MAY 30, 2010 (JUNE 2010) – A 1963 DODGE WITH A FRANKENSTEIN FACTORY BUILD HISTORY

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One of the oddball features of the North American car history is the differences between American and Canadian models of the same car.

 

An American model would separate Plymouth from Dodge in almost every way.

 

The same could not be said for the Canadian models where cosmetic features from both Plymouth and Dodge would end up on a Dodge.

 

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The practice was common in the 50s, and it produced strange Franken-finned cars call “Plodges” in collector world from the Canadian branch of Chrysler Corp.

 

Things changed in 1965 when Canada and the US signed a mutual automotive manufacturing agreement that merged the direction into a common one for both countries and eventually phased out Canadian car names like Beaumont and Laurentian.

 

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This mini history lesson brings me to this car story about a 1963 Canadian Dodge with some peculiar Canadian features.

 

The car is not a higher end Polara model, but it came from the factory with an upscale set of Polara tail lights. Ron Bardwell is its current (third) owner and he knows his car’s peculiar Canadian Franken-car history very well.

 

The car has a Plymouth Fury dash that also was a part of its Canadian heritage and looks like it belongs in a Dodge cousin car. In Canada, it does belong in a 1963 Dodge.

 

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Clearly it really takes a dedicated owner like Ron to research the peculiar history of his 1963 Dodge. It is an odd piece of an automotive puzzle from an era when Canada and the United States put their own identity into a common Big Three lineage.

 

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We are lucky that people like Ron care enough to teach the history to the rest of us at car shows.

 

 Jim Sutherland

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