The last of the flathead V8s can be found under the hood of this elegant 1953 Mercury Monterey convertible, marking the end of the reign of one of the most influential engines in history. Fortunately, this Merc is also a wonderful car in every way, allowing the flathead to go out with a bang. Neatly restored back to stock, this Yosemite Yellow droptop was a head-turner back when America was at the top of its game, and with those period-perfect looks and smooth drivetrain, it’s just as impressive today.

With all the focus on vintage hot-rodding, it’s easy to forget that your parents and grandparents drove cars like this to work every day. With that in mind, you shouldn’t be surprised that this one works as well as it does or that it looks so polished. The Mercury brand was hitting on all eight cylinders in 1953, boasting impressive sales and a rejuvenated image thanks to cars like this. The bright Code 19 Yosemite Yellow paint is an original shade that was resprayed almost 20 years ago when the car was restored, and with all the original trim in place and that contrasting convertible top providing just enough contrast, it has a high-profile look that fits the Monterey’s upscale status. Under the tutelage of conscientious ownership since the day it left the dealership, it’s important to note that this car has never had a frame-off restoration, so it has looked this good pretty much its entire life. When it was repainted it was done right, and the super straight bodywork that’s under that solid, above-average driver-quality finish comes from clean Texas living and not a restorer’s tools, and everything still fits together with a precision that only comes with authentic, original cars. Heavy chrome bumpers are in very good condition, and it appears that most of the stainless trim is original, so it could be easily buffed and polished to really stand out even further. The tan convertible top shows a little age from being stowed-away most of its life, but that’s a good thing because it tells the tale of a fair-weather car that never got caught in the rain.

The two-tone yellow and black interior was likely freshened at the same time the car was painted approximately two decades ago, and because the former owner’s took great care and fixed any wear-and-tear issues that popped up through the years, it shows almost no signs of use today. The vinyl upholstery is durable and comfortable, stitched into factory-correct patterns that value simplicity over flash, and the color combination does a great job breaking up all that yellow. The factory dashboard has a super-cool futuristic look, with that beautiful floating instrument panel, and aircraft-style control levers for the secondary switches and controls. Handsome door panels with chrome accents are in great shape too, while the plush black carpets below insulate the cabin and an upscale feel inside. Everything is stock, down to the factory AM radio is still in the dash and the clock straight above it, and this droptop also offers spacious accommodations in the back seat. Out back, the sanitary trunk is neatly finished with black carpets and includes a full-sized spare tire and jack set.

The 1953 Mercury flathead V8 is the one all the hot-rodders want, and for good reason: it’s the biggest and most powerful of the bunch. With 255 cubic inches to work with, it’s ripe for upgrades, which makes the fact that this Flatty was left completely alone in all of its original glory. It’ believed to be the original drivetrain, and with a recent tune-up, it’s really running like a sewing machine today. It’s not exactly race-ready, but it moves the tidy Merc effortlessly with that characteristic flathead burble. Part of the joy of a flathead like this is the way it goes about its business with great torque and a fun exhaust note that’ll have you blipping the throttle as you go through tunnels. It’s painted turquoise, as it should be, and still carries neat little details like the mechanical fuel pump up top and generator for the 6-volt system. The exhaust is a bit more recent (at least the muffler is) and sounds exactly right, and the Merc-O-Matic 3-speed automatic transmission is a pleasure for cruising around town. Period perfect G78-15 whitewall bias-plys retain the vintage look, and they’re wrapped around red steelies adorned with original Mercury hubcaps and beauty rings.

A neat convertible Merc with flathead power, this Monterey is a no-disappointments car that proves there’s almost nothing better than a top that goes down and a flathead under the hood. Call today!

Price: Auction

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Location: Fort Worth, Texas, United States