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View Full Version : 1954 Meteor Ambulance in Kamloops BC


Robert Davidson
04-17-2012, 07:21 PM
Interesting Ford ambulance, seems in good shape. looks like a sedan/delivery style conversion but the photos make it look pretty long... any BC PCS members out there know the car or its story??

http://www.autoramavehiclesales.com/1954%20Meteor%20Ambulance.htm

Mike Zaccaria
04-17-2012, 08:53 PM
Very nice looking, How much would it cost to get it back to the states?

Paul Steinberg
04-17-2012, 09:07 PM
That is Meteor as in Canadian Ford, not to be confused with the Meteor body company of Piqua Ohio. I don't know what the laws of Canada are about exporting historical items, however, if it were a US made Ford that had been sent to Canada, then it could come back to the US with very little difficulty, since that is where it would have originated. If there is no prohibition, then it is a matter of paying for it, getting it licensed, and driving it across the border. Most antiques that are imported to the US can come in duty free, however, it might be best to check with US Customs first.

John Royark JR
04-17-2012, 09:51 PM
I like how simple the dash instruments are. None of that cluttered mess that modern cars have.

Bill Marcy
04-17-2012, 11:10 PM
I like the whole car, it is really sharp!

Bill Leverett
04-17-2012, 11:31 PM
I'll give them a call tomorrow. Haven't heard of this car before at all.

The first that would have to go is the electronic siren speaker.

Wayne Krakowski
04-17-2012, 11:46 PM
In the bible, the American funeral cars& ambulances Is this car on page 261 upper right..???

Bill Marcy
04-18-2012, 12:08 AM
I spoke with Dennis, the car dealer. He is real nice to talk to, seems like a real gentleman. He said he is selling it for his friend. Dennis told me that the ambulance served Vancouver Island, BC, if I remember correctly. He said the car is in nice condition.

It sure would be a unique ambulance for somebody. Best of all, it fits in a regular size garage!

John ED Renstrom
04-18-2012, 12:33 AM
that all beging said does it look like a Little conversion?

Bill Leverett
04-18-2012, 04:16 AM
...now I'm even more interested!

Wonder if it was mill or mine ambulance given that there is no front passenger seat. Looks to be a flip up attendant seat though behind the driver's seat.

Bill Leverett
04-18-2012, 01:56 PM
I spoke with dealer this morning. As Bill Marcy stated, the dealer is selling this for a friend of his.

He's going to email the friend for some more information. The dealer (Dennis) wasn't able to find a build plate on the vehicle so the maker is still unknown. He's fairly certain that this is a Canadian car not brought in from the US. He's also fairly certain that the vehicle is from Vancouver Island but hasn't been able to pin down exactly where. I can do some digging and see what I find.

It looks alot like the ambulances in Peter Adsten's book EMS Classics, page 113 (except this one has tunnel lights) showing Windsor Ambulance Service. Dean W...who built those?

Price...looking between 15 - 20 thousand but open to offers. Might be a bit steep given the current economy and compared to other vehicles of this era.

I'll post more when I get more information. I've also asked the dealer to send me more pictures to post here.

Keith Snyder
04-18-2012, 03:02 PM
This interesting Meteor was created by converting a sedan deliveru and may well have been the work of John Little. Note the Chrysler Corp. trunk-mounted center brake light mounted on the roof at the back. Neat idea.

Paul Steinberg
04-18-2012, 03:11 PM
This interesting Meteor was created by converting a sedan deliveru and may well have been the work of John Little. Note the Chrysler Corp. trunk-mounted center brake light mounted on the roof at the back. Neat idea.

I am wondering if the high mount brake light might have been a recent addition to the vehicle. I have a hard time believing that it would have been done that way 50 plus years ago.

Keith Snyder
04-18-2012, 05:47 PM
I'd guess that that light was placed there by the builder/converter, I'm sure that these assemblies would have been available over the counter in any local Chrysler, Dodge, DeSoto or Plymouth dealership's parts department. It appears to be from a 1946-1948 Dodge or DeSoto and, as a result, would have been a six or eight year old replacement part in when the Meteor was built in or around 1954. Just my opinion based on experience.

Steve Lichtman
04-18-2012, 09:33 PM
I am wondering if the high mount brake light might have been a recent addition to the vehicle. I have a hard time believing that it would have been done that way 50 plus years ago.I thought that, too, but then I thought, maybe it flashes? Rather than a brake light, could it be a rear warning light?

