Friday, July 3, 2009

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1959 Mercury Monterey Cruiser











San Francisco is full of Prius-driving yuppies, but every so often you find a true car enthusiast. While going to look at a used Mazda Protege5 in the city, I asked to take a route I've commonly walked in the past. This route has led me to find many of the cars featured on this blog, and a trip over Lone Mountain near Golden Gate Park revealed an extraordinary collection of old cars. Seems a collector lives in this area who specializes in unrestored daily-driver 1950s cars, and his street-parked 1959 Mercury Monterey Cruiser is a prime example.
The 1959 Mercury Monterey was powered by a 312 cubic inch "Y-block" V8 and wore a huge sculpted body with quite a bit of ornamentation. Sales were slipping in the late '50s due to the sheer amount of model bloat these cars suffered as they grew. There's a reason why this model is designated "Cruiser". That's probably all it can do. Mercury sales picked up in 1960, but not because of the full-size models. The new compact Comet was a much-needed new car to revitalize the range.
This Monterey is, as previously mentioned, unrestored. It's rough around the edges with some surface rust, but it's all complete and all original and looks really good considering it probably hasn't seen a paint shop since 1959. It wears all its original trim and desirable 1960s black plates. Kudos to the brave collector who gives these old cars a home and keeps them driving, and allows the public to enjoy their lines every day as a reminder of how things once were.

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