Canada’s Unique Autoscape, Part 2
The Death of Duplicate Dodges
Throughout the 50’s, Chrysler’s Canadian offerings consisted solely of Dodge front ends stuck onto Plymouth bodies. Starting in 1960, Chrysler Canada began to offer Dodge models that shared nameplates and bodies with their American counterparts. However, the Plymouth influence still lived on in the Canadian variants. For example, the new Dodge Dart was introduced for 1960 in both the U.S. and Canada. While the American version had its own unique dash, the Canadian-market Dart shared its dash with lower-rent Plymouths. The 1965-66 Canadian Dodge Monaco, again, shared its body with its American counterpart, but made do with a Plymouth dash and interior. A new 1961 DeSoto Diplomat was only sold in Canada and other export markets, but was little more than the new Dart with DeSoto style trimmings (and would be a short-lived offering as DeSoto disappeared completely after the 1961 model year).
However, this new generation of full-size Plodges would not last long. After 1967 these relatively minor differences disappeared with the incorporation of the APTA, as Chrysler’s products became identical on both sides of the border.
The biggest news from Chrysler for the Canadian market in the 60s was the introduction of the new Valiant in 1960. Introduced as a separate make in Canada and the U.S. in order to be sold at both Dodge/DeSoto and Chrysler/Plymouth dealerships (similar to how Ford had marketed the Meteor and Monarch), this new compact car was created to combat the developing threat from smaller imports that were invading the country.
Canadian and American Valiants were initially identical, but diverged in 1963. The American Valiant was then adopted by the Plymouth brand and was reskinned on a shorter wheelbase, while the Canadian Valiant became a clone of the new (Valiant-based) Dodge Dart, but with the American Valiant’s front-end sheet metal. A Dlymouth perhaps? The Canadian Valiant offered two models for 1963 – the 100 and the 200, both based on the Dart. In 1965, the 100 model became a clone of the American Plymouth Valiant, while the 200 remained based off the Dart (now sharing the Dart’s front end treatment). 1966 saw the cancellation of the Valiant 100, leaving the Dart-based 200 the sole survivor. The exclusive Canadian Valiant brand fell victim to the APTA for 1967, when a completely new Valiant debuted and was sold in the U.S. and Canada without differentiation.
Another interesting sidenote — because Valiants were still sold under their own brand in Canada, the new-for-’64, Valiant-based Barracuda pony car was marketed as a Valiant and not a Plymouth in Canada, until 1966.
Continue this story on page 3.