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June 2017 Feature Car


Our June feature car is another Canadian Pontiac that is very rarely seen these days. Jake Huebner owns this sharp 1968 Pontiac Grande Parisienne. While he has only had the car since last year, Jake has already started to make improvements to the car. It's always nice to see a car like this in good hands and we can all be rest assured that Jake will ensure this car is around for several years to come. Take it away Jake:

This 1968 Grande Parisienne has made numerous cameos on CP site over the years, so I hope everyone will enjoy a little more information!  I purchased the car in early 2016 and it came with an operators manual and a 1968 Wide Track Pontiac sales brochure for the Grande Parisienne, 2+2, Parisienne, Laurentian, and Strato-Chief.  Prior to arriving in Winnipeg in 2016, its previous home was in New Brunswick and prior to that, it originated in Nova Scotia. 

According to the sales brochure, the 68 GP came standard with the 210 hp Astro Flash 327 but you could upgrade at extra cost to the 275 hp Astro Flame 327, the 325 hp 396, or the 385 hp Jet Flame 427.   This GP has the 325 hp 396 L35 engine with a Quadrajet carb and the intake manifold has Quadrajet Jet cast into it. The engine block is stamped with the serial number of the body vin so the engine matches the car body and the block also has also has T 11 08 IV stamped into it.  The block is T 3916323 casting with other casting info such as K 6 7, GM3, Conv 2 and PASS.  What does that all these numbers mean?  I believe that the T represents the production plant of (T) Tonawanda, (11) November, (08) 8th day, (IV) 325 hp 396 with TH (TH400).  As far as the block casting of 3916323, it was a cast used for both 396 2 and 4 bolt mains in late 1967 and early 1968.  K 6 7 would interpret as being cast on (K) November (6) 6th day, (7) 1967.  My research suggests that PASS represents passenger, GM3 is a casting mold identification for quality control and CONV2 means conveyor 2 and again apparently for traceability with regards to quality control.

As I look at the production body plate and attempt to decode, I come up with the following: 

A53 - bench seat, Astro type, C08 - vinyl top, M40 - Turbo 400, T-27 is black vinyl top.  Body Style line, 68 is of course 1968, 766 represents Grande Parisienne, 87 is 2 door coupe, OS is Oshawa.  On the Trim line, TR 556 I believe interprets as black strato bench, 2-11-15 represents the second shift, November 15, and 9 NN I believe is enamel (9) and (NN) represents Cordovan Maroon metallic paint. 

If I am not accurate in any of these interpretations, pls feel free to offer a correction, with no worries! 

So, as I look at these casting dates, the block was cast on Nov 6, 1967, got stamped with T 11 08 IV on Nov 8and then was mated with the body on November 15, 1967!  The actual build year would be November 1967 and the “68” in the body style line on the production plate is the “model year” or “style” of the car, which is the “1968” model.

BTW, I looked up November 1967 and the casting date of Nov 6 is a Monday, the block stamping date of Nov 8 is Wednesday and assembly date of Nov 15 was the following Wednesday!  Why are these dates important? Well, you know what they say, don’t buy a car that was made on either a Monday or a Friday!!  So, that puts my mind at ease!   Ha, ha, ha! 

 

BTW, the 396 block casting 3916323 was the first 396 block to accept a spin on oil filter!

This Sport Coupe GP has the extra plushness option of the Strato bench seats with bucket type sportiness and pull down arm rest!!  (That is word for word from the 1968 Wide Track Pontiac brochure!)  The seats are cloth and aside from the 325 hp Astro Jet 396 and TH400, I believe the only other factory options on this car were the vinyl roof, remote outer mirror, power steering and the Strato bench with bucket backs.  After looking at the standard features and the options in the sales brochure, how could power steering not be standard equip for this 3953 lb car??  I think if I was ordering a Sport Coupe today I would upgrade to the 427 Jet Flame, buckets, console, TH400 (or maybe the 4 speed fully sync’d trans would be more fun, yes, I would totally go 4 speed!) air, power windows, disc brakes up front, and power steering of course.  That would be a real sporty car!  As per the brochure, some other options available in 68 for this particular car were: two tone paint, trailer hitch and car to trailer wiring, (we go camping so that would be a good option), air lift rear shock absorbers level control (that should stiffen the back suspension up even without trailering), safe T track rear axle(what’s that?)tilt steering, (oh yeah, I would order tilt as well), stereo radio (I would upgrade to stereo as well), and dual exhaust.  So, the question is, what options would you order on your 1968 Grande Parisienne??

