Junkyard Find: 1963 Ford Taunus 17M

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

Last week, I left the Return of the LeMonites 24 Hours of LeMons and went straight to Sweden for a car-freak field trip with Dr. G.D. Yo-Man. Surströmming, runestones, black metal, and, of course, junkyards full of weird (to Americans) European cars. Bloms Bilskrot, located in Söråker, boasts what must be thousands of cars from the 1940s through the 1990s, and the inventory extends well into dense forest where decades-old trees grow through engine compartments and plants grow on mulch on car roofs. Today’s Junkyard Find was located in the less wooded part of Blom’s, so I didn’t have to climb over any fallen trees in order to photograph it.

The P3 Taunus was built for the 1960 through 1964 model years, and it was designed by Uwe Bahnsen, the man who penned such cars as the Ford Capri and the Merkur Scorpio. It was a bit weird-looking, but you couldn’t mistake it for anything else.

This one has the kind of rust you see in the American Upper Midwest and probably wouldn’t be worth restoring, but the trim, glass, and interior are in pretty good shape.

There’s a bit of a family resemblance to the early Ford Falcon here.

No Falcon ever got a face like this, though.

Engines in these cars were pushrod four-cylinder units with displacements ranging from 1498cc to 1757cc. I have no idea which one this is, but I’ll bet some of you Europeans can ID it.

I thought about pulling this clock for my collection, but the odds of finding a 50-year-old mechanical car clock— even a German one— in functioning condition are about the same as finding a rust-free Datsun B210 parked outdoors in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

We’ll continue my Scandinavian junkyard adventures (which started last fall with some Reykjavik yards) in future installments of this series.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • Beetlebug Beetlebug on Jun 12, 2014

    Wow. I live in Sweden now and would love to visit there. Take me along next time. :)

  • Hasse B. Hasse B. on Sep 22, 2015

    Well, I´m sure you will enjoy the visit when you go there - last time I went, there was a full row of these little Fords as well as a few others bearing the Taunus brand name and best of all some of the best kept classic cars in the lot still had their titles if anyone would take an interest in buying and restoring them. As for the total amount, I wouldn´t go as far as counting a thousand in the lot even though it is a huge wrecking yard by swedish standards. Feels like I have to put a few facts straight about the "Bathtub" Taunus 17M series P3, having done some deep digging into the background of them as I own one myself and have an old interest in them. It was the first Ford fully designed in-house by Ford of Germany in Cologne although the work was lead in the newly built studio by american Ford designer Wesley Dahlberg whose parents once hade migrated to the USA from the landscape of Medelpad where the junkyard is located - small world... A lot of the design credit also goes out to german Ford´s in-house designer Uwe Bahnsen. Under the windtunnel-tried bodyshell the Taunus 17M P3 was based on the reworked bulkheads and stiffened floorpan as well as the mechanical underpinnings of its predecessor 17M P2 that was in design kind of a ball game between the Detroit styling studio and the eagerness of the technicians in Cologne to have it shaped slightly more low-key to german taste. The OHV engine in 1.5 or 1.7 litre displacements was also a direct carryover from the 17M P2 but it made its first debut as a 1.2 litre in the new 1952 Taunus 12M series. This engine is not as you might think of the Kent family, but a derivative of the older but likewise english Consul OHV engine which was reworked into the metric Taunus OHV engine series. As far as i know, there is few if any details that are interchangeable between them. As for the likeness between the Taunus 17M P3 and the 1961-63 Thunderbird "Stiletto" design as well as the first rendition of the new Lincoln Continental from those days, the Taunus came first and by now its rather ruled out that the latter american designs were in various grades directly influenced by the Taunus, even if Dahlberg didn´t make a point of it but acknowlegded that his Detroit colleages where quite impressed when visiting Cologne and took a great interest in the design studies of the car to finally be. Fun trivia is that body parts tooling was made for them in Mexico, but no-one seems to now for really sure wether any Taunus cars where built there or as some will state not. For sure they were at least built in Fords plant in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, so maybe that´s where the tools were used. Seems possible, as they had their own engine parts foundry.

  • Corey Lewis The short truck is terrible. The tire blocks all rear visibility while making the tiny bed very tricky to access. And the wheels on it look like they're from 2002. Other than that, I really like the idea of the Grenadier and it seems like a good effort. I wouldn't buy one because of the tractor recirculating ball steering, which makes it terrible in everyday use.
  • Bjohnson10 Coast to Coast by the Jesus and Mary Chain. It's only about someone on a cross-country motorcycle trip while high on heroin.
  • Funky D A few from my road trip playlist: Eddie Rabbitt - Drivin' My Life AwayAmerica - Ventura Highway---Herb Alpert - Route 101Jerry Reed - East Bown and DownEddie Money - Shakin'Lindey Buckingham - Holiday RoadWar - Low RiderTears for Fears - Everybody Wants to Rule the World (Not a driving song per se, but if you've seen the video, you'll get it)Wang Chung - Wait (Gotta see the end credits of "To Live and Die in LA", for this one)
  • Ronin Or can sedans be saved from themselves? Modern sedans have very low entry and seating, and unnecessarily downward sloping rear roofs. This may have been a sleek design center 25 years ago, but it's nice to have an alternative to SUVs for the olds (ie, anyone over 30).
  • Bd2 The Hyundai Sonota is the best sedan on the market right now.