33k Mile Survivor: 1955 Mercury Montclair

right rear

This was the first year for the Montclair and you don’t see them very often. Jesse wrote up one in June with an interesting story. This one is  listed on craigslist in Orlando, Florida and has an interesting history as well. The original owner drove it until 1971, covering only 33,000 miles and then parked it because she was too old to drive any longer. The seller is asking $7,450. Thanks to Larry in Orlando for the tip.


It is said to be rust free because it was from Northwest Georgia, far from the ocean and snowy salted roads. He does admit to a few pinholes in the floor, though, and where there are pinholes how can there not be more rust. He has not tried to start it. It would be nice to have a peek at the interior to see what sort of tenants the rodents have been. What do you think this old Mercury might be worth? A really nice condition 2 car would only be worth $25,000 or less, so it would not pay to restore it. Perhaps one could get this running and driving and enjoy it the way it is, patina and all.


  1. Mark E

    You beat me to it! I was gonna say get this running, get vanity plates ‘PATINA 1’ and enjoy driving it!

  2. Michael Jacobs

    The car is not worth that kind of money….its a 4 door and not really rare at all..it needs a full restoration..you can buy these cars fully done all day for 10 to 15 grand….there is no way that car has that low of miles in that state..Id say tack another 100 thousand on top…Id part with 3 or 4 grand the way it sits….

    • PaulG

      Michael, looks like a 2 dr. hdtp. to me. That said, the mileage would have to be verified with a PPI. Interesting color combination…

    • RayT Member

      Looks suspiciously like a two-door to me. Don’t know how “rare” those are.

      This wouldn’t be my first — or tenth, or even twenty-fifth — choice to restore, but it’s sad to see everyone going for the “not worth restoring” refrain. It’s not in the worst shape in the world — contrast it with the 356 posted yesterday, which some apparently felt was restorable — and there may well be at least one person out there who could/would do the job and feel their money was well-spent.

      Like every other car, it’s worth what you’re willing to pay for it. I’ve seen restored Plymouth Cranbrooks, and their owners seemed perfectly happy with the result.

      This is still a hobby, and one person’s junkheap is another’s prized jewel!

      • grant

        Thanks for saying that. If someone doesn’t save these now, there won’t be any later.

      • PaulG

        Well said Ray.

    • jim BROWN

      Two door in the photo I see.

    • Jason Houston

      Don’t know what car you’re referring to, but this ain’t no 4-door!

    • Mike

      Are you counting the hood and trunk deck, or are the pictures I see that of a different car?

  3. Mark S

    Michael I think you should take a second look, I’m seeing a 2 door hard top which is fairly rare. It is possible for this car to have 33K on it,this is what out door storage does to a car. This is a 6K to 7K car all day long.

  4. J Lemay

    This thing is perfect just the way it is.

  5. Luke Fitzgerald

    see if the one in WY is still for sale – thats the car

  6. Michael Jacobs

    Im sorry guys..it is a two door and not 4 door…I was looking at so much on the net I typed wrong…but the two door is rare kind of..but not this type of money..over the years I have looked at a lot of cars…this one has more than likely been outside ..there is no way that engine bay would look like that if inside a garage or the patina…dont buy it still..that its a low mileage car…the odmeter on these cars just keep turning over when 99 thousand plus..and starting back at zero…

    • Mark S

      I’ve said this before the answer to the mileage question is hidden in the engine, cylinder wall wear and the presence of cylinder hone cross hatching in a good indicator of miles. The big American engines are cast iron and cross hatch would almost be gone by this mileage. If you have a scope you could pull a spark plug and scope threw the hole if you don’t have a scope pull a head.

  7. Jim Marshall

    I had one of these as my second car back in 1960. I can’t recall the mileage, but it had many issues. Rear main leaked, door latches wore out, brakes went. Just to get one road worthy would be expensive and then to add body and interior restoration your looking at much more than it would be worth.

  8. JB1971SX Member

    “The original owner drove it until 1971, covering only 33,000 miles and then parked it…” Where? In a swamp?! Sheesh.

  9. Mark S

    Classy looking car I like it better than the Chevys. I think that some of you guys need to reassess your reason for being interested in the vintage car hobby. If all your interested in is flipping for a profit, then cars like this are domed to the crusher. I get the sense that not many of you are really interested in saving an restoring these cars. If you really are passionate about the hobby you got to know that your not going to get rich restoring cars. And you should consider other more lucrative business ventures.