This GP has dual exhaust but I am not sure if it was a factory order.  In an effort to verify exactly how this GP rolled out of the factory, I tried to locate a production build code printout.  First, I started by removing the front seat bucket backs, then the entire front seat, followed then by the back seat and finally the upper rear cushion, but was not successful in locating the production printout.  Then I read one of the CP members posting suggesting he found a production printout under the dash so I performed a body contorting act in order to try and look up under the dash but I could not find the production code printout there either.  Getting back to order options, the under dash GM air conditioner in this GP is obviously a dealer installed unit and not factory but it still works today with the occasional squeak of the fan. 

 

Since I acquired this 68 GP, I have changed out the left hand door window to the correct window that has the “Astro Ventilation” bonded to the window as well as door weather stripping, roof rail stripping, cowl strip, and a yet to be installed trunk weather stripping.  I found a front licence plate bracket to replace the incorrect one that was on the car, cleaned it up and installed the licence plate on it on the front valence.  But, I think there were licence plate guards that were an option as well but I have not located one of these guards.  I also replaced the remote mirror as the control mechanism was broken, so the remote mirror is now fully functional. You can see that I took a picture of the roof rail clip holding the roof weather stripping.  These clips were very rusty and with detaching rubber so I removed them, cleaned them in Metal Rescue and dipped them in Plasti Coat.  I thought they turned out ok.  I have also cleaned up other areas such as under the battery compartment where the battery must have overcharged and boiled over and there was some corrosion.  I also just removed the front wheel well chrome trim and wheel well and fender bolts and cleaned them up and reinstalled.          

The car had a resto about 15 years ago or so and I was able to find out some history in that matter.  I was informed that the Cordovan Maroon Metallic paint was replaced with a 2000 model year GM maroon paint code.  I was informed which GM model it was from but now I am drawing a blank as to which model!!  (LOL) Anyways, the car has had the rear left quarter panel replaced at some point in time and the driver’s door window had been changed out at some point as well.  Maybe that whole left side had a previous occurrence. Anyways, the underside of the car is very clean, solid and black.  The engine compartment is clear coated black, including the valve covers, and when you open the hood there is lots of shiny black paint!  But, there are a few areas that will need to be addressed.  L  I have a shot of the lower door pillar just below the door hinge bolts and you can see a pin hole!  There was a paint bubble there so I went ahead and poked it!  Yep, as you can imagine, my “rust free” east coast car apparently has some rust!!  After some further inspection, both sides of the door pillar / lower cowl are rusty!  L  There are a few other areas that will need attention as well, like a small section of the trunk weather stripping channel right in the curve of the lower left rear area.  But overall the car is definitely a good solid platform to have some fun with!

I plan to upgrade the front drum brakes to a C3 disc brake system that I have already acquired and is waiting for installation.  The info available on CP regarding front disc brake conversion was very helpful however I haven’t installed the disc brakes yet because as I look more closely at my upper control arms, I can see some of the rubber bushing starting to squeeze and roll out of the bushing itself.  So I have to wonder how tight are these 49 year upper and lower control arms are today??  I think perhaps when I decide to do the disc conversion, I should just likely be installing new stock control arms or something a bit more performance minded like a Golden West upper and lower control arm.  If I had set of pristine strato buckets, a tilt steering column, a complete floor shift console, and dash, I would upgrade it to the buckets / console model but all of that is hard to find and would be a bit of work to change out.  Along with the brake upgrade and potential suspension upgrade, I would also like to cheer the engine up as well one day.  Through some research, I have learned that this engine has been apart at some point in time due to a “turned bearing”.  This 396 runs good and cruises nicely in its current form but I feel the need for a bit more power.  If I do cheer it up, I think I will just try and use the parts that are in the engine and stay with the 396 3.76 inch crank, cam it up, add a performance intake manifold, clean up the heads and put on some headers.  Then, I will stick the 396 in the corner of the garage and drop either a 454 or a 496 in it!  That sounds like fun!   

