Home Car Stories Alley Finds 1966 MERCURY Meteor convertible- Ernie Trachuk
1966 MERCURY Meteor convertible- Ernie Trachuk PDF Print E-mail
Written by Double Dragon
Friday, 14 September 2012 20:52

1966 METEOR convertible- Ernie Trachuk

oneownercollectorcar.com

Writing and photography copyright D. S. Brown

66-mercury-meteor-conv-ernie-front

This old convertible sparks the memories from way back in the mists of time when my Dad owned a Maroon Meteor hardtop. This convertible is a lighter red than my Dad's car, and his was a fastback, but those familiar squared off body lines are burned into my mind. Impressions of the comfortable red vinyl interior with the long wide chrome dash accents never fade away. The Meteor rode in that full size smooth fashion that made it seem as if the car was floating.

The detail that stands above all others is the 428 engine that had been swapped into my dad's car. I have vivid memories of his passing technique on the old two lane highways. He didn't follow the regular procedure back then of pulling out, passing one car and then getting into the right lane again.

Normally you waited for an opening and passed one car at a time agonizingly working your way through a pack of cars. The 428 made it possible to dispense with the entire pack at one time. I loved the sound of the engine screaming past six or seven cars in a row. The Meteor pinned you back in your seat. Watching the cars fall back into our rear window like they had been dropped off the face of the Earth made it seem like we were on some rocket soaring up into outer space. It was really surprising that such a large car could rip off such instantaneous brutal acceleration.

On open roads the incredible ferocity of that engine revealed itself as the speedometer needle shot up to 120 MPH and stopped in place at the extreme end of the speedometer while the car continued to pull.

The Meteor name was just one of the Mercury 'space race' names out there. Mercury also had a Comet, while Dodge had the Polara and Ford had a Galaxie.

The Meteor was a Ford of Canada exclusive for many years. For a few years it was badged as a 'Meteor' without using the Mercury designation. Chrysler was trying the same thing by marketing the Valiant as a stand-alone name before grouping it with the established Chrysler products.

The Meteor name came about before the Mercury brand of cars could be associated with the space race where US astronauts were launched into space as part of the 'Mercury Program'. Canadian plants frequently manufactured Canadian only versions of USA cars, mainly to fill lower end price gaps.

Import taxes inflated the price of mid range cars too much to make it worthwhile to bring them into Canada from USA. Higher end cars were still imported since the import tax was easily absorbed into the retail price of an already expensive car. See the GAS LOGS story on this web site for the 1967 Pontiac Beaumont, which was one of GM's unique Canadian built cars. The Pontiac Parisienne was another very popular Canadian only car.

For model years 1961 through 1963 the Mercury Meteor name was used on a USA built Mercury car. For those years, the Canadian vehicle was stripped of its Meteor name so as not to be confused with the American model. See the story of a USA 1963 Mercury Meteor in this ALLEY FINDS section. The Meteor name came back to Canada once the Meteor name was dropped from the USA Mercury roster.

66-meteor-conv-ernie-int

This ALLEY FINDS 1966 Meteor convertible is a bench seat column shift automatic car. When it developed engine problems it was sidelined. Ernie bought it and may have found a 390 engine for it. The days of finding a 428 to drop into an old Meteor are gone. Any 427s or 428s in junkyards have long been mined for restorations or crushed along with the car. From personal experience I can say that these Meteors live up to their names when they are running a 428!

66-meteor-convert-ernie-trachuk

Ernie's Mercury Meteor is sitting in the weeds right now awaiting a new engine. Not many people ordered the 428. But even a 289 or 390 in this car was pretty lively. Despite its dimensions, it's not that heavy a car. Once side impact beams and emissions equipment entered the picture, at the end of the 1960s weight began to climb, but those early to mid 1960s cars are really not as heavy as they look.

66-mercury-meteor-ernie-

Last Updated ( Thursday, 03 March 2016 14:27 )