1 of 4,865: 1963 Mercury Meteor S-33

The Meteor nameplate was short-lived at Mercury and was likely tied to all the hype with space travel in the early 1960s. The car would start as a full-size model for just one year (1961) and then become an intermediate for the next two years (1962-63). The Meteor would gain a sporty 2-door sedan or hardtop called the S-33 and it was comparable to the Fairlane 500 over at Ford. This edition has been sitting for 20 years but is said to be complete and awaiting a restoration. Located north of Sacramento, California, this Meteor is available here on craigslist for $3,500. Thanks, local_sheriff, for coming through with another great tip!

Because of its short, three-year run and not being a hot seller, the Mercury Meteor is largely a forgotten car these days. The marketing guru’s at Mercury decided to deploy the Meteor nameplate to the company’s new mid-size cars in 1962 as a corporate companion to the downsized Fairlane. The latter car was based on an extended Falcon chassis, which was also adopted for the repurposed Meteor. The S-33 was a specially appointed 2-door sedan (a hardtop for ’63) featuring premium exterior trim and interior amenities including bucket seats and a center console. Less than 5,000 were built for 1963.

The seller refers to his ’63 Meteor as a “muscle car” which could imply that the largest engine available to the series is under the hood. In that case, it would be a 260 cubic inch V8 that was good for 164 horsepower with a 2-barrel carburetor. But it could also be the smaller 221 V8 at 145 hp. Whichever engine, it is likely paired with the Merc-O-Matic 2-speed automatic transmission. With a reported 80,000 miles on the odometer, this car has been idle for 20 years. We don’t know why that has been the case, whether it’s been outdoors all this time, or what might be required to get it running again.

In spite its dormancy, this car doesn’t look bad. There is a fair amount of surface rust which may offer encouragement that the problems don’t go any deeper. The interior isn’t perfect, but not a lost cause either. If it doesn’t take much to make it a running car again, maybe cleaning it up and driving around a while could make it an economical acquisition. With a starting price of $2,628 in 1963, the S-33 was about $200 higher than the standard Meteor hardtop. That equates to about $22,500 in 2021 money. NADA pegs top dollar for one these cars today to be $17,000.

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Comments

  1. junkman Member

    Nice find, wish I were closer

    Like 4
  2. Bob C.

    How about taking those pieces of wood off the trunk?

    Like 5
    • Bellingham Fred

      You mean the parking brake?

      Like 3
  3. Bob

    The Meteor name was used by Ford Canada from 1949 until 1965
    Mercury dealers sold them as the entry level cars often only a few dollars more than its cousin at the Ford dealership

    Like 5
  4. Robt

    Nice find.
    How about 2,500 with 1,000 to get it moved here to the northeast?

    Like 2
  5. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    It’s been some time since I last saw one of these. Personally I’d rather have this than the Ford. I love those tail lights. Since it probably will require new paint, and since it is white it will not be an expensive job if its kept white. I wonder how difficult it will be to find needed components for a nice show quality driver. This really gets my heart pumping. A trip to Northern California may be in my future.
    God bless America

    Like 4
  6. Steve Clinton

    I remember when these were new, I thought they were much nicer looking than the Ford Fairlane. Obviously, the buying public didn’t agree.

    Like 3
  7. Earl

    Just check out that anti harsh ride front suspension and the rear for that matter. Parts hard to find. rear springs very expensive. But you can bolt in the springs and mounts off of the Fairlane. I had one, it is still in town. I rebuilt the 260 v8, the 2 speed ford-o-matic worked good as it was. That power steering with the control valve in the tie rod could cause a lot of play. Looking for parts check larger mercury or newer ford. Armrest I got from full size, turn signal switch had to come form ’64 Fairlane. I was always afraid some idiot would bust a tail light and total the car.

    Like 2
    • HC

      Finding a machine shop that will heat treat older springs is about as easy to find a blacksmith. Hopefully a mid size Fairlane leaf spring replacement wud work. If not maybe a Mustang or Comet.

      Like 1
  8. gaspumpchas

    Think the original mill was 221 CI. Love this, 289 4 speed with a throaty set of duals!! Good luck and stay safe!
    cheers
    GPC

    Like 2
  9. tiger66

    The 260 V8 was standard in the S33, so barring an engine swap this doesn’t have the 221.

    Like 2
  10. Old Car Guy

    Does anyone not do spring treating any more? Spring shops used to heat old springs an bring them back to original specs.

    Like 2
    • Bill Hall

      I think if you do some checking you might find someone. We used to have a couple of spring cos in Portlandia. I think they are around. What kind of work they do now is the question,

      Like 1
  11. Bill Hall

    I learned to drive on one just like an Uncle gave my Dad. Very good car in eventually was totaled in a rear end wreck. But before we put a lot of miles and use in it.

    Like 1
  12. HC

    Loving this mid size Mercury Meteor! Which it was closer than California. Fair price for a rarely seen car.

    Like 1
  13. Lance

    I would definitely give her a heart transplant! An FE engine for sure at least a 390 if not a 427 ! By the size of her I think that some Galaxy parts might cross over but I think here in Canada parts might be more plentiful

    • gaspumpchas

      Lance to shoehorn an FE in there, you would have to modify the shock towers, and believe me its like open heart surgery. Small Block would do nicely without all the trouble. Stay safe and good luck!
      Cheers
      GPC

      • Lance

        To gaspumpchas i have been a body repair man and coach builder for 30 years and removing the shock towers is no big deal ! I would completely change the suspension type! There would be lots of room with lots of modern goodies to make it more drivable! The rear would get a huge upgrade as well!

        Like 1
  14. Richard Sikes Member

    My mom didn’t get her license until 1958 when I was born, and she got her first car, a 1957 Studebaker Silver Hawk, white with red, V-8 auto. A beautiful car. Then, in 1963, someone ran a red light three blocks from our house and T-boned her in the Studebaker, it was totaled, but she and I were ok (no car seat for me of course). My dad went out a bought her a new 1963 Meteor S-33 that must have been the white/red identical twin to this car. She drove it until 1970. She liked it, and said it was the perfect size car, but I always thought the tail lights and fins were outdated in the 1960’s and it looked like it was from the 1950’s. I don’t think I’ve seen another just like it since, until this one.

  15. HC

    I have a 390 in my 65 Full size Mercury and dont believe in this midsize Mercury. A 289 thats built right would do just fine in this Meteor.

    Like 1
    • Robt

      Or a mildly upgraded 351w. A 4 or 5 speed would also be a plus. Front discs from a Granada. …

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