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Royal Canadian Motors (RCM)


RCM Fox HiMiler

With the founding of RCM from Dominion and the bankrupt Mont Royal several models were simply rebadged with the new branding, but for the Fox subcompact the branding change came with a facelift. Introduced in 1974, the Fox was a rushed attempt to enter the subcompact market following the fuel crisis. While already in development, it was released a year early with less than stellar quality and roughly 10cm cut from the wheelbase of initial prototypes, but it was cheap and it sipped gas.

The 1977 facelift improved upon some of the quality issues but the car was still lackluster compared to the rest of RCM’s lineup. At least the engine was better, the 1.6L SOHC I4 having been updated as well to improve reliability and power, even if 53 hp and 75 lb-ft is nothing to phone home about.

The HiMiler model came with some unique decals as well as features to allow it to boast an impressive 31 MPG. These features included base model elements, such as a blank plate in place of a radio to save weight, driver’s side mirror only to cut down on wind resistance, a four speed manual transmission only to avoid power losses from an automatic, but what it did get that was different was sleek hubcaps to further cut down on wind resistance and some special low rolling resistance tires, as well as the removal of the back seat.

The Fox HiMiler was purely built as a no frills commuter car to maximise fuel economy and as such anyone looking for something better suited for a family car was directed to other trims of the Fox.

Generations II: The Full Line Challenge [LORE][RD 7 SUBMISSIONS]

1977 RCM Atlantic Turbo

One of the big changes to the Dominion lineup moving forward under RCM was the access to the turbo technology that Mont Royal had been working on. Talks of the acquisition had been ongoing for a a couple of years leading up to Mont Royal’s dissolution, giving engineers the chance to play around with the turbocharging. The result of this was the 1977 Atlantic Turbo, a sleek liftback coupe that had its appearance previewed in concept form the previous year. While it may have a sporty flair with the turbo decals, the car was designed more as an economical intermediate model that didn’t sacrifice performance for it.

Under the hood was the 3.4L version of the Jetstream I6 introduced at the start of the previous decade and with the turbo strapped to it, it produced a healthy (for the time) 130 hp and 180 lb-ft while returning 20 MPG through the four-speed manual transmission.

Being around for one year only before the major 1978 facelift that added a five door liftback and turbocharged engines available across the model range, the 1977 Atlantic Turbo is a rare car that was an early look into the future of the automobile following the fuel crisis.

Generations II: The Full Line Challenge [LORE][RD 7 SUBMISSIONS]

1977 RCM Highliner 4x4

Another facelifted model for 1977, the main change the Highliner van received was a new fascia that better reflected the style of the time. The Highliner still had a choice between I6 and V8 engines, now with catalytic converters. The updated 4x4 model was offered with the 6.6L Chinook V8 producing 181 hp and 290 lb-ft and returned 9 MPG in combined cycle.

The 4x4 model was mainly built for camper conversion but it also had some popularity for those who wanted or needed a van that could handle any terrain a 4x4 truck could. Beyond the mechanical changes a 4x4 model entails, this model was available with front accessory lights, a rear mounted spare, two-tone paint (otherwise exclusive to passenger models), and running boards.

Generations II: The Full Line Challenge [LORE][RD 7 SUBMISSIONS]

1981 RCM Fox EFI

After a couple of facelifts and a company name change since its introduction in 1974, the Fox is due for a new generation in 1982. As a send off on the last model year, RCM engineers have dropped in the next-gen EFI version of the 1.6L I4-S engine. With the wonders of electronic fuel injection, the 1.6L produces 57 hp and 75 lb-ft while able to return the same 31 mpg the HiMiler model from 1977 offered without sacrificing comfort and practicality. This model of the Fox includes a back seat and a radio as it is designed as an uprated model in the range rather than an economy-above-all commuter model.

Generations II: The Full Line Challenge [LORE][RD 7 SUBMISSIONS]

1981 RCM Regal Luxe

With the downsizing following the fuel crisis, RCM found that the Windsor luxury car was not selling as much as it did before. While the idea was floated to bring it down a size or two it was dismissed as there was still a need for a large Canadian luxury car even if the market had shrunk. This is where the Regal came from, a smaller alternative to luxury for North American buyers. While not exactly small with its 2.98m wheelbase, it was smaller with less overhangs and smaller engines.

The entry level model, the Luxe, was offered with a 5.1L OHV V8 (updated from the old Dominion Sixty V8) producing 182 hp and 247 lb-ft. While not a high tech engine, it was smooth and reliable, and offered passable fuel economy and performance for the segment, with the Regal returning 14 MPG and reaching 100 km/h in 11.2 seconds with its 3-speed automatic.

In terms of styling and features, the Luxe model did not get a vinyl roof or any two-tone paint options like some of the higher spec models. The wire wheels on this trim were also an imitation: hubcaps. That said, still being a luxury car, the base interior featured velour seating for six with both middle seats folding down into armrests, though the front was set up with the middle as more of a jump seat between individually adjustable seats.

The 1981 Regal was very much a purely American-style luxury car, it would take until the next generation in 1987 for RCM to design a car that could cater more to various international markets.

Generations II: The Full Line Challenge [LORE][RD 7 SUBMISSIONS]

1981 RCM Mongoose Turbo

With the Alouette muscle car killed off a few years earlier due to slumping demand following the fuel crisis, RCM found a gap in its lineup for sportscar buyers. So in 1978 the Mongoose was introduced, a downsized performance car with smaller engines and better fuel economy than any V8 muscle car could hope for. Available as a 2+2 in liftback, notchback, and convertible body styles and with a variety of medium sized engines, the Mongoose was suited for many buyers.

Introduced with the 1981 facelift was the Mongoose Turbo, using an updated version of the turbocharged Jetstream I6 that was introduced in the 1977 Atlantic Turbo. Now destroked to 3.2L and using EFI, the engine produced 150 hp and 196 lb-ft and through the four speed manual transmission it allowed the Mongoose to reach 100 km/h in 8.5s while returning a combined 18 MPG.

Generations II: The Full Line Challenge [LORE][RD 7 SUBMISSIONS]