1956 Mercury Montclair / Specs, History and More

The automobile featured in this article is a very good looking 1956 Mercury Montclair. The full-size top of the line Mercury Montclair was the newest model after the 1955 redesign.

1956 mercury monterey specs

1956 Mercury Montclair

1956 Mercury Montclair Features

Of major significance with Mercury was that the automaker changed from a six volt electrical system in 1955 to a twelve volt system in 1956.

In addition to this, there were some great new features that Mercury offered with their Montclair model. The Montclair featured the very best Mercury had to offer. This included extra chrome trim and two-tone paint combinations as seen on our featured model. Standard features included a deep-dish steering wheel which added protection from the steering column in case of an accident...safety door locks, a breakaway rear-view mirror, padded dashboard, another safety feature and optional seat belts. The dash was modified with three-tier instrumentation. Dual exhausts were standard on all Montclair and Monterey models. Almost 90 percent of all Mercurys for 1956 were sold with automatic transmissions. Standard equipment was a three speed manual.

mercury monterey styling

Montclair's  distinctive use of chrome in styling.

All 1956 Mercurys had a large "M" medallion on the hood front with the word "Mercury" spelled out in block letters on the center horizontal grille bar.

For the 1957 model year Mercury would receive a significant new body styling.

Four Mercurys for 1956

There were four Mercury models produced in 1956. These were the Mercury Medalist, Custom, Monterey, and Montclair. The Mercury Medalist was the lower priced bottom of the line and the Mercury Montaclair was higher priced the top of the line. For 1956 the Medalist replaced the Custom as the bottom level Mercury.

So what were some of the differences. For one, the Medalist had less side chrome than the Montaclair. When you moved up from Medalist to Custom you'll find upgraded interiors with the Custom. Going up from Monterey to Montclair you'll find more chrome trim including chrome rocker panels. Both the Monterey and Montclair had their model name with chrome script on the front fenders. Of significance was that the entire Mercury line in 1956 offered a four door hardtop.

56 mercury monterey styling

56 Montclair  rear styling

1956 Mercury Montclair Specifications

The 1956 Montclair had a 312 cubic inch V-8 engine with 210 horsepower. There were two optional V-8's, both being 312 cubic inch. One produced 225 horsepower and the other 260.

As mentioned above, although a three speed manual was standard, some 90 percent of all 1956 Mercury models were automatics with the Merc-O-Matic.

All passenger cars had the same wheelbase of 118.0 inches.

Mercury production for 1956 was 327,943 units, just a bit less than 1955's 328,808. It appeared that the public approved of the brand's unique styling. The styling was different from both Ford and Lincoln and represented a distinct difference from the two.

In 1956 Mercury produced 50,562 Montclair models.

To give you an idea of new car pricing for 1956, the Mercury Montclair Convertible price was $2,900. The highest proced vehicle was actually the Monterey Wagon at about $2,985. The lower priced Mercury Medalist has a $2,250 price tag for it's two-door.

The Mercury brand came on the scene in 1938 compliments of Edsel Ford, son of Henry Ford. The line would eventually cease production during the first week of January 2011. The stated plan for the new Mercury line was to establish an entry level luxury car.

See the Auto Museum Online articles on the links below...

The 1953 Mercury Monterey

The 1949 Mercury Sedan

The 1955 Buick Special

Reference material for this article includes...The Cars of Lincoln-Mercury by authors George H. Dammann and James K. Wagner....55 Years of Mercury: The Complete History of the Big "M" by John Gunnell.

1956 Mercury Montclair Collector Cars

As we have said before, generally all 1950 American automobiles and trucks are popular collector models. Valuations, of course, are dependent on if there has been a restoration and to what degree and date, originality, and precise model. When it comes to collector automobiles, nothing beats a finely restored original.

1956 mercury montclair photos

1956 Mercury Montclair dashboard

With that being said, all mid 1950's Mercury models carry strong collector interest. They also have a wide range of valuations. With the Mercury Montclair, a range could be from $9,000 or $10,000 to $50,000 plus for a finely restored model.

Mercury designers showed with the Montclair model what just the right amount of chrome along with distinctive styling curves could do. The 56 Montclair is a good looking model.

