1968 PONTIAC Grande Parisienne- Byron & Eileen Carr Print
Written by Double Dragon
Wednesday, 15 April 2015 09:44

1968 PONTIAC Grande Parisienne- Byron & Eileen Carr


Writing and photography copyright D. S. Brown

68 grande parisienne byron logo

Byron and Eileen Carr purchased this nice 1968 Grande Parisienne new. The Grande Parisienne is a top level Canadian car to begin with but this particular one was embellished further with many desirable options: power steering, power brakes, tilt steering wheel, power seats, power windows, 8 track player, fender skirts and vinyl roof. Byron's Grande Parisienne packs an optional powerhouse 396 engine with dual exhaust coupled to a 3 speed automatic Turbo Glide and heavy duty 12 bolt rear end.

The Grande Parisienne was the top level Canadian car built in the Oshawa, Ontario final assembly plant. Canadian Pontiacs combined Chevrolet and Pontiac parts to create a unique vehicle. These 'Canadian only' cars were developed in response to some problems in the Canadian car market.

68 grande parisienne byron front

The Canadian car market is different than the USA market. The first problem in Canada was import tax. It wasn't economically practical to import USA built mid range car models such as Pontiac, Mercury or Dodge from the USA to Canada. Import taxes drove up prices of USA built cars pushing the car out of its intended price bracket. Bringing in a Buick or Cadillac was justifiable because those cars were high end cars catering to buyers who could absorb the cost of import taxes. Not so for the Pontiac, Mercury or Dodge which occupied the price category just 'one small step' up from the base Chevrolet or Ford.

The second problem in the Canadian market was that the smaller Canadian population didn't generate enough sales volume to justify a separate assembly line to build any USA spec cars other than the low price giants such as Chevrolet, Ford and Plymouth.

Ford of Canada solved the problem by creating Canadian Mercurys and Chrysler Canada built 'Plodges' which combined Dodge trim on Plymouth platforms. General Motors of Canada created a Canadian Pontiac which came off the same Oshawa, Ontario assembly line that built Chevrolets. This meant that Canadian Pontiacs used the chassis and mechanical systems of the Chevrolet.

68 grande parisienne byron dash

The Pontiac identity was added to the Chevrolet structure via Pontiac style body panels (modified to fit the shorter Chevrolet body) and Pontiac interiors. The Canadian Pontiac was neither a Chevrolet nor a USA Pontiac. It was a unique hybrid of the 2 divisions. GM of Canada took pains to preserve the Pontiac image. USA Pontiac dealerships who serviced a Canadian Pontiac were advised to obtain the necessary parts from a Chevrolet dealership rather than send the owner of a Canadian Pontiac to a Chevrolet dealership for service.

68 grande parisienne byron int

See the story in the GAS LOGS section of the TRAVEL STORIES on this website for a story about a 1967 Pontiac Beaumont to learn more about the intermediate sized Canadian Pontiacs.

The full size Canadian Pontiac line up began with the low level Pontiac Strato Chief which was similar to the Chevrolet Biscayne. Next step up came the Laurentian which matched the trim level of the mid level Chevrolet Bel Air. Top dog Parisienne was equivalent to the Chevrolet Impala. Starting in 1966 the Grande Parisienne was created as a match to the new luxury edition Chevrolet Caprice. It is somewhat ironic that the Canadian Pontiacs first emerged as a response to a market with a narrow price margin and had now bled upwards into Oldsmobile and Buick pricing with this the luxurious Grande Parisienne.

68 grande parisienne byron 396 driver side

Byron really appreciates the looks and size of the Parisienne cars and in 1980 bought a second Parisienne. See the story on his 1967 Pontiac Parisienne in the 20 YEARS PLUS section of the CAR STORIES on this website.

68 grande parisienne byron 396 pass side

Because he had 2 Parisiennes to drive, Byron's ONE OWNER 1968 Grand Parisienne only accumulated 125,000 miles by 1994. Despite the low mileageĀ Byron ended up restoring both his Parisiennes in the late 1990s. The 1968 was stripped and painted and drivetrain rebuilt between 1994 and 1996. The second Parisienne was restored in 1996.

68 grande parisienne byron rear

The photo below shows Byron's 1968 Grande Parisienne parked beside his 1967 Parisienne at a car show where the 2 cars were displayed as a pair.

68 grande parisienne byron w 67 parisienne chris

Last Updated ( Thursday, 18 March 2021 10:37 )