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A Poncho Legend!

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August 2019 Feature Car


Our August feature car is a real stunner! It belongs to John Carlson. John found this 12600 original mile 1966 Pontiac Parisienne while scanning the online classifieds. He was lucky enough to be able to purchase this incredible time capsule. John has now realized that owning such a time capsule can be a bit stressful. He gives us the details:

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"I've been a car fan as long as I can remember. Growing up as a little boy, I would as the story goes, play with my hot wheels cars while having my own little dialogue about the cars as they were driving- complete with engine noises and the sound of screeching brakes etc. From what I have been told I would stage quite a number of races and accidents! But I've always loved cars. 

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When I was about 14 or 15 I had a couple hundred dollars saved up because I wanted to buy a Mustang. My uncle who is a mechanic at the time took me aside one day and told me "Son... you don't want a Ford you want a Chevy!" As impressionable as I was that's all it took. My car focus became the 1969 Camaro. As things happened I grew too tall for the mid-size cars and pony cars and my attention turned to the full-size Chevy's and Pontiac's. I really didn't know anything about Canadian Pontiac's until about 10 years ago. This website played a big part in that awakening. 

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Since I'm self-employed and work long hours I like to have my little diversions to enjoy while I'm at my home office and my favourite diversion has been checking classified ads throughout North America for interesting cars. This has gotten me in some trouble I must admit  as I've accumulated a lot of things that I no longer have room or time for!  But I have to say that it is one of my favourite past times and it did result in me finding this amazing 1966 Parisienne. That, and sheer luck.

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It was around the end of November or early December 2017 when I happened to be on Craigslist searching for cars under the keyword "Parisienne" One night It was getting close to 10 PM as I recall and I stumbled across an ad that said something like this...

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"Mint condition original 1966 Pontiac Parisienne with 16,000 original miles. Original owner. Black with gold interior."

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There was no picture, just a phone number. I couldn't pick my phone up fast enough! As I dialed it occurred to me that if this was an original owner of a 1966 automobile this wouldn't be a young man I was calling and perhaps I'd be calling too late in the evening. I got through anyways and left a message on the answering machine.

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The next day the fellow called me back and told me that he had people booked for viewings of the car already and that he had to let everyone take a look. He wouldn't be able to sell it to me that day however he told me I could come and take a look. I canceled all my appointments for that day and got on the early morning ferry to Vancouver Island with my supportive wife. 

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It was a great morning filled with excitement! When we arrived at the destination I met a very nice gentleman whose name was Gordon. He explained to me that when he had graduated from the University of British Columbia in 1966 his mother walked into the show room at Conroy Pontiac in West Vancouver (yes, The same Conroy dealership that offered the Cheetah) and bought the car for him as a graduation present. He told me the car was a rather large for him and he didn't drive it all that much in the early days but it had incredible personal significance to him. Out of respect to his mother he kept it in like new condition throughout it's entire life. Apparently his mother had passed away a few years prior and he had been thinking of selling the car since then as he really had no use for it. He said his neighbour helped him put an ad on Craigslist. I noticed it the first day as did a few other people. He told me that the owner of a local golf course that expressed interest in buying it and putting it in some kind of showroom. There were apparently other callers who wanted the car but to Gordon the most important thing was that the car would go to a good home. 

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After the suspense he opened up the garage and removed the cover from the car with my careful help. Underneath the car cover were a number of soft cotton sheets that had deteriorated into a powder left on the stunning black paint. The car had obviously not been touched in a long time. When we stood back and took in those long gorgeous lines all I could think was "Wow!". Both my wife and I were impressed to say the least! The car had not been started in several years so we just took a look and soaked it all up with our eyes. No starting the car on this day.  As I looked the car over I checked out the odometer. It didn't have 16000 miles, It only had 12600 miles! I pointed this out to Gordon and he and I both had a bit of a chuckle over that. He said his eyesight was getting poor and he thought it read 16000. Gordon also told me a lot of other things about the car and his history with it but my head was fuzzy and my eyes were glazed over (and I was probably drooling). I don't remember a lot of what he said. I think he let us spend about an hour with him there. Gordon had also fallen and sustained an injury a few days prior and I could tell he was pretty much done for the day. 

