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New Jersey Premium – Mercury Montclair

Mercury showed it’s XM-800 concept car designed by John Najjar to the public for the first time at the 1954 Chicago Auto Show and although the advanced design was said to be engineered to go into production it never did.

Mercury Montclair, Summer Classics, Easter Compton,

However styling queue’s from the XM-800 including the hooded headlights did get adopted by the all new for 1955 first generation full size Mercury Montclair.

Mercury Montclair, Summer Classics, Easter Compton,

The premium Montclair range was only built in 4 door sedan / saloon, 2 door Coupé and 2 door Convertible form.

Mercury Montclair, Summer Classics, Easter Compton,

Power for the Montclair came from a 4.78 litre / 292 overhead valve V8, first seen in 1954, with dual exhausts, producing 198hp which was delivered to the rear wheels through a Merc-O-Matic transmission, note the motor on today’s featured 1955 example is not the original.

Mercury Montclair, Summer Classics, Easter Compton,

The Merc-O-Matic featured push button selection of the gears with the neutral button also acting as a starter button for the motor according to Floyd Clymer reporting in “Popular Mechanics“.

Mercury Montclair, Summer Classics, Easter Compton,

A hard top Montclair was shown to be capable of reaching 60 mph from rest in a more than respectable for the period 12.8 seconds.

Mercury Montclair, Summer Classics, Easter Compton,

Options offered with the Montclair included power windows, four-way power seat, and factory fitted air conditioning.

Mercury Montclair, Summer Classics, Easter Compton,

By 1957 the Montclair could be ordered with a 290 hp 6 liter / 368 cui Lincoln Y-Block V8 that also powered the Mercury Turnpike Cruiser that replaced Montclair at the top of the Mercury premium tree.

Mercury Montclair, Summer Classics, Easter Compton,

Adding the Montclair to the Mercury range boosted Mercury sales in 1955 by 27% over the previous year to a marque high of 330,000 units, a number that would not be reached again until the 1960’s.

It is believed that the Montclair takes it’s name from a suburban township in Essex County, New Jersey, in 1955 John Najjar’s Lincoln Futura concept was shown to the public and that vehicle went on to become to find fame in the 1960’s in much modified form as the Batmobile in the TV series staring Adam West as the capped crusader.

Thanks for joining me on this “New Jersey Premium” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !

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