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Post Info TOPIC: March 2021 Feature Car


A Poncho Legend!

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March 2021 Feature Car


As most of you know owning a Canadian Poncho can be quite a challenge. Since these cars were primarily sold in Canada many succumbed to rust years ago making the availability of the unique parts these cars had quite difficult to obtain. Now imagine owning one of these cars in England! Ches Cole hails from Uxbridge in the UK. He owns this 1964 Pontiac Parisiene right hand drive convertible. You can imagine some of the pains Ches has gone through to obtain parts for his Pontiac. Ches tells us about the car and some of the interesting methods he has used to obtain the parts he needs for the eventual restoration back to showroom condition:

"Our Oshawa story for my long suffering wife Sue and I really started around 30 years ago. 

An old friend suggested we buy something together and a mildly hot rodded 1963 Nova with a 327, a rock crusher, and a posi was the result.  He still owns and races it to this day.   At one of the cruises we went to back then there was a sweet compact convertible of some kind and Sue said she would like one.  I had my licence to kill!

In 1996 virtually all used car sales were only advertised in the "Exchange and Mart", local papers, and another paper called "Loot".  That's where I found our boat.  I bought her from a black cab driver (that's what London Taxi drivers are called, whatever their roots are) for £1600 24 years ago December last.  Initially hidden in a friend's front garden, she was presented to Sue on Xmas morning complete with a giant pink bow.

The car is reputedly 1 of only 54 1964 RHD convertibles shipped exclusively to the UK but, as this is Cheskipedia I'm ready to be corrected on that.  Considered opinion here is that only around 10 still exist.  It was delivered new to one Mona Maeder in May 1964 at the house in Queensway/Bayswater London W2 seen in my current avatar.  It's had about a dozen different owners since.

 Pontiac3picsasbought.jpg

PontiacLog book1.jpg

 

PontiacLogBook2.jpg

 

 

As you can see someone had resprayed white over the original paint (and lots of rust) and fitted a white top, but the trusty stock 283 with powerglide was good to go.  The dash had been butchered where the radio would have gone (they were delivered new to the dealer without radios) but more on that later.  Over the next ten years or so I started gathering parts and fitted a brand new fuel pump (GM dealer in Santa Ana), Pertronix (yes, I do carry the points just in case), a remanufactured carb (Champion Texas), and I went through the brakes.  On nearly all West Coast trips of which we had many between '97 and 2018 I would bring something back. We also visited friends in New England regularly and in Virginia once, plus one trip to the Keys.  Anything that wouldn't fit in a suitcase usually went in my surfboard bag.  Virgin Atlantic used to allow two pieces each in the hold plus the board went free too.  The only oversize item I can recall was the lower rear trim that Dave (pont427) most kindly despatched to Worcester Mass for us.  The 6 foot long cardboard tube raised a question at the Boston Logan check in desk but as soon as I told the good lady what it was we were fine since she and her husband had a car from the sixties too. 

Initially an old friend cut out and repaired rot in the lower door skins and on the top of the front wings. Then  around 15 years ago I paid for a budget on frame body resto.  "Barry the paint" as he was known did me proud and carried out large amounts of reconstruction welding in hidden areas as well but I couldn't afford to pay for cutting out around the rear wheel arches so that part was not done properly hence the way they are now.  Once Barry had done I drove her down to Dorset where "Gary the stich" fitted the burgundy top and repaired the front seats.  The top came back on one West Coast trip wrapped around my surfboard inside it's bag.  The original chrome like pink seat material came back the same way on a later trip.  I still have enough left over for a parade top and one seat repair if I ever need it.

Once the car was back the period correct AR 200 "Daisies" could go on.  I've got Sue to thank for getting them.  We were on our way to dinner with her oldest friend in Sacramento when I spotted a small hot rod shop on the opposite side of the thoroughfare.  "Why don't we go in? 20 minutes won't matter"

A "Mountain Man" was behind the counter with an equally impressive beard and turned out to be the owner.  I told him what we had back home but I said we could only really look round as we were due to fly home in a couple of days.   However he said the fateful words; "Are you looking for anything in particular?"   I told him what I wanted and it turned out he used to have a wheel business and said; "I'm sure I've got two in my loft at home. Come round tomorrow and if you like them I'll find you two more, refinish them, and drop them off at your friend's house.   

After we got home I was telling our Virginia friend the story and he asked how I was going to get them back and I said I hadn't worked that out yet.  He told me to get them to New York and he could ship them for free on a U.S. Navy vessel as long as they went to him in the UK naval "post" office where he then worked.   Sometime later two arrived, a few weeks later the third.  Unfortunately Rick got posted so he got the last one re-directed to a colleague but nothing happened.   It turned out the fourth wheel had gone back to Pennsylvania as his colleague got posted too!  So I arranged for the last wheel to be shipped back across the States to Laguna Beach as we were due there later that year.  Thus one of our wheels came back in a suitcase!  I reckon that American made wheel has done more miles without being attached to a car than any.   Pro'lly around 18,000!

