Royal Canadian Motors (RCM)

1960 Dominion Laurier

The new generation of Dominion’s full size car brought in a name change with the radical change in design. The tall and rounded bodywork of the fifties made way for a wide and sleek design to welcome the sixties


At the bottom of the range sat the Laurier 210 with its 210ci inline-6 engine putting out 138 hp and 182 lb-ft. As expected for a base model, it had a three on the tree transmission and a standard far interior with bench seats. This made for a popular car for families who couldn’t afford a high end car but wanted something other than a compact.


At the top of the Laurier range sat the Starliner. Powered by the new 273ci Sixty V8 making a healthy 184 hp and 248 lb-ft, the Starliner was a comfortable near-luxury family car. The name was from the two pane “star roof” covering the full length of the cabin. The premium leather interior featured front bucket seats, a smooth 3-speed automatic transmission, and of course an airy cabin with the wraparound windows and glass roof panels. Due to its price nearing the luxury Elgin model, not as many of the Starliners were sold.


1960 Dominion Raven

The fourth generation of the Raven was also introduced in 1960, initially as a convertible only. While meant to be more of a premium cruiser it did have some popularity as a sporty car, especially when equipped with a manual transmission. The 273ci Dominion Sixty V8 was used here as well producing the same 184 hp and 248 lb-ft as in the Laurier. When paired with the new four-speed transmission the Raven could reach highway speeds in less than 10s. The other technological advancement was the rear semi trailing arm suspension that drastically improved handling and ride comfort. The unconventional and very concept-like styling was divisive enough that within two years the Raven got a heavy redesign to increase its appeal.


Cool cars! But how did you remove the stock Tailfins from the Laurier?

A lot of time with the body shaping kit.

1 Like

1966 Dominion Labrador Stylemaster

The 1966 facelift of the Labrador brought in several improvements to keep it competitive in the ever growing truck market. One of the main changes was the updated Six engine with displacement increased from 210ci to 220ci. Paired with the updated engine was a 4-speed manual transmission that increased fuel economy to 10 MPG! Beyond these mechanical changes, the redesign of the front and rear ends completely brought the third generation Labrador up to date since its introduction in 1960.


1966 Dominion Atlantic

Minor redux from original post

In 1966 Dominion introduced its first midsize car, the Atlantic. While this still meant a wheelbase of nearly 3.0m it was a smaller and cheaper alternative to the Laurier that proved popular with many families looking to have a well equipped car on a budget.

V8 Sedan

Powered by an updated version of the Confederation V8 increased to 339ci of displacement making 236 hp and 306 lb-ft paired to a three speed manual or optional three speed automatic, the V8 model was fairly well equipped. Also optional was front bucket seats for increased comfort.


Included with the Atlantic range was a performance trim level to compete in the new muscle car markets. For its introduction year the Stag was powered by a high output 350ci version of the Confederation V8 producing 284 hp and 355 lb-ft, enough to send the car to 100 km/h in 8.8s. Standard was a four on the floor transmission, bucket seats, magnesium wheels on sport tires, and front disc brakes. The Stag stood out with its matching roof and side stripes in a contrasting colour and the several bright colours to choose from not available on other models of the Atlantic.


1966 Dominion Victory 220 Automatic

For the last year of the third generation Victory, not much was changed since the 1964 facelift. A few adjustments in the option choices as well as some updated colours. The only substantial change was the new 220ci variant of the Jetstream I6 engine paired to a three-speed automatic, foreshadowing what buyers could expect for the next generation of the Victory. The Jetstream 220ci produced a healthy 129 hp and 182 lb-ft, and while the automatic was not stellar for either performance or fuel economy, it was smooth and brought the Victory into a new era of compact cars where increased comfort was available, as an option.


1972 Dominion Atlantic

The second generation of the intermediate Atlantic, introduced in 1970, was refreshed for 1972 to better suit buyer tastes, even with the knowledge that it would need another update in a year with the upcoming 5 MPH bumper regulations. Dominion made an attempt to give differentiate the second generation Atlantic from the humdrum models that were filling the segment by giving it a bit of a sporty flair and this was no different for the 1972 update. The big changes from the first generation was to pair the monocoque design with a new sem trailing arm rear suspension, ditching the old and uncomfortable solid axle that was still popular even in the Dominion lineup. The changes for 1972 were a four speed transmission as the entry level choice rather than the old three speed, and front bucket seats as a standard feature. Updated as well as the Clipper I6 used under the hood, with the 235ci being the “standard” engine of the lineup.

1972 Dominion Atlantic Stag

The Stag performance line was still alive and well, and the top of the line model was powered by the Chinook 400-6 V8, a 400ci engine with 6-pack carburetors producing 292 hp. Paired with a new 5 speed manual transmission, the Chinook Stag reached 62 mph in a blistering 7.0s. Also available was disc brakes all around, 15" polished alloy wheels, a t-top roof, front lip, colour matched sport decals, and an 8-track player.


1972 Dominion Elgin Crown Coupé

In 1972 Dominion completely overhauled the Elgin for what would turn out to be its last generation. Powered by an updated version of the Chinook 444 V8, it was Dominion’s first foray into fuel injection. The expensive and complicated system was well suited for a technological showcase on a luxury car, especially since Dominion didn’t have the prestigious image of pure luxury marques. This 444ci engine was tuned for smoothness with an output of 297 hp and 409 lb-ft. Other technological advancements in the construction were the monocoque body with semi trailing arm suspension, alloy wheels, and four wheel disc brakes,

Creature comforts included a standard four seat layout with front bucket seats (rear bench standard in the sedan, optional in the coupe, while front benches were optional for both), a newfangled 8-track player, and the most up to date safety features.

