HERITAGE > Pre-War Fords > Monarch

 

When the Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited developed the Mercury 114, Mercury dealers had an advantage over Ford dealers. They could sell cars in both low- and mid-priced fields. So that the Canadian Ford dealers could compete on a level playing field, Ford of Canada established a new make in the Mercury 118 class. Based on Mercury, it was called Monarch, and made its debut in 1946.

 

It used a chromed Mercury grille frame, and replaced Mercury's many thin vertical bars with three horizontal bars. Below the main grille, Mercury had two long oval openings. Monarch had these also, but placed just one bar across each instead of two as Mercury had. The general effect was a front looking more like a Ford than a Mercury, so that helped relate Monarch to Ford.

 

Fenders had fairly wide chrome strips running full-length above the wheels. Rear fenders added a lower second strip behind the wheel.

 

Monarch used Ford's oval tail-lights, and another strip of chrome crossed the trunk door between them. Above the license plate was a chrome Monarch nameplate.

 

Mercury's 239 cid V-8 was used, but rated at 95 to 97 hp instead of 100.

 

Like Mercury, Monarch offered just a single series. It included Tudor Sedan, Fordor Town Sedan, Sedan Coupe, convertible and station wagon. However, in the short 1948 model run only the Fordor and Sedan Coupe were built.

 

Prices ranged from $1462 to $1775, which was just $10 more than comparable Mercury tabs. In its initial year on the market, Monarch took ninth place in sales, coming just below Hudson but above Studebaker. It kept the same place in 1947, but climbed to 7th in 1948. But for much of 1948, Monarch was redesigned.

 

The radically new 1949 Ford products saw Monarch emerge in splendid fashion in the spring of 1948. Mercury's new body was a beauty, and now Monarch's grille took on an independent appearance. Bearing no resemblance to Mercury nor Ford, it had three thick horizontal and five vertical bars. Above the grille was a wide chrome piece upon which was the Monarch name and logo.

 

Monarch adopted the lion as one of its symbols. A leaping lion formed the hood ornament. It looked a lot like Jaguar's more recent symbol.

 

The Monarch name and logo appeared on the front door below the vent window. The rub strips were like Mercury's except at the front where it stuck out from the fender. This chrome piece had a forward mounted amber cat's eye reflector in the front end.

 

A regal looking chrome handle opened the trunk. Above it was a chrome piece like the one over the grille, but not as long.

Inside, the Ford instrument panel used previously was replaced by Mercury's dash. If there was no clock installed, the Monarch logo appeared in that upper middle location.

Sport Sedan and Club Coupe were the only body types built. Due to the popularity of the new Monarch, and the extra long model year, the 1949's production total of 11,317 slightly exceeded all previous Monarchs built.

Mercury's enlarged 255 cid motor powered all these 1949 Monarchs. Output was increased to 110 hp. The same engine remained for 1950, but the number of models doubled as a convertible and station wagon joined the lineup.

Only modest changes marked the 1950 models. The same grille continued, but it had a thick chrome surround. At each end it joined the new and greatly enlarged parking light assemblies. In the chrome age, it was unusual that the headlight rims were painted body colour.

In regard to paint, starting with the 1949 Monarchs and Mercurys, two-tone finishes were available optionally. The fenders contrasted with the rest of the body. Ford of Canada turned out many of these beauties, while no American Ford assembly plants could handle such a task.

There was an arrowhead at the front end of an otherwise Mercury rub strip. The trunk handle was a chrome gullwing shaped affair with the Monarch logo attached in the upper centre.

Changes for 1951 were a bit more extensive than for 1950. A new grille consisted on a single thick chrome bar crossing between the new parking lights. Five vertical bars connected this with the chrome border topping the grille opening.

Mercury style side trim added three little feather-like attachments to the under side, on the rear part of the front fenders.

Tail-lights for the previous two years were Mercury's. This year, however, a different lens was inserted into the Mercury tail light assembly. The lenses curved inward around the sides and top-- an influence of Lincoln's 1951 tail-lights.

After just one year back, the Monarch station wagon was gone again. While Mercury in the U.S. offered fancy Monterey club coupes in lieu of hardtops, these were not available in Canada in either Mercury of Monarch lines.

The 1952 Monarch came out with the new Mercury body. The front styling was like Mercury's but without the vertical bars on the bumper. Instead, Monarch put a single vertical bar in the gap above the bumper. On the hood above this was another Monarch symbol--a gold crown. A lion's head was incorporated into the air-scoop trim.

Side trim did not deviate from the Mercury pattern except the Monarch name on the rear fenders, and crown shaped keyhole covers on the doors. The deck handle, though new, was in typical Monarch fashion with a couple crowns.

Monarch used Mercury's engine--boosted to 125 hp. Monterey was a new model for 1952. It was Monarch's first hardtop, and joined a convertible in the new top line Monterey.

Slight alterations for 1953 had five thin vertical bars between the top of the bumper and the top of the grille opening. At the rear, a big crown formed the deck handle. Mercury tail-lights lacked the broader chrome frames. They were body colour.

An amazing development in 1953 was when Monarch sales surpassed Mercury in Canada. Not too often has a Canadian variation been more popular than the car from which it was devised. But when it does, it confirms the designer's awareness of the Canadian tastes. The 1954 Monarch also outsold Mercury.

For 1954, the two heavy bumper bars had three vertical supports between widely spaced bumper guards. In the opening above the bumper, standup chrome letters spelled the Monarch name. On the front of the hood was a large V with a crown in it. The whole lion returned as a hood ornament on the air-scoop.