By about 2008 she was halfway presentable and served us well and often, although I never got round to re-fitting the stainless trim around the back of the top or the lower side bits.

220.JPG

PontiacCessna.jpg

PontiacShepherdsBush.jpg

 

 

In more recent years I've got from Australia a completely re-manufactured power steering control valve.  That was the easiest option since they are unique to the RHD cars.  It actually came of a wrecked CKD Australian car and was sent to somewhere in Middle America for the work,then back to Australia and on to Melbourne.  Then my nephew brought it here in his luggage.  It should feel quite at home near that fourth wheel especially as it glides along on the correct side of the road.

PontiacEngineBay.jpg

Pretty much the only significant part I found in the UK actually came off a 1962 RHD Impala hard top which of course has the same dash as ours. In the Chevrolets it had a blank radio delete which I still have but I also have an original Pontiac radio to go there.  She does have a reproduction "tax" disc (now known as a Road Fund Licence) correctly positioned in the lower left corner of the windscreen identical to the one she would have been delivered with to No 2 Bark Place.   At the time a year would have cost £15. I have decided not to fit either of the dash items until the next body job is complete and I have space in the garage to keep her out of the British climate.

PontiacInterior.jpg

PontiacTaxDisc.jpg

The last dozen years have not unexpectedly seen the dreaded tin worm reappear, especially around the rear quarters.   The radiator although original was perfect until three years ago.  Fortunately we have one of the last traditional rad specialists in the next village along so that got completely rebuilt with additional rows and fins.  A few years ago various parts came from Darryl via Nevada.  The last thing I bought was the Magnaflow exhaust system but I still have four nuts to get loose around the top of the downpipes before that can go on. I'm ready to pull the trigger at NorAm for the quarters but they won't deliver to the UK  nor can I find anyone who will ship an item 2.4 metres long.   Additionally  the paint has deteriorated quite badly but I still have the mix codes.

PontiacRust1.jpg

PontiacRust2.jpg

PontiacRust3.jpg

PontiacRust4.jpg

PontiacRust9.jpg

So that's the "before", the "middle after", and the "now". The "real and proper after" will take another couple of years or so but I try to keep her drivable most of the time so she can be enjoyed.  Many thanks go to Todd and everyone on the forum.  I'm thankful not only for all the help and advice but for giving me an insight into Canadian life that I couldn't have got in any other way.  I hope to visit sometime in the future but not during winter!

 PontiacAwaitingExhaust.jpg

Other thanks so far to: Primarily Sue. Then in no particular order:  Dick in East Sussex, Ashe in Kensington, Dave in Laguna Beach, Dave in Lincolnshire, Rick and Sherrie in Virginia, Christine and Kevin in Rhode Island, Mick and Caroline Nanaimo, Dawn and Michael Sacramento, Gary Dorset and Barry ? - Status unknown, Dave in Ruislip plus Trini and Alistair in Melbourne.

 

 

 

 

 



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Todd
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Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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What a great story and also perseverance to bring it to this stage. Thanks for sharing and continued good luck enjoying your ride.

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Jerel


A Poncho Legend!

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Love it. I can't get enough of seeing the RHD Pontiacs.

Another great example of our unusual cars, this one being particularly unique.

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



Addicted!

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Pretty darn amazing. I love these cars. There was a 64 Grand Prix. From Australia for sale in Nobleton Ontario 20 plus years ago. Originally built in Lynden NJ and shipped new to Austalia. I was surprised at the amount of work required to bring to Australian specs. Master cyl. and booster stayed on the left side with a relay rod running across the firewall like a student driver car with the extra( instructor) brake peddle. The right frame horn was notched out for the steering box and the pitman arm had been reworked. The dash was mirror imaged but for some reason the dash pad was not. The running and brake lights had also been altered.

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Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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Ches, I always wondered about your 64 Pontiac convertible.

For some reason I thought it was a left hand drive Poncho that made it's way to the UK from Canada.

This is the first time I've seen a right hand drive 1964 Pontiac dash.

.......and it is a Pontiac dash.

Wonderful story,and I wish you great success in getting this old girl restored.

Thank you for submitting for top of the page for March.

This is such a unique car.

-G

 

 

 



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Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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I'm glad your nomination went through. Your car and your own story was way overdue for some recognition. I've always been interested in it.

Congrats!



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65 Laurentian post, 67 Grande Parisienne 4 door HT. 
 


Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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xlent ches! thanks for sharing it must just fit on some of those roads im sure

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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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Always thought that was a sharp looking car from your Avatar Ches, very enjoyable Sunday after brunch read! 

Now as nice as that story and 64 Parisienne are it's that XJR in the background that's tweaked my interest! Assuming that's your regular everyday barnburner. 



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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 






Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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A fascinating story!  It took a lot more creativity that we usually have to use here to get that old girl where it is today. Salute!

The only thing I am surprised at is that I thought It would have been dinged on all four corners during the years as it is such a large car for the narrow roads there.

 



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ken from northern Alberta

38 Willys pickup electric powered project

39 Buick (327 with 700 r4)

66 Grande Parisienne 396 with AC (built October 26 1965)

66 Beaumont 4 door hardtop

69 Chevy CST pickup

1976 GMC 23'  motorhome



Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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Great story and fun read! Congrats on top of the page. Looking forward to reading the posts on the next phase. I notice no door mirrors only fender mirrors? Was this standard in the UK?


Pontiac3picsasbought.jpg



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Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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Beautiful car! Love the burgundy top ... very rich looking.

I've had the pleasure of selling Ches some parts for his '64.



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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.



Uber Guru

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Ive always admired your car Ches and its very unique and beautiful colour scheme. Congratulations on being top of the page and on your long term ownership of this very unique car.

Did you ever order GM Vintage paperwork on it from Canada? Youd get the full build sheet with options for a 64.

Don

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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



Guru

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That's a beautiful and great story. I hope you can enjoy this car for a long time.



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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

'12    Japanese minivan



Poncho Master!

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Great story and I can only imagine all the trouble it took to get all the parts together. Congrats !

Al

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Addicted!

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Wow, what an impressive story and great build. Beautiful car. I love seeing the RHD Canadian cars.
I take it that American registered Cessna 180 got caught in a powerful jetstream


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Addicted!

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Great story and determination, love it!!! You more than demonstrated what it takes to keep one of these girls on the road, most people would have given up a long time ago. Looking forward to the update when you have it all done.

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Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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Great story on a very unique car. And what an adventure you've had in restoring and maintaining it. 

Love the color combination, and how the wheels fill out the body. Great choice. 



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62 Catalina 2 dr post project

69 Parisienne 2 dr ht 427

68 Impala SS427 convt project

 

 



Addicted!

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Very nice build. They sure dont make them like they did back in the day.

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Addicted!

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Much thanks for all your kind comments. I'm truly blessed to be part of the gang, even if I am an alien.

Ray: The XJR is indeed my daily. If you had told me 40 years ago; that I would eventually have a blown, injected, quad cam, 400hp hemi (albeit not a Chrysler product) - fully loaded at that - I would have questioned your sanity.
She's a real multi-purpose vehicle. The mother in law (91) loves silently floating along in her. She doesn't even mind me launching the car every now and again, as long as I pre-warn her.

Jim: As can just be seen in one of the "As bought" pics, two British made fender mirrors were fitted by a previous owner but they just looked so wrong!

Don: I did think about getting the Vintage Paperwork but I was under the impression I would only get limited info and no build sheet, because of the age and her being an export model?

Kim: There are hundreds of N reg aircraft permanently based in the UK, we even have one C reg at my home airfield. The 180 was a visitor that arrived that day and was happy for me to stage the pic, he even asked for a copy.
With similar maroon and silver in it's colour scheme and the same last two digits I had to ask. I happen to love 180s anyway.

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Addicted!

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Jim: No door mirrors from the factory on any of the UK RHD cars to my knowledge. Most UK built cars left the dealer with just an interior mirror, unless the buyer opted for "wing" mirrors as an extra. Door mirrors did not become
mainstream until the '70s.

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Uber Guru

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Id suggest you contact gm Canada vintage and see what they can supply, no cost for that. On 63 and older the information is limited to confirming engine, transmission, interior and exterior colour, selling dealer, date of build, that sort of thing. On 64 and up, you get the options. For all vehicles they track, you also get the AMA factory build specs, lots of info in them.

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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



Guru

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Very interesting story and a very nice car.  I bet you must attract many onlookers and people wanting to know the history of your car in your country.

Its definatley a match with the airplane as well!



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Now appearing as "68 Grande" 



Addicted!

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What a great story, I had no idea that Canadian cars of this era were shipped overseas! Like was said, our Canadian only cars are rare enough in Canada after 50+ years but over the 'pond' that's just incredible you've persevered in keeping it on the road! Congrats on the Monthly segment and I love the pics of it in front of the traditional UK Architecture, timeless!

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MC


Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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Beautiful car and amazing story!  You have certainly gone the extra mile for your parts acquisitions!

I can imagine how much your car stands out on the roads in the UK.

Thanks for sharing your story with us.  smile



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