Robert Davidson
04-18-2012, 10:37 PM
pic of a 53 Ford ambulance from around here... very different rear windows and station wagon style doors instead of barn door type

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7212/7092129067_051698eb50.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/7270613@N06/7092129067/)
1953 Ford Exclusive ambulance (http://www.flickr.com/photos/7270613@N06/7092129067/) by burntbob01 (http://www.flickr.com/people/7270613@N06/), on Flickr

Bill Marcy
04-18-2012, 11:04 PM
pic of a 53 Ford ambulance from around here... very different rear windows and station wagon style doors instead of barn door type

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7212/7092129067_051698eb50.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/7270613@N06/7092129067/)
1953 Ford Exclusive ambulance (http://www.flickr.com/photos/7270613@N06/7092129067/) by burntbob01 (http://www.flickr.com/people/7270613@N06/), on Flickr

That looks more along the lines of an ACC Amblewagon, doesn't it?

John ED Renstrom
04-19-2012, 12:04 AM
last one pictures is a 2 door station wagon. the first is a sedan delivery different configuration of the same body. interesting enough you could get the one piece loading door on the wagon also by requesting it.

Tim Prieur
04-19-2012, 12:45 PM
I spoke with dealer this morning. As Bill Marcy stated, the dealer is selling this for a friend of his.

He's going to email the friend for some more information. The dealer (Dennis) wasn't able to find a build plate on the vehicle so the maker is still unknown. He's fairly certain that this is a Canadian car not brought in from the US. He's also fairly certain that the vehicle is from Vancouver Island but hasn't been able to pin down exactly where. I can do some digging and see what I find.

It looks alot like the ambulances in Peter Adsten's book EMS Classics, page 113 (except this one has tunnel lights) showing Windsor Ambulance Service. Dean W...who built those?

Price...looking between 15 - 20 thousand but open to offers. Might be a bit steep given the current economy and compared to other vehicles of this era.

I'll post more when I get more information. I've also asked the dealer to send me more pictures to post here.


Bill: The good people of Mill Bay should be served by her.

Bill Leverett
04-19-2012, 03:09 PM
The people in Mill Bay are curently well served by my Lifeliner (or at least in my mind they are).

The owner of the Meteor has been emailed by the dealer. We'll see what comes from that for more detail.

Don Wasley
04-20-2012, 12:54 AM
Not to beat a dead horse but Paul is correct about the model being a Meteor in the Canadian Ford lineup for that year as opposed to a US model Comet in the early sixties for the US Ford lineup......

Don Wasley
04-20-2012, 12:58 AM
Maybe Ford had Astronomy in the designer/engineers' heads for these names! Probably appealed to the public at that time since there were a lot of 'B' Sci-Fi movies going around the theaters in those days....

Paul Steinberg
04-20-2012, 01:19 AM
Not to beat a dead horse but Paul is correct about the model being a Meteor in the Canadian Ford lineup for that year as opposed to a US model Comet in the early sixties for the US Ford lineup......

The Meteor was the full sized vehicle for Ford of Canada, and was almost identical to the US built Fords of the time. The only noticeable difference is the front grille and bumper.
Ford introduced the Comet line of cars in 1960, and they were the downsized car line for Mercury. In 1959 Comet Coach had sold its "Comet" trade name rights to the Lincoln-Mercury division of Ford Motor Company for use on Mercury's version of the Ford Falcon.
Comet Coach Company was based in Memphis Tennessee at the time, and changed their name to Cotner Bevington Company. Cotner Bevington is more commonly known as C/B.

Mike McDonald
04-20-2012, 08:55 AM
I believe Dodge Pickups and Trucks were called "FARGOS" manufactured in Canada. Were there other well known makes with Canadian model names in that same era? THX-MM

Keith Snyder
04-20-2012, 12:13 PM
Chrysler Canada marketed both Dodge and Fargo trucks. Dodge and Chrysler dealers sold the Dodge truck while Plymouth and DeSoto dealers retailed Fargo trucks. Leter, after the demise of DeSoto, Fargos were sold along side Dodge trucks at most Chrysler Canada dealerships. In Canada, there were also Mercury trucks sold by Mercury and Meteor dealers. Ford dealers in Canada sold Ford cars and trucks along with Monarch cars. The 1952-1954 Meteor pasenger cars featured distinctive grilles and exterior trim along with Mercury type dashboards. Canadian Meteors were based on Fords from 1949 through the early sixties. With the death of the Monarch, Meteors became a distinct Canadian version of the U.S. Mercury. Monarch automobiles were variants of the American Mercury and were sold in Canada from 1946 through 1957 and 1959 though 1961. Meteors were first introduced to Canadian buyers in 1949 and were produced into the late seventies.

