Ford of Canada 1904-2004



Ford of Canada 1904-2004
Ford of Canada
James C. Mays
An Old Autos Pictorial Roll Call
Ford of Canada 1904-2004
An Old Autos Pictorial Roll Call
James C. Mays
Syam Publishing
Windsor, Ontario
N9C 1B4
Copyright Ó 2003 by James C. Mays
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in
writing from the publisher.
The Ford, Frontenac, Meteor, Mercury, Monarch, Lincoln and Fordson names and their trademarked symbols are the
property of the Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited. They are used in this book for identification purposes only.
All images are courtesy of the Ford Motor Company of Canada,Limited.
National Library of Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Mays, James, 1953Ford of Canada, 1904-2004: an Old Autos Pictorial Roll Call / James C. Mays.
ISBN 0-9697958-6-6
1. Ford Motor Company of Canada--History. 2. Automobile industry and trade--Canada--History. I. Title.
HD9710.C24F673 2004
Layout by Old Autos Publications Inc.
Bothwell, Ontario NOP 1C0
Made in Canada
First Edtion
To every one of us from St. John¹s to Victoria and from Tuktoyaktuk to Pelee Island
who has ever had a Ford in our garage or in our hearts.
It began in 1904 at Gordon McGregor¹s wagon works in Walkerville, Ontario. The market was ripe; two other Canadian firms were already
building horseless carriages. McGregor and Henry Ford teamed up to supply Canada and virtually all of the British Empire with automobiles.
The company grew. The brilliantly designed Model T shaped our nation as mightily as did the St. Lawrence River and the Canadian
Pacific Railway. Automobile manufacturing was seasonal because most cars were built and sold in warm weather. By serving Empire
markets in the Southern Hemisphere, Ford became the first automobile manufacturer to employ workers year round.
Mass production and the Model T were a winning combination for the company and the country. Within fifteen years the Ford Motor
Company of Canada, Limited was the largest single manufacturer and taxpayer in the Dominion.
The company served King and Empire in World War One. Its engineers are credited with the invention of the motorized ambulance.
Those engineers also created a school truck in 1918. Children in Edmonton were the first in the world to ever ride a bus to school.
There was no profit from 1931 to 1934. As the economically disastrous Dirty Thirties ground on, millions desperately sought work, food
and shelter. While Canadians suffered, Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan prepared to dominate the world.
Sacrificing mightily in World War Two, Ford collaborated fully with archrival GM Canada to build more than half a million Canadian Military
Pattern trucks. Ford dedicated 82 percent of its vast facilities to building war machines and the other 18 percent for the manufacture of
essential home front vehicles throughout the Dominion and the Empire.
The world changed rapidly after 1945. There were strikes, including the infamous 99-day work stoppage at Ford, as workers demanded
a collective voice at the bargaining table. Ford¹s lucrative export markets dried up as the Empire and its colonies gave way to a new
British Commonwealth of completely independent nations. Here at home, new post-war products included Monarch, Mercury trucks and
After the war, Ottawa tinkered with taxes in a bid to balance the budget. In doing so, the federal Ministry of Revenue nearly destroyed
the entire domestic automobile industry. Ford, GM and Chrysler lobbied hard for change and finally got it in 1948.
In 1949, Britain¹s oldest colony was welcomed into Confederation. The country was complete, a mari usque ad mari from sea to
sea. In Windsor, clerks at Ford moved the onetime Dominion of Newfoundland from the Export column to Domestic Sales.
The conflict in Korea disrupted manufacture from 1950 to 1953. Ford marked its 50th anniversary in 1954. As domestic automobiles
grew longer, lower and wider, Canadians by the thousands turned to small thrifty European cars. Many of them were Fords, sourced from
Dagenham and Cologne. The Cold War, the atomic bomb and the space race between the USA and the USSR frightened the world.
AutoPact changed the face of manufacturing and the nation in 1965. Canadian factories were the first to experience the global village
as they were plugged into a duty-free continental system. Our distinct heritage was diminished as such glorious names as Monarch,
Meteor, Frontenac and Mercury trucks quietly disappeared. They were replaced with hip, groovy cars like the youth-oriented Mustang
and Cougar. While the snappy models were built in the United States, their drive trains were sourced in this country.
Throughout the Seventies and the Eighties, Ford built and sold an increasingly larger number of smaller cars. We bought chubbycheeked sub-compact Pintos and Canada-only Bobcats. Mavericks and Comets were as common as snow in January.
Technology advanced. The company diversified, selling its tractor division in 1986 while taking on Volvo, Aston-Martin, Land Rover and
Jaguar. All outstanding shares of the Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited were purchased by the parent company in 1996, yet
another watershed.
Today, the Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited stands on the threshold of its second century. This mighty powerhouse has enormous potential yet to be unleashed, a leader and an innovator for many years to come.
