Home » The Long And The Short Of It: 1967 Mercury Monterey vs Two 1958 Hillman Minxes

The Long And The Short Of It: 1967 Mercury Monterey vs Two 1958 Hillman Minxes

Sbsd 6 12 2024
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Good morning! Today, to show that there is no limit to the lengths to which I will go to entertain and inform you all, we’re going to look at a very long car with a very long description, and a pair of very short cars with a very short description. Does size matter? We’re about to find out.

But first: Yesterday we looked at two 1980s hatchbacks that used to be pretty common but are rapidly disappearing. It was a fairly close vote, but as of right now the Rabbit holds a steady lead that I don’t see the Colt overcoming, so I’m calling it for the Volkswagen.

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I am an unabashed early water-cooled VW nut, having grown up in a Dasher and a Golf, and having had a Mk1 Scirocco as my first car. But I think I’m leaning towards the Colt here – even my rusty one was a lot of fun to drive, and apart from the carb issues, it’s in a lot better shape. And I’m not sure a four-door Rabbit is special enough to put up with all the VW-ness. I think I’d hold out for another Scirocco.

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Did anybody else here play the old Infocom text-adventure games? In case you’re unfamiliar with them, let me explain: You were given a description of an area or room, and you told the game using simple text commands what you wanted to do next. “Go east,” “take sword,” “turn on lamp,” that sort of thing. But there were also commands that would alter how the game presented information. If you typed “brief,” you got a full description of a room the first time you entered it, and only the room name on subsequent visits. “Verbose” got you the full description every time, and “superbrief” only gave you the room name, even if you’d never been there before.

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I was reminded of those commands when I saw these two ads. One is stuck on “verbose” mode, while the other is set to “superbrief.” Let’s see which one you’d add to your inventory.

1967 Mercury Monterey convertible – $1,000

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Engine/drivetrain: No engine or transmission, RWD

Location: Carson City, NV

Odometer reading: 94,000 miles

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Operational status: Purely decorative

This big ol’ Mercury ragtop has been for sale for quite a while, by the sound of it, and the seller is getting frustrated. The text of this ad clocks in at 2,006 words, about twice what I typically write here, and the majority of it is not even about the car itself. I get it; selling stuff sucks, especially when potential buyers flake out or make ridiculous demands. But a wall of complainy text right at the top does make it hard to figure out exactly what we’re looking at here.

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What are we looking at? Well, it’s a 1967 Mercury Monterey – that’s the big one – in two-door convertible form. It originally came equipped with a 390 cubic inch V8 and a C6 three-speed automatic; those are both absent, and the car is without a powertrain. This is a bad thing if you want to drive it home unless you can push really hard, but a good thing if you had plans to yank out the old 390 anyway and drop in something spicier and/or more modern.

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The seller says this car “needs EVERYTHING,” and they’re not lying. The interior is a mess, and large chunks of it appear to be missing. Trim pieces for Fords of this era aren’t impossible to come by, and Lincoln is probably pretty well represented, but Mercury, the Ford equivalent to Jan Brady, is often forgotten by the repro companies. Would Galaxie parts fit? Maybe. Is it more likely that you’d have to find a custom interior shop to do it up? Probably.

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The good news is that it’s not a complete rustbucket. It’s pretty straight, too, and the chrome bumpers are still shiny. There’s a lot to work with here. A lot of work to be done, certainly, but it has good bones. And the price of admission is certainly cheap enough.

1958 Hillman Minx convertible with parts car – $1,400

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Engine/drivetrain: 1.5-liter overhead valve inline 4, four-speed manual, RWD

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Location: Brentwood, CA

Odometer reading: unknown

Operational status: unknown, but probably neither one runs

Finding parts for a discontinued American brand might be tough, but it’s nothing compared to finding parts for a 1950s British car from a long-dead company that never was part of BMC or British Leyland. If ever a car required a parts car in order to fix it up, it’s the Hillman Minx Series III convertible. Fortunately, this seller is offering a pair of Minxes, advertising them as “one restorable and one good donor car,” but doesn’t really specify which they consider which.

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This seller isn’t big on details at all, really. This ad runs sixteen words; I remember seeing more verbose descriptions in the classifieds in the back of Road & Track back in the day. It appears that the blue car is meant to be the restorable one, based on its fresh paint, and the scruffy white one is the parts donor. There’s no mention of whether either car includes its original 1494cc engine, or if so, whether either of them runs.

