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Unusual Pontiac: American Body, Canadian-Built

A Pontiac with an American body but built in Canada. That’s the unusual car owned by Wayne Intwert. You want to ask Pontiac Canada of such possibility? Well, I’d love to own an unusual car you know.

Wayne loves his 1948 Torpedo 6 Silverstreak as a reminder of a younger, quieter Edmonton. It was the proverbial bug in the ear that convinced him to purchase a seemingly ordinary car hiding an extraordinary secret under a cloak called vintage.

Autos Canada narrates:

Halfway through a trip to California, Wayne stopped his 18-wheeler to call his brother Ron, who the previous day told him about a 1948 Pontiac Torpedo 6 Silverstreak sitting in a Winterburn car lot.

After telling his brother he wasn’t in the market for an old car, he changed his mind and asked his brother that night in 1993 to take it for a test drive to see if it was worth a deposit.

It wasn’t until about 10 years later, after the deposit was paid and the car completely restored, that somebody familiar with that type of Pontiac noticed something unusual about it.

Until that time Wayne correctly understood that his collectible had been manufactured in Canada. A vehicle history report from GM’s vintage services department indicated Wayne’s Torpedo 6 rolled out of GM’s Oshawa, Ont., plant in October 1948.

But the stranger who approached Wayne about his car that day noticed that not quite everything about his rare car was, well, Canadian.

“I feel kind of happy that it is a different (Canadian) car with an American body,” Wayne said. “For a time after its restoration, I was starting to get a little bored with it, but now that I understand what I have, I’d never sell it.”

Wayne’s car is a survivor. Slightly more than 2,500 Torpedo sixes had been built on a 119-inch wheelbase chassis made for a straight-six engine. About 156 of those sported a larger American-style body on the same chassis dimensions from the same Oshawa plant.

Wayne’s car is a complete original with no steering, suspension, braking or performance modifications. He said the car required only $20,000 of restoration because it had been relatively well-preserved before his brother test drove the vehicle. He said the car is of a time when vehicles were built with sturdiness and less emphasis on speed or performance like the ’60s muscle cars.

While the car is a relatively rare car, Wayne said he thinks it’s not really part of the local collectible car scene simply because it’s not a celebrated muscle car icon. “I don’t really fit in this car-club business because most of these club people are into big power and muscle. I’m personally not into those muscle cars because I think they’re kind of scary,” he added.

Wayne said the vehicle holds a lot of fond memories during a time when the city was relatively young. “I really enjoy it because it is such a relaxing car to drive. It’s a safe ride because it is a heavy car that doesn’t pose an overwhelming temptation to speed, but its handling and steering is respectable even by today’s standards,” he concluded.

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