East Coaster of the Day

East Coaster of the Day: 1964 Pontiac Parisienne 409

Today’s East Coaster of the Day is a car that East Coast Tester, Garry Sowerby, had a ride in 55 years ago. The 1964 Pontiac Parisienne belonged to body shop owner, Al Melanson, of Shediac, New Brunswick.

It was a frequent class winner at the Scoudouc Dragway in the mid-1960s. The car was often seen on the streets of Moncton, all shined up, but with nothing to give away its bad-boy weekend activities at the drag strip, no decals, no drag slicks on the back.



Garry’s ride in Al Melanson’s 409 was short.

A friend of Al’s, Tinky Steeves, picked Garry up hitchhiking (this was sort of allowed way back then). Although the ride only lasted a few miles, Tinky ran the big Pontiac through the gears twice for the slack-jawed Sowerby kid, giving him bragging rights at school for weeks.

After the ride, the lyrics from the 1962 Beach Boys hit song ‘409’ stayed in Garry’s head for a long time. ‘My four-speed, dual-quad, posi-traction 4-0-9’.

At the time, Canadian Pontiac vehicles had Pontiac bodies and interiors, bolted onto Chevrolet platforms. The ‘Cheviacs’ shared engines with the Chevrolet brand.



Al Melanson’s twin four-barrel carbureted 409 big block V8 cranked out 425 horsepower. The car with an attitude was on the most wanted list of every wide-eyed car-nut kid in southern New Brunswick.

Lucky Garry got to ride in it! Giddy-up.

*Photos from Scoudouc Dragway Facebook Group and Bob Boudreau

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