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My Classic Car: Duke’s 1954 Mercury Monterey


Duke"s 1954 Mercury may have been someone else's honeymoon machine | Duke Millington photos
Duke”s 1954 Mercury may have been someone else’s honeymoon machine | Duke Millington photos

‘Back to the ’50s” in Minnesota is one of the largest classic car and rod shows in the nation, with nearly 12,000 vehicles on display. Two years ago, I brought my original 72,000-mile 1954 Mercury Monterey down for the three-day event. Like most car hobbyists, I had put countless hours in bringing the car to look as new as the day it came off the factory line.

The vehicle drew nice crowds and many comments, as there are not many stock, pristine ’54 Mercs around.

On the second day, I watched as a young lady escorted an elderly gentleman, holding him steady by the arm as he moved around the vehicles. As they approached my area, I could see him shaking his head as in disbelief.

Her father sat in the car for a long time
Her father sat in the car for a long time

He asked if the Mercury was my car and I said, “Yes,” providing him and his daughter with a little background on its history. He then proceeded to give me his story, stating that he came down to “Back to the ’50s” specifically looking for his first new car, a ’54 Mercury, and had been walking for over two hours before finding mine.

Interestingly, not only was my ’54 Mercury a tw- door coupe like the one he owned, but it had the same options and colors inside and out.

However, what came next watered my eyes: His search at that show was done with a special purpose in mind, for it was the vehicle he and his new bride had taken on their honeymoon 58 years ago. She had just passed away two weeks before, and he wanted to find the car that they had started out their life together so many decades ago.

He sat in the car for the longest time, going over every feature on that beautiful dashboard, while his daughter took photos. When they left, the countless hours spent over the past year working on the car, became incredibly worthwhile and meaningful to me because of the joy and wonderful memories it brought to another individual.

— Duke Millington, Lindstrom MN

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Reader Stories
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  1. FORD did “get it right” with the 1954 Mercury, From the rear lights to that beautiful new dashboard. Everything went together JUST RIGHT!

  2. Great Story, as I too wish I had my ’47, 62 series Cadillac which my bride and I drove from her home state of Maine to my home state of Wi. a few months after our wedding at the DOW AFB Chapel. Now with our age being in the 80’s I have owned and restored approx. 36 various makes of Automobiles. We now own and drive a Lincoln MKX. Thanks for the Memories. Waltz123

  3. We all have our story’s with cars and the cars that we have sold or traded over the years are worth a fortune not only in dollars but history and the ideal that has made America great, that of course being Freedom of movement, expression, pride, competition and liberty. That’s what is so unique about our country is that young men and women nurtured these vehicles as symbols of all that is and was good about our America.

  4. I live in Hawaii…..I have a 1952 Merc Original Flathead 2 dr Htop….3 speed overdrive. Your Merc is beautiful…& your experience was unforgettable. I had a very similar thing with my sailboat her in Hawaii.

    I have the only52 Merc in Hawaii.
    Aloha Ron

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