When discussing the characteristics of these mid 1950's Mercurys, many would say they resembled a Lincoln to a degree without the Lincoln price tag. Mercury was really positioned to be the model between the working guy's Ford and the wealthy's Lincoln and that wasn't a bad place to be.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)


1973 Mercury Cougar XR-7 Hardtop Coupe / Photos Specs

The 1971-1973 Mercury Cougars were the last of the Cougar Pony Cars. The car featured in this article is a 1973 Mercury Cougar XR-7. The XR-7 was the upscale model with leather seating and a wood grained dashboard.

mercury cougar xr-7

1973 Mercury Cougar XR-7

First and Second Generations Mercury Cougar

The first generation Mercury Cougars were produced from 1967 through 1970. These first generation Cougars can be said to be Mercury's version of the Mustang. The 71-73 Cougars were somewhat more of a luxury car than a Pony Car during these model years. These were the second generation Cougars and had received a restyling.The Mercury Cougar actually started to have some resemblance to the Thunderbird and the Continental Mark IV. In fact, some will say that the second generation Cougars are not "real Cougars". They prefer instead the first generation cars.

The 1971-73 models were heavier cars . Design changes for this generation Mercury Cougars included a much more prominent center grille and exposed headlamps.The more luxurious XR-7 models were the top of the line. Compared to the 1972 Cougar, the 73 model styling was largely unchanged with the exception of the grille and the tail lights.

cougar xr-7 specifications

The 1973 Mercury Cougar was also the last year for it's Mustang chassis. Although it used the Mustang chassis through 1973, the wheelbase was three inches longer. The 1973 model was the last year of the Cougar 'personal car' concept that was first introduced in 1967.The 1974 model year saw significant changes for the Cougar models. That model was essentially a large luxury car.

Sales Pick Up in 1973

Sales had been sliding for a while and it wasn't until the 1973 model year that sales finally turned up. As an example, total production in 1971 for the Cougar XR-7 Hardtop Coupe was 25,416 vehicles. The 1971 production for the XR-7 Convertible was 1,717 vehicles. Two model years later in 1973, the production for the XR-7 Hardtop Coupe was 35,100 units. For the 1971 Xr-7 Convertibles it was 3,165 units. The ragtops, first introduced in 1969, obviously are the much more rare Cougar XR-7's. It's interesting to know that the 1973 Cougar Convertible was the last Mercury ragtop of that decade.

Mercury Promotes the 1973 Cougar

Mercury advertised the 1973 Cougar as a smooth riding car, as smooth as the high priced luxury automobiles. The reason per Mercury was simply " we build them better". The Mercury Cougar also had good success on the competitive racing circuit during the late 60's and early 70's. This was promoted by Mercury as well however during the early 1970's, new emission and safety standards imposed by the government along with the gas shortage crisis pretty much put an end to the real muscle car era that began in the mid 60's. What Mercury really did with it's Cougar model was to offer excellent performance along with a comfortable ride.

1973 Mercury Cougar XR-7 Specifications

The 1973 Mercury Cougar XR-7 was built with a 351 cubic inch eight cylinder engine delivering 168 HP with a two barrel carburetor. This model also was available with a four barrel carburetor putting out 264 HP.Transmissions included a three and four speed manual and a Select-Shift automatic.

mercury xr-7

Another engine available in limited numbers in 1973 was the Big Block 429 CJ V-8. This engine was rated at 375 HP. There was a police version for this engine as well.

Transmissions included a three and four speed manual and a Select-Shift automatic.

Overall outside car length was 199.5 inches on a wheelbase of 112.1 inches. Overall width was 75.0 inches. By today's standards the second generation Cougars were large cars. Weight for the 73 Cougar was 3,500 lbs.

See these additional Auto Museum Online car articles on the links below...

One Sharp Looking 1969 Pontiac GTO

1956 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 Convertible

Where to Find Serial Numbers on Classic and Vintage Cars

A 50's Classic / 1958 Cadillac Coupe De Ville


mercury cougar muscle carThe new car price for a 1973 Mercury Cougar ranged from $3,400 to $3,900. The XR-7's being on the higher end.

Mercury Cougar XR-7 Collector Cars

For the 1971-73 era , the 429 CJ cars are the ones in greater demand by collectors.

As of this writing we see second generation Mercury Cougar Hardtop Coupes with asking prices between $10,000 and $18,000. The price is dictated by condition and mileage plus any restoration performed.

The Cougar convertibles also have a wide range of asking prices. You should find some in the high teens area and for XR-7's in great condition in the mid twenties to the mid thirties.