As you enjoy this pictorial celebration of a great automaker and its offerings, keep this in mind‹had there been no Gordon McGregor,
no Henry Ford, no Model T, our nation would not what it is today.
James Mays
Windsor, Ontario
Mays family's folklore includes the tale that James' first word was not mama or dada--it was Buick. His mouth was immediately
washed out with soap, because he was born into the home of respectable Nash people. The kid grew up passionately loving fourwheeled vehicles, especially the Nash, Hudson, Rambler and American Motors nameplates.
A respected authority on collectable cars, trucks and tractors, his special area of knowledge is the Canadian automotive industry,
its personalities and unique products. His book, Rambler Canada: The Little Company that Could was named Best Read by the
Ontario Librarians Association in 2003.
Mays is a graduate of Andrews University in Michigan and Concordia University in Montreal. As an educator, he taught in some of
the last one-room schools in the Maritimes. A meticulous researcher, he writes with insight and humour. The award-winning author
has 32 books to his credit, including eight automotive histories.
Mays is prolific; he writes more than 300 articles a year, contributing to periodicals in France, Canada, the UK and the USA. His
features are found in V-8, Toy Cars & Models, Reader's Digest, OEM Off-Highway and Automobile Quarterly. His columns appear
regularly in Old Autos--Canada's newspaper for the enthusiast and Old Cars, the largest and oldest of the American hobby newspapers. He is a staff writer for Vintage Truck, Antique Power and Belt Pulley.
A member of the Society of Automobile Historians and the Historical Automobile Society of Canada, Mays lives with his cat Fluffy in
Olde Sandwich Town, a heritage neighbourhood in Windsor, Ontario, Canada's Motor City.
An accomplished chef and the author of five books of recipes, Mays won the Millenium Food & Beverage Award from Vogue magazine for his cookbook trilogy, You Can't Get Mad Vegan Disease.
His historical commentary is heard regularly on The Morning Shift, broadcast on CBC Radio One in Windsor. On the home front,
he pens the monthly history column for Scoop. A permanent collection of his automotive works is housed at the University of
Windsor's Leddy Library in the James Mays Collection.
After inking a deal
to build Fords in
the Dominion of
Canada on August
17, 1904, the first
Model C was completed in October.
It was largely an
assembled car;
parts were ferried
to Walkerville from
across the Detroit
River. Records
show that 25 of
the two-cylinder
automobiles were
built by the end of
the year, all of
them 1905 models. Another 98
were completed
during 1905,
seven of them the
larger Model B.
The new and improved Model N debuted for 1906. It boasted a zippy four-cylinder engine that was capable of hitting speeds of 45 miles an hour. A total of 101 Fords were built that year: 76 were exported and 25 retailed
A Model R
joined the
Ford family
in 1907. It
boards and
The company built
during the
year, most
of them the
Model N.
The 1908 Model S rode on a 120-inch wheelbase. A new sales campaign, “Watch the Fords go by!” was launched.
It became one of the most famous advertising slogans in history and used by the company for nearly forty years.
Production was off ever so slightly to 324 units, though 112 Fords were exported. None were shipped to Prince
Edward Island after March 26 because the legislature in Charlottetown banned all automobiles.
The first 1909 Model T rolled out the factory doors in October of 1908. It was an astonishingly simple vehicle
with its 100-inch wheelbase and nearly foot-high ground clearance. A Model T could go just about anywhere.
Ford of Canada opened a wholly owned subsidiary in Australia during the year. Folks throughout the Empire
recognized the new Ford’s ruggedness immediately, snapping up 367 of the 486 Ts built here during the year.
Model T production reached 1,280 units in 1910. The company boasted 118 employees at the end of 1910, up from
17 in 1904. The 797 Fords sold domestically had four doors instead of three like the American versions and were
built with left-hand or right-hand drive because Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and British Columbia laws all required
driving to the left.
Roadster was
offered in both
1911 and
1912. His
Canadian Post
Office purchased three
Model Ts to
deliver mail in
Toronto. The
company was
under a
Federal charter and recapitalized at $1
million. A total
of 2,805 Fords
were built in
1911 and
1,806 were
While Dearborn did not build trucks until 1917, Ford of Canada did. These 1912 Royal Mail trucks made letter delivery faster than ever. The payroll department issued cheques to 565 employees that year. Records also show that 60
percent of all Fords were exported in 1912.
Fords were strategically packed
inside of boxcars
for shipment. A
total of 6,556
Model Ts were sold
throughout the
Dominion in 1913.
Freight rates to
Calgary or
Vancouver added
$75; Hamilton,
Ontario $15;
Montreal $25 and
Saint John, New
Brunswick $32.50.
No longer imported, the company
began building its
own engines on
May 20, 1913. Ford
owners in the
Yukon were
advised to add 60
percent wood alcohol to their rads for
winter driving.
