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….

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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)