1953 Mercury Monterey: Sails down the road

BY VERN PARKER Motor Matters
Farm Forum

The last thing Gerry Dick thought he’d be doing one spring day in 2012 would be driving home in a 1953 Mercury Monterey two-door hardtop coupe.

Dick had agreed to accompany a friend to an antique car event about 100 miles from his Virginia home. While at the event, Dick spotted a 1953 Mercury that was on display, however, it was not posted for sale. He jokingly asked the owner when he was going to sell him the car.

“Today,” came the unexpected answer.

Dick saw the spectacular condition of the car and was told the Mercury had undergone a thorough restoration. Dick bought the car without even starting the 255.4-cubic-inch flathead V-8 engine and drove it home. “I bought it because it looked nice.”

He soon discovered that the Mercury had not been driven for several years after the restoration and had been trailered to various antique car shows and was never given the exercise it was designed to receive. Consequently, Dick says he had to fix everything.

Once the Mercury had undergone a thorough physical, Dick began to exercise his car. It came equipped with quite a few options including: heater, AM radio, spot light, turn signals, fender skirts, power brakes, backup lights, power steering, and Merc-O-Matic transmission. The 3,465-pound Mercury had a base price in 1953 of $2,244 before the cost of all the extras were tacked onto the price.

Fifteen-inch white sidewall tires support the handsome car on a 118-inch wheelbase. Inside the Mercury, every surface from the yellow headliner down to the black carpet is either black or yellow or a combination of both colors.

A 360-degree chrome horn ring adds sparkle to the black steering wheel. On either side of the 110-mph speedometer are the aircraft-inspired toggle controls. A total of 76,119 Mercury models like Dick’s were manufactured, each with a single outside mirror on the driver’s side. In a nod to safety, Dick has added a similar mirror on the passenger’s side.

Soon after Dick returned his Mercury to good health, he began to give it regular exercise. The car is so finely tuned that only a slight touch of the six-volt starter is necessary for the engine to spring to life and send a throaty rumble tumbling out of the dual exhaust pipes. Dick reports achieving fuel economy figures of about 15 to 16 miles per gallon at highway speeds. The rear license plate hides the gasoline cap.

Concerning his Mercury, Dick now says, “I can sail down the road just like I had good sense.”

For your car to become the subject of the Classic Classics column, e-mail us your .jpeg image, plus brief details and phone number. Type “Classic Classics” in subject box and send to info@motormatters.biz. Or, send a photo (frontal 3/4 view) plus brief details and phone number to Vern Parker, 2221 Abbotsford Drive, Vienna, VA 22181.

A total of 76,119 Mercury Monterey models were manufactured. The 3,465-pound car had a base price of $2,244 in 1953. Fifteen-inch white sidewall tires support the handsome car on a 118-inch wheelbase. Inside the Mercury, every surface from the yellow headliner down to the black carpet is either black or yellow or a combination of both colors. A 360-degree chrome horn ring adds sparkle to the black steering wheel. On either side of the 110-mph speedometer are the aircraft-inspired toggle controls.