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Lot 316: Mercury Montclair Sun Valley Hard Top Coupe

Exceptional Collectors' Motor Cars, Bonhams & Butterfields (5 June 2011)

The designations of Sun Valley and Sky Liner first appeared on the Mercury and Ford books in 1954 and referred to the bubble top or Perspex covering forward of the B pillars, designed to provide the driver with a much more airy cabin and therefore enhanced driving experience. The reality was that its effect was more akin to that of a glass house and for this reason their production was relatively short lived. That first year, Mercury based the concept on its Monterey line of coupes and they must have had very distinct ideas as to how they wished the car to be seen as its color palette was limited to either pale yellow or mint green.

A year later a new Sun Valley arrived for '55, this time using the top of the range Montclair as its basis in an altogether more appealing package which allowed buyers any color of their choosing. A total of 1,787 of these cars were actually built, which may sound a lot in modern terms but considering that Mercury production topped 300,000 units that wasn't a lot. To make them all the more attractive to collectors the survival rate has been relatively poor and today restoring one can be perilously expensive, not least trying to replace that a broken roof panel.

The purchaser of this car has none of that to worry about as this Montclair has clearly undergone a professional restoration to a high standard which would no doubt have been an expensive operation. Given the way that the car turned out, it must have been undertaken starting with a very good basis both in terms of condition and specification. Importantly it carried the ultra rare and desirable option of factory air-conditioning which made its debut as an option that year, that was of course a sensible choice given the potential for the car to warm up on a hot day through its glass roof. In addition to this the car features spotlight, 'Continental' spare tire kit and radio.

Lot Details
Auction Exceptional Collectors' Motor Cars
Bonhams & Butterfields, Greenwich, Connecticut
TypeCar
Lot Number316
Estimate$45000-$55000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price$38500
Hammer Price (inc premium)$45045
Year1955
Condition rating0
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis number55SL 118310 M
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors