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Montana Barn Find: 1951 Mercury M-1

We have seen a fair amount of Mercury pickups here at One Barn Finds Tower over the last few years. It almost gives a person the impression that there are a lot of them out there for sale but they’re still rare to see. An unknown reader sent in the tip for this 1951 Mercury M1 short bed pickup and we couldn’t resist looking at another one. This rugged truck can be found here on eBay in Sweet Grass, Montana where a few others have been located. The current bid price is just over $4,900.

The seller has had some nice old trucks for sale in the past, I don’t know where they’re finding these things! They say that this is an unrestored barn find and it sure has an unusual look with the black mostly being in decent shape and the other color/red is mostly gone.

The 1951 and 1952, Mercury pickups in Canada followed Ford’s naming convention, so a Ford F-1 was known as a Mercury M-1 (half-ton) in Canada. There’s always a question whether to restore it or fix the mechanicals and drive it as it looks now. They don’t show the floor of the bed but it’s rotted and will need to be replaced and there are a few other small areas that’ll need help with that new welder that you got last fall and haven’t even tried out yet.

Of course, you’d want to put some seats in it if you were going to fix it and drive it as it looks now. Other than a few trim pieces a person should be able to track down most parts from Ford books. The interior, at least the bones of it, look great to me. The floors look surprisingly solid other than heavy surface rust. Hopefully they can be treated to keep them from getting thin, or thinner.

Mercury pickups of this vintage in Canada benefited from having Ford’s 239 flathead V8. Unfortunately, this one is seized. D’oh! So there’s that, and I would sure want a flathead V8 in this pickup whether I restored it or drove it all crusty and rusty as it looks now. In the time that I wrote this the price has moved up $600. How much would you pay for this Mercury M-1?


  1. Avatar photo geomechs Member

    I’ve said this many times before but being a border brat, I used to see a lot of Mercury trucks in Montana. The nearest Ford-Mercury/Chrysler-Dodge-Plymouth-Fargo/Chevy-Olds-Pontiac-Buick-GMC/International/John Deere/Case/Minneapolis dealer was only 10 miles north into Canada and a lot of Northern Montana farms and businesses even did their banking there. They could have moved the border 40 miles north of where it is and you wouldn’t find anything different; the vast majority of the people there came from (unless you were of Hungarian origins) places like Minnesota, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Wisconsin and, of course, Montana. Add a couple of Texans and a smattering of folks from ID and UT and you’ve got a Little America–on the CDN side. People farmed on both sides, ranched on both sides, ran businesses on both sides, and worked at regular jobs on both sides. More than one couple worked as Customs officers in both stations.

    Anyway, this truck: Mercury trucks always had an edge over Fords. Pickups came std with deluxe cabs, with heaters, dual wipers, dual sun visors, cigarette lighters, ash trays, bright front bumper, black fenders and the 255 MERCURY engine. If you didn’t want all that stuff then you could ‘delete option’ it away. I saw a lot of Mercury trucks in my day and I can’t recall one time when I saw anything other than a 255 under the hood. I remember that well because, at a glance, the Ford engines were red (some CDN engines were seasick green) and the Mercury engines were off-white. The Mercury dealer in Canada, a good KS transplant, loved to lord his Merc trucks over the Ford dealer down the street because he could sell you a pickup with a 255 and the Ford dealer couldn’t, unless you bought an F4 or larger. Or simply beat the system and dropped one in. So for this truck, I would look closely at the casting numbers on the heads. You will likely see a ‘CM, 8CM or a CM1’ on them. I like the truck and would love to have it at my place. However I promised my wife that I was going to downsize so if I don’t want to be sleeping in said truck, I’d better leave it alone…

    Like 17
  2. Avatar photo TimM

    Another great find in the mist of the upper Midwest!! Great truck love the grill on these!! I think a lot of farmers back in the day purchase in Canada and drove these across!!

    Like 2
  3. Avatar photo Gaspumpchas

    Another beauty from sweet Grass…Keep em coming..I’ll take one of each. This one with the 255 flatmotor would be the cats meow! Good luck to the new owner!!

    Like 2
  4. Avatar photo Del

    Montana man stikes again.

    These trucks were crap to start with and age has not helped

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Jim King

      Seriously Del?…if everything is crap why do you look at the posts?

      Like 2
  5. Avatar photo Rube Goldberg Member

    It never ceases to amaze me, how no matter what the vehicle, someone thinks they are junk. I don’t mean to single you out, Del, but how can you say these were crap? This was the staple of the N. American farm. They soldiered on, usually unmaintained, through the roughest environment, and for many, this was the only car they had. Babies were probably born in these. Most country kids learned to drive on one of these. They may have had some shortcomings by today’s standards, but in the early 50’s, this was as good as it got, and many were lucky to have one.

    Like 9
  6. Avatar photo Sam61

    Clues abound, hmmm…red/black…hmmm…bullet holes in the windshield…hmmm…Canadian Mercury PU… Aha, probably the work truck owned by Sergeant Preston of the RCMP.

    Like 1
  7. Avatar photo KSwheatfarmer

    geomechs, enjoyed your post on this pickup, reading about life on the border for farmers and the Mercury brand as well.I visited with a young man at a local car show recently who was displaying a early 60 s Mercury pickup and asked him how he acquired it. He told me he brought it home from Canada at the end of a harvest run with a custom cutter, the only one Iv’e ever seen.

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo geomechs Member

      There’s a lot of Merc trucks made it down from Canada. When my brother was living in Logandale, NV, his neighbor had a ‘46 Mercury and it apparently came in from the San Joaquin Valley. But they pop up in some of the strangest places. There’s a Texas Roadhouse just off the I-15 south of Salt Lake City. They’ve got a huge mural on the wall of a ‘48-‘50 Ford truck with a flatbed. Closer examination shows only (4) grill bars, and the park lights are out on the fenders. I laughed when I saw it. I told the waiter that the truck was a Mercury. It didn’t have the impact I expected because the guy hardly knew what a truck was let alone a Ford or Mercury. But it sure got the attention of some of the other people in there.

      Like 2
  8. Avatar photo Lion

    I have an original 1952 Ford F1 that is in worse shape bodywise than this Merc. I have owned it since 1977 and have put many miles on it. Don’t know the milage as it is on its 3rd speedometer, had regular maintenance, engine rebuild years ago, and newer rear-end so it can keep up on the highway. Del, lets see how long your truck lasts.

    Like 1
  9. Avatar photo Jeff

    Oh no the Montana brothers stole another one of our trucks!!!!! These brothers seem to be awesome at their job but sad seeing them going south of the border, sure wish I had the funds to rescue one. Might be time to sell my model A or Acadian for a rescue

    Like 0
  10. Avatar photo Lion

    Wow, Jeff. You have an Acadian. We bought a new Chevette in 1983 and it was the best little bomb I ever had. Just sold it last year before we moved out of Sask.

    Like 1
  11. Avatar photo Proudfoot

    This was mine as well as the m250 he had that was posted here. Mercury’s can be found in clumps, depending on where the dealerships were located. Have a few more in the works.

    Like 1

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