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In photos: Vintage gems of Canadian auto history

It’s the only museum of its kind in Canada – the Canadian Automotive Museum in the heart of downtown Oshawa, ON is a hidden gem jam-packed with nearly 100 priceless vintage vehicles from Canada, the U.S., and Europe. Here are 10 North-American made vehicles – some produced in places you’d never expect.

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1903 Redpath Messenger: The oldest Canadian car in the CAM collection is this 1903 Redpath Messenger, which was produced in Kitchener, ON. Still in immaculate condition, it was barebones: no windshield, no roof, and no doors. It only had a single row of seats. A folding steering wheel, dubbed the “fat man’s wheel,” made it easier to access the driver’s seat. It was powered by an air cooled single cylinder engine mated to a two-speed transmission.

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1909 Ford Model T:Another prized possession in the collection is this 1909 Ford Model T – believed to be the earliest surviving Canadian-built Model T in the country. It was built in the former town of Walkerville, which is now part of Windsor, ON. It had an I-4 cylinder engine that produced 20 horsepower. The Model T was a huge success – during its production run between 1909 and 1926, more than 15 million were sold.

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1921 Kissel Model 6-45 “Gold Bug”:This American-made beauty, the 1921 Kissel speedster was also known as “Gold Bug”, named after its standard exterior paint colour - bright yellow. Manufactured by the Kissel Motor Car Company in Hartford, Wisc. its 6-cylinder engine produced 45 horsepower. But it was better known for its unique, extra seats. Two drawer seats pulled out from each side of the car to accommodate extra passengers daring enough to sit in them. Originally it sold for $3,475.

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1982 DeLorean DMC-12:Made famous by the hit 1985 flick, Back to the Future, the DeLorean DMC-12 was chosen for its unique looks. It had gull-wing doors, a manual transmission, and a fibreglass underbody with stainless steel panels. About 9,200 were made before the company went bankrupt in 1982. Some of the last models produced were for the Canadian market. Eighty-eight coupes with metric instrumentation were made for Canada including this one, which was donated to the museum in 2011 by Dr. David and June Sugden, who purchased it in Oshawa, ON.

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1910 McKay Roadster:Did you know cars were once built in Nova Scotia? This 1910 McKay roadster was produced by the Nova Scotia Carriage and Motor Car Company. The brainchild of brothers Daniel and John McKay, it was manufactured in Kentville, N.S. It came with gas headlamps, a horn, tools, and a repair kit. And it was powered by a 40-hp 4-cylinder Buda engine. Only 25 McKays were made at the Kentville plant – this is one of the few remaining in Canada.

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1937 REO Speed Delivery Truck:This REO Speed Delivery vehicle was one of only seven half-ton trucks produced by REO Canada in 1937. This RWD truck was driven by a 6-cylinder flat-head engine that was mated to a 3-speed manual transmission. Even though trucks were popular with farmers in the 1930s, few could afford to buy a new truck because Canada was in the midst of a depression. This is believed to be the last surviving one from the seven made in Canada.

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1925 Brooks Steamer:This 1925 Brooks Steamer sedan was produced in Stratford, ON by Brooks Steam Motors – the only steam-car manufacturer in Canada. There were many stumbling blocks for this steam car. The made-in-Germany boiler was a chore to fire up – requiring up to 26 steps to start. Plus, it was hard to steam up in the harsh, cold Canadian winter. Its hefty $3,885 price tag was another deterrent. Only 180 were produced before the company went into receivership in 1929.

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1914 Galt Gas Electric: This 1914 Galt Gas Electric is a shining example of Canadian innovation. It was one of the earliest gas electric hybrids on the road. Produced in Galt, Ontario its 10-hp 2-cylinder gas engine was coupled to a 40-volt, 90-amp generator from Westinghouse. This is the only remaining Galt Gas Electric in Canada. Its chassis and drivetrain are all original. But it’s on its third body, which was installed in 1941.

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1957 Dodge Regent:The Regent was only sold in Canada, but it was basically an American Plymouth with a Dodge badge. This 2-door hardtop was ahead of its time, available with a push-button transmission that replaced a traditional gear selector, power brakes, power steering, a cigar lighter and electric seat adjustments. It was the most popular model built in Canada in 1957 – more than 17,000 were produced.

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1971 Manic GT:The Manic GT sports car got its name from Quebec’s Manicuagan River. Produced in Granby, Quebec, it was the creation of Montreal’s Jacques About. It had a lightweight body made of fibreglass reinforced plastic, independent suspension, 4-wheel disc brakes, rack and pinion steering, and a Renault 1.3L rear-mounted 4-cylinder engine that could propel this 2-seater to a top speed of 135 mph. Only 135 were built – this car is number 54.

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Canadian Automotive Museum

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Canadian Automotive Museum

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Canadian Automotive Museum

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