Canadian Curbside Capsule: 1956 Meteor Niagara–Alternate-Universe Fairlane

Today, thanks to the Cohort, we’re going to take a brief look at some north-of-the-border Curbside Classics. I think it’s safe to say that many of us here at CC are enamored of such “alternate universe” U.S. cars as the Valiant Chargers of Australia–and the Canadian Fords that live much closer to home. For many years, Canadian variants of Fords and Mercurys were quite different from their Dearborn cousins, and featured their own unique trim and equipment. Let’s take a closer look at the 1955-56 Meteor, which was better known in the States as the Customline/Fairlane.

For many years, both Meteors (re-trimmed Fords) and Monarchs (badge-engineered Mercurys) were sold in the Great White North. Today’s subject is the Meteor. Pictured above is a 1955 Meteor Rideau Crown Victoria. So similar, yet so different, eh? In place of the chrome “check mark” found on U.S. Fords, Canadian versions got a lightning bolt.

Even plain Meteors got a look all their own, thanks to a vertical-bar grille that featured a chrome star resting inside a prominent ‘V’. Of course, you missed out on the cool chrome lightning bolt trim if you cheaped out, but it seems the owner of this one doesn’t care.

Like its American counterpart, the 1956 Meteor was much the same car as the ’55, save the usual changes in chrome trim, grilles and taillights. Most noticeably, a gigantic chrome mustache had been added to the grille, which retained a chrome star (the Meteor’s meteor, and marque emblem). The star was a LOT bigger than in ’55, extending over the lower hood and spanning nearly the width of the grille.

As in ’55, the swanky Meteor Crown Vic was part of the lineup. Unlike the U.S. version, Meteor Rideaus wore three-tone exteriors. The accent panel above the lightning bolt side trim could be black or white.

image: 59FORD.COM

Some Canadian Meteors came in Mercury colors, like this ’56 Rideau convertible. According to the current owner of this beauty (his blog can be found here), it is one of only 479 built. What a sharp car!

Our featured mid-level Meteor Niagara sports the lightning bolt trim and a white contrasting band–just to add little pizazz to an otherwise simple two-door sedan.

I just love this grille. From the front, even a plain, de-chromed ’56 Meteor looks important. It has what appears to be standard U.S. ’56 Ford parking lights.

It was a treat to see these photos posted to the Cohort Sunday morning by CC regular BigOldChryslers. He took these pictures at the 2012 Watertown Santa Claus parade. Thanks for sharing, BOC!