Nine “American” muscle cars built in Canada
America’s automakers have been shipping muscle cars north into Canada since the original muscle car era of the 1960s, but many have also flowed in the other direction over the years. Canada’s auto industry dates to before the turn of the century, and there were hundreds of small Canadian automakers trying to make it happen before the first World War. Ford even established Ford Canada in 1904, just one year after Ford was founded in the U.S., and the operation quickly began sending cars all over the world, including India and Australia.
The Canada-U.S. Automotive Products Agreement, signed in 1965, allowed the Canadian auto industry to thrive once again, and the business of building high-performance muscle cars became an important part of Canadian automotive manufacturing. More than 50 years later, it still is.
We may call them American muscle cars, but the truth is many of our favorites have been built in Canada, and Canadians are still cranking them out today. Here are nine.
1993–2002 Chevrolet Camaro Z28
With a nine-year run, the fourth-generation Chevy Camaro lived a long and prosperous life. The Camaros were all built in Ste. Therese, Quebec, Canada, including every V-8-powered Z28, 1LE, and pace car edition. In 1996 and ’97, SS Camaros were Canadian-built Z28s that were modified by SLP in Lachine, Montreal, but starting in 1998, more components were installed on the assembly line, and the final transformation into SS models took place in nearby LaSalle. After the 2002 model year, Chevy put the Camaro on hiatus until 2010 and closed the Ste. Therese facility, which originally opened in 1965.
2010–15 Chevy Camaro SS and Z28
When the fifth-generation Camaro returned to production in 2010, it did so in Canada, but not in Quebec. The new retro-styled version of the muscle car was built in Oshawa, Ontario, including all V-8-powered SS, Z28, ILE, and supercharged ZL1 models. This generation of the Camaro revived the brand and rekindled its long rivalry with the Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger, which dates back to the original muscle car era. When the sixth-gen Camaro was introduced in 2016, production was moved to Michigan, where it continues today.
1993–2002 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am
Pontiac’s Firebird shared assembly plants with the Chevy Camaro from 1967–2002, and the fourth and final generation of the Firebird was built right alongside the Camaro at the plant in Ste. Therese. Canadian auto workers built every Firebird from 1993–2002, including every V-8-powered Trans Am and Formula. Like the Camaro SS, Firehawk models were modified by SLP in Lachine until the transformation was moved to nearby LaSalle to simplify and speed up the process. Of course, the final Firebird to roll off the Ste. Therese assembly line was the last Firebird ever built. GM killed Pontiac in 2009.
2006–10 Dodge Charger SRT-8
Dodge revived the Charger in 2006 and fired up production at its plant in East Brampton, Ontario. Although rear-wheel drive and V8-powered, it had four doors, which didn’t (and still doesn’t) sit right with many enthusiasts, although most have gotten over it. Brampton Assembly was responsible for the construction of all Chargers, including the Hemi V-8-powered R/T, Super Bee, Daytona R/T, and the big dog 425-hp SRT-8 models, as well as all versions of the Chrysler 300. Interestingly, the Dodge Magnum was also built at East Brampton during this time, including R/T and SRT-8 versions of that model, which was basically a wagon version of the Charger.
2011–19 Dodge Charger Hellcat
Dodge revamped the Charger in 2011 and gave the sedan an extensive updating in 2015, but production has remained at the company’s assembly plant in Ontario throughout. Of course, in 2015, Dodge unleashed the Charger Hellcat, with its supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi cranking out 707 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque, creating the quickest and most powerful American sedan ever. They, too, have been built exclusively in Ontario, along with every other high-performance version of the Charger, including the SRT 392, R/T, and R/T Scat Pack.
2008–19 Dodge Challenger Hellcat and Redeye
Sold from 1970–74, the original Dodge Challenger was built in the United States, but the model’s rebirth in 2008 moved production to East Brampton, Ontario. Basically a two-door coupe version of the Charger, the two cars share their chassis and powertrains, so it makes sense that they would also share an assembly plant. There have been many different Hemi-powered versions of the Challenger over the last 11 years, and they have all been assembled in Canada. That list includes every R/T, SRT-8, and SRT 392, as well as every 700+ hp Hellcat and every new 797-hp Redeye.
2018 Dodge Challenger Demon
All 3300 Dodge Challenger Demons were also built in Canada. That’s right, the meanest and most powerful “American” muscle car ever was assembled in Ontario. The Demon’s supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V-8 produced as much as 840 hp, and the special model was equipped with a transbrake and drag radial rear tires from the factory. It was all installed in Canada. These cars can hit 60 mph in about two seconds, and their quarter-mile times are a dip below 10 seconds. These monsters were only produced for one year, and the last one rolled out of the East Brampton facility on May 31, 2018.
2017–19 Ford GT
Calling the Ford GT a muscle car is a bit of a stretch, we’ll admit, but it is an all-American high performance machine… or is it? These turbocharged, carbon-fiber supercars are built by Multimatic, a Canadian company, at their facility in Markham, Ontario. The mid-engine supercars are powered by a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 with dry sump oiling connected to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. They’re packing 647 hp, weigh about 3300 pounds, and feature dihedral butterfly doors, a carbon monocoque, aluminum subframes, rear-wheel drive, and a built-in FIA-certified roll cage. It takes about three seconds to go from 0–60 mph.
1995–2004 Ford F-150 SVT Lightning
Combined, Ford sold about 28,000 examples of the first- and second-generation SVT Lightning. All were constructed in Canada. The muscle trucks were created by Ford’s Special Vehicle Team and built alongside the many other versions of the F-150 at the company’s truck plant in Oakville, Ontario, which first opened in 1965. In 2004, it was retooled to produce cars and is still cranking them out today. The first generation of the Lightning was powered by an old-school pushrod 351-cubic-inch V-8 that generated 240 hp, but sales lasted three only years. In 1999, the Lightning returned with a supercharged DOHC 5.4-liter. Hand-assembled in Romeo, Michigan, the blown V-8s were originally rated 360 hp, but output jumped to 380 hp in 2001.