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Here again, both interiors are, predictably, trashed. The top bows and structure appear to be present on both cars, but the cloth is long gone. Much of the trim that’s missing from the blue car is stuffed inside the white car; your best bet would be to drag both of them into a large garage and start laying everything out to see what’s there – sort of like a big jigsaw puzzle. Start with the edges first.

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That is of course the trouble with these two-cars-into-one deals: You have to find a place to put two cars. Yeah, you can take what you think you need off the parts car and drag it out back, but then what? How long does it sit there? What’s the endgame?

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When you look at as many online classified ads as I do, you see some real doozies. Some people know how to describe a car in a way that gives you a sense of it; some don’t. And some really don’t. Frankly, in both of these cases, I’d like a little more information. But you know what I know, and as always, you can click on the headers for each car to view the original ads. Which project convertible strikes you as a better deal?

(Image credits: Craigslist sellers)

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Bill D
Bill D
29 days ago

I’d be tempted by the Merc but only because a good friend had the 4-door version of that car when we were all back in high school in the early ’80s. Had a 390 in it and his dad swore someone had breathed on it because it went like stink. One of the best memories of my life is road tripping in that car with my friend to visit a friend of ours who had moved several states away our senior year.

Timothy Swanson
Timothy Swanson
29 days ago

Text games for the win. I’ll take the verbose one and swap a Windsor and stick shift in.

Robert Stanley McLaughlin
Robert Stanley McLaughlin
29 days ago

Electric motor on that Mercury sounds like fun!

Freelivin2713
Freelivin2713
29 days ago

I was gonna vote Mercury but today I’m not “crazy bout a Mercury” even though that ad was hilarious and true! The Hillmans just won me over since they’re so cute, I love the blue on the one, and you get 2!

Austin Vail
Austin Vail
29 days ago

This one is a hard decision. I love big old Ford/Mercury cars and ESPECIALLY 390 V8s, as I already have a car with that engine and a C6 automatic and it’s fantastic. The Mercury has the potential to be that, but a convertible. Very nice.

However, I’ve gotta give this one to the Hillmans. My grandpa’s first car was a Hillman Minx, I think it was a ’58 as well. Besides, I already have a big land yacht with a 390, so I’m more interested in the cars that aren’t similar to it.

I’d restore both Hillmans because parts cars make me feel guilty about wasting potential. They’d probably be restomodded though, with Toyota drivetrains under the hood for maximal reliability and ease of parts sourcing.

Argentine Utop
Argentine Utop
29 days ago

I don’t care about the Mercury, but you guys absolutely have to hire the seller. His rant is epic.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
29 days ago

I just want to say that I really appreciate how you lean into the Shitbox Showdown theme…

Myk El
Myk El
1 month ago

Neither of these would be projects I’d tackle. Pretending for the sake of the exercise that I would take on that level of restoration, it’d be the Hillmans. All the cars are far enough gone that I’d not feel bad about trying to modernize underneath while retaining the original look. Obviously, I’m assuming a generous restoration budget here. Something done out of love, not expecting ANY sort of return on investment.

Jeremy Aber
Jeremy Aber
1 month ago

I’m going with the Hillmans, but only because my dad just picked up one (in much better shape thankfully), and he could probably use some spare parts at some point.

Phil Layshio
Phil Layshio
1 month ago

The Mercury simply for parts availability although I’m a little bit insane and I have a thing for weird little British cars that are basically orphans.

Hotdoughnutsnow
Hotdoughnutsnow
1 month ago

I feel like I’ve seen a ton of Montereys in my life (though not any convertibles, so maybe there might be part sources for that in the US… if they didn’t all get crushed during cash for clunkers.

MAX FRESH OFF
MAX FRESH OFF
1 month ago

Cash for Clunkers started in 2009 and required the cars to be less than 25 years old. Cars made before 1984 were not eligible. Mercury stopped making the Monterey in 1974, so it is unlikely that any were crushed due to Cash for Clunkers.

Jonee Eisen
Jonee Eisen
1 month ago

The Hillmans are way cooler. And there is parts support for Rootes Group cars. I had a Singer Gazelle once that I fairly easily found a whole new transmission for once. Not an exciting drive, but looked great, was cheap for something old and collectible, and got plenty of attention.

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