Tuesday, August 9, 2016

1963 Mercury S-55

Barn Finds reader Harlan B. writes: Another 2 door Breezeway–this one looks right and price is not too bad either. This is not far from me but I do not know the seller or the car. I never really liked these but they are kind of cool now as you rarely see them. Thanks, Harlan, for the great find! It’s listed for sale here on craigslist and is located in Warr Acres, Oklahoma. The seller is asking $5,900.

In 1962, Mercury introduced the S-55 as a special, performance-oriented variant of its big cars (the S-55 was based on the Monterey). This one is still largely original, and may even be wearing its original paint–the worn areas on the hood certainly look that way. I’m not sure how I feel about the Crager SS mag wheels but I would leave them alone for the time being. The seller notes that the original wheels and hubcaps go with the sale, so you have a choice.

From this angle you can see the reverse slope rear window that can be lowered, giving the Breezeway it’s cheerful name. This was a fairly unique feature (the lowering, not the reverse slope, although that’s unusual as well) in it’s day. Although I personally like the fastback version better, this is certainly an unusual car and I’ll bet someone would love it!

Nice looking dash, and yes, that is air conditioning under the dash, although the seller tells us it doesn’t work. I don’t think we need the fuzzy dice either, but that’s personal preference as well.

The seller tells us that this is the original 390 V8 engine, which was rated at either 300 or 330 horsepower, depending on the option. The odd patterns on the air cleaner look like someone tried to pressure wash something off of it, don’t they? Regardless, this is a nice old car, which while not a “survivor” in that it’s not stellar in appearance, still has a lot of cruising life left! How would you like to take a “breezy” cruise?

Source: barnfinds.com

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Have You Ever Heard Of A Mercury Truck?

That’s right, it’s a Mercury truck! As it turns out, due to some interesting dealer regulations, Mercury dealers in Canada got to sell trucks that were largely but not entirely re-badged Ford trucks. This one is a 1962 “unibody” Mercury M-250 (think F-250) with a V-8. It’s located in Canada, but if the purchaser is in the US, the seller will transport the car over the border and handle the necessary paperwork to sell it in North Dakota. It’s for sale here on eBay where bidding is just over $1,000 without a reserve as I write this.

I’m not sure whether this color scheme is original; I can’t imagine a black tailgate and hood with a red and white body, but I suppose you never know. I actually kind of like the way it looks! The dog-dish hub caps are original and all four are there. All of the Mercury emblems are there as well; I would imagine those would be pretty difficult to find, especially in the USA.

The seller states that the floor is in very good condition, with a small rust hole on the driver’s side and another small rust hole on the passengers side step. I’m not sure what the dark spot at the rear of the driver’s side front fender is. I do like how long the bed is; it certainly makes the truck more usable and I think the two-tone paint treatment really works.

As you might expect, the interior is pretty well-worn, but you can see the bright red and white that the truck was originally. I know a lot of folks would leave the paint alone, but I think this one would look gorgeous restored with a fresh coat of red and white paint. I’d have to find a Mercury club somewhere to show it off to afterwards! However, I think the condition of the interior means this has 136,000 rather than 36,000 miles.

Here’s the Y-block 292 V-8. That unusual cross-over pipe in the front is stock; anyone know details on that? The truck is said to run and drive well, and the seller has videos of it running and a 5 degree cold start that they will send to anyone interested. I know I’d be interested if things were a little different, but I’ll have to leave this one for someone else. Is it you?

Source: barnfinds.com

1987 Mercury Cougar 20th Anniversary Edition

This 1987 Mercury Cougar 20th Anniversary Edition here on eBay has only 2,700 original miles and it’s already got a bid at $7,000. After seeing one of these in excellent condition at a you-pull-it this weekend, I’ve become a bit enamored with the concept of the 5.0 V8 in front while being coddled by a Mercury-like ride on the inside. Does this gentleman’s Mustang scream hairdresser’s car or is it an emerging classic? 

The interior is actually a pleasant blend of comfort and style, and seems well-organized by 1980's standards. The digital dashboard is equal parts futuristic and gimmicky but it works in a car like this. As you might expect, the low mileage translates to excellent seating surfaces and carpets, along with wood trim that appears unblemished from age.

The venerable 5.0 is almost synonymous with 1980's vestiges of power and status, thanks to Vanilla Ice. In this application, it feels a bit subdued, almost secondary to the Cougar’s stylish appearances. This is one of the last times I can remember Mercury having a car that truly stood out as unique and not just a quick re-hash of an existing model. Although the Lincoln Mark VII was a similar take on the same concept, the Cougar’s styling set it apart (to my eyes, anyway).

This is the view that puts this Cougar into a category all its own: the wraparound tail lights with the Cougar emblem in the reverse lenses and that rear quarter window that dramatically cuts inward as it slopes down to the door. Combined with factory wheels whose offset seems to favor an aggressive stance and this becomes one of my favorite versions of Mercury’s big coupe. How would you take your 5.0 V8 sled – the Lincoln, Mustang or Cougar?

Source: barnfinds.com

1956 Mercury Medalist

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!

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?

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!

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.

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?

