1965 Pontiac Acadian Canso Sport Deluxe, hot rods by dean, 1965 acadian

Richard and Penny Hammer Go All-In With Their ’65 Acadian Canso Sport Deluxe

Richard and Penny Hammer’s ’65 Acadian Canso Sport Deluxe is a car that deserves the rebuild and preservation it received by Dean Livermore and his team at Hot Rods by Dean. When you break it down by the numbers, only 365 Sport Deluxe Acadians were made in 1965 and most of them didn’t survive the snow, sand, and salt that covers the Canadian roads every winter.

If you’re not familiar with the Acadian name, it’s was Canada’s version of a Chevy II, or Nova. Similar to the Chevy II and sold through Canadian Pontiac dealers, the Acadian body styles didn’t alter much from 1962-65 aside from trim options. But in 1965, the higher-level Acadians were branded with the Canso Sport Deluxe badging – similar to Chevrolet’s Super Sport designation.

This particular ’65 Canso Sport Deluxe was originally sold by Trapp Motors in New Westminster British Columbia, Canada where it lived most of its life as a well-kept regular commuter. In 2002 it was bought by a GM dealership in the far eastern province of Nova Scotia, where it was restored for use as a showroom vehicle. It traded hands one more time in 2006 and was shipped back west to Alberta, which is where Richard and Penny found the car and struck a deal in 2013 to become its fourth owners.


Richard restored a ’66 Acadian wagon that he still owns and drives, but he had bigger plans for this ’65 hardtop. In the fall of 2016, he shipped it to Hot Rods by Dean in Arizona, where they spent the next two and a half years rebuilding and refining it into a modern street machine.

1965 Pontiac Acadian Canso Sport Deluxe, hot rods by dean, 1965 acadian

The first step was updating the ride quality, so a full Roadster Shop chassis was ordered which came with IFS, power rack and pinion steering, a Ford 9-inch rearend hung with a four-link rear suspension, and Wilwood disc brakes front and rear. The floor needs to be completely removed when you place a full chassis under these cars, so all new floor pans were fabricated once the chassis was in place and a set of Detroit Speed mini tubs were stitched in the rear.

1965 Pontiac Acadian Canso Sport Deluxe, hot rods by dean, 1965 acadian

The Hot Rods by Dean crew worked more metal by grafting in a GTO hood scoop for a more aggressive look. Then they smoothed the body seams, tightened and straightened all body panel gaps, and shortened the wheel well openings. Highlighting the exterior is a custom mix of deep metallic burgundy PPG paint applied in-house, a black vinyl top, the original Canso Sport Deluxe badging that underwent meticulous restoration, and custom 18-inch wheels.

1965 Pontiac Acadian Canso Sport Deluxe, hot rods by dean, 1965 acadian

1965 Pontiac Acadian Canso Sport Deluxe, hot rods by dean, 1965 acadian

One of the biggest gripes Richard had about his Acadian (and all Acadians, for that matter) was the lack of a Pontiac engine from the factory. When these cars were sold new, they had GM Chevrolet engines under the hood, whether it was a straight six or a V8. That was remedied with a built 400c.i. Pontiac V8 now residing between the frame rails, and it keeps a vintage vibe with an AutoTrend EFI Tri-Power induction setup. Hot Rods by Dean fabricated custom headers and exhaust, then backed it with a 700R4 transmission and converter from Hughes Performance.

1965 Pontiac Acadian Canso Sport Deluxe, hot rods by dean, 1965 acadian

Hot Rod Interiors carried that refined original theme to the inside of the car by modifying the stock seats before re-covering them in black Naugahyde material and laying the black square weave carpet on the floor. The stock dash was painted with the same custom-mixed PPG exterior paint in a matte finish and fitted with Classic Instrument gauges (staying true to the Canadian origin and using metric units) and Vintage Air A/C. A custom steering wheel by Hot Rods by Dean tops an IDIDIT column, power window controls and a Lokar shifter are fitted in a Nova center console, and an American Autowire harness ties everything together.

1965 Pontiac Acadian Canso Sport Deluxe, hot rods by dean, 1965 acadian

Richard and Penny Hammer’s ’65 Acadian Canso Sport Deluxe was a victim of the year 2020 after being finished in late-2019 – it only made one appearance at the 2020 Grand National Roadster Show before being tucked away. We’re excited to see more of these builds that have been sitting idle for over a year make their way into the limelight – and sunlight – at Goodguys events as the 2021 season progresses.

1965 Pontiac Acadian Canso Sport Deluxe, hot rods by dean, 1965 acadian

Photos by John Jackson

Associate Editor

A lifelong car kid, Steven grew up around drag strips – his name may sound familiar because his grandfather is Bob Bunker, a Pro Mod pioneer who piloted the “Folsom Flash” ’55 Chevy from the ’70s through the ’90s. Steven’s father, Bob Bunker Jr., heads up Bunker Motorsports and is a regular in the West Coast racing scene, building chassis and race cars for more than 30 years. With genetics like that, it’s no wonder Steven has a passion for both cars and motorsports. In addition to helping his father and honing his fabrication skills at Bunker Motorsports, Steven began shooting photos at the drag strip and capturing the action with his Canon camera. He is now artfully crafting stories around the awesome machines at the shows, as well as the men and women behind them. When he's is not on the road covering events, he spends his downtime out on the water fishing, building his 1962 Chevy Nova, or cruising his 1987 GMC Suburban.