Face Off: American BattleWagons

BattleWagons

Enter the BattleWagons: that’s the theme of this week’s Face Off, along with an emphasis on bringing some vintage family haulers back from the dead. Copart offers a wealth of once-great vehicles in their Classics section, and it’s a serious productivity killer to wonder if you could affordably rescue some derelict project gone stale. In today’s Face Off, we have a 1969 Mercury Meteor station wagon squaring off against a 1975 Dodge Monaco, and despite being listed on a site like Copart, both seem reasonably ready to return to the road. Let’s see what it would take to start building some new memories in these road-trip-friendly cruisers.

1969 Mercury Meteor1969 Mercury Meteor Motor

As with most Copart listings, these are auctions listings but you can buy the Monaco for $2,300 if you want to skip the incremental bidding process. But is it worth it? It looks reasonably straight, with faded and blistering paint its greatest visible offense. The interior is obviously tired and there’s some serious sag happening at the rear due to flat tires, but if you’re buying a car from Copart, fresh suspension and rubber should be on your list of assumed needs. While the Monaco is perhaps most famous for its starring role in the original Blues Brothers movie, there were some other achievements worth noting: a Cleaner Air System helped reduce emissions, and the Monaco also featured side-impact beams in the doors. You could even purchase an optional vehicle security system, if theft was ever a concern.

1975 Dodge Monaco

If you clicked on the listing for the Mercury above, you likely noticed that Copart has this erroneously listed as a Merkur Scorpio, a European import sold at Mercury dealers in the 80s. I believe it’s because this is a Canadian-market Meteor, an offshoot of the Mercury family sold as its own brand by Ford of Canada. That might also explain the Meteor badging on the front clip and tailgate. Since these were Canadian market vehicles, I suspect many have long since succumbed to rust. There’s a devoted following for these re-badged Mercurys within the Station Wagon Forums message board, but I doubt any of them even know this Meteor is hidden under the wrong name on the Copart website!

1975 Dodge Monaco Interior

So, two cool wagons that need a resurrection: which would you choose? My brother actually owned a Monaco wagon for a short while after buying it on a whim; shortly after driving it for the first time, he decided land-barge ownership was not for him and it was hastily sold to an overseas collector. While I love the idea of a spacious vintage wagon for roadtrips, I shudder at the thought of parking it given my urban limitations on vehicle storage. For those of you with some wide open spaces, would you give either of these Copart classics home? Let us know in the comments below which one and why.

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. jim s

    i would take the mercury with the 6 cyl motor and body on frame. all i would need is a conversion to manual transmission. also need to fix whatever is wrong with the gas tank setup in this car. both wagons are interesting finds.

  2. tom S.

    A source I found online states that Dodge produced 8,019 units of the Monaco wagon in 1975 out of 342,514 of all models, or just 2.3% of their total volume. If that’s accurate the Monaco is really kind of a rare barge. This was at a time when Mopar sales were really falling, and build quality was generally poor (my dad’s ’75 Cordoba was a real turd), during the lead-up to the the federal bailout in 1979. So maybe that means a decent example should be preserved, if you want to be the guy who collects examples of bad cars.

    I imagine the Mercury could be more easily returned to service and is probably the better car. The Copart listing also says the Dodge has no keys, but the Mercury does. Once you figure out how to get an ignition key and unlock the steering, you could try to get the Dodge running. I think it’s a year too old for Mopar’s “Lean Burn” emissions system, so perhaps it could be made to run OK without too much trouble.

  3. Vince Habel

    This is a Royal Monaco. I had a 75 Royal Brougham. They are nice road cars. I don’t see what engine is in this. Mine had a 400. The 440 would have been a better choice. Gas mileage was only a little over 15 on the highway. We made a few cross country trips in it and they were enjoyable.

  4. Warren

    Canadian Ford?

  5. Rich

    Just a caveat to any who are interested in using Copart to be aware of the additional fees they tack on to the purchase price.

  6. MikeH

    Jeff, I agree with your brother. I love seeing these huge old land yachts at car shows but would never really want to own one. They had serious quality issues when new and I’m sure they didn’t get better as they aged.

  7. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    I’d take the Mercury; that Ford inline 6 is a good engine.

  8. Nick

    The Meteore was aFord product made for Canada only, the y were base on Ford existing products like the Acadian products for GM. The American cars manufactures are good for doing clones of there products. Even after there bail out in 2009, there still doing it like the GM Chev. Trax and the Buick Encore. Interesting find. Continue the good work guys.

  9. Chebby

    Does anyone know what the fender badge says, the word before ‘500’? I can’t make it out but doesn’t look like any Mercury name I’ve ever heard of.

    Compound the paint with Bon Ami, add some Mexican blankets and maybe a few hop-up parts from Clifford and it would be a pretty cool surf wagon.

    • Don

      Chebby-just, had a quick look, to confirm that, which I thought. The badging says ‘Rideau 500’, which was around, for our Canadian models, through, to the mid-seventies. The reason
      that I had a look and, wanted to answer your question, is that my Dad had a ’73 two-door; medium blue, w/a white vinyl roof. Beautiful car and, it was mine, for a time, after he bought
      a new ’82 (‘goldenrod’ color)Chrysler New Yorker. Thanks, for getting me posting, for the first
      time, Chebby!
      Don

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