Meteor (car)

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Meteor Niagara

Meteor was a brand of automobiles offered by Ford in Canada from 1949 to 1976. The brand was retired for the 1962 and 1963 model years, when the name was used for the mid-size Mercury Meteor. It succeeded the Mercury 114, a Canadian-market Mercury based on the Ford, the "114" name being taken from the car's wheelbase.

It complemented the Mercury, and gave Canadian Mercury-Lincoln dealers a car to sell in the low-price market, against Ford, Chevrolet, and Plymouth. Similarly, Canadian Ford dealers offered the Monarch, a car based on the Mercury. This was due to the dealer structure in Canada, where smaller communities might have only a single dealer who was expected to carry a full line of models in both the low and mid price classes. From 1949-59, Meteor ran fourth in overall sales, behind Chevrolet, Pontiac and Ford.

The initial 1949 Meteor was introduced on June 25, 1948. It used a Ford body with a Mercury grille and was powered by a 100 bhp, 239 CID V8. Meteor, as well as the Canadian Ford, kept the flathead V8 engine through 1954, and introduced the new OHV V8 for the 1955 model year. The following year Ford of Canada introduced a 6-cylinder engine for Canadian Ford and Meteor cars. The Meteor continued to use the Ford body with unique items such as grilles, taillights and moldings until its demise after the 1961 model year.

Due to dealer pressure, Ford released a low-priced "Mercury 400" in 1963 that stood in the price bracket formerly occupied by the Meteor. When the intermediate Mercury Meteor was dropped after 1963, Ford of Canada relaunched Meteor as a standalone make in 1964, and dropped Mercury's Monterey series in Canada. The 1964 Meteor looked nearly identical to the 1964 Mercury, save for its Ford dashboard and interior. For 1965, the full range of model names that had existed in 1961 returned: Rideau, Rideau 500 and Montcalm. The Montego was added as a top range model for 1967, but when that name was selected for use by Mercury in the U.S. beginning in 1968, it was renamed LeMoyne, and continued through 1970. A sport themed Montcalm S-33 model was available from 1966-70.

Although Meteor was still considered as a separate marque through 1976, after 1968 the cars also carried Mercury badging and were advertised as the "Mercury Meteor". After 1976, the Rideau 500 and Montcalm names as well as the unique trim items were dropped. The Meteor name was then used on a lower priced variant of the Mercury Marquis, called the Mercury Marquis Meteor, built until 1981.