No Limits Magazine from the Auto History Preservation Society
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Friday March 20, 2015
Mercury from 1954 to 1958: First Trim - then Titanic! Tech, News, Period Ads, Road Tests, Brochures, Magazines and More!

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1958 Cadillac Series 60 Special

Cadillac 1954-1958 - Showing it
was "The Standard of the World"

1957 Super 88 Convertible

Oldsmobile 1954-1958 - The Rocket Grows in Size and Power!

Bonno 1957 Chevrolet

This 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air is James Bonno's Legacy to his Father

1957 Fuel Injected Pontiac Bonneville

Pontiac 1955-1958 - From Stodgy
L-Head Straight Eights to Hot V-8s!

1966 Olds Toronado Cutaway

1966 Toronado Makes US Front
Wheel Drive Cars a Reality

1964 Plymouth Sport Fury Hardtop

Plymouth 1961-65: From
Disaster to Stability

1950 Mercury Coupe

Mercury's Post War "Flathead" Years

1949 Olds 98 Holiday Hardtop

The Oldsmobile 303 Rocket Years

1968 GTO COTY Ad

The Pontiac Performance Years

1956 Plymouth Belvedere

The Plymouth "Forward Look"
Years Detailed

1961 Starfire

GM Personal Luxury Cars
1961-65

1970 Performance Car Chronicles

What We're Preserving
and How We Store It

July 1969 Car Life Magazine

The Treasures of the Society's Magazine Archive

The 1957 DeSoto Adventurer

1946-1961 DeSoto
A Great Brand Declines

The 1946 Hudson

Hudson 1946-1957
The Slow Demise

1950 Packard Convertible

Packard 1946-1958
The Post-War Story

Jessi and Kurt Celebrate AHPS

Jessi Lang - Sometimes Winning Comes in Short Little Laps.

1955 Olds F-88

1954 Olds F-88 Sports Car
Part Two - Why NOT the F-88??

The first Mustang- 1965

Mustang: 50 Years on the Road


From the Automotive History Preservation Society
Mercury 1954-1958: Growing from an Upscale Ford to a Baby Lincoln

1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser 4-door

The 1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser was the first Mercury that could go head to head with DeSoto,
Oldsmobile, and Buick in size, price, performance, and luxury.

1954 Mercury Sun Valley Hardtop Coupe

At 9,761 sold, the 1954 Mercury Monterey Sun Valley hardtop, with its tinted Plexiglas front roof, was more popular than the convertible.

1955 Mercury Montclair Convertible

The 1955 Mercury Montclair convertible gained in popularity
due to its upscale look with 10,668 produced.

1956 Mercury Montclairhardtop Coupe

The 1956 Montclair 2-door hardtop was very sporty and popular.
With 50,562 were produced, it was the most popular
of any Mercury that year.

1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser 2-Door Hardtop

You would have thought that the more than svelte 2-door hardtop
Turnpike Cruiser would have sold more than 7,291 units
given its luxury options and power.

1958 Mercury Park Lane 4-door Hardtop

The 1958 Park Lane 2-door hardtop had disappointing sales
with only 3,158 delivered. The Recession, competition
with Edsel for the same buyers, and a price tag of
$3,867 base was a consumer turn-off.

1958 Mercury Marauder M-400 430 CID V-8

The Mercury M-400 430 CID V-8 was the first regular issue
U.S. engine with 400 HP. With over 500 ft-lbs of torque,
it was a serious performer!

1954-58 Mercury Brochures

By 1958, Mercury had matured from a spirited mid-size car
into a huge luxury behemoth - the change almost
spelled the end for Mercury.

Click on the Brochure picture above to read or download
the 1958 Mercury Brochure


Help Us! We need 1954, 1956, 1957 and 1959 Mercury Brochures to scan!
(We will return them to you). Contact Eric White at eric.white@ahpsoc.org if you can help.


By Society Staff – reprint with permission only

Going from trim and spirited to large and
luxurious - and almost over the cliff

1954 Mercurys - nothing new but OHV power
In 1954, the long-running flathead V8 was replaced by a new overhead-valve 256 CID "Y-Block" V8 that developed 162 solid HP - but that was still behind its competition at Oldsmobile and DeSoto. Regardless, the change was well received.

In this year, all Mercurys featured wraparound vertical taillights. This was the most noticeable styling change made that year. The grille was modestly restyled but was still integrated with the front bumper. "Mercury" was written in chrome on the rear fenders, above the mid-body spear. New ball joint front suspension improved handling and ride qualities.

The biggest news was the new OHV V-8. Co-designed with Ford, the Mercury version was larger at 256 CID and featured more horsepower at 161. The 36 HP increase made for a much more responsive car, and the engine was a more willing performer at higher RPM. Torque was up to 238 ft. lbs. as well, making for better starts and passing.

Mercury production for 1954 was 259,305, down from 1953's 305,863 units. Much of this could be attributed to the brand's huge success of 1953 and the fact that the restyle was hardly noticeable in an era of constant body changes, and 1955 would change that.

1955 Mercurys - new looks and more cubic inches
In 1955, the Mercury line was expanded to three by adding the Montclair at the top. As before, the body shared much of its styling with the standard Lincoln. The V-8 moved up to 292 CID and now was competitive with its competition.
Three lines were now available with a new higher level series called "Montclair" set above the Monterey.

