One Of 16 Remaining! Not A Falcon But A Frontenac!

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At first glance, you might think this is a plain first generation Ford Falcon–but now look a little closer, especially at the front grille. Different, huh? Yes, this is a one-year only (1960) Ford Frontenac, only sold in Canada. This particular one has found its way across the border into Snohomish, Washington and is for sale here on eBay with an opening bid of only $1,000 and no reserve. And to top it off, an online magazine says there are only 16 of these left anywhere!

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From the side view you can see some other trim differences between the Frontenac and the Falcon. How did this car come about, you may ask? Well, I’ll give you the short story. Mercury dealers north of the border needed a compact to sell, and the Falcon was being introduced. Change some trim, put some maple leaf badges on it, and you have a Frontenac. By the way, Louis de Buade, Comte de Frontenac et de Palluau was a late 17th century governor of New France. Why someone decided to name a car after him, I don’t know.

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If you look closely, you can see a maple leaf in that center emblem. 9,536 Frontenacs were built in 1960 before the model was replaced by the Comet in 1961. This particular car appears to be very solid with little to no rust and reasonably shiny chrome and trim. I’m guessing some of that Frontenac only trim would be darned hard to come by. By the way, according to this article, the one I raced against in the 24 Hours of LeMons was one of only 16 left; I have no idea if that’s true or not, but hey, have you ever seen one before?

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Being a seller of few words and pictures means we don’t get an interior shot apart from the nice looking dashboard. I’m guessing it isn’t too great, though. Hopefully it doesn’t differ much from the Falcon interior.

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Photo of ad courtesy Jalopnik.com

Just in case you think I’m making all this up, here’s an ad for the Frontenac. There’s an interesting story floating around, probably apocryphal, that a 1961 Frontenac prototype was produced and was taken to a photo shoot where the folks that had it were informed that it was going to be replaced by the Comet for 1961. Don’t know if it’s true or not, but when you consider a marketing department that came up with “The Eventful Frontenac” as a slogan, it doesn’t completely surprise me that they were out of the loop.

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There are two issues with this car, apart from finding trim or anyone else that knows what it is. One of them is that the engine doesn’t run. I’m guessing it’s more than the taped off air intake keeping it from running. The second is that the front left wheel is locked up; I’m guessing the drum has frozen to the linings. So how about it? Interested in owning 1 of 16 cars left of this short chapter in Canadian automobile history? You certainly can’t argue with the price, can you? Let us know if one of you wins this bid!

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    This is really cool. Always liked Falcons, and this has a little extra zing. I’m surprised the speedo isn’t in km. Anybody? We didn’t see many Canadian cars in Milwaukee as a kid. Being close to Canada, you’d think we would. On the rare sighting, usually a Pontiac, we’d stare at it like it was from outer space. Not sure about the 16 left, but it sure is neat.

    Like 1
    • Dolphin Member

      Back then Canada used the same non-metric system as the US. It was only in the 1970s that Canada switched to metric to be more consistent with most other countries.

      • MathieuB

        It was exaclty in 1978 that Canada switch to the metric.

      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Hi guys. Growing up on the border between the US and Canada I got to see a lot of cars and trucks from both sides. The metric system, as far as I know was adopted in ’76 but the cars didn’t get their speedos switched over till ’78. As far as the Frontenac is concerned, I saw one in my life and that was up in the town of Waterton which is part of Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. I didn’t have a clue what it was and I remember a couple of other guys looking at the car and debating on where it came from. I understood then that it was only for sale in the eastern part of Canada. What did I know? I never saw one since till now, and this one’s in–Washington? Interesting car…

    • John Deebank

      Howard, in 1960 we were still imperial, metric came in much later. So MPH was the norm then.

    • Jen dany

      More then 16 left… My dad has one in the yard that’s on the project list

  2. Fred W.

    Only 16 left is not likely. I Googled “Falcon Frontenac” and looked at the image search results. Looking only at the modern images, you can easily count way more than 16. And I’m sure not every one in existence is pictured on the ‘net.

    Like 1
  3. Dolphin Member

    Canada got many of the same cars as US buyers, but I guess the CDN divisions of US carmakers often thought it would help sales if they were a little different from the US version and had names that would resonate with CDN buyers. I think that’s why the jazzy grille decoration and the name Frontenac on this car.

    Why Frontenac? I wasn’t a marketing exec for Ford back then, but the word Frontenac is very French, and Mr Frontenac was a Big Man in what later became Canada. He was Governor General of “New France”, which became part of Canada, and I think his name had recognition value. Even if people didn’t actually know who he was they would recognize ‘Frontenac’ as French, which might help sales in Quebec, and also Ontario, where Fort Frontenac was located. Anyway, that’s my guess…..

