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Images of American Automobiles on the Streets of Montreal

Today’s feature images taken in Montreal, Quebec, contain two street scenes with parked cars manufactured by US automakers. Some of these vehicles may have been assembled at plants in Canada and badged with brand and model names different than what was used here in the States; hopefully, our readers can tell us about any of the changes made for the Canadian market.

The lead image dated to 1958 by the source is a view looking down a hill toward the intersection of Jeanne-Mance and Sante-Catherine Streets on the far-right of the photo. Among the mix of average everyday cars, on the far side of the street in a small imported motorcycle with a vertical engine.

The picture below is a view of the Faubourg a m’lasse, a neighborhood in Montreal that existed until it was demolished in 1963. This area is reported to be replaced at the time by the Maison Radio-Canada building of the French-language Canada Broadcasting House (CBC).

The photographs are courtesy of the Archives de la Ville Montreal.

34 responses to “Images of American Automobiles on the Streets of Montreal

  1. In Photo #1 up close, a bit of th front clip of a ’58 Chevy Biscayne or Delray, a ’54 Buick Special and a ’57 Pontiac Pathfinder Deluxe sedan.
    Down at the intersection, a ’57 Mercury, then another ’57 Pontiac Pathfinder, a ’57 Chevy One-Fifty, a ’55 Dodge Royal and a ’57 Plymouth Savoy sedan

    In Photo #2 of interest, a ’57 or ’58 Imperial, farther down a ’57 Mercury convertible with its unusual two-tone convertible top and wraparound rear window.

  2. 1st pic, looks like a mid-50’s BMW motorcycle, and the Dodge in front of it is a pretty fancy one, Royal Lancer? Anybody’s guess what’s in the bag. Bottom pic, clearly brother and sister, and that Imperial looks like it’s seen better days, and it’s not that old.

  3. I wonder how many US cars in Canada had a little table stuck next to the speedometer to convert miles- to kilometers-per hour before manufactures started making the speedometers bi-lingual. I remember driving in Toronto in my US car trying to figure out what 60 kph was in miles per hour. I’m pretty sure I was speeding.

    First picture I see 55,, 56 and 57 models and in the second picture I see ’59s. The second picture was either taken later, or in a better neighborhood where people could afford newer cars.

    Howard, I think the Imperial just has road dirt on the side. Canadian winters can be brutal.

    • Tom, it’s a definite ’57, but I think you’re right, it’s a Monarch with the thicker horizontal bar emblem and a crown nested in it vs the Mercury’s slimmer bar that became an “M” in the middle.

  4. Re the Imperial… the back door window frame doesn’t fit too well, and a piece of trim over the rear bumper is flapping in the breeze. I respectfully disagree on the dirt issue. It looks like primer to me. Also, what is with the easel type thing with the number two leaning over the back glass.

    • i agree on that Imperial. Looks rode hard and never put away. Blackwall on the front. those kids look like Oliver Twist or the dead-end kids. Rough neighborhood.

    • The number has nothing to do with the Imperial. The easel with the number 2 followed by other numbers is held by someone we don’t see in the photo and it is to identify this particular location of this neighborhood that will be demolished in order to build the skyscraper of the CBC/RC. Hundreds of other photos identified by other numbers have been taken everywhere in the neighborhood.

    • I don’t think BMW made vertical twins in those days. I leaned toward the Zundapp marque, but the exhaust is on the wrong side and it looks to be a 4-stroke. I think that leaves out Jawa as well as anything I can find with that kind of set also have their exhausts on the other side. Surely not Japanese or Brit.

    • It looks similar in some ways to a DKW of the era, but I am having trouble with the bottom of the tank. DKW became part of AutoUnion which begat Audi, the four rings signifying that first amalgamation. DKW was the biggest motorcycle manufacturer in the world pre-WWII, but this looks very much to be in the mid-1950 range.

  5. Jim, That other convertible ahead of the Comet is a 1953 or 1954 Chevrolet. Their tail lamps are similar, but I would guess it’s a ’54.

    • Thanks, Keith. That was my guess too, but I wasn’t sure enough to post it. It’s surprising to see 2 of 9 cars parked in a run down neighborhood being convertibles. Especially in Canada’s climate, where convertibles wouldn’t be very popular.

  6. The Imperial also has a whitewall tire on the rear and a blackwall on the front.
    Lots of bondo and the front bumper/fender lines don’t look right. Compared to
    the Plymouth in front of it, it looks like there’s a corner of the bumper missing or
    it’s hanging real low. You can see the other car’s rear bumper in the gap.

        • Thought it was the other way around. It was founded in Switzerland in 1893 to build bikes for the Swiss military. They are not listed under the Motorcycle manufacturers of France category in Wiki, but are for Swiss manufacturers. Perhaps all my info is wrong, but that is all I know. I think they went out of business in the 90’s, but stopped making engines in the 70’s.

  7. What years were Pontiac Laurentian’s produced? (Not too sure of spelling). I believe that some Chevy’s sold in South Africa in the 60’s were rebadged Canadian Poncho’s. They differed from USA sourced Chev’s in that they had a narrower track width.

  8. This pic was not taken where you mention it was. Since “La maison Radio Canada” is situated on René-Lévesque Boulevard near Wolf Street. This is the Aldred Building at Place d’Armes, in Old Montreal and at the right, Notre Dame Basilica.
    This pic was taken in the south part of the St-Henri district, west of downtown Montreal.

    Continue your great work guys, love your “Old Motor” news

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