The Ed Danylchuk collection’s 1951 Monarch convertible is one of just four remaining on the road today. Only 20 were delivered to showroom floors across Canada.
Beginning in 1946, the Ford Motor Company of Canada took on a new dealer marketing system, introducing a new truck line and two additional models. With the Canadian population making up only 10 per cent of that in the U.S. and Canadian wages roughly 20 per cent less, our economy dictated a need for more low- and medium-priced automobiles.
Mercury-Lincoln dealers would also sell a new line of Mercury trucks and a lower-priced Mercury 114 model based on the Ford. Ford dealers would sell Fords and Ford trucks along with a new Mercury-based Monarch. In smaller markets without both a Ford and Mercury dealer, this allowed all to carry a low and mid-priced vehicle to compete with offerings from General Motors and Chrysler.
In 1949, Ford introduced an entire new line of vehicles. The Mercury 114 was replaced with the new Meteor. Based on the Ford, it carried several Mercury styling cues to set it apart. Ford dealers would continue to market the Monarch on its new platform with updated styling. Despite the similarities, to their Ford and Mercury counterparts, both the Meteor and the Monarch were considered individual models.
In 1951, styling was updated with new grille, side trim, extended rear fenders featuring Lincoln tail-lamps, and added interior appointments. Available as a four-door sport sedan, two-door club coupe and convertible, Monarch sales totalled 7,682 for the year. While there were no Monarch convertibles in 1949, the droptop would emerge in ’50 on its new body style, and ’51 would be its “swan song” year.
This 1951 Monarch convertible is part of the Ed Danylchuk collection. Fully restored in 1995, it’s finished in Fez Red, the only colour available for the Monarch convertible. It was by far the most desired, but rarest model produced. A base price of $3,604 before adding optional equipment made it the costliest Monarch that year. A large and opulent ride, the Monarch was 10 centimetres wider, 25 cm longer and rode on a 10 cm longer wheelbase than its Ford sibling.
Interior appointments were upscale, with the generous use of chrome-plated dash trim. Upholstery for the convertible was red and black leather, with a black cloth top. Power-operated windows, power top and power seat were standard on the convertible model. Options include Hi-Fidelity pushbutton AM radio, backup lamps, whitewall tires and fender skirts.
Power for the regal convertible comes from the classic 255-cubic-inch flathead V-8. Introduced in 1949 for the Mercury/Monarch line, the increased four-inch stroke provided additional torque to propel the heavier cars. With a 6.8:1 compression ratio and Holley two-barrel carburetor, it produces 112 horsepower at 3,600 r.p.m., which was quite respectable for the time.
While a three-speed manual transmission was standard equipment, buyers could opt for the new Merc-O-Matic three-speed automatic transmission, or the three-speed manual overdrive transmission we find the original owner chose for this Monarch.
While there were 3,812 Mercury convertibles sold in 1951, the Canadian Monarch convertibles pale in comparison.
With production estimated around 20 units, we find Danylchuk’s Monarch convertible is one of only four that still exist today. Unique to the Canadian market, Monarch outsold Mercury in several years. Produced until 1957, the Monarch took a breather in 1958, bowing to the introduction of the 1958 Edsel line.
With poor sales for the Edsel, Ford of Canada reintroduced the Monarch in 1959 and the marque continued in the Canadian market until 1961.
The Monarch name would resurface on the 1975-1980 Granada/Monarch platform as a replacement for the Ford Maverick and Mercury Comet. Marketed throughout North America, it lacks the Canadian identity and history of the earlier Monarch line.
Coming up this Sunday, the Manitoba Classic & Antique Auto Club presents its 22nd Annual Red River Valley swap meet. It takes place at Red River Exhibition Park, located at 3977 Portage Ave., with gates opening at 8 a.m. Admission is $5 per person, with children under 12 admitted free when accompanied by an adult. For vendor and car corral space rentals, contact Gord at 204-222-2298 or Mort at 204-889-9970. Donations in support of Winnipeg Harvest are gladly accepted.
Larry D’Argis / Winnipeg Free Press
The interior of the 1951 Monarch convertible had power windows, a power top and a power seat as standard features.