This 1951 Pickup Truck is not a Ford. It’s a Mercury M-1! | Daily News Byte


When someone mentions Ford Motor Company’s Mercury brand, images of exciting cars like the Cougar, the iconic late 1940s Eight sedan (commonly becoming the “lead sled”), or even imports for sale through their dealerships like Capri or Merkur XR4Ti. What isn’t always carried is the brand’s line of pickup trucks. Yes, what you read is correct; There was a time when Mercury built trucks for sale in Canada, and we’re going to detail that history thanks to this 1951 Mercury M-1 pickup on the auction block at Mecum Kissimmee in 2023.

A New Era for Ford and Mercury

In the 1950s, Mercury saw some success with its latest designs that made the brand the sixth most popular in the U.S. It was also around this time that Ford began a new line of pickup trucks that would become its most popular vehicles. all time, the F-Series—originally called “Bonus-Built” trucks because they offered “bonus” features like a larger cab, better seat padding, easier steering , and a one-piece windshield. It also featured standard items such as an ashtray, glove box, and sun visor on the driver’s side that were all optional and uncommon on other trucks of its era.

This was the same time Ford of Canada split its sales divisions into the Ford and Lincoln/Mercury networks while adding the Monarch and Meteor sub-brands in the country. This is when Ford of Canada decided that, given the brand’s fragmentation and the fact that few rural communities in Canada have both a Ford and Mercury dealership, it would be a good idea to bring the F-Series north of the border to under both Ford and Mercury branding. Each brand’s trucks are pretty much the same, but where Fords are sold as “F-Series” trucks, Mercury is sold as “M-Series” and follows their designations for Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), like the first Fords. made. However, in 1951, both Mercury and Ford switched to a simpler designation such as F-1, F-2, etc., but the Mercury brands still used “M” instead of “F.”

Ford Trucks just rebadged?

Other differences for the 1948 through 1968 trucks mostly relate to their exterior trim. Inside, there were specific Mercury trims from 1961 to 1966, where only the classic gear and lightning bolt symbol were found on the steering wheel horn button. Other than that, these trucks are no different internally from the same year Ford F-Series. Then from 1967 to 1968, it was all Ford trim inside with no Mercury branded items. The exterior of these trucks gets Mercury branding on the grille and tailgate, but the trim and moldings remain largely the same between the F-Series and M-Series. Mercury also got its own version of the 1960-1967 Ford Econoline known as the EM-series and its pickup variant, but mostly just rebranded Ford Econoline trucks. However, to avoid any tariffs associated with crossing the US-Canadian border, all trucks are manufactured at Ford of Canada’s Oakville Plant in Ontario.

Unfortunately, the writing was on the wall for Mercury trucks in 1965. The Auto-Pact was signed and opened the US and Canadian border for free transportation of vehicles that were on the books until 2001, effective replaced by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Although that agreement allowed the Oakville plant to ramp up truck production, Mercury’s M- and EM-series pickups were discontinued in 1968.

Mercury trucks were also not sold in the US, even after Auto-Pact became law. Mercury would survive as a downsized Ford counterpart until 2011 when it was relegated to just the Mariner (a rebadged Ford Escape) as its sole truck/SUV offering after dropping the Mountaineer in 2010. The Oakville plant is still in use and is the location for the production of the Ford Edge and its Lincoln counterpart, the Nautilus.

The 1951 Mercury M-1 at Mecum

This would be the first year that both Ford and Mercury switched to their simpler tonnage designations, but basically you’re looking at the Mercury version of the F-1 pickup from 1951. This particular truck had a very wide restoration, according to Mecum, and has only been driven 620 miles since doing so. The interior is spartan with the only “Mercury” branding on the horn button. On the outside, you’ll find a tasteful teal and silver two-tone treatment with black-painted wheels, running boards and grille.

Of course, being a 1950s truck, you’ll find two large chrome bumpers on either end along with chrome on the hub caps, moldings, and other trim pieces. The upper grille and louver trim on the hood and embossed lettering on the chrome hubcaps and teal tailgate get all of Ford’s M-brand icons, but you’ll also notice a familiar badge on the body panel just above the grille: the iconic “V8” badge from Ford. That means you’re not just looking at a three-speed manual pickup with a floor shifter, but one that already packs the legendary 255 cu in (4.2 liter) Ford Flathead V-8 engine under its massive hood that’s also on display in Mercury vehicles from 1949 to 1953.

Other features found in this immaculate restoration include a heater-defroster, pushbutton AM radio, finished and treated wood bed with painted retaining strips, bias-ply 16-inch whitewall tires, and rubber floor mats . This truck will also cross the auction block during the 2023 Mecum Kissimmee Auction taking place January 4-15, 2023 in Kissimmee, Florida. This is just one of a large number of restored and modified cars and motorcycles that will be offered for sale during the 11-day event.


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