top of page
  • bruce4647

Pontiac Parisienne | The Canadian Car

The Pontiac Parisienne is truly a Canadian car! Unlike other cars that were rebranded American models, the Parisienne was made in Oshawa, Ontario for the Canadian market and was a different design than other US models. This car is similar to the Pontiac Bonneville sold in the US but the dimensions and design elements are different. Susie and Patrick restored this car in honour of their Aunt Lil and Uncle Jim who bought the car new in 1958 and left it to Pat and Susie. The car has been meticulously restored to original condition with almost all of the original parts by Jellybean AutoCrafters.

Transcript:

Jellybean even said to us, you know expect an extra hour half hour when you go for a drive because when you go somewhere people are going to want to talk about it.


Hi folks and welcome to Center Lane, I'm Bruce Hitchen and today we're going to take a look at this 1958 Pontiac Parisienne. Now the Parisienne was a Canadian built and Canadian sold car so you don't see them in the US very much. The car has been meticulously restored by Jellybean AutoCrafters and the car belongs to Patrick and Susie Lauro and we're going to talk to them about the history of the car because the car has been in the family for a long time. Now if you like this content please subscribe to my channel and like this video.


Well my uncle was a, he worked at Tilden Rent-a-Car and he managed to get this car through work. He bought it in 1958, brand new. It was his pride and joy and uh he just loved the car. They never had children and um they really embraced me. My dad and my aunt were very close and so I think my uncle saved it for me and he told me later that that was going to be my car.


He bought it in February of 1958 and it's been in the family ever since. He took good care of it, kept it in a garage the whole time. Only Canadian-made car. They made plenty of the hardtops and Parisienne went on quite strong. I believe it was until the 80s they had a I think they had a great degree of success with that model but it was only produced in Canada they made 759 of them and they only made this body style for one year and immediately in 1959 they changed the body style to a totally different front end they were moving more towards a cleaner look with less chrome at that time. The there is a model that is almost identical. People quite often make this mistake and think that this car is a Bonneville which was made by Pontiac in the States. And the Bonneville in the States is about six and a half, six inches longer than this car other than that it's very difficult to tell them apart other than the fact that it says Bonneville here instead of Parisianne.


It was a daily driver my aunt used to drive it and she would drive the car to work every day and she'd say, oh every day she'd get followed by somebody. They'd want to buy her car. They'd pull into the parking lot and say, you know do you want to sell your car? And she said it was it would get ridiculous sometimes right but she drove it every day to work but i thought you know cars back then they all had chrome they all looked different but this one seemed somehow seemed to catch everyone's eye.


He just loved the car right and he just wanted somebody to have it that would take care of it and he knew when I married Pat that Pat was a car guy and that he would take care of it too. So he knew it was in good hands. I loved my Uncle Jim and my Aunt Lil. Like they were, they were awesome, wonderful people and you know when we'd see them or we'd go to visit them and you know my Uncle Jim would always show me the car, we always had to see the car right and he would just, he'd always say, you know that's going to be yours someday, that's going to be yours someday and I kept thinking, oh never even thought about it right and then until one day he did pass and my, you know, we started taking care of my aunt and and then she said I think you need to take the car right.

We had brought her over from the Island and and we were able to go and pick her up in the car and take her out for ice cream and we went to White Spot drive-through and took her for milkshakes and you know she loved it. She was just in heaven right because she wasn't able to drive the car anymore, she was 91. So it was kind of a cool cool thing to do with her.


We did tell Aunt Lil that we were going to restore the car for her as a tribute to her and Uncle Jim and she was such a cute and wonderful elderly lady. She was 90 when she passed away so we kind of made the promise to her that we would restore the car to its former glory.


The convertible top wasn't looking very good and there was a few things that we thought we know maybe let's take it in and get it fresh paint and then we thought as we got into it we thought, you know this is them. This is their car, let's do it for them right because they love the cars so much right. So we just thought let's let's do it.