John ED Renstrom
04-20-2012, 12:25 PM
just one more way to divide the divisions for tax proposes or sales . the neat thing is the mix and match of parts from one line to the other. just one more you have to have lived threw it things to keep them straight. it does show you whats in a name though.

Walt McCall
04-20-2012, 01:53 PM
This is a fairly rare car -- it's a Meteor, made by Ford of Canada excluisively for the Canadian market from 1949 into the 1960s -- not to be confused with Meteor of Piqua, Ohio.

It's a low-budget ambulance conversion of the Meteor equivalent to the Ford Courier sedan delivery. Hard to tell who did the conversion, it's fairly simple. Yes, could be a John Little job. - Walt

Mike Stevens
04-20-2012, 03:19 PM
Okay the question has to be asked. If this is a 1954 model why does it have a flathead engine? Ford used the flathead engine from 1932 to 1953. At least here in the US. Did they continue use of this engine in other countries? All the info I have ever seen says 1932-1953 for this engine. The 1954 models came out with the then new overhead valve engines.
I will bow to those more experienced with Canadian cars than I am.
Mike

Rick Franklin
04-20-2012, 04:47 PM
Okay the question has to be asked. If this is a 1954 model why does it have a flathead engine? Ford used the flathead engine from 1932 to 1953. At least here in the US. Did they continue use of this engine in other countries? All the info I have ever seen says 1932-1953 for this engine. The 1954 models came out with the then new overhead valve engines.
I will bow to those more experienced with Canadian cars than I am.
Mike

Mike, I have a friend here in Washington with a 54 Meteor coupe and his also has the flathead. Its my understanding that Ford of Canada carried it over past 53.

Terry Lange
04-20-2012, 07:35 PM
I believe Dodge Pickups and Trucks were called "FARGOS" manufactured in Canada. Were there other well known makes with Canadian model names in that same era? THX-MM

Frontenacs were marketed in Canada in 1960 by Lincoln-Mercury dealerships. They were basically a Ford Falcon with a modified grille.

Don Wasley
04-20-2012, 09:53 PM
Another Canadian model in the Pontiac line was called a Parisienne. It was the Canadian equivalent to the Bonneville here in the US. The moniker was used here in the US beginning in 1985 I think, to replace the Bonneville which had become a smaller car on GM's H-body platform the next year (think mid-80's Buick LeSabre, Oldsmobile 98, FWD cars.) Funeral coaches were built on this platform at that time since there really was NO full-size car available until 1991 with the Chevrolet Caprice (Police unit with the B9C Police package), Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser and Buick Roadmaster (RWD cars)......

Attila Bethlenfalvy
04-20-2012, 10:17 PM
Another random thought~

Repatriating a US-made vintage vehicle there is no import tariff (unless changed in last couple years). Would no import tariff extend to a Canadian-licensed American brand if crossing border?

Paul Steinberg
04-21-2012, 12:16 AM
Another random thought~

Repatriating a US-made vintage vehicle there is no import tariff (unless changed in last couple years). Would no import tariff extend to a Canadian-licensed American brand if crossing border?

Prior to about 1964, there was a steep tariff on the movement of cars between the US and Canada, going both ways. Then, under the push of the UAW, US and Canada signed a pact where cars built in Canada could come into the US and US cars could go to Canada duty free. Canada then started shipping all the downsized cars to the US, but they continued to build the larger cars in Canada also. It was a very one sided deal for Canada. Only the highest priced cars such as the big Buick's, Oldsmobile's, and Cadillacs were not built in Canada, so they imported them. Problem was that most Canadians didn't buy them because of the costs, and there was a dollar limit on the amount of money that a business could spend on a car, so business's didn't buy them, except for possibly the funeral industry. My college roommate was from Montreal, and we had this discussion many times. Back then, the Canadian dollar was worth about 60% of the US dollar, and that also made trading difficult. I have been told that today, Canada is our largest trading partner.

John Royark JR
04-21-2012, 12:24 AM
Another Canadian model in the Pontiac line was called a Parisienne. It was the Canadian equivalent to the Bonneville here in the US. The moniker was used here in the US beginning in 1985 I think, to replace the Bonneville which had become a smaller car on GM's H-body platform the next year (think mid-80's Buick LeSabre, Oldsmobile 98, FWD cars.) Funeral coaches were built on this platform at that time since there really was NO full-size car available until 1991 with the Chevrolet Caprice (Police unit with the B9C Police package), Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser and Buick Roadmaster (RWD cars)......