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He told me he'd be making the decision on selling the car by the weekend. I knew there be no point in trying to pressure him to sell that day so I told him to consider us in the running. We went back home and waited a few days for Gordon's call. On the Saturday he called me telling me he had people waiting to make an offer but since I was the first one that had seen the car (and he liked my wife) that he would give us the opportunity to match the best offer he currently had. I've been in sales a long time so I instantly recognized that this way of going about things is usually nothing more than a pressure tactic. However I had a good feeling about Gordon and to tell you the truth I didn't care. I wanted the car! My wife and I decided to buy it and register it in her name as she would be the primary operator. When you look at the pictures you'll understand how we could fall in love with it so quickly!

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So once we were given the opportunity to buy we took another trip up to Vancouver Island with a bank draft. The car was still on its original bias ply tires and one of them had rotted away so badly that it wouldn't hold air. That tire was replaced with a radial tire for the purpose of transport. I quickly arranged for an enclosed trailer to pick the car up. I was very fortunate because the day after we loaded the car on the trailer to bring it home there was the first snow fall of the year. I made it just in time!

 This was just the beginning of the process. I didn't trust my non-heated garage over the winter with this car so I arranged to lease some heated commercial storage space. It wasn't cheap! In the spring we pulled it out and I took it to my brother-in-law who is a commercial mechanic. I didn't want anyone touching this car I didn't know personally. To make the trip to Stephen's shop I first removed the original wheels and tires and put them away. I replaced them with a set of 14 inch wheels and tires I had off a very nice 1967 Parisienne. The pics with all black hubcaps are the originals and the hubcaps with a red center ring are those where the car wears the 1967 wheels and tires. All 4 original bias ply tires are set aside and same with the wheels and caps. Both sets go with the car.

 My brother-in-law Stephen accepted the job of checking in replacing the belts, hoses, fluids etc. and the fuel in the tank and the fuel lines to get it road worthy. The nice thing about having a family member do the work was I was able to tag along with him at times as he worked. He told me he'd never worked on an old car in this condition before. He said it was a pleasure as the bolts were easily removed like on a brand new car. He told me that the tabs holding the drum brakes on the assembly line keeping them from falling off during production we're still in place. He says you never see that. He was quite impressed with this Parisienne!

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I bought a new replacement gas tank with intentions of restoring the original somewhere down the road. The radiator needed attention so I took it to a shop about an hour away from my home and had it re-cored and painted and put back in place. Lots of other little niggly things I had to take care of on a short time line. I had to get the car running because he couldn't keep it at his shop forever. I kept absolutely everything that came off that car. And when I came to pick it up I was amazed how quiet it ran and how smooth and easy it was to start and rev up a little bit. He said the two barrel carburetter would need to be rebuilt and that was not something he does. He said the seals had dried up a bit and I could expect it to perform even better with a carb rebuild.

 The first time I drove it was a revelation. The first thing I noticed was that for such a big car there was no room for the driver! With the bench seat all the way back and that big steering wheel (no tilt steering either!) I had to be very careful getting in and out of the car so as not to cause any damage to the original plastic covers on the seats. What my wife and I really noticed was how this car drove. All of the other mid 60s cars I've owned or driven we're pretty floaty and boaty and all over the road. This car does not squeak or rattle or make any strange movements. It is as smooth and level as my wife's modern Cadillac and I couldn't believe how responsive it is with just the 283 and the two barrel. To say it's a pleasure to drive is an understatement! 

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I had my first setback very shortly after this first drive. I took the car home and thoroughly washed and cleaned it. I love washing cars! Problem is that perhaps the original paint was rather soft on the top. I don't know why, but I did notice swirl marks in the paint after I had very carefully washed it. I was a bit upset to say the least. I had a guy look at it who knows paint and body work. He measured the thickness of the paint and told me that it was good in some areas but thin in others. Maybe the factory had applied it that way? He advised me to be careful polishing and to protect the beautiful natural finish. So in order to protect and preserve the originality of the car I had a professional carefully polish and ceramic coat the entire thing. It wasn't cheap but if you notice the video of the car coming out of that treatment you'll see it was all worth it. The paint looks great and the swirls were gone.

I felt I had done a good job protecting the car as it's first new owner in more than 50 years. There's a lot of pressure I found being the new owner of such an original and low mileage car.

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Other than driving I think the thing I'm best at when it comes to cars is reading and doing the research. I'm not mechanically inclined and I don't have a whole lot of experience but I did my research and came up with a plan to take the car to the next level without altering any originality or taking away from what this car really is. I have not taken any steps since then to execute that plan but I hope the next owner will.