Dominion put in the effort for style with the Elgin, giving buyers a wide assortment of choices to option out their car to their liking. The exterior was available with or without a vinyl roof, available in complementary or contrasting colours to the wide assortment of metallic paints, as well as a few different wheel designs. For the interior, only the most comfortable of velours or leathers were available in a wide assortment of colours and patterns to suit any taste, also in complementary or contrasting colours to the paint.

With all that put into it, the Elgin still struggled to sell compared to established luxury marques but it was far from a failure. Dominion’s acquisition of Mont Royal and rebranding into Royal Canadian Motors a few years later is what truly gave them the luxury prestige they were missing.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


1987 RCM Atlantic

A new generation of the midsize Atlantic hit the market in 1987 with some of that popular downsizing from the era. Where RCM made itself distinct was that the downsizing was mainly in the form of short overhangs, allowing for a spacious cabin with the decently sized wheelbase. Following the trends of the time, the new Atlantic was changed to a transverse-FWD layout and designed with a sleek European-inspired shape while keeping the angles that some other new cars at the time were starting to eschew. As usual it had the standard coupe, sedan, and wagon body styles midsize buyers expected, though the liftback was not replaced.

Power came from an I4 or V6 engine, the V6 being the 3.5L version of the 24 valve SOHC V6-M producing 163 hp and 195 lb-ft. The new electronically controlled automatic transmission with overdrive allows for a 0-100 km/h spring in 8.8s and 21 MPG. Safety equipment and interior features were the newest of the day, as midsize cars buyers expected, with the V6 models having comfortable velour or leather seats as well as power windows and locks.

1988 RCM Atlantic Mosport SV6

In 1988 the Atlantic Mosport SV6 was released, featuring a Mosport tune on the 3.5L V6 to bring it up to 173 hp and 198 lb-ft. While the performance gains were modest, the suspension was also stiffened up, functional aero elements were added along with a sport body kit. The interior of the Mosport SV6 models was of the highest spec with unique red stripes and badging to match the exterior styling.


AAA-tlantic. Will I have to rename my modern chonk SUV? :smile:

I like the subtle visual changes on the Mosport variant. Those pillar taillights look cool too. One thing I miss here is the drivetrain type - is it FWD or RWD?

Thanks! It’s FWD, I forgot to mention that in the post since it just changed to that layout.

1987 RCM Provincial VE-6 and 4WD

With the introduction of the RCM V6-M in 1987, RCM finally dropped the engine into the new generation of the Provincial that was in dire need of more power since its 1985 introduction. This downsized mid 80s Provincial was also more car-like than its predecessor to take on the newer competition in the small van (now minivan) market, making use of a car-like monocoque chassis with a low and flat floor.

What the Provincial did differently was being offered with a 4WD model, complete with rugged tires, increased ride height (partly to angle the driveshaft below the floor), as well as a skid tray and manual locker, making it a viable competitor to SUVs and in a way an early form of crossover.

As expected from a minivan, several seating configurations were available ranging from 5 to 9 seats, with a front bench seat and the third row both being optional. The middle row was available as a standard bench seat, a shortened bench for two to allow easy access to the back, or even as two individual seats. These seats were available in a range from basic vinyl for fleet use up to plush velour for high spec models.

The mid spec 9 passenger V6 model with 3 speed automatic achieves 19 MPG in combined cycle while the same spec 4WD model for 5 passengers achieves 17 MPG.


1991 RCM Labrador

In 1991, RCM facelifted their Labrador family of full size pickup trucks and SUVs to better keep up with the times. These were still solid steel, boxy, body on frame, V8 or I6 powered beasts that could go anywhere, but they got some updated technology to bring them into a new decade.

Labrador Expedition

Popular since being introduced with the current generation, the Labrador Expedition was a model that prioritised off-roading for the whole family. The comfortable and well-appointed interior featured seating for five (with optional third row to bring seating up to eight) with either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic with overdrive.
Other features of the Labrador Expedition were chromed steel wheels, a manual locker, running boards, roof rack, and a rear mounted spare to improve ground clearance.

Under the hood was the same 5.4L V8 but updated with MPFI to deliver 256 hp and 301 lb-ft. Paired with the automatic transmission, the Labrador Expedition returned an average 13 MPG and could accelerated to 100 km/h in 9.1s.

Labrador Premier

New for 1991 was the Labrador Premier, RCM’s first true luxury SUV. With the high flying economy in the 1980s, private ownership of large utilitarian trucks and SUVs went up as people needed to haul boats, large travel trailers, and trailers carrying various toys. For this, the Labrador Premier was marketed as being the capable luxury car that could haul those things, allowing those who could afford it to ride in comfort to wherever they needed to go.
The luxurious features of the Labrador Premier included self levelling air suspension, 17" chromed alloy wheels, a leather interior with seating for five (with optional third row to bring seating up to eight), a high end sound system, electronic climate control, sunroof, and various painted and chromed exterior design elements.

Under the hood sat a unique version of RCM’s 5.6L V8-M. This version of the engine featured MPFI and a twin exhaust system while delivering 275 hp and 318 lb-ft. With the 4-speed automatic in the Premier, it returned a nearly 12 MPG average and could bring the 2.1 ton SUV to 100 km/h in 8.9s.