The most elegant and most expensive Ford in the 1914 lineup was
the Town Car. Production reached
14,401 units in total and Canadians
bought 9,973 of them. Of the 5,627
automobiles registered in Manitoba,
2,057 were Fords. As a colony of
Great Britain, our country was
plunged into World War One in
Engineers at Ford of Canada are credited with having invented the motorized ambulance. Many conversion kits were shipped to France in 1915.
Each Model T ambulance could whisk two wounded soldiers away from
the front lines. Lifesavers that they were; the ride was unforgiving as no
Model T ever had shock absorbers. One became so famous it was nicknamed “Susan”. Most soldiers referred to them as “galloping bedsteads.”
Folks in Sherbrooke, Quebec began buying Fords from the Sherbrooke Motor Mart in 1913. Here, the 1916 models
are lined up in the snow. Canadians bought 24,441 Fords that year. Advertising boasted that if all the Fords sold to
date were lined up bumper-to-bumper they would stretch from Toronto to Calgary. The company made moving pictures and distributed them to movie houses throughout the Dominion at its own expense to back the federal government’s War Bond effort.
The 1917 Coupelet was improved, charmingly finished and refined so much that
advertising noted that “In the background above is a prominent Toronto residence.”
Sales for the year reached 49,947 units. Ottawa instituted a temporary Income Tax
to pay for the war. With an assessment of $1,782,094 Ford of Canada promptly
became the nation’s largest single taxpayer.
Never built or sold in the US, Ford introduced an $850 One-Ton truck in 1918.
Targeted to farmers who faced severe
labour shortages because more than
600,000 men were at war, the new truck
saved Ottawa from instituting food
rationing. Gordon McGregor offered to
shut down the factories and send workers
to reap the harvest that lay rotting in the
fields. Newly recruited soldiers were sent
instead. On November 11, the war ended.
A total of 61,661 Canadian soldiers gave
their lives for King and Empire.
Hearses were an all too familiar sight throughout the land as The Spanish Flu
swept the nation in 1918 and 1919 and claimed more than 60,000 lives. The
carefully crafted coachwork on this 1919 Ford TT was built by the Canadian
Commercial Body Company, Limited of Windsor, Ontario. The chassis cost $625.
This 1920 Special Body Open Bus
was photographed in front of
William Van Horne’s mansion in
Montreal. The starter was a $100
option on open cars that year and
standard equipment on closed
models. A total of 31,805 Fords
was sold domestically in 1920.
A 1921 Model T Tow Truck
was a common sight throughout the Dominion.
The sturdy vehicle could pull its own weight.
Another engineering coup for Ford
of Canada was the
invention of the
“School Truck.”
Children in
Edmonton were the
first in the world to
ever ride in such a
conveyance, back
in 1918. By 1922,
school buses were
an integral part of
Canadian life.
Gordon McGregor,
founder of the Ford
Motor Company of
Canada, Limited
died in surgery in
Montreal. He was
49 years old.
Lincoln joined the
Ford family in 1922
and 23 of the luxurious cars were
The 1923 Model T Runabout carried a price tag of $405. The company built 80,864 passenger cars during the year, of which 38,479
were exported.
The 1924 Ford Coupe listed for
$665, including a $24.99 luxury
tax for Ottawa. Total
production for the year
was 72,176 units. Domestic
sales were 37,812 units, down
substantially from the 42,385
units sold the previous year.
As practical as a Model T, the inexpensive Fordson tractor revolutionized farming. This photo was taken in January
of 1925 at the factory. A total of 2,298 Fordson tractors were sold throughout the country that year. Since 1918, six
Fordson tractors had been imported into the Dominion of Newfoundland.
One of 61,150 Touring cars sold in 1926, this Ford made history when Edward Flickenger,
Ford of Canada¹s chief photographer and Dr. Perry Doolittle trekked across the country
after backing into the Atlantic Ocean in Halifax on September 8, 1925. Twenty-two days
later in Vancouver, they symbolically poured a vial of Atlantic water into the Pacific. It was
the first time a car had driven across the country without leaving Canadian soil. Where no
roads existed, the Ford travelled by rail, using special flanged wheels.
Henry’s Lady
bowed for the very
last time in 1927.
The final version of
the Model T
weighed in at a
hefty 1,961 pounds,
761 pounds more
than its 1909 predecessor. Records
show that 22,701
Fords were sold
before production
of the car that put
Canada on wheels
was forever halted.
A total of 39 Fords
were imported into
the Dominion of
Newfoundland that
year. Records also
show that 45
Lincolns were
imported into
Canada and sold
that year.
president of
the company, had the
honour of
driving the
first of the
new Model
A Fords off
the line. The
stylish new
car was followed out
the door by
32,959 more
Fords in
1928. An
230 Model
As were
from the US
as were 50
This Model A was one of 41,399 Ford automobiles sold throughout the Dominion in 1929. Phaetons were still popular
with Canadians but would disappear from the market within ten years. Not a single new Fordson tractor was sold
anywhere in the country during the year.