All Mercurys were restyled for 1955. They were longer, lower, and wider but with enough resemblance to the 1954 models to maintain brand identification. The bumper-integrated grille had three heavy vertical bars between the upper and lower bumper. The tall vertical taillights flared out at the bottom for a distinctive "chubby cheeks" look. All 1955 Mercurys featured a wraparound windshield and hooded headlights. The "Y-Block" V-8 grew to 292 CID and increased in power and torque.

The 1955 Mercury production rose to 328,808, up from 259,305 the year before. It was said that these additional sales resulted from the car being larger and closer to Lincoln, instead of the smaller-sized 1952-54 models which looked a bit too Ford-like.

1956 Mercurys - adding more models
For 1956, the Custom was replaced by the "Medalist" as the lowest-trim model. Once again the Y-Block expanded to 312 CID, its final iteration, though it was capable of going out to 322 CID, but this never happened.

Dual exhausts were standard on all Montclairs and Montereys. Almost 90 percent of 1956 Mercurys were sold with automatic transmission and only about 1 percent were equipped with air conditioning.

A new name was selected for Mercury's lowest-priced car, the "Medalist."  It replaced the Custom at the low end, and the Custom was slotted in just under the Monterey with a full line of models. Monterey returned, with the new 4-door hardtop and a special version called the "Sport Sedan." Station wagons were found in the Custom and Monterey lines only.

Styling was changed only slightly. All 1956 Mercurys had a large "M" medallion on the front of the hood, and the word "Mercury" was spelled out in block letters on the center horizontal grille bar. Biggest news was the introduction of the 4-door hardtop across the Mercury line. Another announcement was the increase in cubic inches in the "Y-Block" V-8 -- this time to 312 CID. Horsepower, with the "Power Pack," was 225 and, later, with the M-260 option, 260. As a result, Mercurys won five NASCAR Grand National races in 1956.

Mercury production for 1956 was steady at 327,943, just a bit less than 1955's 328,808. It appeared that the public liked the brand's unique styling -- just different enough from Ford and Lincoln to stand out.

1957 Mercurys ge bigger and way more powerful
For 1957, the wheelbase grew to 122 inches, and Mercury received its own unique styling and body panels. Also debuting was the inclusion of the Lincoln 368 CID V-8 in the Turnpike Cruiser model, giving the top-line Mercurys a power plant that could compete with Olds and DeSoto.

In that same year, Mercury was given a redesigned model lineup; for the first time since 1948, the division did not share a common body with Lincoln. While the lower-end Medalist was discontinued, Mercury gained a distinctive flagship in the Turnpike Cruiser. The brand now featured this model along with the Monterey and Montclair. Mercury now competed with Pontiac on the low end, Oldsmobile DeSoto in the middle, and Buick on the top.

As the pace car of that year's Indianapolis 500, the Turnpike Cruiser stood out in a crowd with its gold-colored fin trim and reverse-slant retractable rear window. Also in '57 following Ford, Mercury split its station wagon line into a distinct model line with the introduction of the base Commuter, mid-price Voyager, and top end wood-grain Colony Park.

Mercury production for 1957 dropped to 285,502 from 327,943 the previous year. Much of this was from moving upscale in price, closer to Lincoln, and abandoning the lower mid-price market to Ford. Where the lowest priced Mercury in 1956 was $2,254, the lowest priced Mercury in 1957 was $2,576. In 1957, that was a huge separator. Removing the lower-priced cars resulted in a small sales increase if the Medalist line is subtracted from 1956 totals.

1958 Mercurys - If you thought we were bigger and badder before; guess again
In 1958, the Lincoln-Mercury division underwent even more major changes as Lincoln and Mercury moved upmarket with the addition of Edsel. In the beginning of the year, Monterey, Montclair and Park Lane, solidifying it as competition for Dodge DeSoto and even the Chrysler Newport - as well as once again going up against all GM brands from Pontiac to Buick. Later, when the models were not selling, the Medalist was added at the low end.

Engines spanned a gap needed to compete within those lines and went from the 312 Y-block in the Medalist all the way up to the 430 CID MEL V-8 in the Turnpike Cruiser and Park Lane. Mercury became the first automaker to sell production automobiles with an advertised 400-horsepower engine; the three 2-barrel carburetor Super Marauder 400 HP 430 CID V-8 was an option in all Mercury vehicles.

Mercury production for 1958 dropped by more than half from 1957 to 133,271 from 285,502. The recession was in full swing, and the Edsel had been introduced, slotted right below and overlapping somewhat Mercury's sweet spot, lower mid-priced cars. The Park Lane was introduced at a time when high-end luxury cars weren't selling. Ford Motor Company had gambled that the mid- and upper-price market would continue to expand--their heavy investment in this arena almost crushed the company . . . .

To Read More About the 1954-58 Mercurys - Click HERE

To see 1955 & 1957 Mercury Road Tests - Click Here

To see 1954-58 Mercury Factory Ads - Click Here and pick your year

To see 1955 & 58 Mercury Factory Brochures - Click Here and pick your year

 


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