Rare First Year: 1954 Mercury Monterey Sun Valley

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Gauging the relative rarity of some classics can be challenging, although the frequency with which they cross our desks at Barn Finds seems to be a reasonable guide for domestic models. That brings me to this 1954 Mercury Monterey Sun Vally, which is only the ninth example featured in over a decade. It is a rock-solid and mechanically healthy beast that will benefit from a cosmetic refresh. The seller includes a few parts to help the new owner on that journey, listing the Mercury here on Craigslist in Rindge, New Hampshire. It could be yours for $21,500, and I must say a big thank you to eagle-eyed Barn Finder Mitchell G. for spotting this magnificent Mercury.

The Monterey Sun Valley was Mercury’s version of the Ford Crestline Skyliner, remaining on sale for two years. Both feature tops with a Plexiglass front half to let the sunshine in. Some said it also baked the occupants, although the company claimed there was only around a five-degree difference in interior temperature between a Sun Valley and a regular Monterey Hardtop in direct sunlight. This can probably be attributed to the Green tint embedded into the Plexiglass. However, Mercury did offer an optional sunshade for those wishing to improve the situation. This Sun Valley wears a combination of Parklane Green with a Bloomfield Green top. The exterior isn’t perfect, with the Gray primer on the trunk lid indicating someone commenced restoration. However, completing that task should be relatively easy because the panels are straight, and there is no evidence of rust. There are no close-up shots of the Plexiglass, but there are no glaring signs of distress. The tinted glass is clear, and the seller includes three re-chromed bumpers and some new exterior trim pieces.

The seller supplies no engine photos, but it appears this Sun Valley’s drivetrain is standard Monterey fare. The 1954 model year brought the 256ci Y-Block V8 to replace the antiquated flathead, with shifting duties tackled by a three-speed Merc-O-Matic transmission. The new powerplant made a profound difference to outright performance. The flathead delivered 125hp and 218 ft/lbs of torque, while buyers in 1954 had 160hp and 238 ft/lbs at their disposal. The improvements were measurable on the stopwatch, and the extra power didn’t result in appreciable increases in fuel consumption. The seller indicates this Sun Valley is in excellent mechanical health. Its wide whitewalls are new, and a recent tune-up saw the engine receive new plugs, plug wires, and points. The Mercury is a turnkey proposition that the buyer can enjoy immediately.

Unfortunately, the engine bay isn’t the only aspect of this Mercury where the seller has short-changed potential buyers with photos. There are only two interior shots, so making a definitive assessment of the condition and originality is virtually impossible. What is visible of the Green and White vinyl on the back seat, door trim, and rear seat trims is in good order. There are no visible marks or signs of abuse. The rear parcel tray is clean, and what can be seen of the front seat and dash from the exterior shows promise. The seller is approachable and may be willing to supply extra shots to interested parties.

This is the ninth example of the 1954 Mercury Monterey Sun Valley we have seen at Barn Finds, and that is consistent with the production total. Mercury sold 174,238 Montereys across all body styles in 1954, but only 9,761 people selected the Sun Valley. Interestingly, that doesn’t make it the rarest variant from that model year because 7,293 buyers purchased the Convertible. A Sun Valley typically commands a 50% premium in the classic market compared to a conventional Hardtop, and the seller’s price appears realistic against recent sales results. It has been on the market for under a week, and I believe it won’t take long to find a new home. Are you tempted?

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Comments

  1. Calipag

    I always wonder, what sellers are thinking when they take photo’s of the car they are selling! Most are not taking photo’s of things that interest me when purchasing a car that’s for sure. With that out of the way. It seems like a nice driver, I just wish I had more picture of the bumpers……………………………….smh!

    Like 9
    • Eat Rocks!

      Think about the function of photos in an ad – ideally they should merely let you know if there’s enough potential there to actually go look at the car in person. If you’re a serious prospect for this car I think the photos show enough to motivate one for a personal inspection. It’s funny though, I”ve probably sold 300+ cars over the past 30 years. I think less than a dozen people came and inspected the cars in person first though. Crazy if you ask me! My philosophy when photographing a car – never make it look better than it looks in real life! Unfortunately, most people do just the opposite.

