Canadian Fords

In the United States Ford marketed three brands – Ford, Mercury and Lincoln but in Canada things got more complicated with up to six brands. Why all the brands? Often small towns would have either a Ford or a Mercury dealership so with the extra brands they could compete across the entire spectrum of the market. Mercury had Meteor and Ford had Monarch.

Starting in 1946 Mercury was given a smaller, low priced car to sell based on a Ford but with Mercury style trim. Initially this was still badged as a Mercury but in 1949 the smaller Ford based car was sold as a Meteor still at Mercury-Lincoln dealers. These Meteors used the flat head Ford or Mercury V8 engine until 1955 when the new over head valve V8 replaced it. A base six cylinder was offered for the first time in 1956. Starting in 1954 the Meteor models received Canadian models names like Niagara and Rideau. Niagara after Niagara Falls and region and Rideau after the historic canal. In 1959 the Meteor Montcalm named after the famous French general and based off the Ford Galaxy was introduced. After 1961 things start to get a bit complicated as the United States Mercury brought out a low priced full size called the Mercury Meteor. The Canadian Meteor disappeared at this time until the Mercury Meteor was discontinued after the 1963 model year. Relaunched in 1964 Meteor was a Mercury with Ford dash and interior competing with a lower price. The Canadian model names returned in 1965 with Meteor slowing losing importance as time went on. Mercury badges where added in 1968 and the inline six was no longer offered. The convertible dropped in 1971 and later Rideau and Montcalm lines where phased out. Meteor officially stop existing as a separate marque after 1976 but the Meteor name existed as a low priced variant on the Mercury Marquis until 1981.

1951 Meteor 1954 Meteor Special Nigara 1956 Meteor Rideau Crown 1959 Meteor Montcalm Rideau 500 1960 Meteor Rideau 500 1969 Meteor Rideau 500

Believe it or not Mercury had another Canadian marque but only for one year. The Frontenac was a version of the Ford Falcon sold only in 1960. Named after a governor of New France the Frontenac name had actually been used on a Canadian relative of Durant in the early 1930s. Based on the Ford Falcon of the same year but with unique trim utilizing the Canadian Maple Leaf. Despite being very popular with over 8400 being sold the Frontenac was discontinued in favor of the Mercury Comet that was introduced in the United States part way through the year.

1960 Frontenac 1960 Frontenac 1960 Frontenac

Mercury also sold the full line of Ford trucks from 1946 and 1968. Generally these where the same as the equivalent Fords with different badges and perhaps a grill variation or some upmarket trim. The model naming convention was M instead of the Ford F, so F-100 became M-100 for example. There where also Mercury vans sold as well.

1947 Mercury Truck 1953 Mercury M-100 Truck 1966 Mercury M-100 Truck

The Ford companion marque Monarch also started 1946 as a higher priced Ford. This was a Mercury based car with Ford trim and tail lights plus a little extra chrome. The cars could be had with a variant of the Mercury V8. Starting in 1949 Monarch adopted a lion badge and was Mercury shell with a Ford dash. Unlike Ford two tone paint was offered. In 1953 and 1954 Monarch actually outsold its Mercury parent. 1955 brought the OHV V8 and the crown badge for 1957 but differed little from the Mercury at this time. There was no Monarch for 1958 but the marque returned for 1959, with the Edsel disappointment, in a Mercury body shell with unique grill and badges. For 1961 the down sized Mercury was used but Monarch was reduced to a single line – the Richelieu. Ford’s top cars where encroaching into territory occupied by Monarch so Monarch was discontinued as a marque for the final time. The Monarch name returned on Mercury’s version of the Ford Granada in 1975 but it was not a Canadian exclusive.

1949 Monarch 1949 Monarch 1951 Monarch 1953 Monarch Custom 1956 Monarch Lucerne Monarch Lucerne Mercury Monarch

Further Reading
Ford of Canada Heritage
Canada Only Cars
The Monarch Story
Canadian Mercury Pickups 1946-1968

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4 Responses to Canadian Fords

  1. Patrick Howard says:

    Would you consider or have considered allowing one of your photos to be painted for resale. I am new to the art scene and am fascinated with cars but do not wish to be infringing on any copyright issues

  2. cindy coombs says:

    I have a question that you may be able to help me with. A friend in The Netherlands has a 1970 Meteor 500 rideau that he is trying to restore. I need to find replacement belt weather stripping for the doors and rear quarter windows. Any ideas? Thanks so much!

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