Eureka built hearses on the Parisienne in 1985 and 86 only. At the end of the 86 model year the Parisiennne was discontinued, so Eureka started building them on the Chevy Caprice chassis in 87, not 91. Right off hand I do not remember when they stopped using the full size Olds chassis, but you are right they also built on the FWD Olds, Cadillac, and Buick, alongside the full size RWD models as long as they were avalible.

Don Wasley
04-21-2012, 12:46 PM
Eureka built hearses on the Parisienne in 1985 and 86 only. At the end of the 86 model year the Parisiennne was discontinued, so Eureka started building them on the Chevy Caprice chassis in 87, not 91. Right off hand I do not remember when they stopped using the full size Olds chassis, but you are right they also built on the FWD Olds, Cadillac, and Buick, alongside the full size RWD models as long as they were avalible.

John,
Even with all those years in the automotive parts business, sometimes memory DOESN'T SERVE correctly! I stand corrected.....:071:

John Royark JR
04-21-2012, 01:50 PM
John,
Even with all those years in the automotive parts business, sometimes memory DOESN'T SERVE correctly! I stand corrected.....:071:

No biggie, I know what you mean I forget things a lot. I own a 85 Eureka on the Pontiac Parisienne chassis so it made it easy to remember LOL. They did not build many on this chassis, 38 in 1985 and 71 in 1986.
Back to the Canadian car subject, does anyone know why they had different brand names or model for basically the same car? For instance the Parisienne and Bonneville are the same, and the Meteor we were originally discussing is the same as a Ford with minor alterations.

Jacob M. Fournier
04-22-2012, 12:03 AM
Prior to about 1964, there was a steep tariff on the movement of cars between the US and Canada, going both ways.

Several years ago, on the way home from work, I stopped at a rest area, and parked behind a truck with two Tucker Sno-Cats on it. One of them was approximately mid-50s vintage, and was originally built with an open operator's compartment. Someone had added a plywood cab to it. I struck up a conversation with the truck driver, who had been a Sno-Cat dealer for many years. I asked who would want a vehicle designed for winter use only that didn't have a full cab (with heat). He told me that they used to sell a lot of open cabbed Sno-Cats in Canada, because without a cab, they were not considered a "complete" vehicle, and not subject to the tariff. Cabs were added after they crossed the border.

John ED Renstrom
04-22-2012, 01:17 PM
you got to play what ever game they have going don't you

Dave Hopping
04-22-2012, 02:09 PM
No biggie, I know what you mean I forget things a lot. I own a 85 Eureka on the Pontiac Parisienne chassis so it made it easy to remember LOL. They did not build many on this chassis, 38 in 1985 and 71 in 1986.
Back to the Canadian car subject, does anyone know why they had different brand names or model for basically the same car? For instance the Parisienne and Bonneville are the same, and the Meteor we were originally discussing is the same as a Ford with minor alterations.

I lived in Toronto for a couple of years in the early '60s,and thought then that folks wanted the Meteor and Monarch badging to show they were buying Canadian.I also remember seeing a Mercury-branded Ford truck.

Kerry Lange
04-22-2012, 05:04 PM
No biggie, I know what you mean I forget things a lot. I own a 85 Eureka on the Pontiac Parisienne chassis so it made it easy to remember LOL. They did not build many on this chassis, 38 in 1985 and 71 in 1986.
Back to the Canadian car subject, does anyone know why they had different brand names or model for basically the same car? For instance the Parisienne and Bonneville are the same, and the Meteor we were originally discussing is the same as a Ford with minor alterations.

John, there was a fair amount of difference from the Canadian Pontiac Pariesienne and the U.S. Bonneville. Although they may have looked similar from a distance, the wheelbase, length and even width of the American Pontiacs was greater. The interiors were a little more luxurious as well. The Canadian Pontiacs were based on a Chevrolet chassis and also had the Chevrolet engines. Why they did this, I have no idea.

Most of the Canadian only models were in addition to their U.S. counterparts. We had the Ford Falcon as well as the Canadian badged Frontenac, the Mercury as well as the Canadian Monarch, the Chevy Malibu as well as the Pontiac Beaumont, the Chevy Nova as well as the Pontiac Acadian. There's probably a lot more that I'm not remembering. All of these cars were similar except for grille, tail light and trim differences.

Dodge, in '63 and '64 had the full sized Custom 880, which we never saw in Canada. We had the smaller Polara models instead.