When one thinks of the most powerful Pontiacs in history , a number of vehicles come to mind , late 60 S era G T OS with Ram Air four engines , 1973 and 74 Firebirds with the Super duty 4 55 even the late two thousands Pontiac G eight G X P s with the 415 horsepower V eight .
However , despite the lofty horsepower ratings on these Pontiacs , the highest advertised horsepower rating of any Pontiac .
And admittedly that is different from the highest real world horsepower rating , which probably does go to those Ramer four G T OS and Super duty Firebirds .
Instead goes to Canadian Pontiacs from 1966 with the 425 horsepower Chevrolet based 427 cubic inch V eight .
Some viewers of the channel may not realize that Pontiacs sold in Canada and as well as some that were sold overseas , materially different from those who were sold in the US .
More specifically , these Pontiacs carried Chevrolet engines under hood and they also were outfitted with Chevrolet transmissions in a number of instances including power glides .
Moreover , while Pontiac had introduced the wide track in the US .
In 1959 Canadian Pontiacs had Chevrolet chassis underneath their Pontiac bodies making them what I call narrow track Pontiacs because the Chevrolet chassis they employed were not wide tracks .
There are also differences in interior fabrics and materials as well as naming of the vehicles in the lineup .
In 1966 in particular , the Pontiac lineup consisted of the Grand Parisian , the Parisian , the Rein and the Stra chief from a sedan perspective .
None of those Pontiac name plates at this time were known in the US or even sold in the US .
Although later in the 19 eighties , Pontiac did end up importing the Parisian from Canada to the US , which was effectively a rebadged Chevrolet Caprice because Pontiac had dropped its full size rear wheel drive car from the line up in the early 19 eighties and honestly regretted this decision and started importing the Parisian from Canada to fill a gap in its lineup .
When dealers started clamoring for more full size vehicles .
One might then ask why in the world would Pontiac be so different in Canada than in the US ?
Well , a couple of reasons , one is that at the time , there were import duties and laws that made it cost prohibitive to import Pontiacs from the US to Canada and sell them profitably .
So vehicles had to be produced locally with locally made components at high levels of scale .
Thus , G M of Canada devised that Pontiacs in Canada would be different and employ Chevrolet components and Chevrolets and Pontiac would be able to share the scale associated with producing vehicles with the same components within the country .
It also made it considerably easier for these vehicles to be produced on the same assembly line if needed .
By 1966 Pontiacs in Canada were super sellers and in fact , Pontiac was the mainstream brand for General Motors in Canada , not Chevrolet as it was in the United States .
And in the Pontiac lineup for 1966 in Canada were a series of Chevrolet engines at the base of the lineup was the all new Astro 6 , 250 cubic inch six cylinder that made 100 and 55 horsepower .
One up from that was Pontiac's so-called stra flash V eight that displaced 283 cubic inches and made 195 horsepower with a two barrel carburetor .
One up from the straddle flash 2 83 was the Astro flame 3 27 which made 275 horsepower .
Again , one up from the Astro flame 327 was the Astro Jet 3 96 Chevrolet big block feet that made 325 horsepower .
And the range topping Pontiac V eight for 1966 in Canada was the so called jet flame 4 27 cubic inch V eight that came in two versions .
The first making 390 horsepower and the second making 425 horsepower .
The name was humorously different versus the 427 cubic inch 425 horsepower turbo jet V eights .
In the United States , the Canadian jet flame 427 V eight was effectively the same engine as what was employed by Chevrolet for sale just over the border .
This particular 427 cubic inch V eight had a number of special features allowing it to make 425 horsepower including mechanical valve lifters , special cam shaft , as well as crank shaft , double belt water pumps and fan drives and a large four barrel carburetor .
It also had an 11 to 1 compression ratio .
Interestingly , while in 1966 the top dog engine in Canadian Pontiacs was this 425 horsepower jet flame V eight .
In 1967 the top of the line engine was tamed quite significantly down from 425 horsepower to just 385 horsepower .
And now the top of the line engine had a lower 10.25 to 1 compression ratio and no longer had mechanical valve lifters .
Oh , well , this makes the 1966 Canadian Pontiac Jet flame V eight , the highest horsepower Pontiac in history , at least in terms of advertised horsepower , as I previously mentioned , even topping the likes of the Ram Air four super duty and Pontiac G A G X P engines from a rated horsepower perspective .
The astute viewer may indeed point out that horsepower ratings in 1966 were done on an S A E growths basis versus a net basis in the 1972 and later model years .
With the net horsepower ratings including accessories that were attached to the engine like the alternator , as well as exhaust system and air cleaner for the overall rating making them lower than gross horsepower ratings .
However , the point still remains that the 425 horsepower jet flame V eight outfitted under the hood of 1966 Canadian Pontiacs remains the highest advertised horsepower Pontiac V eight in history and it certainly is a super rare option .
In fact , I have never seen one whether for sale or not for sale in person or even heard of one .
I suspect that the production numbers for Pontiacs with this engine in Canada were somewhere in the zip code of 10 to 20 units for the entire 1966 model year .
Given their rarity as well as beauty .
They certainly are collectibles , albeit very unknown in the United States .
And that's rather unfortunate .
I think one of the great things about the 1966 Canadian Grand Prix Yen is that you are able to effectively get a 1965 Grand Prix rear end on a four door hardtop , something that you couldn't get in the US .
In any case .
I hope you enjoyed this brief feature on the most powerful Pontiac in history .
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