This Model A Ford tow truck was one of 8,766 domestically built trucks sold in 1930. The HD 1 1/2-ton sold for $761.
Another 52 Step-N-Drive trucks were imported from the US. Newfoundlanders bought 179 Ford cars and trucks during the year.
It was a momentous occasion when the millionth Ford rolled out the doors on March 24, 1931. The most expensive
Ford in the lineup that year, the maroon-coloured Town Sedan listed for $750. The effects of the stock market crash
were evident as only 16,565 Fords were built in 1931. A mere 16 Lincolns were sold that year and only 115 Fords
were imported into the Dominion of Newfoundland.
Only 2,239 Ford trucks were built in 1932, the lowest production run in 15 years. This Grain & Stock model
could carry 70 bushels of wheat. With a 8-inch stock racks in place, it could transport animals. Ford trucks were
powered with the trusty four-cylinder power plant, now tweaked to 50 horsepower. The assembly plant in
Montreal was closed during the year. A mere sixteen Ford cars and three Ford trucks were exported to the
Dominion of Newfoundland this year.
Pretty to look at,
the Ford Tudor
Sedan drew few
buyers in 1933 as
the Dirty Thirties
ground on relentlessly. Domestic
sales dropped to
9,177 units. There
were 19 sales in
but only three of
the cars had V-8
engines. Seven
bought Lincolns
and records show
that for the first
time, ten British
Fords were
imported to
Canada from
The Standard Tudor boosted sales in 1934.
While the company was still in the red,
domestic sales jumped to 14,442 Fords.
Lincoln sales held steady at seven units for
the year. Of the 116,890 automobiles produced by the entire Canadian industry, 41.57
percent of them were Fords.
This is one of the 405 stylish Sedan Delivery trucks
built in 1935. A total of 6,955 Ford trucks were
manufactured and sold in the Dominion that year.
The Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited
declared its first profit since 1931 on domestic and
export sales of $46.3 million. Ford owned 46.4 percent of the domestic market in 1935.
Among the 21,014 Fords sold here at home during 1936 was this V8 Deluxe Tudor Touring Sedan. Records show
that 180 of the beautiful new Lincoln Zephyrs were built in Windsor and another 98 were imported from the US.
Sourced from the UK, 60 British Fords found favour with Canadian purchasers. Exactly 80 Ford passenger cars
and 40 Ford trucks were sold in Newfoundland during the calendar year.
The 1937 Lincoln Zephyr offered luxury at the relatively low price of $1,561.23 in the Dirty Thirties. Sales of the
teardrop-shaped V12 luxury car totalled 353 units, of which 17 were built in Windsor. Only five of the larger
Lincolns were sold in 1937.
A total of 7,692 Canadian-made Fords were
shipped to the Union of South Africa in 1938.
Exactly 37,300 units were exported from
Windsor throughout the Empire that year,
adding $19.7 million in sales.
The 1938 Deluxe Fordor Sedan sported such optional niceties as a second windshield wiper and
two armrests. The Depression came back for a second bite and the final tally for domestic Ford
sales was down to 21,631 units. Still in the black, sales for the year were $27.7 million.
The mid-sized and mid-priced Mercury
debuted for the 1939 model year with a retail
price of $1,140.19 including taxes. It filled the
enormous gap between the bargain basement priced Ford and the ultra-luxurious
Lincoln. With its 116-inch wheelbase,
Mercury offered a very comfortable ride.
Canadians snapped up 873 of them during
calendar year 1938.
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth
docked in Quebec City on May 17, 1939
where they were greeted by the cheers of
half a million loyal subjects. Ford of
Canada commissioned a pair of specially
built Lincolns for the month-long Royal
Tour. Sales records indicate that only two
Lincolns were imported in 1939, no doubt
they were the very same grand pair provided for Their Majesties’ visit.
Parliament declared
war on Nazi Germany
on September 10,
1939. Domestic sales
dwindled as Ford
immediately began producing war vehicles for
Canadian and Empire
armies. Final domestic
sales totals for 1939
were 15,700 for Ford,
3,590 for Mercury, two
Lincolns, 248 Lincoln
Zephyrs and 13 British
Fords. This photo was
taken on the grounds of
the 45-acre Windsor
plant in 1940.
This Super Deluxe Convertible Club Coupe cost $1,423 and was one of 16,074 Fords sold in 1941.
Automobile rationing had been in effect since April of 1940. Only civilians who could prove an “essential
home front need” to the national Motor Vehicle Controller in Ottawa could purchase a new car.
The 1,724th Mercury was produced in Windsor on March 31, 1942 “at just minutes to midnight.” The list price for
the car shown below was $1,294, minus the spare tire and inner tube. For King and Empire, folks would make
do, there would not be another new car for civilians until January 15, 1946. Three Panel Delivery sedans and
two station wagons were exported to Newfoundland under the Emergency Civilian Defense Programme during
the year.
