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Written by Double Dragon
Friday, 17 July 2015 15:13

1969 PONTIAC Beaumont- Joel

oneownercollectorcar.com

Writing and photography copyright D. S. Brown

The family connection that links current owner Joel with the original owner of this Beaumont is a real mind bender. Joel is only the 3rd owner but the chain of family members through which the connection is made is complex. Joel bought this 1969 Pontiac Beaumont from his mother who bought it from Joel's cousin's wife's uncle. Back in 1969 the first owner who we shall refer to as 'Unce' bought this 1969 Pontiac Beaumont brand new off a Surrey dealership located in the Whalley area.

69 pontiac beaumont joel front

1969 was the final year of the Canadian exclusive Beaumont series. The Beaumont came about as a compromise solution to some tricky pricing parameters in the medium priced car market. If you wanted to buy a Pontiac Tempest or LeMans in the 1960s part of the appeal was the reasonable price for a hot image car. USA buyers couldn't get enough of these cars and USA Pontiac dealers sold large volumes of these intermediate Pontiacs. Everything was different up in Canada.

69 pontiac beaumont joel driver front

Canadian dealerships missed out on the Tempest and LeMans because they couldn't justify importing these cars into Canada. Export tax inflated the price of the Pontiacs out of their medium price bracket. The GM final assembly plant in Oshawa, Ontario couldn't set aside a separate line to build Pontiacs because Canada didn't have enough demand for Pontiacs to devote a separate line to them.

69 pontiac beaumont joel dash

What to do? The solution was for Oshawa final assembly to build 'Canadian Pontiacs' right on the same assembly line where the high volume Chevrolets were built. The Canadian Pontiacs used Chevrolet chassis and drivetrain spruced up with the Tempest dash and steering wheel and interior themes inside and some Pontiac style body panels outside.

The Beaumont has some real style and remains a reasonably priced alternative to the bare bones Chevrolet intermediate. 'Uncle' bought this good looking Beaumont from a salesman named Todd at the Surrey dealership. This blue Beaumont had white door panels and seats with black dash. It was equipped with a Chevrolet built 307 V8 engine and automatic transmission.

General Motors of Canada wanted to preserve the Pontiac image of their Canadian built Pontiacs despite the Chevrolet underpinnings. GM circulated a reminder to USA Pontiac dealerships that when a tourist driving a Canadian Pontiac came in for service at the Pontiac dealership to outsource the Chevrolet parts from a local Chevy dealership and bill it back to GM. The USA dealers had been referring Canadian Pontiac customers to Chevrolet dealers for service and GM felt this undermined the Pontiac image of the cars.

Up in Oshawa, Ontario on the final assembly line workers clearly weren't too worried about separation of the Pontiac/ Chevrolet identity on cars rolling down the assembly line. Someone slapped a set of Chevrolet hubcaps onto this Beaumont when it came down the line. Line workers are well known for using whatever parts are handy in the bin in order to keep the line moving. The 'wrong' hubcaps are still on the car to this day. At car shows these hubcaps arouse some commentary because although they are 'wrong' for the car they are indeed factory correct since that is the way the car was shipped out to the dealership. Another source of controversy with this car is the fact that it was factory equipped with bucket seats in conjunction with a column shift. It is rare to see a bucket seat car without a floor shift and console but this is the way the car came from the factory.

Uncle drove the Beaumont for 8 years. In 1977 just when he was getting ready to sell the car circumstances left one of his distant relatives named Sigga was suddenly in need of a car. 1977 was a big year for Sigga. Her husband died suddenly at a young age and turned Sigga's world turned upside down. Sigga went from being a 50 year old housewife who had never driven to becoming sole breadwinner with 5 kids to look after. Sigga quickly landed a job and learned to drive. Through the family grapevine she learned that her cousin Bruce's wife had mentioned that her uncle's car was going up for sale. Sigga got in contact with 'Uncle' immediately and a deal was struck. It's always preferable to buy a car from a person you know and to get a car with a known history than to fly blind and end up with nasty surprise. The Beaumont held no unpleasant surprises and served as family transportation without issues.

69 pontiac beaumont joel rear

Sigga drove the Beaumont until 1990 when it was placed in storage for a decade. In 2000 her son Joel had the car repainted in base clear. The repaint color is just slightly lighter than the original color. When the front fenders and rear quarters were stripped down they turned out to be quite rusty. Joel hand dyed the door panels black and installed a new black carpet. The carpet strangely faded very quickly. The original bucket seat interior and column shift dash were retained but the formerly white seats were recovered with a black seat kit.

The family has started using the Beaumont in tandem with a period trailer to go on vintage trailer camping trips with other enthusiasts. In 2011 the tired original 307 was replaced with a heftier 350 replacement engine to better cope with the towing loads.

69 pontiac beaumont joel with camper

The Beaumont now enjoys regular use on camping trips and is featured at various car shows along with its vintage trailer.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 27 October 2015 20:08 )