Contributed and owned by Tara Bush, Longwood
Photos by Russ Muller Photography
Published in Eckler’s Chevy Classics Magazine
By the age of 18, I owned three Chevy II Novas; a daily driver, a weekend show car and a wannabe race car. I still own the black show car after 28 years, and it’s best known locally as one of the few six-cylinders left in existence. Those early years started me on a lifelong passion for classic and musclecars.
I don’t remember when or how I became aware of the existence of the rare “Nova” built by *General Motors. But I did know that someday I would like to own one of the most usual GM X-Bodies every built. About 9 years ago, a Nova friend asked me what other kind of Nova I’d like to own, and that led to the discussion about the Acadian. As with most car people, he had never heard of it. He went straight to the Internet and the search began. A restoration shop in Vancouver, Canada saw the post and replied that he’d built one for a local customer. That customer, turns out, was going to sell the car. The emails went back and forth, and finally my friend contacted me and said that if I did not buy it, he would.
A month later I saw my very first 1967 Acadian Canso Sport Deluxe as it was unloading off the car hauler. Purchased sight unseen, she was beautiful. All-original GM drivetrain; a 283 engine with a two-speed Powerglide, Marina blue with blue interior and rare shoulder harnesses and head rests. 370 of these were produced in 1967.
Back in the ’60s, the Pontiac dealers in Canada did not offer a small economical car. Chevrolet was selling their Chevy II/Novas like hotcakes, and Pontiac had nothing to compete with. Hence, GM of Canada decided to create their own nameplate: Acadian. They created wagons, sedans and coupes, all sold at Pontiac/Buick dealerships. The Acadian had a short run in history, thus making it one of the rarest classics. The ultimate Acadian is the performance oriented 1966 L79 – 327/350 hp engine, 4-speed – of which only 83 were produced.
There are several obvious styling differences between the Acadian and the Nova. The front end has the traditional Pontiac split grille design with the parking lights relocated in the grille itself. The taillights are closely related to the ’67 Fairlane, and the backup lights are cut into the bumper. Unlike its Chevy II/Nova counterpart, the Acadian did not change the front headlight bezels from 1966 to 1967, which is the easiest way to tell the Nova years apart. Many of the emblems are adorned with maple leaves, and additional chrome was affixed to the fender sides.
For the past five years, my Acadian has participated in the entire Hot Rod Power Tour. A few upgrades were necessary: aftermarket air conditioning, tubular control arms, Edelbrock 4 bbl carburetor, and a rearend gear reduction from 3:36 to 3:08. Even with thousands of car enthusiasts on the tour, it still amazes me the looks, stares and questions that the Acadian receives. This “Canadian Nova” has a place in my garage beside my black Nova for many decades to come.
Acadian and Acadian Beaumont make and model availability was as follows:
- 1962 – 71 Acadian – Chevy II / Nova based
- 1964 – 65 Acadian Beaumont – Chevelle based
- 1966 – 69 Beaumont – Chevelle based
Model Availability: Chevy II Based
- 1962 – Beaumont, Invader
- 1963 – 67 Acadian, Invader, Canso, Sport Deluxe
- 1968 – 71 Acadian (SS option available)
Model Availability: Chevelle Based
- 1964 – Beaumont, Custom, Sport Deluxe
- 1965 – Beaumont, Deluxe, Custom, Sport Deluxe
- 1966 – 67 Beaumont, Custom, Sport Deluxe
- 1968 – 69 Beaumont, Deluxe, Custom, Sport Deluxe
Thanks to Doug Boyce at Canadian Acadians for his make/model availability information in this article. http://roadtests.tripod.com/canadianacadians/