Canadian Droptop: 1959 Pontiac Parisienne

A luxurious Canadian Chevy.  That might adequately sum up in four words how the Pontiac Parisienne started life when it was introduced to the Canadian market in the late ’50s.  Mechanically, the car was just about the same as the U.S. Chevrolet Impala and Caprice, though the exterior was distinctly different.  The Parisienne had honors of being the top dog at Canadian Pontiac dealerships when it came to luxury offerings, with high levels of trim and accent pieces coming standard, plus the car could be had in both 2-door and 4-door models with a convertible also available.  If you’ve been in the market for a late fifties example and like the ragtop models, this 1959 Pontiac Parisienne might be worth checking out.  The car is located near the Southern California Coast in Inland Empire and can be seen here on Craigslist, with an asking price of $35,000.

I’d like to thank Barn Find’s own very talented editor Adam Clarke for finding this one and bringing it to our attention!  So the seller immediately throws out the idea of using this Parisienne if you’re looking to build an Impala convertible conversion, but he goes on to say that this car is one of only 1,285 made, and I’m hoping the next owner will ax that thought and restore it for what it is.  The Cameo Corral finish is supposedly an uncommon color, and while the car could stand some bodywork and a new paint job, it just doesn’t look all that bad overall plus it’s nearly complete, and the Pontiac seems like it’s got the potential to be a stunning ride if given some proper TLC.

Those were some pretty rockin’ seats for the fifties, and if it’s just a driver-quality car you’re going for everything inside actually looks decent and could possibly pass for acceptable just like it is, although replacing the carpet would be inexpensive and might work wonders for the interior’s appearance.  The convertible top will need new material, and there’s no mention of whether or not the gauges are functioning, but for a car that the seller considers a project things in there seem to be sufficient.

The 350 looks dwarfed in that large engine compartment, and it has replaced the original 283 engine that came with the car when it was new.  We’re provided a document dated back to 2006 that breaks down some of the original details of the Parisienne, which would be useful if the next owner wanted to restore it back to as original as possible.  The car is said to run and drive, but no specifics are given regarding the condition of the engine or the transmission.

No photos are shown of the underside, but we do get to see the trunk area, and while the parts we can see look OK I’d have much rather viewed it with that mat lifted or removed.  The car’s condition is listed as fair, which seems like a more than reasonable assessment judging from the parts we can actually see.  What are your thoughts on this 1959 Pontiac Parisienne Convertible, and its price tag of $35,000?

Comments

  1. RayT Member

    My ex brother-in-law, a Canadian, had a Parisienne coupe of similar vintage. I remember thinking they were kind of goofy looking, as the Caprice’s narrower track (was the wheelbase shorter as well? I don’t recall) meant really empty fender wells and noticeable overhang on the sides.

    This one appears to have been slammed, or it has really weak springs. Whatever, $35K is out of the question in my view.

    Like 10
    • al

      there was not a chey caprice in. 1959 caprice didn’t come out till 1967 in 1959 top Chevy was the Impala

      Like 4
      • Vince H

        Caprice came out in 65

        Like 7
      • Rick

        IIRC my dad had a ’66 Caprice.

  2. Rex Kahrs Member

    A paltry 35K for a “project” Parisienne with bad rear springs! How low can prices possibly GO?

    And yes, I realize the springs aren’t probably as bad as the judgement of the balmy ba$tard who lowered this car.

    Obviously common sense is plummeting faster than classic car prices.

    Like 8
  3. Moparman Member

    The lowering of this narrow tracked car makes it look RIDICULOUS!

    Like 10
  4. Chris Austin

    I’d slam it on bags, personally and think it’s a steal at $35k. The 59 Impala Rag is rarely seen under $75k USD in the same shape

    Like 2
  5. Bob C.

    An early Cheviac, eh?