Ford employees turned out
Scout Cars
around the
clock. Records
show that two
new Ford
trucks were
released to
civilians in the
Dominion of
Nine Fords
were manufactured in 1943
and sold to
civilians in
Canada under
the “essential
home front
needs” programme.
Ford and GM co-operated to build more than half a million
Canadian Military Trucks. Eighteen Ford passenger cars and
eleven trucks were sold to civilians in Newfoundland in 1944.
The Motor Vehicle Controller in Ottawa released a total of 5,980
cars, trucks and tractors of all brands to desperate Canadians
that year.
As victory
drew nearer,
the last
Carrier was
produced on
April 26, 1945.
Exactly twenty
Ford passenger cars and
one Mercury
were built during 1945 for
domestic civilian needs.
Newfoundlanders were granted permission
to purchase
eight Ford passenger cars
and 46 trucks.
After a bitter 99-day strike, the first
post-war Ford rolled out the doors on
January 15, 1946. It was followed by
8,252 more during the year.
The 2-millionth Canadian Ford was
produced in August. Records show
that 49 Lincolns were sold, too. It was
the first time that any of the prestigious marque had passed through
Canada Customs since 1941.
Lincoln and Mercury were spun off
into a new dealer body in 1946, doubling Ford’s presence throughout the
Dominion. Ford dealers were given
the upscale Monarch to sell.
Salesmen promptly wrote contracts
for 3,760 of them.
Lincoln-Mercury dealers began to sell Mercury trucks after the war. Matching Ford trucks model
for model, above is one of 8,099 Mercury trucks built in 1947. A total of 19 Mercury school bus
chassis were shipped from Windsor. Records show that 57 Mercury trucks were exported that
year. Newfoundlanders imported a total of 314 Ford cars and trucks.
Workers produced 9,936
Ford trucks in
1948. Another
5,089 medium-duty
Fords were
built during
the calendar
year. Heavyduty trucks
were returned
to the production lines in
1949. The
plant, in operation since
1935, was
closed in
The Meteor took a bow in April of 1948 as a 1949 model. It sold 23,027 units in its first year on the market, making it the fourth most popular car in the country. Meteor’s introduction gave Ford of Canada five
distinct brands. Advertising bragged that all of Ford products was so new that “there was nothing the
same but the air in the tires.” A total of 42 Fords was exported to Newfoundland before March 31, when
Britain’s oldest colony joined Confederation as Canada’s tenth province.
A total of 6,056 Monarchs was built in 1950. The
two-door “woodie” wagon was the most expensive
in the stable at $3,523. It was also the last of the
breed as Monarch never again offered a station
wagon. There were 665 Ford-Monarch dealers and
338 Mercury-Lincoln-Meteor dealers stretched out
across the land from St. Johns to Victoria.
Meteor continued in popularity as 23,138 of Ford’s shining stars were built in 1951. The Custom Deluxe Convertible
cost a cool $3,024 before the Ministry of Revenue took its share in taxes. The Ford Motor Company of Canada,
Limited paid $55,885,657 in taxes this year.
Despite the conflict in Korea and serious steel shortages at home, 37,771 Fords were built in 1952. Of
that number, 503 were exported. Pictured here is a Fordor Sedan. Ford began building a new factory
in Oakville, Ontario on May 2nd.
This Consul was
one of 5,237 Fords
imported from the
United Kingdom in
1953. Domestic
sales of all Blue
Ovals reached
$287.4 million.
Exports to other
countries added
$21.9 million to the
final total.
The payroll department issued $58.9
million worth of
cheques to 15,604
employees that
The 1954
Monarch Lucerne
four-door sedan
cost $3,245 at
introduction time
but the price was
reduced by $373
in January of
1954. Monarch
was just one of
the fiftieth
anniversary models unveiled
before Ford’s
1,003 dealers at
the Golden
Jubilee National
Conference in
Toronto. Ford had
a lot to be proud
of at the half-century mark: it had
produced 41 percent of all the
cars made in this
On November 10, 1954, consumers got their first peek at the 1955 Ford lineup. The Customline Fordor sedan was
one of sixteen models offered. Fords ranged in price from $1,766 to a whopping $3,655 for the imported
Thunderbird. The company had its best year ever as dealers put 137,644 sets of new taillights on the nations highways and byways.
The 1957 Monarch (left) was dramatically lower, longer and wider than the 1956 Monarch. Sales were
dropping for “the King of the Canadian Road,” as new car purchasers showed a strong preference for
compacts and even smaller European imports. Monarch production was 10,156 units in 1956 and 8,468
units in 1957.
The 1957 Meteor Rideau four-door sedan cost $2,947. It was one of 34,164 Meteors built during the model year.
Domestic passenger car sales dropped sharply to 123,407 units at Ford because of a deep business recession.
