1951 Ford Mercury Monterey 454 V8
(Featured on 3rd August 2011)
Sellers original description:
All steel choped 1951 Mercury Monterey 454 V8 Ford 9.
Admit it, you've always wanted a chopped '51 Mercury. One of the most iconic of all custom cars, the Merc ranks right up there with the '32 Ford 3-window coupe, the T-bucket, and the shoebox Chevys. Instantly recognizable, this custom 1951 Mercury Monterey coupe packs big horsepower with a pro-street attitude, all wrapped in a gorgeous yellow shell. It was professionally built, and drives as good as it looks. If you're tired of the same old rods showing up at the local cruise night, bring this one along and watch the crowds form three people deep when you park it.
Built by the New England Rod Shop, the tastefully modified body is the perfect foundation for a killer pro-street cruiser. Big enough to be comfortable, but with tidy proportions that only get better with a top chop, this Merc is so perfectly proportioned that you can almost believe the factory built it that way. The chop is very well done, with laid-back windshield posts and perfectly modified window trim, and it doesn't have that flattened look that some chops get. Best of all, it remains completely functional, and the windows are bigger than the gun slits you see on a lot of chopped Mercurys. The body work on this car is first rate, and all traces of the work done to get it to look this good have been skillfully erased. Panel fit is extremely good, and you'd better believe it's hard to do when the top, the doors, and the windows all have to be cut and fitted just right. The DuPont ChromaOne paint is a specially blended mixture just for this car, and it has been buried under enough clear to make it look about 10 feet deep. Hours and hours were spent block sanding and buffing the finish to get it to lay down smoothly, and the end result is a brilliant shine that's virtually distortion-free. Although it's several years old now, the finish remains shiny and bright, and there are very few signs that this car has been driven on the road.
The car has been tastefully de-chromed, but a lot of the original bright work still remains. That instantly recognizable Mercury front grille has been painted to match the body, but the bumper and bumper "bullets" that mold into the grille have been beautifully refinished. Out back, the original bumper is also better than new, and those cool taillights are original 1951 Mercury pieces. The stainless around the windows has been expertly modified to fit the resized openings, and the simple trim strip that runs from the hood to the deck lid has been straightened and polished to new condition. Glass is, of course, all new and cut to fit the chopped top.
Forty years ago, you probably would have found a warmed-over flathead under the hood, but today, you get brute horsepower, which really is the essence of pro-street. A big block Chevy has been nestled between the smoothed fenders. Built to drive, the tune isn't radical and it starts and drives extremely well. It doesn't need constant fiddling and happily drinks pump gas all day. There's an aluminum intake with a Holley 4-barrel living under that cool vintage-looking air cleaner, and big ceramic-coated long tube headers take care of the spent gasses. Big, chrome valve covers brighten up the monochromatic engine bay, and you can see that a lot of time was spent hiding the wiring and plumbing. A custom fabricated radiator cradle holds a polished aluminum radiator, and there's a minimum of detailing and other unnecessary clutter. In the case of this Merc, simple is most definitely better.
A built TH400 3-speed automatic lives behind the big block, and it drives a narrowed Ford 9-inch rear via a custom-made driveshaft. The chassis has been heavily modified for the pro-street look, including a custom rear subframe to house those massive slicks inside new wheel tubs. Up front, an independent suspension has been grafted onto the Mercury's original frame and features rack-and-pinion steering. Out back, the narrowed 9-inch is carried on a set of relocated leaf springs and air shocks. Everything has been painted to match, although it's clear that this car has been driven everywhere it went and not hauled inside a trailer. The exhaust system features electric cut-outs, just in case the vivid yellow paint and killer stance weren't attracting enough attention. Front wheels are 15x7 Cragar Drag Stars wearing radial tires, while out back, a set of massive 15x15 wheels hold 19.5x33 Mickey Thompson Sportsman tires. Also note that the center caps on the wheels have been custom made, and match the paint on the body and frame.
The interior is a very nicely finished oasis of tan leather and Mercedes-Benz tan carpets. A custom bench seat has been fitted, and has been covered in glove-soft leather that also matches the door panels and back seat. The original dashboard's shape has been retained, but a custom aluminum insert was fabricated and now holds a full compliment of VDO analog gauges. A tilt steering column makes this car all-day comfortable, and is topped by a leather-wrapped steering wheel that features a custom horn button that matches the centercaps on the wheels. Billet door handles and knobs have been fitted in place of the originals, and a cool stylized Mercury "M" emblem still adorns the refinished dashboard. A powerful stereo system makes this car an easy long-distance cruiser. Out back, the trunk has been upholstered to match, and includes a polished fuel cell.
Built to drive and priced to move, this 1951 Mercury Monterey is just the ticket for this summer's cruising season. Unique, yet instantly recognizable, it puts a new spin on the traditional Mercury custom, and backs it up with pro-street performance and attitude. Clearly well-sorted and 100% reliable, it's ready to go with no additional work necessary, so if you're the kind of guy who just wants to get in and drive, this is the car. It's big enough for your whole family, and there aren't any exotic or bank-breaking components on it, so there's just no excuse not to put it on the road.