Frame-off restoration. Overdrive. Everything works. Ready to show or tour.
- Make: Mercury
- Model: Monterey
- SubModel: Hardtop
- Type: Coupe
- Year: 1952
- Mileage: 7,249
- VIN: 52LA18706M
- Color: Green
- Number of cylinders: 8
- Fuel: Gasoline
- Transmission: Manual
- Interior color: Green
- Vehicle Title: Clear Want to buy? Contact seller!
1952 Mercury Monterey Hardtop
In 1952, Ford completely redesigned the Mercury Monterey, giving it modern curved glass, sleek, forward-looking sheetmetal, and some of the most beautiful chrome details of the era. Packing the largest and most powerful factory version of the legendary flathead V8, it remained one of the fastest cars on the road, especially when equipped with overdrive. No longer just a baby Lincoln, the Monterey neatly straddled the Ford and Lincoln lineups, being larger and more luxurious than a Ford, yet faster and more agile than the big Lincolns. Despite this, only 24,453 hardtops were built, marking the lowest production of the 1952-1954 models.
This gorgeous Raven Black over Lakewood Green (code 54A) 1952 Monterey hardtop is unquestionably one of the best in the world. Treated to a no-expense-spared restoration just a few years ago, it shows the highest levels of workmanship and authenticity. Quite likely a rust-free western car all its life, there’s just no evidence that it was ever rusty, and the finish work is beyond reproach. With a 3-inch longer wheelbase than comparable Fords, it looks sleeker and more muscular (which it is!), and is instantly recognizable due to its faux hood scoop and fluted trim at the base of the C-pillar. Those long, sweeping quarter panels are completely ripple-free, and the doors open and close with a precision that surely required hours and hours of tedious fine-tuning. All the chrome was refinished to show standards, a process that probably cost as much as a few years at Harvard, with spectacular results. The bumper and grille were integrated with the redesign, a simple look that offers subtle “teeth” below the bumper flanked by a pair of optional fog lamps. Out back, the taillight housings blend with the rear bumper to create a wrap-around look for the trunk opening and further emphasizing the car’s long, low look. All the stainless was professionally straightened and polished, and remains in brilliant, show-worthy condition today.
Inside, a two-tone white and green interior provides a bright, upscale look that’s pure 1950s. The upholstery shows zero signs of use, although the car has been driven about 7200 miles since it was completed. Fresh carpets, a taut dark green headliner, and the striking door panels with their stainless inserts all add to the upscale feel that separated a Mercury from a Ford. Designers’ fascination with all things aircraft can be found in the control levers for the heat and ventilation system flanking the centrally-mounted speedometer, and their smooth action is a testament to the quality of the restoration. All the gauges have been rebuilt and are fully functional, as is the original AM radio and clock, which is currently disconnected to prevent battery drain when parked. The trunk is correctly finished with a reproduction mat, matching steel wheel with whitewall radial. And take a moment to note that the trunk floor is completely original and completely unmarked, and that original-style sound-deadening materials have been installed.
Reinforcing its reputation as one of the fastest cars on the road, the 1952 Mercury packs Ford’s ultimate flathead: the 255 cubic inch 8CM. With a nice bump in compression, it made 125 horsepower in 1952 and when paired with a manual transmission with overdrive, was a legitimate 100 MPH automobile. Detailed for show at the time of restoration, it still shows quite well, although the current owner is adamant that a healthy car is one that is driven regularly, so it shows some signs of use today. There’s nothing that an afternoon of detailing wouldn’t cure, and all the important parts are there, ranging from the oil bath air cleaner to the original cast-iron exhaust manifolds. Proper Ford script hoses and original style hose clamps add authenticity, and you’ll note that there’s a fresh wiring harness and a new battery for the electrical department. It starts quickly and easily with the original 6-volt electrical system, and settles into a smooth, silent flathead idle almost immediately.
The flathead is teamed with a standard 3-speed manual transmission with a Borg-Warner overdrive unit, whose seamless operation is quite impressive, even today. Simply press the OVERDRIVE knob in, accelerate to about 29 MPH in top gear, lift the throttle, and it shifts automatically into overdrive. In overdrive, this car will cruise at 70 MPH all day, and its transparent operation means you’ll never really even think twice about it unless you’re descending a steep grade, in which case you simply pull the OVERDRIVE knob out. Neat technology for the period that completely transforms the car on today’s roads. The chassis also features rust-free floors, rebuilt brakes and suspension, and a great-sounding dual exhaust system that is typical of the period. Four recent Coker wide whitewall radials have been fitted to the original steel wheels, and it tracks like a cruise missile on the interstate.
An exceptionally nice car in every way, this Mercury is a fantastic alternative to the me-too Tri-Five Chevys, and offers legitimate period performance credentials that are hard to beat. Impossible to duplicate at this price, it’s just a minor detail job away from collecting the big trophies once again. But with that overdrive, we think you’ll be having too much fun driving it to worry about sitting around a show field.