Sitting Since ’65: 1953 Mercury Monterey Convertible

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This 1953 Mercury Monterey Convertible was parked in a shed in 1965, and that is where it has remained until recently. Now that it has been brought out into the light of day, it seems to have survived reasonably well and looks like a pretty decent candidate for restoration. Located in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, it is listed for sale here on eBay.

Time really hasn’t been as hard on this car as it potentially could have been. Rust appears to be limited to some around the rear wheel wells, and a few minor spots in the front floor. The owner seems to think that the rust in the floor could be patched, rather than having to replace the entire floor. There are a few trim pieces missing, including the rocker trim on the passenger side. The bumpers aren’t fitted, but they do come with the car (the rear bumper has been re-plated), and the same is true of the hubcaps. The majority of the glass looks good, with only the rear window on the driver’s side cracked. It also looks like the soft-top will need to be replaced.

The interior of the Mercury is the real surprise packet for me. Given the fact that the car has been sitting for 54-years, and the soft-top looks like it has been gone for some time, the interior is in surprisingly good condition. There is a seam separation on the back of the driver’s seat, but the rest of the upholstery looks to be in good condition. I think that a good clean could make the interior really shine. There is no carpet, and there are a few minor trim items that appear to be missing, but it really doesn’t look like the interior will need much more than some very minor repairs, and a bit of old-fashioned elbow grease. As befits a range-topping vehicle, the Monterey is fitted with power windows and a power seat. One of the really cool features that I’ve always liked is the controls for the heater and ventilation. Those vertical control levers beside the steering wheel look like something straight out of a plane.

Under the hood are the 255ci flat-head V8 engine, backed by the Merc-O-Matic transmission. The owner says that the Mercury doesn’t run, but he also doesn’t indicate whether the engine turns freely. As with the rest of the car, the condition of the engine bay is a pleasant surprise. Everything looks clean under there, and the state of the top hose and clamps suggests that someone may have attempted to revive the car at some point in the past. With 125hp on tap from this engine, performance would not have been as sprightly as the following year’s model fitted with the Y-Block engine (162hp), but it would still have been quite respectable.

As restoration projects go, this Mercury doesn’t look like a bad one and looks like it may be a good one for a first-time restorer to tackle. It really appears to be solid, and it has some nice features and styling queues which should result in an eye-catching car once restored. In 1953, the Monterey Convertible accounted for only 5% of total Monterey production, with 8,463 cars built. Today, a good original Monterey Convertible will fetch prices in excess of $45,000, while a few pristine examples have topped $60,000. The owner of this Monterey Convertible has set a BIN price of $10,200, and with 33 people currently watching the auction, I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets his price.

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. stillrunners

    Does look like a nice one to put back on the road……

    Like 9
  2. Gaspumpchas

    wow-what a beauty, think this is the first year with the merc o matic. Think it might be worth the ask, it seems to be unmolested. Good luck to the new owner!!


    Like 2
    • Will Fox

      `51 was the Merc-O-Matic’s first year.

      Like 0
  3. John C

    He is likely to get his price if engine turns freely and tranny not locked up, then perhaps a realistic price. But, I wouldn’t pay a nickel more.

    I have dealt vehicles that sat extremely long periods. I have learned to add $3,000 to the price, just to return the car to the condition it was in when it was parked. Since so much goes south while sitting. It’s a considerable list.

    Will be a gorgeous vehicle when completely done depending on how far you want to take it.

    The more you can do yourself the better.

    Unless time and money is not an issue, keep in mind could easily take months if not years.

    But appears to have all the potential in the world. Would love to tackle it but wife barking about the ones I have now.

    Good luck to new owner.

    Like 7
  4. BOP_GUY BOP_GUYMember

    When I see ads for vehicles that have been “parked” for 20, 30, 50+ years, I generally roll my eyes and think “yeah right!!” Same with cars that old with “20,000 original miles”. But I’m pleasantly surprised to see so many clues that seem to indicate that this seller’s claims are true. This would make an awesome father/son/daughter project, and that paint may even shine back up with some elbow grease. The upholstery may be able to be saved too, unless some mice have made homes in the seats and left their bodily functions inside. With some additional information about the engine & transmission’s ability to turn or not, the price may be close to reasonable. I agree with John C, after bringing several cars back from the dead of having sat for many years, add at least $3k to the price just to get her up and running again. Beautiful cars and should be saved! If I wasn’t already in the doghouse with three classic cars and two daily drivers, I’d be seriously interested.

    Like 0
  5. JP

    ’53 Mercs are awesome! My Uncle had one that he bought new from the factory. He worked in the Edison plant.After him my dad took it over & I drove it many times. It was a dk green 2drhdtp w/lt green was 3 onthetree & the dashboard looked like an airplane. Great car!

    Like 1
  6. Patrick Shanahan

    My first car. The leather seats of these cars is awesome and I wouldn’t be surprised if they would mostly just need to be cleaned up.

    Like 0

    Good luck finding bumpers for a 66 year old car.

    Like 0
    • moosie Craig M Bryda

      The bumpers are included.

      Like 2
      • BOP_GUY BOP_GUYMember

        Exactly 👍 And one is already rechromed! For some reason, I keep going back and looking at it again and again. I really like this one!

        Like 0
  8. LEMAN


    Like 0

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