Home Dealerships BC/ WEST VANCOUVER Dealerships (CANADA)
Written by Double Dragon
Monday, 28 November 2011 22:00



Writing and photography copyright D. S. Brown

Conroy Pontiac Buick Ltd (19**-71), West Vancouver, BC 
Royal Pontiac Buick Ltd (1971-81), West Vancouver, BC


CONROY PONTIAC BUICK, West Vancouver, BC/ Closed.

Conroy Pontiac Buick was located at 680 Marine Drive on leased land in West Vancouver, BC. Conroy was established in 1963 and by 1967 had a second lot at 1795 Marine Drive, North Vancouver, BC.

Conroy was known by the slogan "white glove service"; but as the latter 1960s musclecar boom caught on they became better known as the source of the rare dealer special "Cheetahs" and "Can Am Firebirds". Similar to the COPO and Yenko conversions, the Cheetahs were Canadian Pontiacs with dealer performance upgrades. The majority of them were true musclecars. The Cheetah started life as a Pontiac Beaumont Sport Deluxe model ordered with 4 speed and big engine then personalized with Conroy stripes tachometer, head restraints, dual mirrors etc. Some of them were fitted with headers, too. (Read a history of the Beaumont nameplate in the 1967 Beaumont story in GAS LOGS on this site in the TRAVEL STORIES section).

The 1965 to 1968 Cheetahs had a plaque on the rear roof pillar "Cheetah by Conroy LTD". Two were 283 cars, but most were 396 cars, with a few supercars running a transplanted 427 engine and aftermarket performance equipment. Conroy also created 8 'Can Am Firebirds' using a Z28 302 transplant.

The Cheetah concept was pioneered by Conroy's General Manager, Mike Carmichael and aimed at street performance. Rival dealership Mander Chev Olds down the street in North Vancouver was cleaning up on muscle car sales. The Cheetah made a distinct statement. Beaumont SDs were ordered with 396 engines, M20 Wide Ratio four speeds, 12 bolt posi rear axles, metallic brake lining, and heavy duty suspension. Conroy added Buick mag style wheels. The cars were often ordered with visual items such as vinyl tops, consoles, dual sport mirrors and stripes although a small batch were strippers with bench seats.

Approximately 10 Cheetahs were dealer converted to full house race cars with 450 HP L72 427 cubic inch engines. Three Cheetahs were built in 1969 when it became possible to order a 1969 Pontiac GTO built in the Canadian Oshawa, Ontario final assembly plant. The Canadian GTO made the need for the Beaumont SD superfluous. One 1969 Cheetah was the only automatic transmission Cheetah ever built. This 350 cubic inch engine car was special ordered to become a race car campaigned by the Ambassador Car Club under Conroy sponsorship. The automatic made it possible for novice members of the club to drive the car on the strip. There were 2 more 1969 Cheetahs built which would also have been 350-300 HP engine cars; but with 4 speeds.

George Pappas who is a long time Chevelle SS 454 LS6 and Corvette collector owns an original 1967 Verde Green Beaumont SD Cheetah packing the 427 engine with dealer installed headers. It is estimated that only about 10 of the 427 Cheetahs were built.

In an interesting coincidence of the names, when Michael Carmichael bought the Conroy dealership, he renamed it Royal Pontiac Buick Ltd which of course evokes the famous Ace Wilson's Royal Pontiac, the ultimate high performance dealership in Pontiac legends. See below for the story on Royal Pontiac Buick. To read about Ace Wilson's Royal Pontiac, see the story in DEALERSHIPS filed under MICHIGAN, ROYAL OAK.

**** To read an indepth history of CONROY refer to my book LOST MUSCLECAR DEALERSHIPS published by CAR TECH BOOKS INC. *****


ROYAL PONTIAC BUICK LTD West Vancouver, BC (1971-81)/ Closed.


Not to be confused with the very famous Ace Wilson's Royal Pontiac dealership, Royal Pontiac Buick also has a performance background. Royal Pontiac Buick Ltd took over the dealership formerly known as Conroy Pontiac Buick, located at 680 Marine Drive on leased land in West Vancouver, BC.

See the story above about Conroy's rare "Cheetahs" which were similar to the US supercar dealer conversions.

Royal Pontiac Buick Ltd was incorporated Sep 20, 1971 by Michael Carmichael who was the former performance manager of Conroy and new owner of the dealership. The dealership came up with an innovative method for new car display. The hottest new cars were lined up right along the edge of the dealership adjacent to the sidewalk of Marine Drive. This section of Marine Drive leads to the Lion's Gate Bridge and is frequently backed up with cars attempting to merge down into one or two lanes when crossing the bridge. With nothing to do but sit stuck in traffic, drivers had plenty of time to study the cars offered for sale at Royal Pontiac Buick. One such 'traffic jam discovery' is detailed in the story of the red 1972 Buick Centurion convertible profiled in the ONE FAMILY stories in the CAR STORIES section of this website.

Royal Pontiac Buick Ltd was dissolved Feb 20, 1981 and the dealership became known as Royal Pontiac Buick Cadillac Ltd.during the 1980s.

The original lot was on land that reverted to First Nation Status. Exempt from the prevailing West Vancouver building codes, the owners of the land replaced Royal Pontiac Buick with a leased skyscraper complex. The tower caused controversy by exceeding the height limits set by West Vancouver city planners just as the former dealership exceeded General Motors' performance and cubic inch limits with the Cheetah specials!


Last Updated ( Friday, 19 March 2021 20:29 )