Introduced on September 11, 1957 at the 618 FordEdsel dealerships, the1958 Edsel was available in
four series and 17 models. The lower-priced Ranger
and Pacer models were built in Oakville, the more
expensive Corsairs and Citations were imported
from the US. Two milestones were reached during
the year when the 250,000th Meteor was built on
July 10 and the 1,000,000th Ford was exported on
July 15.
Sales of British Fords rose 73.1 percent during 1959. The Anglia is just one of 11,230 Fords imported from
Dagenham. European imports hit an all time high, taking 23.8 percent of all domestic sales for the model year.
Total sales of all Ford products were only 91,545 units, a drop of 11.3 percent from 1958. A troubled economy
and a crippling steel strike were blamed for the poor showing.
Ford dealers got the new Falcon and Mercury-Lincoln-Meteor dealers were given the1960 Frontenac. The
Canada-only compact was an immediate hit, selling 9,536 units, or 20.4 percent, in its one and only year on the
market. A 1961 model was readied for production but it was nixed at the last minute in favour of the larger
Mercury Comet.
The compact Econoline was one of more than 100 different Ford, Mercury
and Thames truck models sold by dealers in 1961. A total of 11,690 Ford and
4,940 Mercury haulers was produced domestically in 1961.
Designed to fill the size gap between compact and full-sized cars, Ford introduced a “senior compact” on a 115inch wheelbase for the 1962 season. The Fairlane four-door sedan was one of the 22,332 mid-sized Fords built
in Oakville.
The Canada-only Mercury 400 was an attempt to steal some of Pontiac’s sales.
Unusual for the time, Mercury advertising mentioned its competition, the Pontiac
Laurentian, by name. The inexpensive Big M retailed for $2,764 plus $227.37 in
In 1964, Mercury Comet was offered in eleven models spread over three series,
the 202, the 404 and the Caliente. The best selling Comet was the low-bucks 202
four-door sedan seen here, of which 5,045 were built-accounting for one out of
every four Comets rolling off the line. A total of 20,400 Comets were produced in
Oakville during the model year.
The1965 Ford Mustang was introduced at the World’s Fair on April 17, 1964. The very first one was sold to
an Air Canada pilot in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Mustang was a sales phenomenon. Though it was not built
in this country, president Karl Scott told the press that thanks to AutoPact, Mustang’s engines, drivetrains and
other components were sourced from Windsor. Base price for the pony car was $2,872.
Seldom has there ever been an automobile with the elegance and class of the 1966
Lincoln Continental. The graceful two-door hardtop listed for $7,282, taxes included.
The Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited boasted 805 dealers across the country at the end of the calendar year.
Ford entered the
4x4 pleasure
market in 1966
with the 92-inch
Bronco. In its
second year it
was given seat
belts and a
padded dash as
standard equipment. The
Roadster listed
for $2,886, the
pickup for $2,973
and the wagon
for $3,184. Sales
of Bronco added
to the 97,149
trucks built during
the calendar
Meteor celebrated its 20th anniversary in 1968 with a special Anniversary Edition.
Only 514 of the Lemoyne four-door hardtops were built, each with a sticker price of
The imported Ford Cortina was a popular seller, finding 11,376 buyers in 1969. The
two-door sedan cost $1,899 FOB when delivered in Halifax and $1,945 when delivered in Vancouver.
Built in St. Thomas, Ontario, the company’s second go at the compact market was the Maverick, introduced
for the 1970 season. Production of the Maverick reached 184,474 units in 1969, capturing 17.7 percent of the
national manufacturing pie, outstripping production of all other models in the country.
1971 Ford Torino Squire retailed for $4,055. The
eight-passenger Econoline Club Wagon listed for
$3,915 and the posh LTD Country Squire Wagon
sold for $5,212. All three were popular sellers.
The intermediate Torino returned to production in
Oakville in 1971 after a year’s absence.
1972 Ford Ranchero Squire carried a sticker price of $3,702. It could pull loads of up to 6,000
pounds. A sporty GT version of the “man-sized pickup car” was also available at both Ford and
Mercury dealers.
In its last year on
the domestic market, Ford’s Cortina
made its strongest
showing ever. The
imported Ford
racked up 12,135
sales in calendar
1973. Internal projections for 1974
predicted 15,000
sales but the sudden rise of the
British Pound
Sterling, coupled
with new, domestic
federal safety regulations, ended
Cortina’s long and
Canadian run.
MercuryLincolnMeteor dealers were given
its smallest
Mercury ever
when the subcompact
Bobcat arrived
on showroom
floors for the
1974 season
wearing a
base sticker
price of
Advertised as
“a lot of car for
a little
scratch,” folks
snapped up
11,561 of the
The “precision-sized” Granada was introduced for the 1975 season. The handsome car drew
favourable comparisons to Mercedes-Benz. Of the 302,650 units built in the Wayne, Michigan
plant, 61,353 were exported, many of them to Canada.
