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 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.
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.
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...
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.
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)