      Like 0
  2. Will Fox

    The Mercury Sun Valley is tops on my bucket list. I’ve wanted one since I was about 11 or 12. While prices for the very best ones are near $50K, $21,500. doesn’t sound too bad for this example. Overall it looks very solid and well kept. While I’d love a `54, the ultra-rare `55 model is my dream car. Nearly bought a `55 Montclair Sun Valley when I was 15, but Dad said “no!” with no idea what it was worth. To him it was just something to take up space in the driveway. My dreams were dashed.

    Like 17
    • Carol Hinton

      My friendship got a ‘56 Ford Skyliner for her graduation. (We graduated in 1960.) People never believe that a car existed with a plastic roof. A while back Hallmark came out with a Christmas ornament of the Ford skyline. It is the closest I got to ever owning one. I’m debating Mercury Sun Valley or new kitchen and garage and sadly the home improvements are winning.

      Like 0
      • al

        no don’t do it can always get kitchen but how often do you get the chance to get one of the greatest cars ever made

        Like 0
    • al

      I also have always loved this car I was 9 years old friend of mine and me walked to a Lincoln mercury dealership near our homes and on the showroom floor was this exact same car I fell in love and have been ever since all the cars I have owned new had this car my dream car

      Like 1
  3. Big C

    I like the before and after headlight bezels! And that restoration started on the trunk was probably his wife backing out the Tahoe, without looking in the camera! Anyway, a nice Merc. GLWTS

    Like 5
  4. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac DivaMember

    My uncle had one of these, abait not a Sun Valley, but just a regular Mercury in the same mint green. Gave it to my mother when he bought his Jaguar. It was one of the nicer cars my mother got to drive, until coming home from church one Sunday. Pull into the driveway and there, in front of the garage, was the replacement my father picked out. A maroon 1949 Plymouth. God, I hated that car!
    The Merc was a nice car. Power steering, brakes, auto. Pretty green, long and stylish. Didn’t have it long though. Then, my brother had two sitting down behind the barns, a ’55 & a ’56. I don’t think either ran. They sat there for a good while. I used to play in them.

    Like 4
    • Yblocker

      So we replaced a 54 Mercury with a 49 Plymouth? Alrighty then

      Like 0
  5. Jay Santos

    The ’54 through ’56 Mercs were some of the best looking cars of the Fifties.

    You won’t find many of these at the coffee cruise and not at this price.

    Those “three re-chromed bumpers” alone would be worth two grand apiece.

    Like 5
  6. Herbert

    Great cars, this would look fine in my driveway. Better yet, with chubby old me behind the wheel. When I was over seas, this ihers the kind of cars I dreamed of at night.

    Like 2
  7. Yblocker

    When I teenager, I used to collect abandoned old cars from farmers for cheap, one I bought was a nice 54 Monterey 2dr hdtp, for $10, with no engine or transmission. My first high school car that I actually drove, was a 59 Cadillac. One night I was driving home through a canyon near where I lived, and hit a fallen rock, and pretty well demolished the front suspension. A few days later, I got a wild idea, I towed the Cadillac and the Mercury up to my high school shop class to do a swap. With the help of my shop teacher and the local machine shop, I suddenly had a 54 Monterey with 325hp, and a Cadillac 390 that was now packing about 1500lbs less weight. The end result was one fast 54 Mercury, that thing would fly. Of course now, 50+ years later, such a transplant would be against my religion, but it was a blast at the time

    Like 14
  8. Ted Land

    I have a vivid memory of a 53 Mercury with the Plexiglass roof. I can recall the taillights and flathead under the hood. The pretty young mother of one of my fellow Cub Scouts drove it. Was if a prototype?
    A one-off custom? Rohm and Haas in my hometown of Knoxville , Tennessee, manufactured Plexiglas, and could have made the tops for the Sun Valley. The Merc was dark green and had wire wheels. As a preteen, I lusted after both the car and the pretty mama.

    Like 1
  9. jetfire88

    The ’54 glasstops were available with the OHV 6 cylinder, my neighbor had one, which his father bought new, and which unfortunately was destroyed in a barn fire.
    I no longer remember if they had an outside emblem denoting engine type like later models.

    Like 0
    • Yblocker

      No Mercury ever came with a 6cyl in the 50s

      Like 4
    • Roger Clayton Simpson

      i owened one 6 cylinder was not a opstion

      Like 0

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