NOVEMBER 2023: A 1951 MERCURY M-1 RESTO MOD TRUCK PROJECT WAS “NOT BAD FOR A BOBCAT OPERATOR”

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A 1951 Mercury M-1 pickup truck had the same cool body style as a ’51 Ford ½ ton but was only available in Canada because it was sold by Canadian Mercury dealerships to their pickup truck customers.

Brian Krall owns a 1951 Mercury M-1 resto mod pickup with major upgrades, all of them completed over a four-year period that began when Brian turned 72 and wanted to tackle a major project.

The result is a spectacular blend of old school cool style and modern components that Brian described as “not bad for a Bobcat operator”.

Jim Sutherland

Brian earned a living as a Bobcat operator who eventually built a successful business in the Bobcat field. Most long- term equipment operators assemble a sizable set of mechanical skills over the years and can apply them to other situations, including a major resto mod project like Brian’s Mercury pickup.

The ’51 Merc resto mod truck was not Brian’s first project, but the fact he began the process at 72 years of age made it a unique time for a car guy to begin a major custom build. Brian completed the resto mod Merc truck project four years later and is now able to enjoy the rewards of his labor every time he gets behind the wheel of his custom pickup.

Brian wanted a truck that could handle modern driving conditions, so he bought an inexpensive 1999 Ford Crown Victoria that was “in great shape”, according to Brian. The Crown Vicky was not a retired police car and was a perfect donor vehicle for the ’51 Merc truck because it was not worn out by excessive use.

Brian decided to use the Crown Vicky’s entire front chassis because he also wanted to use its factory small block V-8/automatic overdrive powertrain for the build. He was able to custom fit the Crown Vicky frame into the truck’s original frame by notching and boxing them into one sturdy foundation for his resto mod plans.

The 1951 Mercury M-1 pickup now rides closer to the ground after the resto mods and has a lower stance that is enhanced by Brian’s offset wheel and tire choices.  

The truck’s overall ride quality was an important element of Brian’s resto mod goals, so he removed some of the Merc’s original rear leaf spring system and added air shocks to enhance the comfort factor in the 72-year-old pickup.

Another comfort upgrade for the ’51 Merc are the seats that were donated by a Volkswagen Jetta and offer a big upgrade from the truck’s original bench seat.   

Brian’s fabricating talents were evident in the project because he re-designed the Merc’s truck box and built its tailgate to match the box. The result is a tailgate that looks like it was factory-built and performs like a Swiss watch with its latch system.

MyStarCollectorCar encountered Brian and his remarkable 1951 Mercury M-1 pickup truck at an early summer car show that was also its debut event.

Brian believes his vintage rides belong on the road and we predict owner and truck will log plenty of miles together in the future.    

Jim Sutherland

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. 

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