd auto execs have, over the years, pandered to us with special editions and Canada-specific models. And we loved it!

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2017/09/08/canada-exclusive-classics


Hey - what about the Pontiac Parisienne? I’m the proud owner of a '63. Similar to the Bonneville but with a Chevy 283 motor. Very Canadian.


My personal favorite from the Volvo line-up, because I own one. The 1995 t-5r wagon with a factory manual transmission. Only the automatics were shipped to the US. There were a few in sedan and wagon format. A few gul yellow ones and only two black wagons. I am lucky enough to have one of the two black wagons to come to North America.



I’ve got a 1967 Pontiac Parisienne 2+2 Convertible. Did some restoration a few years back. Has been in the family since it was new. Love it!


One of the bigger risks taken by a Canadian company was the Aurora GRX/Mark ll which was a slabside Cobra recreation. The only made about 180 over the years but the car was fully compliant with the bumper/side protection and emission requirements of the day. Sold through select Ford dealers in Canada and USA.


Any photos? Would love to see the unique badging


Peugeot also built the 404 for a while in Québec and the non-fuel injected sedans were called “Alouette” (Skylark) and there was a badge on the rear too - see the photo. Staying with the 404, we had the Kugelfischer injected 404s, unlike the USA, where only carbureted 404s were sold. And all of the 404 Coupé and Cabriolet models imported to Canada (probably under 100 in total) were equipped with the Nardi floor gearchange, unknown to US buyers. I know where about 20 of these are today.

More recently, we got the Renault 30, plus Eurocode headlights have always been legal in Canada, so many marques were sent here with EU headlamps: Peugeot (504/604), Renault (5, 12, 16, 30), Citroën (DS, SM), Volvo 264, Jaguar XJ-S, plus we got oddball cars like the Skoda in the 1980s, the Lada (Niva was fun), Innocenti De Tomaso, and more.


The authoritative record of the unique models produced in Canada is Canadian Cars, 1946-84, by R. Perry Zavitz. Not exactly a “can’t put it down” tome, but quite comprehensive and well-researched.

Some other oddities, in addition to those listed, above: the Frontenac, a Falcon with unique trim, and sold through Lincoln-Mercury dealerships in Canada for one model year, only, 1960. My aunt had one.

Mid-sized Pontiacs, called Acadian Beaumonts, initially, then only as Beaumonts in the later years, used Chevelle bodies-in-white and Chevrolet powertrains, with instrument panels from their American Pontiac Tempest cousins, and unique interior and exterior trim. Acadians were the Pontiac version of the Nova, setting the stage for the Pontiac Venturas, Olds Omegas and Buick Apollos, based on the Chevrolet Nova model of the early '70s.

C-bodied GM cars of that era were imported CBU from the U.S., but the tariffs imposed made the price gap between, say, the top-of-the-line Pontiac Parisienne, and the Olds Delmont 88 of the same year, far wider than was true south of the border. Similarly, it was possible to order a Tonawanda-built 409 in your Canadian Pontiac, or a full-size Chevrolet, but the duties drove the option cost up to levels that very few would do so. 327-250 hp hydraulic lifter small blocks were pretty much top of the line for performance amongst the Canadians of that era.

Ford also badged light-and-medium duty trucks as Mercurys, up to 1968, I believe.


I just recently had my first encounter with a brilliant '66 Acadian Canso SD at the Cobble Beach Concourse two weeks ago! Good looking ride. image|375x500


'63 Pontiac Parisienne


'63 Parisienne rear view