Sunday, May 16, 2010

1959 Pontiac Parisienne

"Here's the big change for '59 – a dramatic, visible, provable advance in fundamental automobile design! The wheels are moved out 5 extra inches for the widest, steadiest stance in America – better cooling for engine and brakes – lower center of gravity for better grip on the road, safer cornering, smoother ride, easier handling. And Wide-Track Wheels make possible a low, trim balanced styling no narrow-gauge car can copy! You'll discover the most beautiful roadability you've ever known – in America's Number 1 Road Car!"

Much sleeker than the 1958 models, the 1959 Pontiacs were truly a show-off. But it were the so called "Wide-Track Wheels", that made this Pontiac so famous: General Manager Semon E. Knudsen reportedly had called a late prototype a "football-player in ballet-shoes". The track had to be reworked and extended, and this made the car one of the best-handling automobiles in 1959. So goes the legend...

When we spotted this "Wide-Track" Pontiac in the streets of Cienfuegos, we hoped to have found one of the famous Bonnevilles. Instead, we discovered a rare factory hybrid: the Parisienne, Pontiac's top-level car for the canadian market.

The Pontiac Parisienne was built in GM's assembly plant in Oshawa, Canada alongside the full-size Chevrolets. Half Chevrolet, half Pontiac, canadian Parisiennes are an interesting mix because the whole chassis and drivetrain actually comes from a Chevrolet, and just the body panels are Pontiac's. GM's badge engineering with all cars based on a few similar basic bodies made this possible.

The owner, in the red shirt, explains: "In all the years, I could maintain my carro very well, because there still are a quite a few Chevy parts available in this country. My car has a six-cylinder engine which was only available in canadian Pontiacs. It's a Chevrolet engine."

1 Kommentare:

Caristas said...

Well spotted, Ralphee. Canadian export models are common among the Dodges and Plymouths in Cuba, but it's interesting to see a Canadian Pontiac.