Mercury restyled all of its models for 1957, giving its entire lineup a distinctive brand identity in the process. Prior to this year, Mercury bodies had been based on Ford or Lincoln designs, but for 1957 the automaker gave the lineup a sporty and opulent design, including unique V-shaped taillights and sculpted rear fenders. The Monterey was no exception, and Mercury’s full-size offering weighed in at an impressive 3,915 pounds and rode a 122-inch wheelbase. Available body styles in 1957 included a four-door sedan and hardtop, two-door sedan and hardtop, and a convertible. Early 1957 Montereys came with two headlights, but changed to four lights mid-year.
The basic engine package for a Monterey in 1957 was a 312-cid, overhead-valve V-8 with 255 hp, but drivers could purchase an optional 368-cid motor with 290 horsepower or a dual-carburetor M-335 version of the same mill that bump power to 335 hp. Transmissions included the standard three-speed manual with optional overdrive or the optional automatic. More than 95% of Mercury’s 1957 output featured the automatic.
Available options for the Monterey included a continental kit for the spare tire, whitewall tires, air conditioning, power steering and brakes, a heater, and a radio. Interestingly, very few cars were originally ordered with air conditioning, making the option quite desirable today.
Like most of the American market, the 1958 Monterey was impacted by a recession, and production of the model was cut to about 50,000 cars, or one third of 1957’s production total. Minor trim changes were made to the outside of the vehicle, and the 312-cid V-8 was dropped. The 383-cid V-8 became standard with 312 horsepower, and an optional 430-cid V-8 with triple two-barrel carburetors was added, delivering 400 horsepower.
Convertible Mercury Montereys from this generation are particularly rare and desirable today, and the stylish two-door hardtops are also sought-after, especially when equipped with one of the more powerful engines. High production numbers make ownership relatively straightforward, and maintenance is typically a non-issue. Finding the right Monterey is also fairly easy, though the 430 engines are predictably harder to locate.
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