Their more conservative banking prevents economic fiascos like the ones we suffer, they measure things by a system based on logical intervals of 10, and because they didn’t get into a trivial contest with a speck of land off their coast, they can still buy Cuban cigars. But not everything Canada has done makes complete sense.
Customs duties prevented Canada’s Pontiac and Buick dealers from getting the new U.S.-built Tempests and Specials. What they got instead was the Acadian, a car named after Canada’s settlers and built on the Canadian-made Chevy II. In fact, Canso, the name of the make’s Nova counterpart, is a town in Nova Scotia. Pretty cute, huh? But as clever as it was, the idea was suicide from a marketing standpoint: population-wise, creating a brand for Canada then would be like making one exclusively for New York State now; naturally few sold.
Owning an Acadian gives Canadians a sense of civic pride but as Neil Siermachesky found out the sword of rarity has a second edge. “You can’t find Acadian-specific parts,” he says. The trim, the badges, the grille parts—all the things that make the Acadian what it is—were uncommon even 45 years ago. And since the available pool of cars doesn’t justify the tooling costs, reproductions are beyond unlikely. As a result, “Most people who restore Acadians up here turn them into Novas,” he says.
But Neil isn’t like most people. Nor is his car; it’s a top-of-the-line Sport Deluxe, the Acadian version of the Super Sport. At least his reason for preserving it as a Canso was far better than GM’s reason for making it: 370 SD V-8s were produced in 1967.
To stand out in the crowd is what usually inspires us to build a car a certain way. And to be honest, it’s not all that easy; as the saying goes, if it was, everybody would do it. But General Motors saw to it that not many people would build cars like Neil’s Canso SD.
As the car is really just a Nova, he built it that way. He replaced the compromised strut-type front clip with a tubular one from Total Cost Involved. It uses the company’s tubular control arms, antiroll bar, manual steering rack, and drop spindles; however, in lieu of coil springs it rides on Firestone air springs. When Neil installed the Currie Enterprises 9-inch axle, he replaced the car’s monoleaf suspension with a Total Cost Involved four-link kit and RideTech ShockWaves.
Wheels & Brakes
Both ends of the car wear 11-inch GM-style disc brakes. Bolted to those are Boyd Coddington Twisted two-tone wheels. The fronts measure 18x7 with 41/4-inch backspace; though the 20-inch rears measure 81/2 inches across they maintain the same backspace. They wear Goodyear 215/35ZR18 and 245/35ZR20 tires, respectively.
Like the front clip, the Ram Jet 350 Neil chose is a modern take on an old standby, at least its electronic injection system is. The car’s light weight didn’t require power-assisted steering so the engine’s brackets consist of only a March kit to mount an alternator. Beyond that, the only modifications the engine required were a fuel return line and a custom sump in the factory tank for a fuel pickup.
As the car’s targeted ride height would’ve destroyed conventional headers Neil chose Sanderson shorties; however, clip interference on the passenger side meant replacing it with a conventional block hugger. They feed 21/2-inch pipes damped by Flowmaster Super 44-series mufflers. Neil admits the TH350 bolted to the engine is a bit of a compromise. He said he’d rather have a five- or six-speed manual, but he’d rather drive it as an automatic than wait until he could afford a manual transmission.
The steering rack’s installation required a more conventional divorced steering column, which he fulfilled with a Flaming River tilt unit. The only Acadian-specific interior pieces are the horn button and AM radio, both of which he retained. It’s within the center console Neil built under the dash that he installed the Pioneer double-DIN multimedia head unit, the RideTech control panel, and a B&M Pro Stick shifter. As the remainder of the interior is simply Nova SS, he restored it as such. Simply to preserve the interior’s integrity he resorted to Hertz 4-inch coaxial drivers in dash and 6x9s in package tray.
Its Chevrolet construction, Pontiac-like grille, Buick-style fender trim, and Olds-inspired taillights make the SD the platypus of the car kingdom. In fact, Neil is unflinchingly apologetic that the pieces on his car bear a few pits. “You don’t know what it takes to find any of those parts, let alone ones as good as these,” he says. “It took months to find one or two pieces.” CHP