    • Jason Houston

      Thank you, Mark, I agree 100%. Way too many critics here seeing these cars as just cheap flip projects, and not fun restoration projects. This is a comparatively scarce model, it has original paint and a straight body, and fits well with any 55-56 Ford set. Just because the paint is shot doesn’t give it a ticket to the crusher! It’s an easy restoration, common parts availability, great colors and time will always catch up with the resto costs.

  10. S.Brodie

    The idea of retaining the sorry finish on such a potentially beautiful car does not sit well with me. Old trucks and farm machinery that aren’t too badly beat up look good in original “patina”, but this fine automobile needs a quality paint job at a minimum. It all depends upon what is left of the interior. Is it useable or needs minor repairs, is the chrome pitted and rusty? Sometimes the potential owner can not purchase a restored machine but can get into a project car and as money permits drive, enjoy, and restore his ride These are very nice cars, but one has to have more information before a purchase decision can be made.

  11. Jerry

    The VIN tag sure looks to be in nice condition. You could always build a new car around that.

  12. AMCFAN

    Mark S The alure for many isn’t to flip but regardless if you have money or on a budget in some cases you need an exit plan. You start the project Life happens and you need to move it and move on. The Merc isn’t popular as the Chevrolets like it or not. The cost to restore the Chevrolet is going to be cheaper. You will never have to advertise trying to sell it if something happens. The Tri Fives will always sell. Buying specific parts for the Mercury are unobtainum. Just trying to service the original motor, starter water pump. master cylinder and brakes. The guys who sell Lincoln,Mercury parts know that. A friend had an original 1957 Lincoln 2 dr. Hardtop. the car ran. He priced an nos waterpump $250. The master cyl was another issue. The parts did not interchange with other Ford products much like the Mercury. Decided to pull the Lincoln motor and frame swap in a 2002 Crown Vic Police chassis and Interceptor motor. Makes perfect sense. Even used the digital dash. Now it can be driven anywhere. It handles and stops much better. Has A/C too. A fantastic build and on the cheap. Drives it everywhere. Can get parts at Autozone too. Sad but true. There is a lot of other vehicles more desireable in the $7500 range. The seller needs to get realistic on this one. Have seen these in the $2000-$2500 range in about the same condition. The 56 is a better car. Has the T-Bird 312 as an option. The 55’s look like a Packard Clipper from the same year.

    • Mark S

      amcfan thanks for your opinion, I agree that restomods are a cheep way to build up a car like this, I fact in some cases it’s the way to go. The point I was trying to make is it seems like these less desirable cars like this just seem to get passed around by flippers and never get restored / restomoded until there lost. To give you an idea of restoring an interior cheep my 51 dodge got the seats out of a 05 LHS way nicer seat then the original front and back $120.00 gray leather no tears or wear. Sewed my own head liner material $80.00 door cards materials $100.00 have not done carpets yet. So I believe if you are resorseful and willing to learn as you go and do your own work this car could be refurbished for $5000.00.

  13. piper62j

    I had a 56 Monterey (I think) and driving it to my first duty base at Ft. Bragg, one of the rear leaf springs broke on rt-1.. (Rt 95 had not been finished up in New England yet) as I was driving south.. Scared the heck out of me..

    These were heavy cars and chassied off the 55 & 56 Ford full sized bodies..

  14. scooby

    Myself i see artwork,I would love to have one,This one would do fine. You guys Dont know me but you should/will. Now Boys Dig those lines& the Stance it already has a choped look to it,and wazzat Baby moons. Gift it to me and After i 60s VOODOO Beep ityou all would Druel,.
    Id Body off Blast,Braze,Seal. Strait sheet inner fendwells then the Goodies moma warnd your dad about,a Scooby Built 427ci side oiler drysump,10.7 comp,Hyd lifters,Roll Rocks (more forgiving when full throttle)Grandpas Ribbd high oval port heads&matching Dual Fours Intake,twin Predators,Scooby Built ICE AIR Induction, NOS plausable? PEEDE DYNO at peak pwr curv 5,650 RPM Trumped 637HP +/- 15 hp,. Ok trimins,D Nash 5 speed long tail,linked to a N-Beast-9 with around 2.90s Gear ,EZ soting coil overs,wilwood pedal power all 4/antilok,(mite want to come back from Mach1 safely). Two Tone pearl blood red on top of stoplite yellow and GHOST RALLEY STRIPES!! and then id hand you the keys ONCE. ps please be a sweetie and wipe the seatie wen your finished,,,LOL.

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