FoMoCo Tuesday – 1962 Ford Taunus 17M

One of the more unusual captive imports in the US (compared to Opels, for example) was the German Ford Taunus. The P3 version, built from 1960 – 1964, was influenced by the same design ideals as the contemporary Thunderbird and Lincoln Continental, and the similarities are particularly noticeable in the grill and headlights, as well as the side aspect. Engines ranged from 1.5 to 1.8 liters in displacement, and were good for a maximum 75hp. In spite of being mocked in the press as the bathtub Taunus, they enjoyed considerable success in the European market. Interestingly, both Henry Ford Jr. and Konrad Adenauer were present for the launch of this model. You can find this 1962 Ford Taunus 17M for sale for $750 in Ramona, CA.

1962 Ford Taunus 17M front

Here you can see the US-market headlamps, basically a filler panel in the shape of the European lamps, with round sealed beams in the center. No doubt some European collector would wet himself over the opportunity to install this oddball part on his own Taunus. It also retains its California black plates, which, while they’re probably later than the car’s original sale date, suggest it’s spent most of its life in the state. You can also see rust holes where the rear corners of the hood and the fenders meet.

1962 Ford Taunus 17M right side

Here you can see some more similarity with other Ford products. The formal black painted roof looks smart, and this car with a sharp new paint job (or even without) might actually find quite a few interested buyers in its home country. Most trim appears to be present, with the exception of a couple of hubcaps, but parts are no doubt easy to come by if you can wait a week or two for shipment.

1962 Ford Taunus 17M rear

The rear shape is actually pretty unique, and you might even say it looks a little sporting. For some reason, the left tail light is completely bleached, but again, with any luck you can find these parts in Germany. It’s hard to say how much rust there is, but the car is starting to look like it spent its first couple of years in a less warm climate, or perhaps by the sea.

1962 Ford Taunus 17M engine

The engine is said to start and run with jumper cables and a gas can supplying the carb. For simplicity’s sake, it does have a manual transmission, so with any luck you can at least get into the debug phase with the current drivetrain. Hydraulics are said to be completely dried out, so expect to spend some time rebuilding brakes and master cylinder, although it does look like the clutch is cable operated. 1962 was the first year for disc brakes and automatic choke, so the car will be a little closer to what you’d expect from a modern car. So what is this? Curiosity, crusher bait, or an export sale waiting to happen?


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3 Responses to “FoMoCo Tuesday – 1962 Ford Taunus 17M”

  1. Tony Says:

    I think the Taunus was sold to a US soldier in Germany and privately imported in the CA black-plate/mandatory sealed beam era, hence the homemade headlight conversion. A quad-light setup would’ve looked like it belonged there, but might’ve required further electrical system modification.

  2. Ray Martinez Says:

    My older brother modified our family 17M with an engine change, shoehorning a 289 hypo and a 4-speed into the erstwhile family car. I replaced the front suspension with an Econoline straight axle and the rear axle with one from a 1957 Ford station wagon. It was a terror for street racing and fell into the old B/Gas category at the drags. Sold it to a guy in St Louis in 1968 when I got drafted.

  3. jgarry Says:

    OMG, I inherited that car. Sold in Vista to some fellow a number of years ago, I thought he was going to fix it up for his daughter. Had much less rust, though it was rusted through on the lower fenders, starting those holes in front of the windshield, had all hubcaps, taillight wasn’t bleached.

    My stepfather bought it new in Luxembourg, brought it to the US in 1965, I think. It spent 10 years in the San Fernando Valley, 10 years in Westchester (near LAX), then 1986 until I sold it in Vista. I did have it running, the brakes needed a “backing plate” according to brake guy (who was able to fix the rest of the rubber parts with BMW parts).

    I had dreams of doing what Ray Martinez did, but life got in the way.

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