1966 Pontiac Strato-Chief // Pontiac (Photo: GM)

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1966 Pontiac Strato-Chief

Pontiac was put to pasture recently after being accused of not having enough unique models compared to the rest of General Motors. But if you look at how the brand was handled in Canada, that argument doesn't hold water since a good portion of our exclusives were simply easy rebadges. It started with the Arrow and Arrow Deluxe from 1938-'40, which were Chevy models with Pontiac cosmetics. The Fleetleader and Fleetleader Deluxe came next from 1941-'54. The Laurentian was a rebadged Pontiac Catalina sold from 1955-'70, while the Strato-Chief and Parisienne mimicked the Chevrolet Biscayne and Impala. The Pathfinder and Pathfinder Deluxe built from 1955-'58 used Chevy bodies and engines, but Pontiac noses. The '70s didn't improve as the Astre - a rebadged Chevrolet Vega - was in dealers from 1973-'77 while the great Acadian name was dropped onto a Pontiac version of the terrible Chevrolet Chevette from 1976 until '87. The tradition continued in the '80s, albeit now with a mix of domestic and captured import product. The Firefly was a tweaked Suzuki Swift sold from 1985-'91, the Pontiac Sunburst of 1985-'88 was a tweaked Isuzu I-Mark, and the Tempest was Pontiac's take on the Chevrolet Corsica from 1987-'91. Finally, the current G5 (Chevrolet Cobalt) and G3 (Chevrolet Aveo/Suzuki Swift+) were launched initially in Canada in 2004 until American dealers got itchy and demanded they be sold in the U.S.