    Like 3
  6. pwtiger

    I guess that you could put on some sort of reversed wheels and fill up those wheel wells, Pontiac 8 Lugs would not work but that’s what I’d like to see…

  7. Eric_13cars Eric_13cars Member

    This is basically the Catalina body. I didn’t know that they were put on Chevy bottoms in Canada. We had an actual American Catalina in powder blue with a powder blue top. The interior was several shades of blue and white, with an aquamarine dash. The interior was absolutely gorgeous. I loved driving it as a teenager in high school. It was called the ‘wide-track’ and it was. This one looks a little tired in spots and the springs are crazy. I thought our engine was larger than 283, but don’t recall what it was.

    Like 1
    • Bob C.

      It would have been a 389 in its debut year. Horsepower ranged from 215 to 345, depending on the carb setup.

      Like 1
      • Eric_13cars Eric_13cars Member

        That’s it! 389 with a 4 bbl carb. Folks were on their way to the Montreal Expo when its tranny went out. State trooper helped them have it towed to a yard (his brother-in-laws’ yard) where they were offered $150 for it and had to take it to continue on their trip. Ma was heartbroken, as was I.

        Like 1
  8. Phil G

    Can’t believe how that gas filler tube intrudes into the trunk space!

    Like 1
    • Eric_13cars Eric_13cars Member

      Intrudes? You could put a homeless camp in that trunk it was so big.

      Like 2
  9. local_sheriff

    Don’t know if I agree with the price but as suggested above – how much ’59 ‘pala ‘vert will 35k buy you? Personally I cannot understand how on earth the seller could even suggest sacrificing it for an Impala conversion – a ’59 Parisienne must be an extremely rare vehicle today in ‘vert body! 😣

    It does however appear very complete, even its upholstery looks salvagable so considering it’s technically all Chevy it should be a very easy vehicle to hop up in engine/suspension departments. Extremely cool find just not at that $

  10. al

    I stand corrected you are right caprice did come out in 1965 not 1967

    Like 1
  11. Fred

    I had a 58 Bonneville Tripower convertible 30 years ago, wish I still did

  12. George Birth

    If Seller wants $35K for this one he should fix what’s wrong with the car or if he wants to lower price he’ll have a better shot at selling it. Too many $35K cars out there that don’t need repairs.

    Like 1
  13. Curt

    I currently own a ’60 Canadian Pontiac Parisienne 2dr. H/T, I’ve had it for 20 yrs. Yes, they were built on the (1958-64) Chevrolet X frame platform, (in my case ’60 Impala). The body sheetmetal looks very much identical to the American 1960 Pontiac Catalina, Ventura and Bonneville (although the Bonneville is 7-8 inches longer model). One of the main differences with the Canadian Parisienne compared to the American Pontiac is… the body sheetmetal is about an inch and a half shorter (to fit the 119 inch X frame) in the front clip area from the front door jam forward. And no, it doesn’t have the “wide track” rear axle as the American ’60 Pontiac had, I mounted 15 x8 inch chrome “reversed” wheels with wide whitewall tires which filled the rear wheelwells quite nicely, 15×7 inch in the front. All Canadian models were equipped with sbc engines rather than the American 389 Pontiac engine. Chevrolet in-line six cyl., 283c.i.,348c.i. were engine options, possibly the 409c.i. as well. Mine came factory equipped with sbc 283 c.i. w/ Rochester 4 bbl carb. and power-glide trans. I have swapped the power-glide for a TH350 transmission and also have a sbc 383 stroker engine w/ tri-power waiting to drop in. As far as mechanical parts replacement, I’ve never had a problem with easy to find Chevrolet parts failing to fit ( it’s a ‘Chevy in disguise’!). Keep in mind, mine has become a mild custom, I’m not concerned with numbers matching restoration.
    Now, I’m not very informed concerning the 1959 Canadian models, I assume the factory specs were similiar, if not the same as the ’60 models, except body design.
    Pontiac of Canada only offered two models…
    Their top of the line Parisienne and lower model Laurenthian.

    …just my 2 cents worth.

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