Jay Dustow was a very young pre-school kid when his family moved to a farm in the 1950s.
His dad was not impressed with an abandoned 1948 Mercury Sedan Delivery truck in the farmyard and hauled it to another location on the property where it was out of sight and out of mind.
Many of MyStarCollectorCar’s Canadian readers will already know that Mercury dealers in Canada from 1947 until 1968 sold Mercury trucks that were essentially a Ford truck with uniquely Mercury badges. The main reason was small towns in Canada could not support two dealerships from one Big Three automotive builder, so they offered similar vehicles with different badging to serve their customer base.
The unique manufacturing history behind the ’48 Mercury panel van was not on the radar for Jay because he had his own personal history with his truck. It was a fort for Jay and his brothers when they were young and a convenient object for target practice when the boys got old enough to use a rifle.
The old Mercury truck was always on Jay’s mind even after he moved into adulthood and decided to restore the panel van back to its original glory–a status he had never seen because the truck was already off the road when he first saw it as a young kid.
The truck still has its last registered plates from 1959 on it because Jay wanted to retain its history as much as possible. He believes the truck was used for pest control in a small city for much of its time on the road before it was presumably retired to the farm.
Jay dragged the Mercury out of the bush in 1995 and began a full restoration on the truck. He recalled there was a six and an eight-cylinder engine lying near the old panel van, but he decided to use the flathead V-8 because Jay believes it left the factory with the larger engine.
He also mentioned the ’48 Mercury truck had split front seats in it but decided to use a more traditional bench front seat out of a period-correct Ford truck for its restoration.
The restoration process took about 20 years, according to Jay because the Mercury panel truck required plenty of work to resurrect it from the dead.
An abandoned and rare model of a Canadian-only truck that was shot full of holes would be a daunting task for every car guy, but Jay was willing to invest his time and money into the project.
One would assume that Jay would pamper his ’48 Mercury when he completed its restoration in 2015, but he had a different game plan in mind. In fact, MystarCollectorCar spotted the 1948 Mercury Sedan Delivery this past January when Jay drove it to an outdoor car show in wintry Edmonton, Alberta Canada.
It was clear Jay wants to enjoy every minute with a vehicle he has known since childhood.
BY: Jim Sutherland
Jim Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer whose work has been published by many major print and online publications. The list includes Calgary Herald, The Truth About Cars, Red Deer Advocate, RPM Magazine, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Windsor Star, Vancouver Province, and Post Media Wheels Section.