CC For Sale: 1957 Mercury Montclair – Just How Beautiful One of These Can Be

Just found this stunner on eBay.  Wonderful color combination.  Beautiful original condition.  I said to myself, “I can’t just let this disappear–I must preserve it on Curbside Classic!

Garage kept in New Mexico, so it was protected from hot sun and rain.  So no fading, no rust, no interior cracking.

Everything gleams!  This is about as close as you can get to seeing what a typical ’57 Mercury was like when it was new.

Look at all that finely crafted detail!  In size, style, power, smoothness;  this is so much more than a Ford!

Two-toned seat upholstery with star-like pattern that has never been torn, scuffed, or stained;  alabaster white deluxe steering wheel glows like polished ivory.  One nit–the vinyl dashboard padding on these cars is almost impossible to preserve.  It always looks a little rumpled.

There wasn’t a close-up dashboard shot, so I got this photo and the one below it from Google Images.  The dash is an interesting exercise in sci-fi World of Tomorrow-inspired elaboration, with many odd design features.  It reminds me of a 1950s vacuum cleaner, but with additional controls.  On our featured car, that Mercury emblem would be replaced with a “Power Booster” gauge to show whether the disconnecting engine fan was ON or OFF.

On the left is the Big M’s Merc-O-Matic “Keyboard Control”.  Another “advanced feature” that’s probably more of a hassle to use than moving a simple lever.  But we’re in the Push-Button Age now–we’ve done away with old-fashioned shift levers!

Here is the “Safety-Surge” V-8 engine, nicely detailed.  The hose on the air cleaner is part of the “Thermo-Matic” carburetor which controls incoming air temperature using a thermostatic valve.

Trunk looks pristine.

Detail shots:

A sparkling road locomotive designed to eat up the highway–makes you feel like King of the Road.  Quad headlights were optional–they made the car look even more other-worldly.


New projectile side theme:  Not fins but elongated “Vee’s” shooting back with big Art-Deco letters M E R C U R Y down the sides.  “One of Mercury’s most distinguished styling notes.”


Canted “V-angle” taillights:  “Functional, decorative.  Massive red beacons finish off the rear in distinctive good taste.  Tail-light visibility–from both side and rear–is increased!”


Cruising the stratosphere in a Dream-Car Mercury.


What a shock these long, low, flat, futuristic monsters must have been when first introduced.  They were billed as the “first production dream car you can own!”  Each week in the fall of 1956, another two-page spread in Life magazine would come out:  “BIG M ANNOUNCEMENT No. 1;  BIG M ANNOUNCEMENT No. 2 (I don’t know how many announcements there were).   The assumption was that potential buyers were breathlessly waiting for the next big announcement, whether it was Floating Ride with Air Cushion Suspension, the Dream Car Keyboard, Quadra-beam headlights, or the fabulous Turnpike Cruiser, “The most advanced car you can buy at any price!”

Motor Trend magazine described its pair of 1957 Mercurys as “two of the smoothest and quietest riding cars we ever tested.”


So there it is–a true, unlikely survivor from another time.  Mercury made tens of thousands of these cars–why would this particular example survive to the incredible year of 2024 in such mint condition when 99% of its fellows (which all started out as nice as this one) have all gone to the scrap heap and no longer exist?  It’s like trying to answer the question of why one person won the lottery and another didn’t.

It was always ironic to see “futuristic” cars like the ’57 Mercury all smashed up in a junk pile. It was like the “future” was now old and discarded. (Photo by Murilee Martin.)


Real “dream cars of the future”.


Thanks to the Internet, old cars from the ’50s & ’60s are all over eBay, YouTube, Craigslist.  There are websites like Curbside Classic with endless articles and comments about old cars.  Finding parts is so much easier now than it was back when all we had were magazines like Hemmings.  If you only spent time online, you would get the impression that there is tremendous interest in classic cars.

Is there?   I’m glad that I have lived in a time when these fascinating cars were still on the road;  still visible in the “carscape”.  I can still own and drive one (or more) of them.  They mean something to me.  As time goes on I have a sense that the whole concept of classic cars will become irrelevant to most people.  Will younger people who didn’t grow up with them become interested?  And how small a minority will that be?  In future years, will it even be possible (and legal) to actually drive something like a ’57 Mercury down the road?

Cruising down the highway in a “Futuramic” 1950 Oldsmobile.


I’ll let you in on a little secret.  If you want to experience virtual time travel, get behind the wheel of a vintage car, and find a country road that hasn’t changed much over the decades.  As you guide that big steering wheel and look out over the scenery,  it will give you the effect that it’s still 1962 or whatever magic year you choose.  A friend of mine recently drove a 1958 Edsel from New Jersey to Pennsylvania using only the back roads, and he tells me the experience was very much like that.

1957 Mercury:  The car dreams are made of.


Further reading:

Curbside Classic: 1957 Mercury Montclair – Reaching For The Stars Only To Hit A Moon