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Home : Scrapbook : Roamin Angel Corner Index : 1956 Mercury Montclair

1956 MercuryWhen the original owner of George M.’s ‘56 Mercury Montclair Phaeton bought the car back in 1956, he bought it to drive from his wedding in Iowa to Pike’s Peak, CO, for his honeymoon. For some reason he bought the top-of-the-line model, but opted out of such comforts as power steering and brakes or an auto trans. Instead he went for the three speed manual trans with overdrive. Perhaps the cost of the honeymoon put a crimp in his budget. Or perhaps he just didn’t want all those “extras” on his car, because even the luxury models did not include much with the basic price. It did come with the 312 CID V-8 engine, plus an optional clock and AM radio. At some point, cranking the wheel to get in a tight parking space must have taken its toll and the owner added factory-type power steering. If he took care of his new wife as well as his car, she must have been very happy. He pampered his Merc, keeping it as a “fair weather” car and never ever driving in rain or snow from the day he got it. Although it did not have many miles on it, the second owner went through the brakes and overhauled the engine in the late ‘80's. Paint, upholstery and such was still almost perfect. It was so nice that it was even once shown at the Concours D’Elegance Palo Alto, a show so exclusive that “concours” has become a word that means “top-notch” to car collectors. The third owner did put on new weatherstripping, but made no modifications. He was a neighbor of George’s and George told him that he was interested in the Merc if it were ever up for sale. In 2000, George got a call from his neighbor and bought it. To say that this is “original” or a “survivor” barely does it justice. It looks showroom fresh, even though the paint and upholstery are fifty-four years old. It had about 36,000 mile on it when George bought it and even still has the original spare tire, a 7.50-15 bias-ply wide-white-wall in perfect condition. True, George would never think of using a tire that old, but it is great to have. Besides, he is unlikely to need a spare. Since buying it ten years ago, he has only put on about 4,000 miles, mainly to local car shows. There was one trip that he and wife Sandi took with the Merc that was rather special. In 2000, they took it to the Sugar Bowl Ski Resort, where it served as the limo at their son’s wedding, a second time around for the Merc.

The Montclair was the premier Mercury, identifiable by extra chrome. The Phaetons were Mercury’s four-door hardtops. Most Montclairs were two-tone, making this one in solid black a rarity.

1956 Mercury
Known as “Y-blocks” because the long skirting gave the block a “Y” rather than a “V” shape, these early overhead-valve Ford V-8's were used in cars from 1954 until 1962. This one is rated at 210 HP. While this may not look “luxurious” inside by modern standards, things like a padded dash and carpets were so in 1956.

©2010 Ron Cherry

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