Prairie Style: 1953 Mercury M-350

If you’re a Barnfinds regular you’ll quickly note this Mercury pickup is another in a succession of trucks we’ve featured over the past few months offered by a seller located in Sweet Grass, Montana. Recent Barn Finds posts have been written by Adam, Brian, and Jamie highlighting these classics and rereading their articles piqued my curiosity, prompting me to do a quick internet search to try and identify the mysterious seller. Well, it wasn’t very hard to track them down so perhaps the seller isn’t so mysterious after all. I’ll reveal more about who the seller is in a minute but first, I want to be sure to mention this truck is available here on eBay with no reserve and a current bid price of $1,050.

Bison Brothers Truck & Wagon Sales is the seller and Sweet Grass, MT is conveniently located on the U.S.-Canada border. That allows Bison Brothers to “seek out original trucks and cars from all across Canada.”  According to them, “most American barn finds have long since been found and tampered with” whereas “north of the border there still seems to be an abundance of good, solid, original vehicles, waiting to be brought back to life.”  Glorified flipping, you say?  Well, maybe, but Bison Brothers claim “the business we conduct is straightforward and honest.”  That statement is backed by a 100% positive feedback seller rating on eBay. As for this M-350, it’s reported to be “very solid” and “mostly rust free.” By looking at the above photo you’ll notice the bed sits high on the truck’s chassis, which the seller explains is because it’s been fitted with a hoist (dump bed). The original tailgate is missing, consistent “with the majority of prairie farm trucks from this era.” A replacement tailgate is available for purchase at additional cost to the winning bidder.

The interior of the truck is original and complete, sans upholstery. The seller mentions the instrument cluster will need to be rebuilt and that “most of the glass is missing.”  Plenty of quality photos of the interior from just about every angle are provided in the eBay listing and despite some surface rust, the floors appear solid. In terms of rust, the doors have suffered the worst decay, a fact acknowledged by the seller who places blame on mice for nesting prominently in the passenger side door.

Unfortunately, the seller reports the original Ford flathead V8 “appears seized.” Additionally, a host of engine components are missing, including the radiator, carburetor, fuel pump, and fan. Obviously, this project will require significant time and money but the good news is it is being sold on eBay with no reserve. It will be fun to see how bidding on this one turns out. We love hearing your opinions so please be sure to post what you think is a good price for this project in our comments section!

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Sweet Grass, you say? That city rings a bell,,geomechs should know this place,,this a great find, little rough, but finally priced right. Be the only Merc pickup around, stateside, anyway, even though, it’s really not that special. I always wondered, do Canadians say, hey look, a FORD pickup. ( like finding a US nickel in their change)

    3
    • glen

      Lots of modern Fords, I own one of them. I rarely see old anything that’s been parked for years, except early minivans and other 80’s crap.

      1
  2. geomechs Member

    I grew up 20 miles west of Sweetgrass and am still in town for mail and other things on a regular basis. A lot of cross-border farming/ranching going on, as well as marriages and estates. As I’ve said many times before, it was commonplace to see a Mercury truck in northern Montana. The dealer was only 10 miles away compared to 35 the other way. When I was a kid I actually thought that Mercury trucks were built in the states. Well, I was partially right as the Mercury Super Duty trucks and cab-overs were built on the same assembly line in Detroit as their Ford counterparts.

    Now for this one. Tonners were starting to thin out by this age in my region; most farms had exapnded to the point where they could easily justify a 3-ton. This truck and an F-350 would be nearly identical. The Mercury would be standard with a 255 while it would be optional in the Ford. Of course, in the ensuing ‘Water Under the Bridge’ years, some farmers dropped in whatever ran, especially during the high pressure times like harvest. Everything else pretty much interchanged. You got a T-98 transmission which offered synchromesh, compared to the T-9 crashbox. Not nearly as much whining; in fact you could actually hear the driver whining, over the howl of the transmission. Good trucks overall. Fully deserving to be restored and put back to work. If it came my way, I would get rid of the hoist. I don’t plan on moving soon so there wouldn’t be any need for it…

    9
    • Howard A Member

      Who says truck drivers are whiners? C’mon, who? Awww, I don’t want to haul that load,,,c’mon, my back hurts,,,and so on,,

      2
      • geomechs Member

        Sorry Howard. Misdirected comment. I grew up on a farm and heard a lot of whining there: Not enough rain; too much rain. Grain prices too low; Kids are useless; neighbors’ kids are useless; the usual. Now let’s talk about how much mechanics whine….

        8
  3. PDXBryan

    There are some great folks involved in finding good homes for old cars and trucks. Kudos to the Bison Bros!

    4
  4. Dolphin Dolphin Member

    The top pic is perfect for this truck—shows it in its natural habitat.

    Unfortunately, the perfect image of the truck tends to fall apart when you look at the interior, and the engine bay.

  5. glen

    A beautiful 53 Merc M100 sold at the Mecum auction for $55,000. Originally from Saskatchewan.

    2
  6. Mountainwoodie

    Scene from Strange Brew: Bob to Doug McKenzie:

    “Eh Bob…theres another fella from Montana outside the door..wants to buy the F-350 ya know the one with no glass and the frozen engine..whaddya say we sell it to him for $5,000.00 American. Yah…he’ll go for that”

    5
  7. Martin

    Best place to find hidden gems is rural southeast Washington State. I never travel through that area without wishing I had a long flatbed and a winch.

    1
  8. Mitch Ross

    Glorified flipper? Someone drives around the prairies of Canada with a truck and trailer, burning expensive Canadian fuel looking for interesting trucks. You all don’t think he should be paid for that, do it yourself.

    3
  9. Jay M

    There are perpetual ads on Kijiji looking for old trucks. Here in Manitoba I frequently see trucks pulling car haulers with American plates at auction sales when old farms are being cleaned up.

    1
  10. Tim

    He’s a flipper. These guys are doing nothing good for the old car/truck hobby. Yes they drive around finding and buying trucks in Canada. 95% of these trucks are listed for sale some place. They just buy them. Pick up at night and haul them to Montana. Once at Montana they take pictures and post them on eBay. They are ripping the original owners off and the future buyers of the trucks. And again they are not in it for the hobby. They are only on it for money. This truck is the same as many others and was not I repeat NOT in a barn.

  11. geomechs Member

    There’s no love lost between me and most of the flippers. The ones that really get my Irish temper fired up are the ones trolling the classified ads and buy every decent project that comes down the pipe. I’ve wanted a ‘38 Ford pickup for most of my life. My means are limited so that keeps me within a 300 mile radius. Friends have sent me listings which I’ve immediately followed up, only to find that they were sold within MINUTES of being listed. I talked to one vendor who sold one in less than five minutes. The buyer phoned, asking for bank information and the truck was off to the coast within half a day. The trollers I resent, because they deal with DEEP pockets that most of us cannot compete with. These guys bringing the trucks into Montana from Canada are Ok IMHO. In many instances, they are saving the trucks from the crusher. Some don’t have all the wheels and some have the brakes rusted solid; those can add up to a couple of days just getting a truck loaded up. Add to that travel expenses then going through all the red tape to get it through the border. A $500 truck becomes a $2500 truck very quickly. These guys are doing a good service so don’t get too quick to rain on their parade…

    1

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