This article was originally written and submitted as part of a Canada 150 Project, the Innovation Storybook, to crowdsource stories of Canadian innovation with partners across Canada. The content has since been migrated to Ingenium’s Channel, a digital hub featuring curated content related to science, technology and innovation.
In June 1948, manufactured in Oakville, Ontario, Ford released the initial 1949 Mercury Meteor. And in the years to come there would be a domino effect of popular Mercury vehicles. The nameplate Mercury was used when Ford bodied cars were made exclusively for the Canadian market. They were similar to the familiar U.S. Ford car body but sported their own unique grille and trim.
Their popularity skyrocketed early. Due to style, luxury and surprising affordability, they became the fourth-highest selling car series in Canada from 1949 to 1959.
By 1957, over 250,000 Meteors had been made in Canada. And when they had ceased production in 1976, over 600,000 of their cars had been produced.
Mercury Meteor Line
In the early 1950s, Meteor had established itself in Canadian society. With an attempt to hold its place, Ford began using names Canadians would recognize to sell their cars.
The well-known Meteor was known as the most basic vehicle in the series. The mid-level vehicle was known as the Niagara which paralleled the American Ford Customline. What began as the top-trim level - akin to the Ford Crestline - was known as the Rideau–it was switched to the lowest level in 1965.
The Montcalm version of the Meteor came not long after. Multiple versions of the Montcalm were released, including a version with luxurious interior finishes, two different engine options and increased braking power. It was advertised as a vehicle to match the world’s transition into the modern era.
The End of the Meteor
Ford decided to discontinue the Meteor in 1961.
But the demand from dealers wouldn’t rest. Two years later, Ford launched a lower-priced Mercury 400 in 1963. By 1965, Ford re-released other well-known models like the Rideau, Rideau 500 and Montcalm.
Various new models were still built, such as a sport-themed Montcalm but production slowly started to die off.
Production ultimately came to a halt in 1976, most of the Meteor series are still considered rare vehicles today.