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Thursday, February 21, 2013

1954 Meteor Sedan Delivery

The Meteor Sedan Delivery was as pretty as it was practical.

            Meteor bowed to the Canadian public for the first time on June 25th of 1948 as a 1949 model. The unique-to-Canada brand shared its shell with Ford. It was slotted to fit neatly in between Ford and Mercury, thus eliminating the considerable price gap between those two marques. 

The 1949 Meteor was an overnight success for Ford of Canada.

Meteor’s entrance in the market would keep folks from straying to Pontiac, Dodge, Hudson and Nash when they were ready to move up from Ford but not yet able to afford the hefty price tag on a Mercury. It was tough to buy a new car in 1948. In an effort to curb inflation, the Government of Canada required consumers to put down 50 percent of the price of a new vehicle at the time of purchase and pay off the balance over a twelve-month period. Chartered banks were forbidden to loan money for new cars. That wouldn't change until 1958. Meteor’s low price would add many sales to Ford of Canada. 


Astonishingly, in its first year on the market, Meteor garnered 11 percent of all sales throughout the Dominion. Its success made it the fourth most popular selling car on the market.  No other automobile brand had ever done so well in its maiden year. 

 Country Sedan was the newest member of the Meteor family in 1950.

A station wagon joined the Meteor family for 1950 and finally, the first Sedan Delivery came along for the 1952 selling season. 

Buyers took home 509 Meteor Sedan Delivery vehicles during the 1952 model year.
The snappy hauler gave any enterprise a modern, up-to-date look. Despite manufacturing restrictions brought about by the conflict in Korea, and the company moving its entire factory from Windsor to Oakville--some 200 miles away—a total of 809 of the attractive Meteor Sedan Delivery trucks rolled out the doors during the 1953 model year. 


The first of the 1954 Meteors finally started coming down the assembly lines on December 8, 1953. The model season began very late for all the automakers because of the Conflict in Korea. Although an armistice had been signed on July 27, manufacturers found it virtually impossible to source sufficient raw material for the civilian production of vehicles.


Advertising didn’t require steel or rubber and Meteor had mountains of publicity. Much was made much of the fact that the Sedan Delivery was styled on the “beautiful, popular lines of the new ’54 Meteor.”  It pledged that a Meteor would build prestige for any business, on every trip it made. The rear quarter panel and door provided a vast 1.4-metre (15-foot) square mobile billboard for advertising. 


The Meteor was a pretty good deal with its list price of $2,082, but a true penny pincher would choose the Ford version, selling for $24 less.



Described as having “smart, sleek sedan styling, designed for long service” and “built for speedy stop-and-go-duty,” Meteor made its way around Mapleville courtesy of the 110-horsepower flathead V-8 engine that had been the corporate mainstay since 1932. “Everything about this superb engine points to more responsive performance that will do more and save more throughout the years.”   The engine sent its power to the Silent-Ease, three-speed manual transmission. A smart owner would spend the extra bucks for the Touch-O-Matic Overdrive for even higher gas mileage. 

 Visit my old car website at: The Oilspot Eh!

The 2 921-millimetre (115-inch) wheelbase Meteor Sedan Delivery weighed in at 1 576 kilos (3,475 pounds) and had an advertised GVW of 1 814 kilos (4,000 pounds) for 1954, though in fact, it was actually 2 086.5 kilos (4,600 pounds). No doubt the figure was fudged a mite so that it would appear to be different from the Ford Sedan Delivery, with which Meteor shared chassis and shell. 


Meteor offered a velvet smooth ride on any road; promising prospective owners that with Wonder-Ride, a full 80 percent of road shock was eliminated. This ensured better cargo protection and gave the driver a less jarring and jolting experience behind the wheel.

While a full bench seat was standard equipment, one or two bucket seats could be installed as an option. Engineers had reworked the steering and this year’s Meteor took 25 percent less effort to pilot through the streets.


Interior cargo dimensions for the Meteor were 300 centimetres (79 inches) in length, 80 centimetres (59 inches) in width and 150 centimetres (39 inches) in height. Quick calculation with a pencil added up to more than 2.8 cubic metres (100 cubic feet) of “profitable payload space in the insulated interior.”  A completely flat, specially constructed floor had been installed to withstand “the constant abuse of busy delivery service.” The extra-wide rear door, with its large, safety vision rear window, was hinged from the side, providing nearly four foot of “generous elbow room” and was duly noted as being an important contributing factor in quick loading and handling operations. 

When the Meteor Sedan Delivery wasn't big enough, the Mercury-Lincoln-Meteor dealers sold rugged Mercury trucks.

            The Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 1954. The Oakville, Ontario company was the nation’s oldest and largest vehicle manufacturer, selling its cars and trucks not only throughout the Dominion but delivering Ford products into the hands of drivers in every colony and possession within the far-flung and vast British Empire. 

The 1954 Thames.

All of the 1,003 Ford-Monarch and Lincoln-Mercury-Meteor dealers made their way to Toronto to be on hand for the three-day festive occasion on January 6. This was one enormous birthday bash, one that captured the entire nation’s attention. The celebrations included a complete display all of the new cars, trucks and tractors sold throughout the Dominion. Ford, Meteor, Mercury, Monarch, Lincoln, British Fords, Mercury trucks, Thames trucks and Ford tractors glittered in the spotlight, right along with the Meteor Sedan Delivery.

The breathtaking Magical Ride of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police was featured on the back of the $50 bill from 1969 to 1979.

The RCMP sent its famed Musical Ride team of 32 red-coated Mounties, along with their horses, to entertain at the Ford Jubilee wowing everyone with its spectacular show of intricate military maneuvers. 

Ford of Canada's Windsor, Ontario plant, circa 1954.

Ford workers had been without a contract for nearly a year. By gentleman’s agreement, management and labour agreed to do nothing to provoke each other during the Golden Jubilee year. Both sides kept their word as they negotiated a new working agreement.

Management announced that the model year would end on October 31. Workers, unhappy that labour negotiations were going nowhere, shut down the Oakville, Ontario factory on the 15th. The lights went out all over the 13-hectare (32-acre) plant and the sprawling comples sat eerily silent for 110 days. The walkout brought an early end to the selling season. Records show that a total of 613 Meteor Sedan Delivery trucks had been produced during the 1954 model year.

Visit my old car website at: The Oilspot Eh!

Copyright James C. Mays 2005
All rights reserved.

20 comments:

Graham Clayton said...

Interesting article, especially the information about the shortened '54 model year, due to the Korean War and the strike by workers.

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