Source: barnfinds.com

1966 Mercury Monterey

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This 1966 Mercury Monterey is listed on Craigslist and is located in the capital of Montana: Helena. What a great-looking design this is! The seller is asking $3,000 for this somewhat rare fastback-style two-door hardtop and it’s just waiting there in Montana for you to buy it and finish it up.

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This middle-child Mercury was redesigned in 1965 to try and take advantage of the popularity of its direct descendant and big brother, the slab-sided Lincoln Continental. I think that this fastback version of the Monterey is fantastic. They made the fastback in the second half of 1966 as sort of an update of the notchback two-door hardtop design that was available in the first half of 1966.

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This is one straight car! This Merc is well on its way to being a show-stopper. The seller has already cut out all of the rust and welded in new metal and primed it so it’s ready for a few finishing touches and some paint. He mentions that this car “runs and drives very well” and that it has a new starter and that “all glass is good, trim is good, everything works as it should.”

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This is the smallest engine available in the Monterey for 1966, but even at that it’s impressive. This 390 V8 2-barrel has 275hp and I’m sure that it will blow the doors off of most modern vehicles, at least while going in a straight line. For 1966, the Monterey transmission options were either a 3 or 4-speed manual or two automatic choices: Ford’s C6 or a Merc-O-Matic 3-speed automatic. They sure had cool names for transmissions in previous decades!  The seller mentions that this car has power steering and gearing for quiet highway cruising. This is one car that I’d love to cruise in! Are you a fan of this generation of Mercury?

Source: barnfinds.com

1971 Mercury Grand Marquis Coupe

Apart from the period aluminum wheels, this 1971 Mercury Grand Marquis is remarkably stock. It’s been garaged for it’s entire life, which lately has been in Avondale, Arizona. The owner doesn’t give a reason for selling, but they believe it’s a two-owner car (so I’m guessing perhaps three-owner if you include the current seller?). If you are interested in pursuing this giant coupe, it’s being offered here on eBay.

The big coupe has some shiny paint, although the seller admits it’s a repaint from somewhere along the line. There’s what looks like some damage right behind the right rear tires, and another problem in the right door. As a whole, though, both the chrome and the paint look pretty nice.

Ok, we have a wrinkle in the plan. Actually, we have a wrinkle in the door! Despite what the seller says, this will be a somewhat difficult repair to get correct (at least for the home restorer). On the bright side, white is the best color to hide bodywork (of course, that means you need to look this car over closely for previous work) and the seller’s assertion that you can match the paint is probably true. I’m hoping someone recorded the paint code so that it’s even easier.

You can see some minor wear on the car in the front, and some possible misalignment of the headlight doors, but overall I’m just happy to see that shiny chrome. I can fiddle with the fits, and touch up the paint, but rechroming is expensive!

The seller is very enthusiastic about the interior. While there are some nice features, and it’s obviously original, I’d like it better if there weren’t two tears in the driver’s seat, if the fading weren’t true at the top of the seats, and if the dash mat were not in place so I could see if the dash pad was cracked or if the mat was a preventative measure against the Arizona sun.

The star of the show for me is the 429 cubic inch V8, which almost unbelievably only has a two-barrel carburetor. It may not be original, but one of the first things I’d do is install a four-barrel to unleash the power of the huge engine. The ice-cold air conditioning and general clean appearance are pluses as well. I think this would be a great weekend driver (and even during the week with current gas prices) as a very distinctive coupe. What do you think? Feel like making an offer?

Source: barnfinds.com

1978 Mercury Zephyr

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Merle Haggard’s home town of Bakersfield, CA is where this beauty can be found. I can’t imagine Mr. Haggard driving a light blue 1978 Mercury Zephyr, but who knows. This one is here on craigslist with an asking price of $5,000. Not a small chunk-o-change, but this non-haggard car looks like it’s in showroom condition.

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This whole era was somewhat maligned for its combination of regulations and build-quality. I was just coming into my driving age around the late-70s so I’m a fan of vehicles from that time. Who’s with me on that?! (crickets)

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There is no denying that this car is in fantastic shape. Like Mr. Haggard, even the color of this car is non-pretentious, it’s simply known as “Medium Blue”. Merle would be proud. 1978 was the first year for Mercury bringing back the Zephyr name, here as a fancy twin to the Ford Fairmont and a replacement for the Mercury Comet, believe it or not. Of course, the Comet was a fancy twin for the Ford Maverick. What a change.

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Unfortunately, there are no interior or engine photos of this car, but the seller says that this car has 61,000 miles and has a “6 cylinder engine with automatic transmission a/c and heater work tagged and smogged ready to go”. This car would have about 85 hp, which is a bit less than some owners’ cars have. The interior doesn’t look plaid to me, judging by the photos in the ad, which is a shame. Plaid interiors are always so much more interesting than solid colors are, as are plaid pants, which you most likely would have had on if you got one of these new in 1978. I’m guessing that it would look like this inside of this blue beauty.
If a person was looking for an unusual, nice, inexpensive newer-yet-older car for goofing around with on weekends, this one would surely stand out in the crowd. When the late-70s cars came out, like this nice non-haggard Zephyr, did you ask yourself, Are The Good Times Really Over For Good?

Source: barnfinds.com