Imports and government, cause for concern in tumultuous ’60s

Back again, with part deux of my series shining light on the history of unique automotive offerings available in Canada that didn’t make it south of the border.

This section covers the 1960s.

Canada's Unique Autoscape IIContributor Post: Craig Pitman


[Read the previous article, here: Canada’s Unique Autoscape, Part 1]

Heading into the ‘60s, the automotive scene in Canada contained several exclusive offerings that didn’t exist ten years prior. Pontiac now had a full lineup of smaller, less expensive cars not available in the U.S. Ford also had their Meteor and Monarch lines, fleshing out Ford and Lincoln/Mercury dealerships, respectively. And Dodge was pitching its Plodges.

1964 Valiant

The 1964 Valiant was one of several products available only in Canada and some export markets in the 1960s. Although initially identical on both sides of the border, the Canadian Valiant became a Dodge Dart variant with a Valiant front end attached, in 1963.

But some big changes were coming that would affect the sale and manufacture of Canadian automobiles. The Canada-United States Automotive Products Trade Agreement, or APTA, was signed in January of 1965. It effectively removed the tariffs on cars and trucks that made it so expensive to bring complete cars across the Canada-U.S. border. With these tariffs removed, there was less incentive for automakers to continue to produce separate cars specifically for the Canadian market. Larger plants that produced only one model for all of North America were constructed in Canada, replacing those that were building cars to sell mainly in Canada and export markets.

1961 Meteor Wagons

1961 Meteor Wagons. The Meteor would disappear briefly, as Ford would debut its ill-fated, entry level Mercury Meteor in an attempt to bring it downmarket. Meteor would return for the 1965 model year.

Changes were almost immediate. In 1964, only seven percent of vehicles made in Canada were sent to the U.S. for sale. By 1968, that number swelled to sixty percent. The trade agreement took a couple years to come into effect, so you’ll notice in my run down that most of the unique cars that appeared on Canadian soil in the 40s and 50s either disappeared for the 1967/68 model year, or were highly simplified to be more closely related to cars offered in the U.S.


Continue this story on page 2.

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