 

 

I know this 68 GP has been on the Canadian Poncho site numerous times over the years so I hope you all enjoyed the pics and some of the history of this 1968 Grande Parisienne!  I want to thank Canadian Poncho for featuring my Grande Parisienne and enjoy the CP site and its members.  As I mentioned earlier, the wealth of knowledge on the site is enormous and I have enjoyed being a member!

 

Jake



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1969 Pontiac Laurentian 2 door hardtop **SOLD**
1975 Firebird Esprit 350/4speed **SOLD**
Canadian Poncho World Headquarters - Prince Edward Island



Poncho Master!

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VERY NICE!smile

 
 



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   MIKE



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AWESOME car! I think the strata bench seat is great and I would keep it for that GP. Very nice big block cruiser. Thanks for sharing. Gotta love a B Body big block. 



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Poncho Master!

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AGAIN another winner Feature Car. No mean feat with lower Canadian production and a climate that is harsh on cars.

I admit to having a crush on the 68 Grande Parisienne and considered buying a used one in 1985. It was very clean but I saw some large-ish bubbles on the quarters and decided I didn't want to go there. At the time I didn't realize how rare they were; didn't they only make about 300 of them?

 

Jake, congrats on finding this car and treating it with respect. Depending on how or where you drive, don't be too hasty to dump the drum brakes just yet. They are 11", were given (mild) praise when new and they don't drag like disc brakes do. If you want to dump the standard asbestos shoes, consider Kevlar shoes sold by Praise Dyno (their old name) or Muscle Car Brakes (new name). http://musclecarbrakes.com/

A 396 / TH400 is a nice compromise combo that is still possible to get reasonable mileage out of (if mid to upper teens is reasonable) while having the big block mystique & resale value (& rarity).

I found the build sheet (line 100 tag) in my Oshawa Chevelle under the rear seat cushion. They are usually there but I see that you were unsuccessful. If nothing else, Vintage Vehicle Services could confirm what you already have decoded (correctly!) on your car.

 

 

Yes, being handed an option list and having an opportunity to order one of these cars new would have been great. Canadians tended to be cheap back then however, so you rarely see these cars truly loaded.



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67 Chevelle Malibu Sport Coupe, Oshawa-built stocker 250 Powerglide 40,000 mile

Also in garage waiting: stroker 296 cid inline six & built TH350

Cameron Milne, Toronto.


I am a walking encyclopedia with numerous pages missing.



A Poncho Legend!

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very nice    congrats



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A Poncho Legend!

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Jake, you did a great job with your writeup, thank you for taking the time to do that. A big part of the fun with the feature car is the story and facts that go along with it.

Our Winnipeg coffee group had the pleasure of seeing this car out at our coffee night not long ago and I think it's safe to stay we all felt the same way about it-----stunning car! SO classy...

It's gonna be another great month!

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1966 Strato Chief 2 door sedan 283 "survivor"


Poncho Master!

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Very interesting car. Thanks for featuring it !

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Y.O.B.


Uber Guru

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Great write up and beautiful GP! Congrats!

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Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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What an awesome car. I think my favourite feature is the window script, so cool.....

20_zpsklnmqcws.jpg



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Ray White, Toronto ON

1973 LeMans 454 "Astro-Jet"

Built March 9, 1973 - Oshawa ON

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Very nice car and a 396 is pretty rare since it was only installed for 4 years or so. I think I saw that car for sale at the time. Don

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63 Pariesienne sport coupe (The Big GTO), black, maroon interior, 409 4 speed; former owner of a 59 El Camino, 63 Corvette SWC, 62 Chev Bel Air SC.

Mahone Bay, NS Still not old enough to need an automatic



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All the good stuff! Beautiful car!



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Prince Edward Islandbug.gif

'64 Parisienne CS "barn find" - last on the road in '86 ... Owner Protection Plan booklet, original paint, original near-mint aqua interior, original aqua GM floor mats, original 283, factory posi, and original rust.



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Thanks for all the kind words!

When I started to write up the feature and take a close look at the sales brochure, I was quite surprised as to the number options that were available for the 1968 Grande Parisienne. As CdnGMfan mentioned that Canadians used to be cheap way back then when adding on options, I found some of the options like the "safe T track rear axle" and the "air lift rear shock absorbers level control" interesting as these are not your standard offerings such as power windows or air conditioning. One could really load this car up, if you wanted to or had the bucks to burn so to speak.

