I would love to meet and chat with the owner of this car, and learn what he/she could tell me. I’ve seen it a few times at the Newport Motor Car Festival, Fathers’ Day, in Portsmouth, RI. (Portsmouth??? Hey, it IS in Newport County!) The car looks, for all the world, like a ’53 Mercury Monterey Sun Valley. But with trim enhancements…
Actually, I don’t believe the Sun Valley (Plexiglas bubble-topped 2-door hardtop, like the Ford Skyliner) came out until model-year 1954. The ’54 Mercs were in most ways like the ’53s but had different grilles and taillights (and an OHV, not a flathead V8 but I’ve never seen this car’s hood up.) I should have checked for ball joint suspension, also new for ’54, if I had really wanted to verify the year.
Neither year Merc had the trim on this beauty, however: The stainless sweepspears look to be straight off a ’55 Ford Fairlane and the stainless mouldings that delineate the color scallops below the windows appear to come from a ’55 – ’56 Montclair. And the Sun Valley script and Mercury logos on the door are in the ’55 Fairlane location. – not where Mercury had placed them originally.
What’s the effect of all this? To my eyes it’s a well-done, very convincing fake. The car didn’t seem to be presented as a custom and its workmanship is so good that most people will accept it at face value. On the other hand many of us who “know better” can enjoy looking at it, wondering how well it would have sold had the manufacturer thought of making it available as presented here. I like stock 1950s Mercurys, but I’m always glad to see this car the way it is.
Have you ever built a car that never was? You know, a ’65 Covair Monza Spyder? (Oops, some early factory literature betrays the idea that adopting the name “Corsa” was a last-minute decision!) That one would be easy – probably just a matter of switching horn buttons and nameplates. But some could present more of a challenge.
Take this car I might consider building: A ’67 Chrysler New Yorker convertible. My father had a ’67 New Yorker 4-dr hardtop that I found at a salvage yard and bought a few years after he had died. It was kind of rotten and sitting in my yard for three years didn’t make it any less so (Who says you have to be rational to write [or read] one of these websites?) but at least the yard’s operator didn’t scalp me: I got the thing for $75 delivered and when he took it back he saved me from second thoughts, shredding it almost immediately. It’s now a fleet of Tata Nanos. Or maybe Geely Pandas.
Anyway, I saved the grille, bumpers, lights, signature trim and end caps. If you know where there’s a ’67 Newport or 300 ragtop, maybe I could build the Chrysler convertible that never was. Or better still, maybe you could build it…