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The interior of this car is absolutely amazing. As I mentioned it still has the original plastics covering the front and back seats. The door panels are like brand new. The dash assembly is like new. The steering wheel and horn button we're like new. Not even a scratch from where a person's ring or keys might have brushed up against it. I've never seen anything like it quite frankly.

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Gordon gave me all of the documentation as well. There's a key tag with the original owner's name taped on the front right from Conroy. The business card of the salesman is attached to the Protect-O-Plate. We have service and insurance receipts validating the mileage (as if there is any doubt!). Lots and lots of original documentation for this car.

 We took the car to one car show last summer after I had it polished and coated and it was very well received! But my wife and I learned something last summer as well. She seemed nervous driving it. She didn't want to hurt the car and she was afraid to park it near anything. I found it every time I got in and out of the car I was worried about tearing the original plastic on the seat. I also began to realize how much time and support and knowledge is needed to get a very fine original example to "the next level" ie: museum worthy. Towards the end of last summer my wife and I found that we didn't really want to put many miles on this car. We start to realize that we got into a little bit more than we bargained for. We love the car but we realize were not the right people to be caretakers for it with our kids and busy work schedules. We started to doubt that we personally are up to the challenge of keeping such a car.

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I advertised the car for sale on Kijiji about a month ago. I've had good response but I always remember the promise I made to Gordon when he allowed us to buy the car. I told him that we look after to the best of our ability and if it ever came time to sell that we'd make sure it went to the proper home. 

 I've had a few calls from people about this car whom I've told I changed my mind and want to keep it. I just didn't feel right about selling to them. A few young guys have come to check it out and I just didn't trust them to keep the car original. But the car is definitely available to the right person. I'm not looking to profit one penny on the car. My asking price is what I have into the car and probably a little less.

 I bought a sealed "Car Bag" so I can store this vehicle in my non-heated shop over the winter if necessary. But my wife and I have decided we need to find a new home. So anyone who looks at these pictures and likes the look of it as much as I do just feel free to get in touch. This car belongs with the people on this website and I hope we find someone soon.

 I really want to thank Todd for allowing me this space as the August Feature car. I'd also like to thank Carl Stevenson for his advice, support and enthusiasm during this whole adventure.

 I have made arrangements with a buyer from this group to take over both of my 427 4 speed cars and parts/parts cars. This 1966 Parisienne time capsule will be the last to go. Once that happens I may be in the market for a Pontiac that is mostly "done" and closer to my level of skill and that won't stress me out about being 100% perfect and correct. I'd like a car I can let my kids drive or take a long road trip with. We will see I guess! I hope to still be a member of this great Canadian Poncho group for many years to come.

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Thanks for looking!"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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Todd
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A Poncho Legend!

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YES!!!

Oh, how long have I waited for this day.....

I will go out on a limb and say although I've had a multitude of "favourite" feature cars, this one is my favourite. What an incredible car....

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1966 Strato Chief 2 door, 427 4 speed, 43,000 original miles


Poncho Master!

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WOW!!! ABSOLUTELY STUNNING!smile

 



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   MIKE



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4SPEED427 wrote:

YES!!!

Oh, how long have I waited for this day.....

I will go out on a limb and say although I've had a multitude of "favourite" feature cars, this one is my favourite. What an incredible car....


 Thank you Carl. Thank you for being available to me when I have questions and for all of your enthusiastic support! You are a blessing to all of us in this community.



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Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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Awesome, what a gem. Will be a lucky person who becomes the next caretaker.

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Jerel


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RE: August 2019 Feature Car *CERAMIC COATING*


Stunning!

Where did you have the coating done? How long did it take? Pleased overall?

Have never seen an original car this nice... Once in a life time sort of a thing.

Well done.

 

RGM

 

 



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1959 Pontiac Laurentian - 1962 Dodge Dart 440 - 1962 Hillman Minx - 1972 Lincoln Continental - 1982 Lincoln Mark VI - 1977 Ford LTD Landau - 2017 Ford Fusion Platinum

www.everythingelectronic.ca



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RE: August 2019 Feature Car


Reading this and seeing this car leaves me speechless.



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Ray White, Toronto ON

1973 LeMans 454 "Astro-Jet"

Built March 9, 1973 - Oshawa ON

 






Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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im with ray a complete museum piece

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http://canadianponcho.activeboard.com/t51640378/timbuks-first-invader/ http://canadianponcho.activeboard.com/t63146560/timbuks-second-invader/  vancouver island



Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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Great story. They are only original once, and this car is ORIGINAL! Beautiful car and FOR SALE to the right person!!!



