The 1950s has long been known as the era when it all started: the birth of North American classic car culture. While Detroit often gets top billing regarding vintage motors, the U.S. doesn’t have a monopoly on classic cars. Canadian automakers also produced their fair share of collector cars, from the Acadian Canso to the Volvo 122S, the Frontenac to the Manic. Let’s look at some of our favourite Canadian classic cars.
With their curvy lines, flowing fenders and (cool-looking but slightly impractical) clamshell hoods, Fargo trucks are often mistaken for classic Dodge trucks. But for four decades — 1936 to 1972 — Fargo trucks were built in Ontario and sold by Chrysler-Plymouth.
While most models shared almost precisely the same features as Dodge light-duty trucks from the same era, the Fargo sports a unique logo; on each side, you’ll find half of a globe logo that, when put together, makes a full globe. Dodge trucks have identical badges on each side. Fortunately, collectors can use Dodge parts to replace and repair Fargo trucks, making the Fargo an excellent choice for classic car collectors.
General Motors of Canada produced the Acadian Canso for just under ten years. From 1962 to 1972, the Acadian was produced for the growing compact market; it was sold by Pontiac and Buick dealers as an alternative to the popular but not available in Canada Pontiac Tempest.
Like the Pontiac, the Canso had a split grille and came with a four-, six- or eight-cylinder engine. The Canso was a mid-range sedan, and buyers could choose two or four doors. The Canso Sport Deluxe offered higher performance options, like those available on the Chevy II Super Sport.
Part of the Swedish auto maker’s 120 series, the Volvo 122 was known as the “Amazon” in the U.S. and Europe. The car was just called by its model name in Canada thanks to copyright issues until it obtained the nickname “The Canadian.”
The Volvo 122S was manufactured in Halifax, starting in 1963 and running to the mid-1970s. The 120 line started with 1,583cc B16 inline four-cylinder engine, but by 1967 had B18 engine and from 85 to 115 horsepower, depending on the carburettor.
The Ford Motor Company of Canada introduced the Frontenac in 1960. Named for the late-1600s Governor of New France, the car shares its name with another Canadian car built by Durrant in the 1930s.
The Ford Frontenac entered the compact market full of Canadian pride; the logo at the centre of the two-part grille features a red maple leaf. It was an instant hit, selling almost 8,500 in 1960. However, it was only produced for a year and was replaced by the Comet in 1961.
In the late 1960s, a Renault employee, decided to break off and do his own thing. The result? Les Automobiles Manic Ltée. Headquartered in Granby, Quebec, this Canadian car company built the Manic GT, a sporty car designed to blend American and European styling into a car that’s all Canadian.
Despite its wild and sporty sound, the name “Manic” comes from the Manicouagan River in Quebec. Extremely lightweight with a powerful engine, this little car was featured at the New York Auto Show in 1970. Sadly, though, financial issues caused Les Automobiles Manic Ltée to close prematurely, and only 160 Manic GTs were built.
Have you ever spotted one of these Canadian classic cars in the wild? Are you thinking of buying a collector car? Or maybe you’re already the proud owner of one yourself. If so, make sure that your vintage auto is protected. Contact us today to learn more about the right auto insurance for classic cars.