AJ's Car of the Day 1953 Mercury Monterey Convertible

Car: Mercury Monterey Convertible

Year: 1953

What makes it special: Ford completely redesigned its cars for 1952, including the Mercury lineup, and the cars now sported a taller, square shape with larger greenhouse. Front and rear glass was now curved, keeping up with the modernization of design, and an entirely new grille and brightwork were employed. Mercury Monterey could now be ordered in more body styles, with a convertible and a sedan joining the popular hardtop coupe. The convertible was the most expensive Monterey at $2,370.

What made it famous: The Mercury L-head eight-cylinder engine still displaced 255 cid, but now produced 125 hp. For the first time in its two-year existence, the Monterey became its own model. Numerous new exterior colors were introduced, with matching interiors in new materials. The heater and vent controls were changed to levers and placed on a plane set perpendicular to the dash behind the steering wheel, inspired by flight controls in large aircraft.

Why I would want one: Monterey had a lot of style, and the Mercury line-up were the "Dressy Fords" of the era.

Fun fact: The Monterey and Monterey Custom were discontinued in 1975, as the Grand Marquis had been introduced as the new top-line Mercury, shifting the lesser Marquis models down to take the Monterey's place.