Home » Canadian GMs Sure Know How To Flex: Cold Start

Canadian GMs Sure Know How To Flex: Cold Start

Cs Acadianwagon

Thanks to the strange arcana that was the collective mind of GM, it was decided that Canadian Pontiac-Buick dealers needed a compact car to sell, but somehow instead of selling a compact car under an existing brand name, GM decided that there should be a whole new brand, called Acadian, a name presumably picked because it used letters that were already in “Canadian,” and they had plenty of those letters laying around. The brand lasted from 1962 to 1971, and the cars were based on Chevy IIs with some different trim and bodywork. What caught my attention in these old brochure pages are the incredibly mundane nature of the stuff pointed out as features, and one in particular really, you know, speaks to me.

First, I want to point out how the text in the main shot above of the Invader Wagon – Invader was the Acadian’s sinisterly-named entry-level model – notes a “long-wearing rubber mat” which should leave you understandably breathless. If you think you can handle more excitement, check this shit out:

First, may favorite:

Cs Taillight

Aw hell yeah, some taillight love! Distinctive and functional? Please, Acadian copywriter, I can only get so hard! No wonder there’s all those envious drivers following you. I mean, it’s a nice enough taillight, but come on, Acadian, get a grip. There’s not even a reverse lamp!

Cs Acadian Chrome

A bit of chrome trim on the hood gets its own little mention! Sorry, an “elegant chrome ornament.” Woo-hoo-hoo! And boy does it blend beautifully with all those other tasteful touches.  Cs Acadian Nameplate

If chrome ornaments aren’t enough for you, imagine being able to be identified as a motorist who “appreciates complete value!” Seems impossible, right? Human technology can’t possibly solve this problem – or can it? Thanks to the magic of a little “A” over a square with three stars, this dream is realized.

Cs Acadian Pushbutton

Oh yeah, now we’re talking: push button door locks! Who is this car for, a god? Lock without a key? Safeguarded against doors just whipping open? Holy shit, what a world!

Man, Canadians used to be easy to please.

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44 Responses

  1. Waste are those pleasant cars, and the drivers forever departed!
    Scattered like dust and leaves, when the mighty blasts of October
    Seize them, and whirl them aloft, and sprinkle them far o’er the ocean.
    Naught but rust remains of the beautiful cars of Acadians.

    Apologies to Longfellow (and to my home and ancestral place of Grand Pre).

  2. Aw man, everything is just cheaped out, and then written up like it was actually something.
    Even the graphic design, with that ridiculous eyewatering letter spacing, is a hack job.

    I do like the straight sixties lines of that wagon though! The regular big brand ones we had over here were just small and ugly and boring at that time. I can only think of the Michelotto Triumph station wagon as en exception.

  3. Jesus, that kerning on “ornament that ads to” made me go cross-eyed.

    And, to be fairrrrrrr, this really just reads like a lot of other brochures from the 50’s and 60’s. “And now you can enjoy the robustly silky smooth luxurious ride quality of the Buick Totallynotanoldpersoncar thanks to the addition of all four tires WITH wheels for the 1964 model year.”

    1. Take a totally normal feature
    2. Pick some incredibly regal sounds adjectives
    3. ???
    4. Profit

    The recipe for 50’s and 60’s automotive marketing success. Eat my shorts, Don Draper

  4. These were built from 62-71. They were based on the Chevy II and the Chevelle. Acadians are a group of french speaking people who live mostly on the border of Maine and Canada.

      1. The first 2 years the Beaumont was the middle trim level Acadian and based off the Chevy II. Then for 64-65 the Beaumont was a seperate model called Acadian Beaumont based on the Chevelle. 66-71 Beaumont became a make of it’s own based on the Chevelle. They were interesting, they had a Chevelle body with different trim, Pontiac interior but Chevy engines.

      1. Fun fact: the word ‘Cajun’ comes from the Acadian French ‘Cadien’.

        Cajuns are desended from Acadians (who are still in eastern Canada/Maine in large numbers)

  5. “Wednesday morning at five o’clock
    As the day begins
    Silently closing her bedroom door
    Leaving the note that she hoped would say more
    She goes down the stairs to the kitchen
    Clutching her handkerchief
    Quietly turning the backdoor key
    Stepping outside, she is free
    She, … (we gave her most of our lives)
    Is leaving (sacrified most of our lives)
    Home (we gave her everything money could buy)”

  6. GM exec 1: “we need a name for our new Canadian budget brand. Let’s name it after the French settlers the British rounded up, put onto ships and sent to Louisana!”

    GM exec 2: “great idea! Let’s call the entry level model the Invader!”

    …and Canada wonders why French-speaking Québec wanted to pack their bags and be their own country.

