Issue: 2015-07-09 PHOTO: Teresa Vander Meer-Chasse
1956 Pontiac Laurentian, Canadian model
Today, Sid sits outside the Beaver Creek Visitor Information Centre basking in the warm summer sun. As he waits for visitors to arrive, he admires the bodywork of his 1956 Pontiac in the sunlight.
“I bought the ’56 in Whitehorse a few years ago. I just put a brand new motor in it and new tires and wheels.”
“What kind of motor?” I ask.
“Motor is a three fifty with a turbo 400 transmission. It took me a couple of months to finish,” Sid says modestly. “It’s a two-door Pontiac Laurentian. These were really popular everyday cars in 1956. This car is a Canadian model.”
Sid explains what he means by a Canadian model: “Everybody likes it, especially Americans. “This car has a shorter wheelbase; overall it’s a smaller car. It’s basically like a ‘56 Chevy.”
Sid hustles down the stairs and approaches his ’56. “It’s a take on the Chevy chassis. They just did that and used Chevy frames — similar model, just Canadian. And it’s kind of nice because all the parts on it are Chevy which makes it easy to get parts for it.”
The two-toned dark green and white paint sparkles in the sunlight. “The interior is original, really nice. I didn’t do any kind of restoration. The body paint was perfect; it just needed a new motor.”
I express how much I like the two-tone of the Pontiac. Sid eagerly tells me that he recently purchased another two-toned vehicle. “I just bought a ’66, or earlier, Volkswagen Beetle. “I had three little Volkswagen Bugs. I bought the fi rst when I was 17 years old; it was a ’54 Beetle. I bought that one in Calgary years ago, it was a dark green. I traded it in for a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Later on I got a ’56 bug, then traded it for a 1963. The ’56 was blue and the ’63 was red. I paid $1,800 for a brand new ’63. Bought it here in Whitehorse when there used to be a Volkswagen dealership. I had that one for quite a few years. They’re getting harder to find. This one that I just bought, I’ll probably keep it forever.
“You couldn’t go anywhere without seeing one and now they’re hardly here. I’ve always wanted another one. The new ones are not the same kind of car. My Beetle has the motor in the back and an air-cooling system. Everything on this car is German; the real ones are German, not the new ones made in Mexico. This one was made in Wolfsburg, Germany. If you look on the front of the hood there is a little emblem that has the Wolfsburg crest. It’s in good shape, hopefully as soon as I get it home I’ll just drive it.”
Visit Sid and his two-toned vehicles at his Bordertown Garage & Museum in Beaver Creek this summer