If your Vauxhall, Opel, Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac or GMC starts without a problem when the temperatures hit freezing, spare a thought for the General Motors employees at Kapuskasing, Canada.

Since the 1940s, GM has been cold-testing vehicles at the town which lies some 12 hours north of Detroit and 9 hours north of Toronto. The town, which, according to Wikipedia has a population of 8,196, sees temperatures below freezing between October and April, making it ideal for extreme cold weather testing of GM vehicles.

General Motors decided to build a permanent Cold Weather Development Centre at ‘the Kap’ in 1973 and by 1983, all GM vehicles were being tested there. This advert captures the early days at Kapuskasing.

A number of things strike us about this video, not least the appearance of the Vauxhall Magnum and Opel GT. But look how well the GM cars perform in the snow. These were the days before everybody rushed out to buy a 4×4 when the going got tough.

Back then, as the video points out, the tests included cold start and drive-away, defrost capability, heater operation, traction and overall reliability. Today, the tests will be much the same, but expanded to include the likes of battery operation, ‘low volatility’ fuel, interior parts, rubber door seals and electronics.

[bctt tweet=”Your Insignia will survive a visit from Jack Frost, thanks to the work conducted in Ontario”]

Your Insignia will survive a visit from Jack Frost, thanks to the work conducted in Ontario. Gives you a warm glow, doesn’t it? Not that the testers in Kapuskasing will know that feeling.

Oh, and in case you were wondering. The fox in the main photo was seen prowling the GM facility in Kapuskasing. He’s clearly wondering where all the snow has gone. Either that or he’s mourning the passing of the Opel GT. As are we, foxy. As are we.