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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.

MC


Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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WOW!!!  I remember seeing your posts on this board when you first got it, but having the rest of the story brings it up one level more.  Thanks for sharing it with us.

If I ever one big on the lottery, your car would be one of my first acquisitions, after of course building a large climate controlled garage to keep it in.  Good luck with the sale, I hope you find another owner worthy of having it, though from the care you've given it, I would say you are probably the most worthy! 

I have found in the past that you can't control whatever happens to a car once you sell it.  It's a tough job to be the caretaker of such a car, but they were meant to drive, and even if you get the odd stone chip or ding on it, whatever you did with it would keep it in amazing condition. But I get it... this is like the new car syndrome but at a much greater level.  I've never owned anything this nice, but I imagine the feeling of responsibility must be overwhelming!

The worst part would be to sell the car and see it six months later with a blower sticking through the hood, or having hydraulics and lowrider graphics on it, or something similar.  If that were the case, then you'd probably feel better off if you had kept it and driven it.  But who is to say?  We can't predict the future... maybe someone with a museum might buy it.  Or it could end up overseas (as seems to often be the case these days).  Hopefully it will end up in the hands of a respectful owner, and will respect the wishes to sell it to another respectful owner in the future.

Whatever happens, I wish you the best.  Even having owned the car for the time that you did will have left an impression on you forever... not many people get to have the find of a lifetime like this one.  It's what most of us car guys dream of!  smile



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Beautiful car and too special to be owned just to be garage kept............needs to be purchased by an large auto museum to be put on display

for all  auto enthusiasts to view as an example of design, history and workmanship of an era gone by.

Someplace like the Reynolds-Alberta Museum would be a perfect venue for this exceptional Pontiac.

https://reynoldsmuseum.ca/

Thank you for presenting this extraordinary vehicle for us to view.

-G



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Addicted!

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Yup, museum piece! Thanks for sharing the story.

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Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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Todd apologized for making us wait but boy was it worth the wait.
What a super example of art

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Poncho Master!

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I,m a convertible guy cut the roof and make it a conv.

sure is a nice car you should keep it"



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Nice car. It is unfortunate that it does not have buckets and a console.

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--Pritch--

'76 Cougar XR7 (original owner); '52 Mercury Monterey 2 dr HT (Future Project)

2013 Mustang

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'64 Custom Sport Ragtop (Factory M20)



Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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Great read and Beauty time capsule!!.....you have a 53 year old New car!

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It certainly is a beautiful 66. I would love to have it but same as you I would be afraid to drive it, it is so nice.

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1961 Impala Sport Sedan   



Poncho Master!

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A beautiful new 66 in unbelievable condition. I'm with you- I couldn't own this piece of history as I'd want it to be driven and any use and miles would detract from the way it is- original.

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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. Parting out a 63 Parisienne convertible.

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



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Very sweet car!

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A Poncho Legend!

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I keep coming back, looking at the pictures, reading the story and just shaking my head in amazement. What a car...... I doubt there is a finer original 66 Canadian Pontiac in the world.

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1966 Strato Chief 2 door, 427 4 speed, 43,000 original miles


Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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Absolutely amazing! What a body! Goes to show this quality is still hiding out there.

I can understand why you are personally reluctant to drive it John, but I have to say I'd actually have no trouble continuing to road it while preserving it. Wouldn't scare or upset me in the least. I'd get out there and carefully enjoy it while we still can! Don't let it slip away. Keep it if to just pull it out every so often on the lawn, pull up some chairs and stare at it for the day!

 



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67' Grande Parisienne. Ex Ottawa USSR Embassy car, 67- 68.
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Poncho Master!

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Beautiful 66 and a wonderful time capsule.....biggrin

But I am in the 'gotta drive it group'......they were made to be driven and enjoyed,

either way congrats on the ownership....smile



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......big block, 4 speed, bench seat, it doesn't get much better

 happy motoring :burnout



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Absolutely beautiful!!! Thanks for sharing

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Great car, great story, great family!

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Kevin

1966 Pontiac Grande Parisienne 427/4spd

1966 Lincoln Continental Convertible

1968 Ferrari 365 GT 2+2

2000 Jaguar VDP Super V8

2008 Toyota Avalon XLS

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