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Johnnya101

1953 Merc?

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Hello folks,

 

Will be checking out a 1953 Mercury Monterey tomorrow. This probably should have been in the Mercury section, but since I'm checking it out tomorrow, it's kind of short notice and there seems to be more action here.

 

From photos, seems to be a good driver. It's a standard. Anything in particular that I should be checking on it? Can't get a test ride (probably) because seller is short on time. Looks to be complete. Good interior. Last on the road a few years ago. Seller says it needs a general tune up, tires, carb rebuild, shocks, the works.

 

Seems like parts are kind of iffy on availability?

 

Flathead V8. Are these good cars? This will be my first "real" classic, so trying to get some opinions. Not a whole bunch of info on these.

 

Thank you everyone for your time. I appreciate it! :)

 

Edited by Johnnya101 (see edit history)

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Years back, friend of mine had a '53 Custom 2-dr sedan. All stock, flathead, 3-spd. It was pretty decent, no issues. We had a lot of fun driving around in that car.

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2 minutes ago, Dave Fields said:

They started making flatheads in 1932, so this is the last and best of them. When I am buying a car, I expect the seller to be open and make the car available. That he is short on time and doesn't seem to be willing to make reasonable considerations for your effort would indicate that you would need to pass this one by. I would just based on that fact. Otherwise a nice powerful overlooked car that can be had for less than similar cars by other companies. I passed on a nice Lincoln 4 door at $5500 this summer.

 

I agree with Dave in that if the seller can't spend the time to sell (show it, answer questions, allow test drive etc.) the car, then I don't have the time to buy it.  On the other hand, if you don't have to drive far to see it, just go and take a look.  Ask to see the title.  There are some on this forum who don't think that a valid title is of any great importance; however, I'm not one of them, and I'm in a State (Florida) where it's most difficult to register a car without a valid title.  In what state are you located?

 

Good luck.

 

Cheers,

Grog

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Dave, he said he is working and just doesn't want it to take all day, probably is tired of the tire kickers. Maybe I'll be able to get a short ride, I don't know.

 

Grog, he said he's got a title. I'm in NH, so I don't even need one anyway. It's about an hour and a half away. I'll see how it goes tomorrow. If you saw in my other post, I'm a teen and haven't learned to drive a standard yet (this is one), otherwise I'd ask to take it on a drive myself!

 

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 At a very minimum start it and listen to the engine and watch for smoke. Put it in gear and test clutch operation. If you can't go for a test ride then at least pull forward and back up. Look for extensive or poorly done body work. I like to take a refrigerator magnet with me to see if it sticks to lower quarters and rocker panels. If body putty is thick it won't stick. If you can get underneath and check out the floorboards and chassis that is a big plus. If the owner doesn't want to take the time to let you check out the car then he is likely hiding something. Don't buy a pig in a poke.

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Good car to go with if the body is all in good shape. Not as many parts as say a 1965 Mustang, but parts are out there and not too bad, especially mechanical stuff. The less it needs the better but I'd take a car that won't need anything other than a wash to get cosmetically to your satisfaction that needs mechanical work over one the other way around. Depending on the price, I'd buy it anyway, but that's why I have so many unfinished projects.

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 Checking the rockers and rear quarters, floor pans, etc is an absolute must on that vintage Ford or Mercury in the Northeast. I know NH isn't a heavy salt state but wet sand wasn't kind either. I saw rusted out junkers when I was  a teen and they were only 5 or 6 years old then so look very closely and if you are not comfortable being able to determine the extent of rust damage take someone with you and pay to get it on a lift........ a lot of "nice looking" pre '55 Fomoco cars are pretty far gone underneath around here.....

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Few random thoughts:

Take several photos of the car and post them on this site.  Look at the rockers - outer and inner, inside lower doors, above the wheel wells, etc. for rust.  Take photos of the interior, CHROME, mileage, etc.  Also, the engine compartment.  Start it,  drive it if possible.  If you are unsure, don't purchase without letting others see the car.  You will get a lot of good advice here and perhaps get beaten up a bit, but it will all be for the good.  You don't want to make a $2500 or so mistake. Also, is it a 2 door or 4 door?  You put the same amount of money into a 4 door, but it doesn't have the value as a 2 door in the end.  

 

EDIT:  Just sent you a private message

Edited by AJFord54 (see edit history)
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A stick is far preferable to an automatic. I don't even buy automatics.

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Hello guys,

 

So here's some more details for you all. This car is located on the Maine Craigslist. 1953 Mercury Monterey 4 door, dark green. $5800.

 

I spoke with the seller on the phone, very nice. Next morning asked about a time and he was very rude... So decided not to waste my time with someone like that... (Of course he was nice again when I said I will pass)

 

Said the car needs shocks, tires, carb rebuild, tune up, etc. 35 year old repaint in okay condition.

 

Looks like a nice car if any of you want a good looking cheap driver in Maine.

 

Also appears to have some weird body work on the rear fender. Rough rounded edges where the fender skirt goes plus some interesting looking paint. Not sure what's going on with it. Might be nothing.

 

Thank you everyone for your help.

 

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There are some good buys to be had in cars that need work but you must be very careful not to over pay. From the description this sounds more like a $1000 or $2000 car. For $5800 you should be able to get something nicer that needs less work.

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If I were interested in the car, I would at least request pictures of the other side of the car and under the hood before I made a trip to see it. If those checked out it might be worth a closer inspection but I would think the price would need to be negotiated to a more realistic number after a complete inspection. 

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In any purchase like this I like to assess how "it turns my generator". Owning an old car and enjoying it requires a fair degree of passion above all else. Certain cars appeal to certain people often because of distant recollections. While I prefer pre-war cars personally, if I was looking for a 50's car, these early Mercury's would be my first choice. I was born in 1947 and for the first 15-20 years of my life, my dad drove only Mercurys. He was a mechanic (first for a Ford dealership, later his own garage) and drove cars hard and fast, he had a '49, '53, '56, and '61 Mercury, all 4 door models bought when they were 2-3 years old.  He loved them, great power, solid road handling, easy to upkeep, and stronger on the highway than just about anything else from the big 3. So if this car turns you on, go for it, at the end of the day if you are happy with the car you will soon forget what you paid. 

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