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Post Info TOPIC: October 2020 Feature Car


A Poncho Legend!

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October 2020 Feature Car


It is my pleasure to feature Scott MacKenzie's beautiful 1951 Pontiac Chieftain Sedan Delivery for October. This car has a wonderful history as it served as an ambulance for the town of Coquitlam, BC. Without further adieu here's Scott's story about this one of a kind Pontiac:

The Grey Ghost

GG6.jpg

 

 

I started with the District of Coquitlam Fire Department in 1980.  On my first day I saw the Grey Ghost parked at the back of the #1 Hall looking very forlorn.  At that point I didn’t know we would become great friends.

Coquitlam bought it in 1951 after fund raising events.  It was converted into an ambulance by a local automotive shop. Custom side windows and a Federal Model L siren light were installed on the body.  The interior was fitted with a two way radio, custom deck, attendant’s stool and a stretcher system.  

Old Firehall 1959Sm.jpg

It was nicknamed “The Grey Ghost” after responding to a call on a foggy fall night. The story goes that the patient, who was laying on the sidewalk, described to the firefighters that the ambulance was “like a grey ghost appearing out of the fog”.

Scott & Grey Ghost 1982 2 Edited.jpg

It served as Coquitlam’s ambulance from 1951 until 1971 when it was replaced by a new Ford Econoline ambulance.  It remained in reserve status until 1977.

A colleague and I cleaned it up and started taking it to an annual Fire Department event and parade in a neighboring community in 1983.  The body was in rough shape but she ran great.

7-Grey Ghost Body Repair #1.jpg

1-Grey Ghost Body Repair #8.jpg

 

2-Grey Ghost Body Repair #7.jpg

 

 

The 6 cylinder, 239 ci L head engine had only 16,900 miles it.  Driving her with the three speed manual shift on the column took a bit of getting used to for me.

In 1989 money was allotted for a body restoration.  The decision was made to not touch the interior to keep it authentic.

In around the mid 90’s the big annual Fire Festival and parade was cancelled and the Ghost lived at the back of one of the halls under a cover. She rarely got out for exercise.  Nobody knew how to drive “three on the tree”!

6-Grey Ghost Body Repair #2.jpg

4-Grey Ghost Body Repair #5.jpg

 

I retired in 2014 and in 2017 after asking to borrow her for a single car show I was asked if I would be her custodian.  I jumped at the opportunity!

GG2.jpg

 

The department’s mechanic gave her a tune up, new brakes, new radiator and adjusted the clutch.  I spend hours cleaning and detailing which included removing a mouse nest from the interior.  The summer of 2018 the Ghost showed at six events.

GG4.jpg

GG5.jpg

 

In the spring of 2019 we had the seats and door panels reupholstered.

GG9s.jpg

GG10.jpg

 

GG11.jpg

 

  That summer she attended 10 events and won “Best In Show” at one, and “Best Interior” at another.  Both events had over 500 vehicles in attendance. The Interior Judge said to me that looking inside the Ghost was like visiting a museum.  Numerous attendees at car shows agree that the interior should not be restored, but left in its unique “time capsule” condition.

GG7.jpg

GG8.jpg

 

GG 1.jpg

Grey Ghost Serial Number Plate.jpg

Sechelt Show 2019 Best InteriorA.jpg

No car shows this year because of Covid but hopefully next year I’ll have the Grey Ghost back on the circuit!

GG3.jpg



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Todd
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Canadian Poncho World Headquarters - Prince Edward Island

 



Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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That is a truly amazing piece of Canadian history. An incredible story for an incredible car. Don't you just love that grey paint?



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Ray White, Toronto ON

1973 LeMans 454 "Astro-Jet"

Built March 9, 1973 - Oshawa ON

1993 Corvette Convertible LT 1

Polo green metallic & tan  - Bowling Green Kentucky 






Poncho Master!

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Exceptional. Great story.

A devoted employee with a great retirement project.

Fantastic Chrome

Certainly not a Garage Find..



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Cliff

Done Hurryin

Like the larger type for my eyes. 

 

 



Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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A true treasure of Canadiana of an era gone by.

Beautifully done Scott.........you should be proud.



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Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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Great story. Glad you had and continue to have the passion for this legacy to continue. Congrats on being featured.

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Jerel


Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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Very nice. I like to see when the off-GTO cars are paid their proper due.

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70 2+2 convertible
70 2+2 hardtop
70 Parisienne hardtop
72 GMC Sierra

 

 



Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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Scott, first of all thank you for your devotion to this wonderful Pontiac. Never mind how amazing this vehicle is in its own right but the amount of lives it must have helped save as well, in the process of its day to day purpose. Thank you for helping save this piece of Canadian automotive history and allowing us to enjoy it this way. Cheers. 



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1957 Pontiac Pathfinder Deluxe sedan restored 261 six

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



Guru

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Beautiful Pontiac. I find it interesting that it has back up lights, not normally seen on commercial vehicles.

Paul

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Guru

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A well preserved time capsule. You can only imagine the situations that this vehicle would have responded to over the years.

Great story and a fine looking vehicle. Well done on your custodial duties!

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Now appearing as "68 Grande" 



Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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What a great past and now present this Pontiac has had.
We are reminded that vehicles weren't just for pleasure but as in this case served us as well.

In 1951 GM called the colour code 159 Glider Grey.



-- Edited by norontcan on Wednesday 30th of September 2020 10:58:29 PM

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A Poncho Legend!

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That right there is an amazing piece of Canadian Pontiac history. I keep saying I'm not into the early 50's Pontiacs and cars like this keep coming along and changing my mind! What's not to love about this car???

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1966 Strato Chief 2 door, 427 4 speed, 44,000 original miles "FAKE_66"



Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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wow wow wow

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



Guru

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Great story on a very unique Canadian built Pontiac! 



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Poncho Master!

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Beautiful car love seeing it all original. !

Al

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Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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A genuine Canadian icon of a car.

Having a shot of it in the 50's takes the cake! Congrats.



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65 Laurentian post, 67 Grande Parisienne 4 door HT. 
 


Addicted!

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I love the car and story. Congrats on the efforts to preserve and restore this piece of history!!

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Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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SUPER COOL vehicle ... love the story ... might get my vote for feature car of the year.



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Prince Edward Island

'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.



Addicted!

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Beyond AWESOME. This is a must see in person !
I am very fortunate to live in Port Coquitlam and have seen this amazing heritage piece a few times.
Very well deserved at the top of the page neighbor!

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Kp

 

NO ONE EVER GOT SICK SMOKING TIRES!!

MC


Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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Love the story and the car.  Without your intervention, interest and action, who knows what might have happened to it?  Good job!  smile

The monthly feature cars and the stories attached to them are one of the things that makes this website great.  Keep 'em coming, Todd!



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Poncho Master!

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Very nice good story



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Uber Guru

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This is quite a piece of history and its good to remember where we came from.

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63 Parisienne 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



Veteran Member

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Awesome vehicle and amazing history.....thanks for sharing.

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1970 Pontiac 2+2 covertible 400 cubic inch

U.S. Embassy car when new - in the family since 1973



Addicted!

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Very nice. Love the history on it. How cool to be cruising in that ride.


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Poncho Master!

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cdnpont wrote:

A genuine Canadian icon of a car.

Having a shot of it in the 50's takes the cake! Congrats.


 What Mark said.........congrats on being the October banner.........biggrin



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

 happy motoring :burnout



Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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Great story,beauty car and nice to see you keeping part of your community's history alive and looking fine!

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