The Olympic Edition of the Mercury Bobcat debuted on November 11, 1975. One
added $118 to the base price of $$3,358 for the special model or $278 for an
Olympic Edition with a smartly upgraded vinyl interior.
The 1977 Mercury Marquis was imported. The swanky four-door, pillared hardtop
carried a list price of $6,267. Like all other Ford products, the warranty was
honoured for twelve months or 20,000 kilometres at any of the 761 Ford and
Lincoln-Mercury dealers throughout the country.
Ford enjoyed its fourth best year in history with sales of 212,342 passenger cars in
1978. The all-new Lincoln Mark III was shown off in fine company alongside the
classic 1940 Mark I and the 1956 Mark II.
Ford celebrated its 75th year as a Canadian automaker in 1979. The
Cruising Wagon package added $654.70 to the $5,203 sticker price on
the Pinto wagon. The mod car reflected the decade and the “Me Too”
generation perfectly. Pinto production returned to Canada in September
as a 1980 model and 22,312 were built by year’s end.
The handsome1980 Granada was passed up by consumers; many who opted for imports and
small cars. Honda was the best selling of the lot, followed by Toyota. Assembled in Dartmouth,
Nova Scotia, even Lada sold 9,300 passenger cars. Ford finished the year $50 million in the red.
The company closed the foundry in Windsor and laid off the second shift at the Oakville plant.
With a base price of $6,233, the new Escort wasn’t enough to pull the company
out of the red in 1981. Losses for the year were $98.9 million.
The 1982 Ford
Bronco was little
changed from
last year. Truck
sales dropped to
54,892 units for
the model year
and the company finished
$107.8 million in
the red, for the
second year in a
row. On the
bright side,
Escort took the
honour of being
the best selling
car in the country in 1982.
The downsized 1983 Mercury Marquis used Ford’s 2.3-litre engine as standard equipment but offered
the snappy 3.8-litre V6 for an extra $369.80. Air conditioning added $1,064 to the sticker price and a
block heater cost $24.90. The company spent $66.4 million to upgrade plants during the year.
The first Ford 1984 Tempo rolled out the doors of the St. Thomas, Ontario plant in May of
1983. With a starting price of $7,782, it promptly rocketed to the top of the list as the most
popular vehicle on the road. The Tempo GXL Diesel Sports Coupe cost a cool $9,988.
The St. Thomas plant became the sole source worldwide for the Crown Victoria in 1985. The fullsized Ford carried a base price of $13,581. It turned out to be Ford’s best year in a long time as
total domestic car and truck sales reached 308,503 units.
The Ford XT Lariat Super Cab was just one of the 125,260 trucks sold in
1986. The F-Series took top honours as the best selling trucks in the country
and Tempo was the most popular selling car in the country, again.
The 1987
Skorpio was
an upscale
import. A total
of 834 of the
posh units
sold during
the calendar
year. Tempo
was the most
popular passenger car
and the
trucks the
best selling
Dealers sold
193,834 new
cars during
the year, an
increase of
three percent.
Built in St. Thomas, the Crown Victoria was purchased by 8,332 Canadians during the
1988 calendar year. It was one of a record-setting 335,875 units retailed domestically.
Profits soared to $270 million on sales of $15.9 billion in 1988. Part of that profit came from the sale
of the company’s wholly-owned subsidiary in the Republic of South Africa.
Introduced in
January of 1989,
the tiny Festiva
found 5,946 owners
during the calendar
year. The microFord was sold by
both Ford and
Mercury dealers in
the “Basic-Small”
segment of the
market. The
F-Series pickup
was the top selling
vehicle with 60,120
sales and Tempo
was once again the
Number One selling
car in the nation
with 48,975 units
delivered. When the
books closed at the
end of the year, it
was the second
best in Ford’s
eighty-five year history.
Registrations of
the1990 Ford Probe
dropped to 4,406
units compared
8,810 in 1989. The
sporty model was
powered by a 3.0litre, electronically
fuel-injected V6
engine. When some
component subassembly jobs were
shifted to Mexico,
140 workers in St.
Thomas found
themselves out of
work. Substantial
losses by the
Australian and New
Zealand subsidiaries
plunged Ford of
Canada into the red
by $57 million.
The 1991 Mercury Grand Marquis Colony Park Wagon was finished with urethane clearcoat
paint. New car registrations were up to 7,708 units from 6,400 in 1990 and 7,820 units in the
1989 calendar years. The controversial federal Goods & Services Tax took effect on January 1.
Introduction of the GST dampened sales throughout the industry. Ford posted a staggering loss
of $209 million on sales of $4.4 billion.
Folks purchased 7,457 new Sables in 1992. Total domestic Mercury sales were 36,384 units for
the calendar year. While the company lost $413 million on sales of $5 billion, it was noted that the
final figure was a $76 million improvement over the previous year’s finish.
