An All-Canadian Rat Rod (Beaver Rod?)

Brendan McAleer
by Brendan McAleer
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an all canadian rat rod beaver rod

There’s an annual Show and Shine every Canada day here on Saltspring island. The choir sings the forgotten verses to Oh Canada and the band plays the Victory March (the Monty Python theme tune) and the bagpipers skirl and you have a choice of dried-out cheeseburgers or falafel. Like all the best car-shows, it’s a weird, homogenous mix of stuff, and this ’36 GM truck caught my eye right away.

Then I listened to the owner talk about it, and knew I had to share.

He didn’t know whether this truck was born back east in Oshawa or Waterville, but the more likely birthplace was Regina, Saskatchewan. That’d make it a grain-hauler, helping get the wheat from the breadbasket of Canada to the CN railway, and from there to the ports and across the world. The plant would have built trucks up until WWII and then started beating those plowshares back into swords.

Build-time? Two weeks. Seems incredible, but when you’ve got a shed full of parts and are handy with a welder, it’s easy to put the “Can” in Canada.

Drop the hammer? Nah, we’re a nation of lumberjacks, after all.

The tap-handle shifter is a nice touch. When the winter Olympics were in my hometown, Germany House actually ran out of beer and had to have kegs air-freighted over – something that had never previously happened. We all felt a bit patriotic about that one.

Being Canada, these horns have never been used.

Cheap beer, cheap smokes and an 8-track with Stompin’ Tom Connors and Anne Murray on it. Can’t beat that.

This air-cleaner is clearly an homage to our national bee-keepers. Or something. It’s sitting atop a 327 truck motor that’s reportedly barely enough to spin the rear wheels.

A pickup-bed full of self-reliance. That long-range tank ought to come in handy for the long, straight prairie roads.

All-in-all, a curious mix of craftmanship and hack-job hastiness. I’d rather like to chauffeur the Queen around in it.

Oh yeah, or on this:

Brendan McAleer
Brendan McAleer

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2 of 7 comments
  • CanuckGreg CanuckGreg on Jul 02, 2012

    Well I'll be damned. I grew up in Regina (and lived there for almost 20 years) and had no idea there was once a GM factory there.

  • Noxioux Noxioux on Jul 02, 2012

    Delicious. Rat rods are hands down the best.

  • FreedMike I suppose that in some crowded city like Rome or Tokyo, there's a market for a luxurious pint-size car. I don't think they'll be able to give them away here in the U.S.
  • TMA1 How much did exchange rates affect this decision? The Renegade is imported from Italy. I'm wondering if that's what caused the price to reach within a few hundred of the much bigger Compass. Kind of a no-brainer to pick the larger, more modern vehicle.
  • CEastwood Everytime I see one of these I think there's a dummie who could have bought a real car , but has to say look at me driving this cool thing I can't drive in the rain like an actual motorcycle that I should have bought in the first place ! It's not Batman I see driving these - it's middle age Fatman .
  • SilverCoupe I should be the potential audience for this (current A5 owner, considering an S5 in the future), but I can't say it excites me. I have never liked the vertical bars in the grilles of sporting Mercedes models, for one thing. The interior doesn't speak to me either.I would be more likely to consider a BMW 4 Series, though not the current version with the double Edsel grille. Still, I suppose it would be worth a look when the time comes to replace my current vehicle.
  • Verbal Can we expect this model to help M-B improve on finishing 29th out of 30 brands in CR's recent reliability survey?