The Pick of the Day is a 1957 Mercury Montclair 2-door hardtop powered by a Turnpike Cruiser V8 engine, which was available for just two model years.
When Dwight D. Eisenhower became president of the United States in 1953, one of his key achievements will forever be remembered as the launch of the Interstate Highway System. Exactly 65 years ago as of next month, the system was authorized thanks to the Federal Aid Highway Act of June 1956.
The collective excitement about the ability to travel cross-country on an interconnected network of freeways made its way through every aspect of American car culture at the time. Automakers even sold a few car models whose selling points catered specifically to interstate highway travel. Mercury’s Turnpike Cruiser was one example.
While slotted just below Mercury’s new flagship model that wore the Turnpike Cruiser nameplate, the Montclair shared that car’s drivetrain, namely a 368cid V8 that was capable of producing 290 horsepower and was paired with a 3-speed “Merc-O-Matic” automatic transmission.
The private seller in Lake Almanor, California, advertising the Mercury on ClassicCars.com discusses some of the unique features on this black Montclair, most notably that it was configured as a California Highway Patrol Interceptor. The ad doesn’t spell out exactly what that special police equipment included, although one would surmise that the spotlights probably had something to do with it.
Unlike many collector cars that spend their lives tucked away in garages, this Mercury has seen some time on the highway and in the spotlight.
“Car has attended 10 of the last 12 Hot August Nights events in Reno,” the ad states.
The seller goes on to outline some of the Mercury’s cosmetic and mechanical upgrades, which include a new radiator with auxiliary fan, a new exhaust system, replacement upholstery and carpets, and new Coker wide-whitewall tires. The paint, dash and door panels are said to be original, and “Turnpike Cruiser” branding is found on the engine’s valve covers as well as on the steering wheel hub.
The Interstate Highway System was proclaimed to be completed in 1992 at a total cost of about $114 billion, with its length by that time reaching 48,440 miles or about twice the circumference of the earth. Unfortunately, despite this Mercury’s turnpike miles traveled, its odometer has been broken for over a dozen years, the seller says, so its true mileage is unknown.
The seller is asking $17,500 for this freeway-ready Mercury.
To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.