Needs Finishing: 1954 Mercury Monterey Sun Valley

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Many enthusiasts avoid tackling another person’s unfinished project build. There is always a lingering doubt that doing so may open a can of worms. However, when it is a car like this 1954 Mercury Sun Valley, it is a different ballgame. The finish line is within sight on this build, and it appears that everything required to transform this classic into a stunning cruiser is included. Even the asking price makes this Mercury look affordable and tempting, and I must say a big thank you to Barn Finder T.J. for spotting this beauty.

Mercury granted the Monterey standalone model status in 1952 as it unveiled its latest offering. It targeted the Pontiac Chieftain and Buick Special as its main opposition, releasing the Monterey in four body styles. The Sun Valley joined the range in 1954 as the cousin of the Ford Crestline Skliner. It features the same Plexiglass roof panel to provide the feel of a traditional Convertible with the weather protection of a family Sedan. The seller tackled our feature car as a long-term build, lavishing plenty of TLC on this classic. They replaced the rear quarter panels, rockers, and front fenders to return the vehicle to a rust-free state. Once the panels were massaged to perfection, they applied the striking and attractive two-tone Parklane Green with Bloomfield Green paint. The car presents nicely, and since it hasn’t seen active service, there hasn’t been the chance for it to accumulate chips or other imperfections. The roof panel is in good order, and the trim looks exceptional. There are no visible glass issues, and the vehicle rolls on its original steel wheels with hubcaps and wide whitewalls.

The 1954 model year marked two milestones for the Monterey. It brought the Sun Valley to Mercury showrooms, but the biggest news hid under the hood. The venerable 255ci flathead V8 that served the company so effectively was placed out to pasture, and the 256ci Y-Block took its place. The upgrade’s impact was profound because while the flathead generated 125hp and 218 ft/lbs of torque, the Y-Block pushed those figures to 161hp and 238 ft/lbs. Unsurprisingly, the latest model offered significant improvements in both acceleration and top speed. The first owner teamed this car’s V8 with the three-speed Merc-O-Matic transmission, ensuring a relaxed driving experience. The restoration included a mechanical refresh, with the seller stating the engine has accumulated less than an hour’s running since work ended. The fuel tank is new, they rebuilt the brakes, but there is a transmission leak for the buyer to address. Otherwise, returning this Mercury to its rightful place on our road shouldn’t pose too many challenges.

The builder has remained faithful with this restoration, retrimming the interior in the correct combination of White and Turquoise vinyl. The dash is complete, and the seats have been installed, but the buyer faces the task of adding the finishing touches. That will consume more time than money because it appears the required components are included and ready to install. The stash consists of the remaining upholstered components, a carpet set, and the hard-trim items. There is no visible wear, and this interior will turn heads once bolted together.

The seller listed this 1954 Mercury Monterey Sun Valley here on Facebook Marketplace in Des Moines, Iowa. Their price of $14,000 looks exceptionally competitive, especially considering recent successful sales results and how little work the new owner needs to perform to complete the restoration. Mercury only produced 9,761 of these classics, making them relatively rare. Are you tempted to tackle this unfinished project? I won’t blame you if you do.

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  1. Todd J. Todd J.Member

    At first I thought this was the same car that appeared on BF in April, but it’s not and this looks like a much better deal.

    Like 5
  2. RICK W

    A family friend had one in same color. The main issue was the plexiglass roof. Without a sun shade, 🌞 and no AC, the heat buildup was intense even in the Midwest. 🔥 🔥 🔥.But as a time capsule, it could be a HOT 🔥 deal!

    Like 7
    • jetfire88

      They did come with a sunshade. It was like a window shade that was pulled forward from the rear of the plexiglas window and attached above the windshield.

      Not sure if it was standard or an option, nor if was available for all years of the glasstop.

      A good friend inherited the ’54 his dad bought new at the end of the ’54 model year. It was a rare variant because it had the six cylinder and automatic. Unfortunately it was destroyed in a building fire many years ago while under restoration.

      Like 2
      • al

        you sure it wasn’t a ford skyline they had same glass top and did come with a 6 cly mercury never had a 6cly in the 50s

        Like 1
  3. Don Page Jr.

    Looks identical to the one in the movie Peggy Sue Got Married.

    Like 1
  4. "Edsel" Al leonardMember

    Again, why FB????

    Like 4
  5. Bobdog

    This is nice, might need a trans rebuild, other than that a few months of weekend work on it will produce a really cool ride! The price is good for what it already is, rebuilt engine, good paint and interior, looks like a 20k car, jump on it if you can!

    Like 4

    I grew up in a 54 Merc, we had it for many years as my mother inherited it when she started driving about 1960, when the old man was getting a new merc every year from his work.
    I had the back seat of that 54 all to myself and loved it when the old girl went shopping or out for a cruise. I inherited the car when I started driving in 67. I was amazed that my little fragile mother could drive that tank at all.

    Like 3
  7. Rick

    This car has been upgraded with a twin chamber master cylinder. Plus, a spin-on oil filter has replaced the cartridge version. Right there are a couple of good selling points.

    Like 3
  8. 8banger 8bangerMember

    What are those levers just before the steering wheel?

    Like 1
    • Rick

      The heater and defroster controls if I remember correctly.

      Like 2
  9. Robert HagedornMember

    We had a ’54 Monterey in the same color. The car was too heavy for the two-speed automatic transmission. It was a beautiful car but the four-barrel carburetor was a disaster. Ford designed the back two barrels to be vacuum-assisted when opening instead of mechanical like other manufacturers. When floored and dropped into passing gear the car barely accelerated but the engine rpm increased dramatically. My dad finally wired the back two barrels shut to prevent opening so we had a two-barrel. This produced a significant improvement in passing power, gas mileage, and general performance.

    Like 0
  10. al

    I have been in love with the sun valley merc since the first time I saw one on the show room floor in 1954 I was 8 years old and in love still love them and all 1954 Mercury’s great looking cars

    Like 3
  11. Jasieu

    Adam, forgive me for being a nit-picker, but I’m older than you (probably a lot older), and I know these things.

    First of all, those are “wheel covers”, not “hub caps”. Secondly, those are not “wide whitewalls”, which are the proper name for the kind found on cars of the forties; the Merc is a child of the fifties, so call ’em “two inchers”, OK? And you can call me a nit-picker, too. ;-)

    Like 3
    • al

      you are rt they are wheel cover hub caps where small and just covered the center of the rim only hup caps I liked where baby moons t we always referred to white walls as just white walls in the 50s and I was born in 1945 so I remember the 50s in the 40s they where wide white walls in 60s starting in 1961 they where narrow white walls 50s just white walls now different parts of country call things different names I grew up in Boston

      Like 2
  12. Michael Berkemeier

    Hmmmmm…those rocker panels look horrible. Look at the transition from the bottom of the fenders to the rockers on both sides. Someone will have a lot of body work to fix. Probably explains the “great deal”, lol!!! Sometimes I wonder how the writers miss such obvious red flags. I feel bad for the person that buys anything based on the rave reviews BF gave a car.

    Like 1
    • Bobdog

      Definitely a closer in person, if possible, look will be required at those rockers.

      Like 0

    That’s a lot of car for the money.

    Like 0

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