So the intent was to bring it back to what it once was right from the beginning. There was more work that had to be done to do it but it wasn't, it wasn't a matter of deciding if. We knew we were going to do it. The car required a lot of metal work underneath. Convertibles have a tendency to rust from the inside out, thanks to the convertible top and so there was more work than we realized had to be done. We wanted to maintain as many of the original parts as possible so those two parts that Jellybean donated are the only two parts that are not original to this car. Every other part on this car is original. Motor, transmission, rear-end, these parts, the fenders the top, every...absolutely everything is original except the windshield.

For me, I'm, I really enjoy history and learning about history so family is a big part of history and keeping the the car whole as it was, is was very important to me and actually to susie too.


Well I never saw the car, once he took it in and had he said I'm, I'm going to take it in and you're not going to see it till it's finished right. So we kept making decisions about the car and I could say, what do you want this, do you want this, and I was like okay well we have to make decisions so we had to pick the colors and all that. And I couldn't see it during the process right. He kept detailed pictures and stuff but he would never show me but he'd go out every week and check on what was going on and and finally it was 18 months and I finally got to go get it. And they did the Jellybean were awesome they did this unveiling for us and my jaw dropped when i saw it. I just thought, oh my god it was beautiful you know, kind of brought tears to my eyes and and I just thought this is. I could do it again. This is what they would have loved.

A real tribute to them really isn't it.

Yep, yep, and it's called Lil after my my aunt. I call her call it Lil.


What you see inside here, the design of the upholstery is exactly the way it would have been bought. Its new fabric, exactly the way you could have bought it in these colors in 1958. The style of the doors with the trim, the stainless steel trim is all original. The dash itself is actually 1958 chrome. I just cleaned it and polished it a little bit and it has not been re-chromed so it's exactly the way it was when it was new. The radio is the original radio with the Wonderbar and it works. The original color was a bit darker. It was a dark grey. These part of the seats were actually originally would have been a bright silver color and these would have been a dark grey. I think it was called Gunmetal Grey. We tried, the upholstery itself, didn't have any tears in it or open seams but it just could not be cleaned. It was just too old so we decided okay we're gonna do it we'll do it right and it's it turned out quite nice. It was re-carpeted in the same color that this color used to be in the car. We felt that these colors would complement the the color of the car itself. The car itself was a color called Fathom Blue. Sometime in it looked like in the 70s maybe late 60s he repainted the car but he didn't repaint it in an original color. He painted it in something close. So we chose a color that, this is called Viking Blue and it was available in 1958. We have the actual paint chips that Uncle Jim had as a selection in the showroom, along with the brochure that he penciled in his notes on. So we know that we've chosen colors that were available at that time.


So this is it's a four-body trunk. Lots of room. So this book has, I've sorted through it and I've kept at least one of of all the papers that Uncle Jim had and because he was a fleet manager at Tiden Rent-a-Car, he had access to a lot of these documents that you wouldn't have now. These are the actual paint chips in this little folder from 1958. This is the actual brochure from the car that he got and these are his notes on what I guess he would have been quoted back in the day to buy the car. So $4,302.85. And that's the original brochure.


Well it's amazing that a car like this survived all these years in the same family but even rarer is to have that kind of documentation on a car like this.


Absolutely, absolutely! We have oil changes going right back to 1959. Uncle Jim, I think there's a television show on about Uncle Jim called Hoarders...but he was a beautiful man


Under the hood there was a full restoration done. We did not rebuild the engine, we just resealed it and had it painted because the car was running and idling so nice that I didn't want to tamper with it. I thought we'll leave that for another day. So we rebuilt the carburetor and just cleaned up and painted so everything you see under here is pretty much original. The engine was removed, the transmission was removed, but just to be able to access everything. They stripped everything else away, took the rad out and all that. Radiator is original, hoses are new, but the radiator is original. It's been re-cored. All these parts are original.


You know, driving a car like this you're driving really a piece of art. Or really a work-of art. I mean, they don't make cars like this anymore, needless to say. You're...you feel very safe. Yeah, you feel like you're surrounded by a lot of metal although I believe the safety features on this car are virtually non-existent.


I just love that it's a part of them. It's part of our family you know, I love it. I think it's beautiful you know. And it was a long process but I'll always think of them when I'm in it.


97 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page