BTW, can anyone comment on what exactly what the option of the "safe T track rear axle" entailed? This was one option that I could not really find any info on and I am not quite sure what this option actually included.

Thx,
Jake

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Earl36


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Sweet looking Canadian time machine. I always thought the 68 was a real class act, especially the way yours is presented. The GM dealer AC is real interesting, i will bet you do not see too many of those units. Jake, beautiful car and continued good luck with her. Cheers. George



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1957 Pontiac Pathfinder Deluxe sedan restored 261 six

1974 Chevrolet Caprice Estate wagon low milage original 400 V-8



A Poncho Legend!

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Safe T track would be limited slip differential, or in car guy terms, simply a posi.

Very good posi's in these cars too, basically they last a lifetime.

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1966 Strato Chief 2 door sedan 283 "survivor"


Poncho Master!

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Great choice for feature car. A real stunner.

Jake "Safe T Track" I believe would be Pontiac speak for limited slip differential, much like Chevy speak of "Posi-Traction".

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Stony Mountain, MB

65 Impala SS 2dr HT
65 Impala convert.
59 Impala 2dr HT
67 Acadian Canso 2dr HT

 

 

 



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Another awesome selection, from an era of  Canada's and Pontiac's best cars.

Congratulations Jake, a beauty we will enjoy looking at for the month of June.



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Poncho Master!

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Congratulations beautiful car. I agree with Ray love the window picture.
Brian

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Very cool car, love the hidden head lights!



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Tom

Sherwood Park

66 Grande Parisienne 4 speed

66 Laurentian 2 door sedan 

66 Parisienne 2 door hard top, sold. 

MC


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Love this car.  I had posted the for sale ads back when it was in NS.  I had actually considered buying the car at one point, but it wasn't fitting with the budget at the time, so I didn't follow up.  I'm very glad that it is in good hands and looks like it has only good care to look forward to.

Always thought it is one of the nicest CPs out there, with its unique combination of Grand Prix hidden headlights, but on the Parisienne fastback body.  In my opinion this combination is much nicer looking than any full size Pontiac that was offered in the US at the time.

Congrats on your car being a monthly feature - it is surely well deserved.



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Guru

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Sweet looking car. Congrat's on being this months centerfold.

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Eric - Regina, SK

The Projects:

1935 Chev 3 Window Std Coupe

1967 Mustang Convertible

1969 Firebird 350 HO Convertible

1969 Camaro X11-V8 car

1969 GTO

1969 Parisienne

1969 2+2 was a 396 car

1978 Chevy Short Box Step Side 4x4

1980 Harley FXWG

1986 CJ7 Jeep

 



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Beautiful! Great pics and story.

My friend has a 4-door model and I never noticed the Astro Ventilation inscription so will be the first place I check when I visit him next week.

Enjoy this car!

 



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"Dad, which car are we taking?"                      "The Pontiac!"

"Which one?"                                                    "The red one!"

67 Parisienne 2+2 - red

01 Montana            - red

06 Buick Allure



Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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I love this car.

The front end looks like it was used by mistake from a concept car to production.



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67' Grande Parisienne. Ex Ottawa USSR Embassy car, 67- 68.
6977017306_dfca361bfc_m.jpg
 


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If I'm not mistaken, by 1969 all B body chevys and CDN Pontiacs has Astro Ventilation (no vent windows). 1968 saw the Impala/Parisienne lines and lower trim lines with vent windows- except Caprice and Grande Parisienne, which lost the vent windows in favour of Astro Ventilation. Maybe everybody already knew that? Just thought I would add that.



-- Edited by Mondo Poncho on Friday 2nd of June 2017 10:45:56 AM

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Poncho Master!

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CdnGMfan wrote:

...At the time I didn't realize how rare they were; didn't they only make about 300 of them?

...


 THE GM DOCS. I HAVE FOR MINE SAYS 1312 MADE (30 W/L36). NOT SURE IF THAT IS ONLY 2DR OR FOR ALL.

STILL A FAIRLY LOW NUMBER.



-- Edited by 68 427 on Tuesday 6th of June 2017 03:10:20 PM

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SAWEEEEEEET! Great story and very nice ride!

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No Bike Mike

1968 Parisienne 2+2 Convertible

1999 Lincoln "Round Car"  (Sadly Sold)

2005 GMC K1500 

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