    • MathieuB

      Frontenac name is everywhere in Quebec. The Quebec province is the original ”New France” area. As a Quebecer, I can’t tell you that fast what mr Frontenac made as much important so his name has been use at that much. .They made beer with that name and so much more other things too.

      Mercury dealers in Canada wants to sell the same cars as Ford as they were asked by customers. Just like the Mercury p-u or trucks, the staff at Mercury decided to do so. Mercury disapear in Canada in 1999 and in 2011 in USA. I am often surprised to see car like the Mariner, a model that never appeared here in Canada.

      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

        Y’all know I was speaking tongue-in-cheek about Frontenac, right? There’s quite some interesting history there–hopefully someone went and looked!

      • MathieuB

        In fact I supposed Frontenac did something important but we didn’t learn that in history class in school back then. But a detail about him came back to me, he was the first to brew beer in ”New France”. I do know that the beer sign that I posted earlier was not from the Frontenac era, it was a completely different brewery.

      • Dave

        Way, way back when the USA was our enemy, what is now Kingston, Ontario was called Fort Frontenac.
        Plus, it’s hard to believe only 16 still exist out of almost 10,000 manufactured!

  4. Blueprint

    Some info from this Canuck reader:

    – metric started in cars around 1976;
    – yup, Frontenac is just as “Big Man” up here as Lincoln and Washington are for you guys, and besides, we have a nice little hotel named after him in Quebec City…

    • Chuck

      That hotel (Château Frontenac) in Quebec City is very nice and surprisingly affordable. We were there in ’04. (First road trip in the wife’s new Mini S.) Actually, the whole “Old Quebec” is great place to visit, especially if you can’t afford a trip across the pond.

  5. dj

    I saw an Ebay add for a 1930 Chevy Sport Coupe. Seller said only 6 left in the United States. I sent him a pic of mine and said, Humm I must have number 7 then. LOL They’ll say anything to sell a car.

  6. JW454

    I’ve known of this version of the venerable Falcon for many years as one had slipped all the way down to Dayton Ohio some 40 plus years ago. The first time I saw it in a parking lot I didn’t know what it was but, a trip to the library was quite enlightening. That trip also introduced me to GM’s Beaumont line.

  7. Ted S

    Weren’t there speed parts (special head?) for the Ford Model T with the same name??

    • Joe Howell

      Yep, write up in Oct. 2016 issue of Hemmings Classic Car about Frontenac speed parts for Model T Fords.

  8. Mark

    My aunt had a similar ’61 Falcon. I would love to buy this car.

  9. Jeff Roblin

    We had a ’60 Falcon 2dr post in our wreckingyard for awhile. It had been a drag car and had a wider axle out of an Econoline in it. Might still have a few pieces of it stored but the car was sold for parts or restoration.

  10. memikeyounot

    I was 11 years old in 1960, and into being a Car Geek in full bloom. (and it hasn’t gone away now that I’m 67 years old). I lived in Sandy, UT, a sort of suburb of Salt Lake City. We had some neighbors who were from Canada and had lived in Utah for years.
    One day, the wife of the family showed up to church, driving a white Frontenac with several of her kids in it. I was so taken with this car, just because it was different. One of their sons was about my age, and I think he told me that an uncle in Canada had died just a few months after buying this car and his dad either bought it or it came in a will…don’t remember now.
    I think they lived in our neighborhood for 3-4 years and had the Frontenac the whole time. Not sure where they went, but the car went with them :)

  11. Dave at OldSchool Restorations

    ” Frontenac ??? “……. C’mon , aren’t there any racers out there.???

    Louis Chevrolet founded the Frontenac Motor Co. He made racing parts for FORD motor cars.

    a couple years ago we had a ’27 T Boattail racecar that had a T Motor with their Frontenac Overhead Valve conversion….. VERY advanced T motor for the time

    you can me run it here… with a custom Pertronix Distributor I built for it :

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTzXoH58RxI

    now in Germany…….

    • MathieuB

      You may nailed it but I do believe the name is more reliated with the French man than performance parts. Just think of the Meteor Montcalm, another Canadian only model. Montcalm is a French man who defend the ”New France” and lose the battle of the plain of Abraham against Wolfe, the battle that settle the destiny of the France forever in America! There is few others Canadian cars that use local historical back then. No offense Dave!

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Plains_of_Abraham

    • Dolphin Member

      Good memory for Louis Chevrolet’s Frontenac, Dave, but I doubt that Ford had Louis Chevrolet in mind when it named this car the Frontenac.

