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About Quiz #385: Chevriac or Pontrolet!

About Quiz #385: Chevriac or Pontrolet!

We said this would be easy, yet hard. Every contestant knew this is a Pontiac, and all but one correctly pegged it as 1940. Five of you knew it's a Pontiac Arrow, a Canada-only model, based on that year's Chevrolet. Like the US-built Pontiacs, whose least expensive model was the Special Six, the Arrow shared GM's "A" size body with Chevrolet. but unlike the Special Six, which had a 116-1/2 inch wheelbase and 222.7 cubic inch sidevalve engine, the Arrow had 113-inch Chevy chassis and 216.5 cubic inch overhead-valve "Stovebolt" engine. The dashboard, however, was Pontiac. To make the Pontiac nose sheet metal fit the shorter chassis it was reconfigured, resulting in more front overhang and a look best described as "uncomfortable." The difference shows up when comparing to a 1940 Pontiac Special Six and the Chevrolet Special Deluxe.

The postwar Canadian models are fairly well known, Chrysler Corporation's "Plodges," typically Plymouths with Dodge noses and trim, and Ford's Monarch and Meteor sub-marques sold only in Canada, as well as more modern Cheviacs. International tariffs are sometimes blamed for this variety, but the more important reason had to do with dealerships. Canada's smaller, less-densely settled populations resulted in car dealers spaced farther apart. The Cheviac gave Pontiac dealers a less expensive car to sell than was available at their stores in the USA. Since there was not a Chevy dealer next door, corporate fratricide was a minor worry. Today, of course, automakers just swap the badges of one marque for another, and thanks to the Canada-US Auto Pact of 1965 there is free trade of cars across the border.

Gerry Barrett gave us all the specifics, while adding that the "A Vendre" sign and fire hydrant peg the photo as taken in French-speaking Canada. Indeed, I snapped it in Sabrevois, Québec, while returning to the USA from Montréal. He also gives Regina, Saskatchewan, as a Canadian Pontiac plant, although the Sanford Evans data book, a trove of elusive information on Canadian cars, indicates they were also built at GM's Canadian HQ at Oshawa, Ontario. Congratulations to first-time winner Gerry, please email us your T-shirt size and mail address so we can send your T-shirt. A special mention to jury member Alan Spencer who contributes the colloquial nicknames "Chevriac" and "Pontrolet," and to Peter Johnson, who educates us about the "lovely Clow type D67 Premier fire hydrant and Canadian style sign."

(Text & photos Kit Foster)


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Jury Member Location Information

Bart Oosterling NL
Bas de Voogd / Rutger Booy NL team
Bob Swanson USA Sports Cars & Racing Cars
Carleton Hughes USA
Ced Pearce South-Africa Ford & Cord
Chris Paulsen USA Brass Era (pre-1916) cars
David Green NZ
Dick Trenk (deceased 2010) USA US cars
Dominique Barbault F French Cars
Don Edwards USA US Classics
Eduard Hattuma NL
Fons Alkemade NL French automobiles
Frans Vrijaldenhoven NL Dutch Automobile Historian
Fried Stol NL
Hans Compter NZ
Harry Schley Germany
Henk Visscher NL Firsts in Car Industry
Ian Hayhurst Canada pre-1916 autos / early Mopar
Ingo Jost Germany German Cars
James Helms USA
João Pedro Gazineu Brazil
John Barringer UK
John Robins UK
Jon Baker Australia
José A. Gómez Argentina
Josef Kubista CZ
Joseph P. McCormick USA
Kit Foster USA US cars 1920-1960, Stanley Steamers
Kjetil Langsaether Norway
Lars-Göran Lindgren S brass era cars
Luke Chennel USA
Marc Fellman Australia
Mark Dawber NZ
Mike Clark GB Vintage Cars.
Mike Tebbett UK cyclecars
Mike Turner USA
Nicolas Boissier France
Paul Linster L French & Britsh sports cars
Peter Ransom Australia
Richard Armstrong UK
Radu Comsa Romania
Raul Valkila Finland
Reg Harris Australia Citroën and English cars
Robb Stewart USA early racing and sports cars
Robbie Marenzi Argentina
Roger Fields USA
Rutger Booy / Bas de Voogd NL team
Stuart Penketh Thailand
Theo Castricum NL US cars
Tom Chaney USA
Verner Johnson DK