1954 Mercury Monterey Custom Coupe, Model 60-E, 2-door
Owners: Bernie and Janice Taulborg Collection
Original cost: $2,315.00 (In 1954: average cost of a car $1,700; average cost of a house $10,250; gallon of gas – 22 cents)
Previous owner(s); Owners from Papillion, Nebr., 2004; Bernie Taulborg, 2006 –
Number made: 15,234
Engine, etc.: V-8, valve-in-head; 256 cid, 162 hp; 3-speed; 118 in. wheelbase, 3,485 lbs.
Mercury, as a division of Ford, was started in 1939. It was designed to be an entry-level luxury car line which fit between Ford regular cars and the luxury Lincoln brand.
The Mercury name was derived from “Mercury, messenger of the gods” in Greek mythology. By 1950 the one-millionth Mercury had been built and it was necessary to built a new factory in Wayne, Mich. to keep up with demand. In 1953 Mercury offered eight different models and started giving them individual names, including the Monterey.
In 1954 the Monterey used Ford’s new V-8 overhead-valve engine. It was given new wraparound taillights and a freshened grill with larger “bullet” bumper guards. Mercury and Lincoln shared many design elements but the Mercury wheelbase was 5 inches shorter and it had a shorter overhang. Ball-joint suspension in front was introduced, giving better handling and a better ride.
Mercury also introduced the Monterey Sun Valley model in 1954. The front half of its roof was made of transparent plastic. It did not last long because buyers fried under the greenhouse roof.
In its early years the Monterey was known for its performance. The Custom had a Holley 2140 four-barrel carburetor. The V-8 had a reputation as a hot engine, mainly because it was so easy to soup-up.
The Custom Coupe was the best selling Mercury model of 1954.
Source: Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1946 – 1974. John Gunnell. Rev. 4th ed. Krause Publications, 2002.
See also: http://www.oldcarbrochures.com/static/NA/Mercury/1954_Mercury/1954_Mercury_Brochure/dirindex.html (Original 1954 sales brochure)