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Period Mods: 1952 Mercury Monterey Convertible

Almost as soon as automobiles became mainstream, people began modifying them. Throughout automotive history people have sought to improve performance, add style, or just make their car more enjoyable to drive. It’s rare to find an old modified vehicle still in one piece, but once in a while a well built one is discovered in an old garage or barn. This 1952 Mercury Monterey Convertible Custom has recently been discovered after being hidden away for the past 30 years in an Ohio Garage. It can be found here on eBay with a current bid of $7,100.

During the ’50s and early ’60s, there was one marque that stood out for customization and that was Mercury. Their cars already had great looks, with their smooth lines, and their size allowed just about any engine to be shoe horned under the hood. This rare convertible has had a lot of work done to it and much of it was done in the early 1960’s. They installed 1956 Buick taillights, decked it, shaved the door handles and side chrome, modified the rear fender chrome trim, frenched the headlights, lengthened the hood scoop, and modified the grill. All of this work gives this car a very unique and clean look. We have no doubt that this Merc would standout at any car show.

The owner who modified this Merc installed a 312 cui Ford Y-block V8, which in stock form easily produces 50 more horsepower than the original 255 cui Flathead V8. To add even more power they installed an Iskenderian E5 camshaft and balanced the internals. They then installed dual 4 barrel carburetors and mounted the engine to a 3 speed manual via a Schiefer flywheel and hydraulic actuated clutch.

The interior is one of the few areas that was left original and looks to be in great condition considering that this is a convertible. But if the odometer is even close to being correct it should be, as the odometer reads an incredibly low 18,670. It appears that the interior and top just need a good cleaning and some protector. Hopefully the back window is removable and still with the car, so that the top can be left original.

The work done to this car appears to have been done correctly and everything looks great. That being said, it’s actually kind of sad that such a rare Mercury has been so heavily modified. There were only 5,261 Monterey Convertibles built in 1952 and there are only 49 still registered for street use. Hopefully the next owner can get it back on the road and bring that number up to 50. Whether they decided to put the car back to original or leave it modified, we will just be happy to see it back on the road.


  1. Anonymous

    That is a great looking car. Wouldn’t mind if it was in my garage!

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  2. Catfishphil

    Very cool – and being such an early modified vehicle, despite being rare, would seem to make it even more desirable…

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  3. Chris H.

    Needs a bath and some widened steel wheels with Olds Fiesta spinner hubcaps (good luck finding a set). I would drive it as is, except maybe change the interior to a more manly color scheme. It looks like my Grandma’s sitting room in there.

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  4. Dolphin Member

    I guess the ‘mag’ wheel movement of the ’70s got to the owner of this custom and he probably did away with whatever had been on the car from the initial customization in favor of these aftermarket aluminum wheels. This car would probably have received something like the Olds Fiesta spinner hubcaps that Chris H. mentioned when it was first customized, and going back to something like that would be better than keeping the wheels that are on it now.

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  5. Anonymous

    I bought this car and agree with what was said about wheels to include olds hub caps or original…also, will leave pretty much as is with super rare E code with 2 holly 4’s….jeff

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  6. jeff

    car was fired up this last weekend…first time in nearly 40 yrs….ran great…now for the wheels tires and 56 merc caps then on the road

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  7. Jose

    Hey, Jeff; would love to see the finished product when you get it done.

    Like 0

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