The most noticeable difference from Mercury on the side was a thick chrome bar along the rear fender. At the back, a large V with maple leaves and a lion served as the deck lid handle.

Monarch deviated from Mercury by offering three series: Custom, Lucerne, and Custom Lucerne. Only 2- and 4-door sedans made up the Custom series. Lucerne and Custom Lucerne each had a 4-door sedan, hardtop, Sun Valley hardtop, and convertible. The Sun Valley had the plexiglas see-through roof.

All Monarchs had Mercury's brand new OHV V-8 engine. Practically the same size the old flat-head it replaced, its 161 hp was a 29% boost.

Enlarged for 1955 to 292 cubic inches, it produced 188 hp and powered Monarchs in all three series. The name of the top line was changed to Richelieu. There were no Sun Valleys, but Monarch offered eight other models.

Despite its new design, the 1955 grille was a variation of the 1954's. But this time there were five vertical chrome connectors between the bumper bars. Still perched atop the bumper was the Monarch name. In addition, there was a fine chrome mesh behind the name.

Side trim was unique. A chrome strip went from the front back to the rear fender bulge, and widened a bit as it did. There was a chrome cap on the leading edge of fender bulge. The Monarch name, in line with the long chrome strip, was on the fender on the Custom. But Lucerne and Richelieu had an extension of the chrome strip across rear fender.

The back was like Mercury's, except a chrome gullwing trunk handle with a crown right above it.

Model year changes for 1956 had a squared chrome mesh--like Thunderbird--behind the double bar bumper. Quite unusual was the placement of the bumper guards. They were very close at the centre--just enough space for the license plate. A large V formed the hood ornament with typical Monarch symbols in it.

Side trim was little changed from 1955. The deck lid had a large V with long wings running out on each side from its tips. Keeping up in the horsepower race, the Mercury engine was enlarged to 312 cubic inches. Power ratings were 210 in the Custom, 215 in the Lucerne and Richelieu, but 225 in any model with automatic transmission.

Radical new styling came for 1957. Monarch's new grille was like Mercury's but flat with thin horizontal bars and a V in the centre. All Monarchs had single headlights. Dual Headlights were not available on Canadian-made Monarchs, or Mercury's.

The deck lid had a new variation of the gullwing handle with a crown above it.

Otherwise Monarchs showed virtually no difference from Mercury, with one exception. Monarch was spelled in block letters across the front of the hood and in the cove along the rear fenders.

The Custom series was history now, but there were still three lines offered. The new Turnpike Cruiser was now the top line Monarch. There were Lucerne and Richelieu 4-door sedans, and a Lucerne convertible. All the rest of the nine models offered were 2- and 4-door hardtops. Like Mercury, hardtops were now called Phaetons. But unlike Mercury, there were no Monarch station wagons built.

The 312 V-8 engine, with boost to 255 hp, drove all 1957 Monarchs. However, a 368-cid 290 hp V-8 was a Turnpike Cruiser option.

Ford dealers for 1958 sold the Edsel. Since it was in the Monarch price range, Monarch joined the list of "has beens" like Packard was about to. So, there was no 1958 Monarch. Because Edsel fell so short of expectations, Ford of Canada revived the Monarch for 1959.

The new Monarch was sometimes known as the Monarch II, the name which appeared on the top grille border. It continued to use the Mercury body with a different grille. Its 1959 grille was quite unusual. A chrome strap crossed the wide opening. Fastened to the back of this strap was a set of seven rectangular plates. The middle one was longer than the others--simple, yet very different. Small crowns were mounted upright on the front fenders.

There was no longer a Turnpike Cruiser; the Sceptre was the new top series. It stretching 223 inches from bumper to bumper on a 128-inch wheelbase, so it was the biggest Monarch ever. Likewise, its 430 cid 345 hp motor was Monarch's biggest and most potent.

The restyled 1960 Monarch was not quite so extreme. Its grille had another innovative design. With a convex front, it consisted of four stacks of thin rectangles. Inside each rectangle were two slim strips end to end. A long thin black Monarch nameplate was located on a bulge across the front of the hood.

Side decor duplicated Mercury in most details, and the trunk had a gold crown. The biggest difference at the back was the tail lights. Instead of Mercury's single red lens in the bumper mounted tail-lights, Monarch used three separate small round lenses. The two upper ones were red, but the bottom one was a backup light.

For 1961, Monarch was downsized like Mercury. The body, almost six inches shorter than before, was not too different from Ford's. Of course, with the new body came new styling.

A large gold crown occupied the centre of the new grille. On each side of it, was a panel of thin vertical bars slanting toward either side.

Double chrome bars along the rear half of the Monarch came to a point at the leading end. This rocket shaped area was often painted a contrasting colour.

Monarch's model lineup was downsized too. Only the Richelieu survived, and it had just a 4-door sedan and 2- and 4-door hardtops.

The 1961 models were about 500 pounds lighter than the previous Sceptre, so a smaller engine was suitable. It was a 352 -cid V-8 rated at 220 hp, although a 300-hp 390 was optional.

That was the last Monarch--for the second time! This time it really was the end. But because the Edsel was gone, Ford's top-line models were creeping into Monarch size and price area. There simply was little any need for another car such as Monarch.

The Mercury Monarch of 1975-80 was a compact car, totally unrelated to any of the over 95,000 Canadian-made Monarchs.

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