  7. My first car was a ’64 Acadian Invader 2 door post sedan; the only options it had were the two-speed Powerglide transmission, and reverse lights. I had oodles of great adventures in this car and learned to wrench on it. 1962 to 1964 Acadian non-wagon taillights were unique to the brand (JT would love them) and all those models equipped with reverse lights had those in the bumper. Acadian rear bumpers featuring reverse lights were therefore unique and weren’t appropriate on an identical Chevy II even though they were a perfect fit.
    Speaking of Canadiana, my second car was a ’66 Chrysler Barracuda. In Canada, it was not badged as a Plymouth so it could then also be sold through Dodge dealerships. Many small Canadian towns would have had either a Plymouth or a Dodge dealership but not both, and the Dodge dealerships needed the extra sales. Canadian Chryslers were sold at both Plymouth and Dodge dealerships.

  8. At one time, automakers really liked to use different brands in Canada, not only to offer a more expansive product range through dealers in rural areas without stepping on the territories of existing franchises in denser, urban locations, but, also, I think, out of a certain sensitivity to the fact that although Canada has a large automaking industry, all their plants are foreign-owned and they never really developed long lasting indigenous automakers. I think there was a genuine concern to really try and appeal to patriotic consumerism by presenting them as proper, domestic Canadian brands.

    GM had Acadian, and also Beaumont from 1966-1969, and branded Canadian market Buicks as McLaughlin-Buick prior to World War II. Also, they used Envoy, Asuna, and Passport on imported cars.

    Ford had Meteor, Monarch, and Laurentian.

    Chrysler never really created a unique brand for Canada, but they did turn Fargo into a Canada-exclusive marque for a time, when they decided not to relaunch it in the US when production resumed after WWII

    1. With GM as well, a lot of the value brands have been to please Pontiac-Buick dealers who demand cheap product so they don’t get decimated by the Chev-Olds dealer down the road. That’s occasionally resulted in actual cheap Pontiacs, but I wonder if the unique brands ever rise out of some suit deciding that because Pontiac is excitement, those Canucks aren’t going to sully his precious brand with their crank window tin cans. Mind you, some of those cheap tin cans still got big engines (the SD396).

      1. One of the concerns also, was, with Canada’s lower population density, it was important for each dealership to sell as wide a range of models as possible, since in a rural area, there might only be one dealer for hours around, but they still had to protect franchise territories in dense, urban areas where dealers were closer together. So creating new brands solved that, Acadian let Pontiac dealers sell Chevrolet-priced cars without directly stepping on Chevy dealers in areas where they were close. Similarly, Meteor gave Lincoln-Mercury dealers a Ford-priced like to sell, and Monarch gave Ford dealers a Mercury-priced product

  9. My ex, a Canadian, had a brother who owned a Pontiac “Parisienne.” Weird-looking beast (the Pontiac), as it had a Pontiac body bolted to a Chevy frame. So, no “wide-track” look. More of a rollerskate vibe going on….

    I believe Pontiac was still building engines at the time, but this one had a 327 SBC in it.

    1. The original plan was for Pontiac to ditch the B-body entirely after 1984 and go to FWD only (except for the Safari wagon, which was planned to continue for towing reasons), but Canadian Pontiac dealers pushed back a lot harder than the American ones did initially, so the Parisienne stayed in production. They later stated selling it in the US, after US Pontiac dealers realized the mistake of dropping the full size RWD sedans and demanded a direct Catalina replacement

  10. I really wanted to dig into this one part in detail: Acadia is basically Canada’s oldest colony. If you see “Acadia” think “old Canada” in kind of the same way as “Plymouth Rock”. Except with way less religion. When the British came knocking in one of the many tussles they had with the French, the slow Acadians got sent off to Louisiana, and the fast ones moved elsewhere in Canada.

    The early years of the Acadian colony had a lot of crushing poverty. Anybody who remembers the “Alouette” song, well, it was a song sung about plucking and cleaning seagulls, because that’s what was for dinner. Again.

    So what we’ve got is a cheap-ass car, named after the event that kicked the Acadians out of their own home. That’s a brick-for-a-condom levels of insensitive, that’s born-without-eyes-in-a-deep-cave levels of blindness.

    * Important note: All of the above dredged out from my own memory. My uncles liked to remind me about my Acadian ancestors. I’ve got enough authority to hold a loud bar talk with the bored person sitting next to me.

  11. And look, they figured out a way to keep most of each front door from getting dinged! What, you want to protect the whole door? AND the back doors? C’mon, that’s science fiction.

    1. Can you get poutine-flavored chips? Lays sells (or sold) prawn cocktail chips in the UK, so they’re not exactly shy about turning beloved regional dishes into something you wouldn’t serve to your worst enemies.

      1. Whoops, prawn salad not prawn cocktail. Not that turning the flavors of shellfish, ketchup, and horseradish into a powder you can dump on chips would be any better.

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