Sales were off slightly for Taurus in1993 as consumers purchased 25,734
units. It was the fifth best selling car in the country, followed by Tempo in sixth
place and Topaz in seventh. Model year sales for passenger cars were
259,649 units. Shown is the Ford Taurus LX wagon.
A captive import, the Ford Aspire sold 3,195 units in 1994. Great hope was pinned
on the new mid-sized Windstar van that began production in Oakville during the
year. Sales were in the red, but ever so slightly. The $35 million loss was much better than the $212 million deficit posted in 1993.
Popular with the
Mounties and police
departments right
across the country,
Taurus regained fifth
spot in the national
sales race in 1995
as 26,619 units were
sold domestically.
Escort jumped from
eighth place to claim
the fourth position,
racking up 26,940
sales. Total sales for
the blue oval were
127,565 units for the
calendar year.
Blue Oval truck sales rose to 188,479 units for the 1996 model year. The Ford Ranger XLT Super Cab
is shown. Daytime Running Lights became the latest mandatory safety feature on all domestically sold
automobiles and trucks by decree of the federal Ministry of Transport.
Dealers delivered 4,372 Lincoln Mark VIIIs during the 1997 model year. The suggested retail price for Oakville’s corporate flagship was $53,695. The LSC sold for
The1998 Ford
Escort ZX2
retailed for
$15,595 in base
form. With bolton wheel covers,
steering wheel
and body-side
mouldings, air
dual power mirrors, front and
rear carpet mats
and remote
driver’s door
entry with panic
alarm and trunk
release, the
price rose to
The1999 Mercury Cougar two-door
coupe with the V6, 2.5-litre, 24valve Duratec engine listed for
$21,895. There were 568 dealers
across the country.
The 2000
Ford Focus
launched on
October 1st,
snapped up
2,179 of the
More” cars
in its first
thirty days
on the market. Focus
earned the
Car of the
Year award
from the
of Canada.
With a suggested retail price
of $66,415, the 2001 Lincoln
Navigator was Oakville¹s
entry into the ultra-luxurious
segment of the SUV market.
The Mustang carried a base price of $27,795. Total domestic sales rose 2.8 percent over 2001.
Records showed that 258,807 Ford and Lincoln units were delivered during the 2002 calendar year.
Ford’s fabulous five Centennial Edition vehicles went on display
at the Toronto International Auto Show on February 13, 2003.
The Ford
Company of
entered its
second century with
state-of-theart products
like this 2004
A huge debt of gratitude is owed to Sandy Notarianni, who was Historical Consultant and Archivist at the Ford
Motor Company of Canada, Limited for many years. Her vast knowledge and gracious assistance as I searched
Ford’s archives for this book were invaluable. I would like to thank Jan and Murray McEwan at Old Autos for taking a chance on a completely unknown writer ten years ago. I wish to thank automotive historian Patrick Foster,
who challenged me to start writing in the first place. Then I must thank editors Pat Ertel at Vintage Truck, Chad and
Katie Elmore at Belt Pulley, Merry Dudley at Toy Cars & Models and Keith Mathiowetz and Angelo Van Bogart at Old
Cars for constantly stretching my limits as an automotive historian.
There are friends and family to thank, the good folks who believe that my next book is even better than the last.
Thanks to Peter Annan, Jay Banks and Shaun Gereghty, Howard Belsky and Glenn Burt, Dale Campbell, Mary
Ann and Kathy Cuderman, Kevin Demars and Mel Caza and family, Reid and Margaret Coolen, Alice D’Odean,
Lois Graham, Nicole Green, Randy Green, Lee and Michelle Hastings, Dave and Clare Ivany, Anne Jared, Don
and Sara Kochersperger, Paul Lehman, Gerry and Mark Lehman, Myke and Penny Leonard, Nathalie Maillet,
Margaret Marshall, Elizabeth Miller, Wayne and Becky Mays, Gordon Mays, Mike McMullin, Pearl Nolan and
Selena Kersey and family, Dorothy Jean Perkins, the Plenderleith family, Beverly Reeves, Vince Ruffolo, Andrès
Runnels and family, Rob Saunders, Carole Shepard, Craig Shoemaker, Rob Tymec, Darryl Swaine and Jenny O,
Dick and Lely Tucker, Bob Vock.
Finally a gros merci to François Pigeon who is a dear friend and the very best mechanic in the world and acted
admirably as a grief counsellor when I laid my cherished Rambler to rest!
James C. Mays
Ford of Canada 1904-2004
An Old Autos Pictorial Roll Call
James C. Mays
Syam Publishing
Windsor, Ontario N9C 1B4
Other automotive books by James C. Mays--
Rescued & Restored: Canadians and their Collectable Cars
Rambler Canada: The Little Company that Could
The American Motors Century
Ford and Canada: 100 Years Together
From Kenosha to the World: The Rambler, Jeffery and Nash Truck Story
The Savvy Guide to Buying Collector Cars at Auction