(Articles and photos copyright 2015 Auto Museum Online)

1953 Mercury Monterey / An Early 50’s Standout

The 1953 Monterey was the premium model for the Mercury line of automobiles introduced in 1950. When it came out as a two door coupe, the Monterey was considered a full size near luxury car. The first 1950 model had quite different styling than the 53 model. The 50 model had a very rounded look both front and back but would become very popular to customizers later on.

1953 mercury monterey hardtop

1953 Mercury Monterey 2 Door Hardtop

All Monterey models were built at Ford's Lincoln-Mercury Division's St. Louis. Missouri plant from 1950 to 1974.

The 1953 Mercury Monterey model had several engineering advances. A lot of the styling with this car was also shared with Ford's Lincoln brand as well as Ford models. The Mercury Monterey was positioned between the Ford and Lincoln lines. If you wanted something a little fancier than a Ford but couldn't or didn't want to pay the price of a Lincoln, well the Mercury Monterey was your car.

Edsel Ford's Mercury

The Mercury brand came on the scene in 1938 compliments of Edsel Ford, son of Henry Ford. The line would eventually cease production during the first week of January 2011.

Anyone familiar with the history of the Ford Motor Company during the 1930's knows that Edsel Ford spearheaded much of the company's progress.  The plan for the Mercury line was to establish an entry level luxury car. The first Mercurys came out with flathead V-8's producing 95 horsepower.

53 mercury monterey

Smart styling on the 53 Monterey

When the Mercury was introduced it was part of the Ford Division. After the Second World War Mercury became part of the new Lincoln-Mercury Division.

1953 Mercury Monterey

The year 1953 represented the 50th Anniversary of the Ford Motor Company. One year earlier Mercury had an extensive redesign of all their models.

Mercury's 1953 model year marked the last year of the  flathead V8 engine. This was also the case for Ford models as well that year. This engine beyond a doubt was one of the most famous, successful and celebrated automobile engines ever built.  Today, you may still see some of these popular flathead V-8's brought back to life to power a variety of hot rods and customs. The flathead V-8 was replaced in 1954 with a new and advanced Y-block overhead-valve V8 engine.

The Mercury version of this engine had better performance numbers with a standard four barrel carburetor which helped the engine deliver 161 horsepower. A new Y-block overhead-valve V8 engine

1953 Mercury Monterey Specifications

As mentioned above, the 1953 Mercury Monterey came with a 255 cubic inch flathead V-8 engine delivering 125 horsepowwer. This represented an increase over the 1951 model's 112 horsepower. A new Y-block overhead-valve V8 engine.would replace it in 1954 with a standard four barrel carburetor.

Transmission was a three speed manual. Optional was a  Merc O Matic automatic three speed transmission. Ford Motor introduced their automatic transmission in 1951 which was designed by Borg Warner Corporation. Ford Motor Company was a bit late into the automatic transmission game and didn't open their first transmission plant until 1950.

Brakes were four wheel hydraulic drum.

Front suspension were independent coil springs and rear were longitudinal leaf springs.

1953 mercury monterey trim package

Classic Mercury Monterey trim

Dimensions for this car included a wheelbase of 118.0 inches,an overall length of 202.2 inches, a width of 74.0 inches and a height of 62.75 inches. , Average weight was 3,400 lbs.

Total 1953 Mercury Monterey production was 148,700 vehicles. Out of that number there were 64,033 four door sedans, 76,115 two door coupes and 8,450 convertibles.

See these additional AutoMuseumOnline articles on the links below....

A Rare 1953 Kaiser Manhatten

A Restored 1953 Studebaker Champion

Serial Number Decodings on Vintage Vehicles

1949 Dodge Wayfarer

Reference for this article and an excellent book for anyone interested in the history of Mercury automobiles is....55 Years of Mercury : The Complete History of the Big "M" by author John Gunnell.

1953 mercury monterey dashboard and interior

Dashboard on the 53 Mercury Monterey

The Popular Mercury Monterey Collector Car

Classic car collectors are enthusiastic about the Mercury models of the early 1950's. Collectors like the clean styling and the manufacturing quality including technical sophistication. The Monterey convertible model is the most popular collector car from this first generation.

As of this writing, the first generation Mercury Montereys command strong prices. Restored Montereys for sale are priced in a fairly wide range. Depending on the model and degree of restoration and how old the restoration is, prices can be anywhere from the mid $20,000 range to approaching $50,000..The highest priced models would usually be convertible museum quality cars as opposed to drivers.

(Article and photos copyright AutoMuseumOnline)