Gold, Silver Or Bronze? 1956 Mercury Medalist

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The Medalist was introduced for 1956 as a model at the very bottom of the Mercury line to enable the buy-up from Fords to be easier. Apparently, the strategy was not a success as the model was discontinued after the one year! This original-appearing (see how I avoided the P-word?) car has lost its engine along the way, but is just waiting for you in Minot, North Dakota. It can be purchased here on eBay for the low buy-it-now price of $760. I’ll bet at this point you’re thinking Bronze at best, maybe even no medal at all. But stay tuned!

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You guessed it, there’s another reason this car is inexpensive besides the lack of a 312 V8 powerplant. Rot! After examining the pictures pretty closely, I think the seller’s statement that it “has some typical lower body rust on bottoms of fenders, rockers and lower quarter panels” is pretty accurate. They don’t mention any rust in the floors, and maybe there isn’t any (dream on, Jamie). Still, with the possibility of no floor rust and such a low entry price, maybe you’d give it a medal now?

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A restored one of these isn’t worth a whole lot, either, according to NADA. But I don’t think that’s the point with this car. When I went looking for patch panels, quite frankly I was astonished at the low prices. $27.99 for a complete rocker exterior panel? What? And similar prices on the rest of the panels you might need. Not a lot of silver needed, that’s for sure! Ok, I’m up to giving it a silver medal, especially since it’s a four-door and I can haul my whole family in it easily once I had it back on the road, and even afford to buy them dinner because I didn’t spend everything I had on the car!

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Looking at the interior pictures, I’m starting to believe that lack of floor rust. Maybe I’m not dreaming after all. And it shouldn’t be too hard to get close to that seat upholstery, if not exact. I’d be building it as a driver anyway, so 100% accuracy would not be critical. That being said, if I could find the original fabric, I’d surely use it. The seller tells us that the windshield is cracked, but thanks to it being common with 1955-56 Fords, a new one is easy to find and not terribly expensive either.

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If you look at the lower left of this ’56 Medalist brochure, it describes the four door sedan as “Powerful”. I suppose without an engine, that’s not strictly true, but I look at this as an opportunity! Any number of choices could go back in, from an original 312 V8 to a modern 4.6 modular and anything in between. And if you want that original 312, I found this 1956 Mercury Custom here on eBay where the owner will sell you the entire car or parts of it. Overall, I think this would rate a gold medal from me in the “I wish I could take this project on” category. It sure would be nice to be able to actually afford sheet metal parts! Would you give this Medalist a medal, and if so, what metal would it be made from?

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Comments

  1. KO

    That’s a pretty good lookin car, and Jamie has already sourced an engine. Seems like a smoking deal for the right person.

  2. Glen

    That Mercury custom on ebay states; the engine and trans are already sold.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Bummer. That’s ok, there’s a 312 on my local craigslist, or at least there was earlier today. Personally, I’d have a tough time not putting a modular 4.6 in…😀

  3. Brad

    This could be a neat project. I’d drop the body onto a ex-cop Crown Vic chassis (dozens around here in Chicago for $2K-$3K), and be cruising by June.

  4. geomechs geomechs Member

    It would be a challenge but well worth the effort. I’d try to source out a 312 but I could also drop in a more modern powerplant if the 312 was too hard to find. I’d do a full body-off restoration but as a driver; my concourse quality non-drivers are all 1/24 scale.

  5. gunningbar

    56 mercs had the best tail lights ever

  6. jim

    I had a 55 Montclair back in 1960 after I got out of the service. Only had it a year and the bad winter of 60 and 61 tore it up. Traded it in on a new 61 Falcon.

  7. David G

    Actually neither Gold, Silver, nor Bronze describe its color scheme since i believe that color was offered to the public as ‘Glamour Tan’ in 1956, hahaha!
    I did like your fun with the model name though…

  8. jakoszut

    Actually the Medalist was introduced as a replacement for the Custom, and bringing the Flow-Tone paint trim to the bottom end of the line. It actually had a great run in 56 and was brought back in 58.

    Mercury was the only car in the mid-priced category to maintain it’s position after the banner year of 55. In 55 Mercury sold 329,808 vehicles and 327,943 in 56 which was a recession year, a loss of only 1,865 units.

    None of the other car in the class did nearly as well, for example Pontiac sold 553,808 in 55 but only 405,429 in 56 a loss of nearly 150,000 units. Dodge also lost sales but not nearly as badly.

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