      Maybe nobody at Ford Canada (in Oakville, *Ontario*) remembered much about Louis Chevrolet and his car by the time 1960 rolled around.

      Then, seeing as the Ford Frontenac was a 1-year model, maybe somebody reminded them of it.

    • John Deebank

      Very cool Dave. Thnx. Look at all the other videos to watch after that one.

  12. Bob in Seattle

    I live about 30 miles away from this odd-ball and am frequesntly in the Snohomish area on business. If anybody would like me to stop by for a look-see, let me know.

  13. JACKinNWPA Jack in NWPA Member

    Great car that I didn’t even know about. If it were closer…
    Hemmings Classic Car magazine this month ( Oct. issue) has a fine artical about the Frontenac overhead valve conversions for Ford model T’s made by none other than the Chevrolet brothers.

  14. JACKinNWPA Jack in NWPA Member

    Cover pic.

  15. Howard

    I love hearing the history tidbits about the difference between the US versions and some Canadian versions. Pretty cool!

  16. Moose Feather

    I’m with Fred W. I have seen these on occasion, enough that I highly doubt only 16 left. At any rate, if you like this then how about a 2 door version. Looks to be in quite decent condition for $5 k. Check out Kijiji Alberta and do a search for a 1960 Frontenac.

  17. Moose Feather

    I just found another 4 door on Alberta Kijiji, so I now know where 3 of the 16 left are available for sale. :0)

    P.S. There’s also an original shop manual there for $20 bucks that would probably be worth picking up.

  18. Jay M

    These come up for sale here in Manitoba on occasion. I’ve seen at least 2 at a car show at the same time…
    So, different? Yes.
    Only 16 left? Doubtful.

  19. RJ

    As seen in the Ultimate Auto Album An Illustrated History of the Automobile by Tad Burness.

    • RJ

      I believe his Auto Albums used to be available in newspapers.

  20. Brad Curtin

    Always wanted a Ford of Canada ..Meteor Rideau …Rideau being Curtain in French and is my last name..Well until we moved to the states and lost the A.

    • MathieuB

      I’m not sure about this but Rideau may refer to the ”Canal Rideau”, a small river that seperate the Ontario province and Quebec province. It is also just beside the parliement of Canada.

  21. John P

    I must say–it basically has all the good looks of the Falcon.. But like a cute girl with braces–I’m not a fan of the grill.. Looks like it was pieced together with bits and pieces of ’50’s cast off Mercury trim bits cobbled together..

    Here’s the one on Kijiji mentioned above if anyone is in need..
    http://www.kijiji.ca/v-classic-cars/red-deer/mercury-frontenac-2-door-rare-car/1190120036?enableSearchNavigationFlag=true

  22. h60memo

    My Dad had a two door wagon, three on the tree for a short time in the early 70’s. I barely remember it.

  23. Rob'sGT

    It’s missing the maple leaf hubcaps – likely not easy items to find.

  24. Blaine

    Parts?? I have 4 hubcaps. one horn ring ,one grille;all the badges including the trunk badge..I see some parts here at the local shows once in awhile.. I think there is more than 16 left in the world though..why call it Frontenac ? Probably the car is cowardly like Mr Frontenac and runs faster when it sees an English man ha ha

  25. Denise

    I own a Frontenac. I have only seen 4 of them. The Frontenac register says there are only about a dozen still on the road. This Frontenac doesnt have the orginal hubcaps. They were like the falcon but had a red maple leaf embossed in the center.

    • John Deebank

      Love it.

  26. Peter Sawchuk

    I’ve owned my Frontenac since 1989, purchased in Regina from the original owners. Currently working on getting it going again as it hasn’t been run in about twenty years.
    Every year I contemplate selling it but my family won’t let me.

  27. Shawn Cromwell

    In one of those “I wish I had a camera” moments, I saw one of these around my New Glasgow, Nova Scotia neighbourhood for a few days about five years ago, an orange sedan with either Ontario or British Columbia plates (I can’t remember). It was the first time I’d even heard of the Frontenac, and I have a brother who, while I was growing up, had at some point a Falcon for every model year between 1960 and 1970 1/2.

  28. William Lane

    Amazing the things one stumbles upon… I am quite certain that this is the Frontenac that we owned in the 1990’s up here in Calgary, Alberta. Bought it from the original owner when it had around 20,000 miles on it and it came with an owner’s manual, car cover and all the original parts (tires, spare, jack etc). We had it repainted the same ‘Robin’s Egg blue’ that is seen in the pictures. Ended up selling it to a buyer in Washington state, in the greater Seattle area.

    Like 1

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