Rod Settles' 1968 Pontiac Beaumont SD-396
(from Volume 29, Issue 350)

story by owner Rod Settles, photos by Michael B. Kelly


The muscle car most American car enthusiasts have never heard of, much less seen. Even after being an auctioneer for over 30 years and dealing in hundreds of classic cars over my lifetime, I hadn’t heard of one either until a few months ago. Nearly two years ago, my wife and I became the proud parents of a handsome little boy we named “Beaumont”.

Searching that name on the internet, we discovered that there was a car made back in the sixties with the same name. Intrigued, we set out to find one. After much research, and loving muscle cars, we decided we wanted a 1968 Beaumont SD-396 Coupe to pass on to our new son with the same name! A big block 396 muscle car that appeared to look a lot like our 1970 Chevelle SS. Finding out that these cars were built by GM for the Canadian market, we learned that only 680 of these SD-396 coupes were built in 1968 in Canada. Like finding a needle in a haystack!

After posting in several car groups what we were searching for, we got a lead that there was one in a big collection in Missouri. Fortunately, we were able to purchase the car, and bring it to its final home in Florida until our “Beaumont” is able to drive and enjoy it himself.

A very unique and impressive automobile built by General Motors, the SD-396 Beaumont shares a lot of things with its American cousins. It has its original matching numbers Chevrolet 396 / 325hp big block engine, GM TH400 automatic transmission, and a GM 12-bolt rear end. Most people think the SD stands for Super Duty, but in fact it stands for “Sport Deluxe”.

Dubbed by many as a “Canadian Chevelle”, one could see why because of all the similarities between the two. The interior is almost identical, except for the dash, which is just like a ‘68 GTO. The front end looks more like a Pontiac but if you look closely, the badges have maple leafs on them instead of a Pontiac logo. The Beaumont was indeed sold by Pontiac dealerships in Canada, but were actually a stand alone brand built by GM and not actually a Pontiac. The taillights are a little different, but it’s easy to understand why most people think of the Chevelle at first glance. This particular car was built in Oshawa, Ontario on April 22, 1968 and the selling dealer was Calgary Motor Products Ltd.

Only a handful of these rare cars have ever made it across the border to the states. This car was frame off restored in Canada in 1998 and then brought to the U.S. shortly after, where it lived in a private collection in a climate controlled environment that preserved that restoration. It was finished in its original color of Tripoli Turquoise Metallic, with Parchment interior. My friends at Auto Air & Audio in Winter Haven, Florida installed Vintage Air on the car for me since that is a must living in Florida. Very few Canadian cars were produced with air conditioning for obvious reasons. I also upgraded the tires and wheels from the factory 14-inch Rallys to the 20-inch Ridlers in the back and 18-inch in the front. Just my personal preference, but I like the look and stance better. Everything else on the car is restored back to factory specifications.

This maple leaf muscle car is a mysterious and rare piece of automotive history and this example is one of the smoothest and best driving muscle cars I’ve ever been behind the wheel of. I hope my son “Beaumont” enjoys this 1968 Pontiac Beaumont SD-396 as much as I am now when he’s old enough to get behind the wheel! CN