57 and 58 Mercury confusion?

1957 Mercury Montclair.

Okay…now I’m really confused…

“I had an identical 1957 Plymouth; even the same color! It was the worst car I ever owned, it literally fell apart in my hands.”

My brother had a friend who bought a '57 Chrysler, sometime around 1960. The car looked like it had been very well-cared for, but turned out to be a major source of problems. By the time that he had owned it for a year or so, the rocker panels were riddled with rust. I think that the last straw for the guy was when both torsion bars snapped as he was driving across a rough RR crossing.

Dual headlights were an option on early 1957 Chryslers but became standard later in the production year. They look odd with single headlight as the opening was designed for dual headlights.

Man, learning something every day. I’ll have to get one of those books.

Rocker panels used to be stocked at the local auto parts store and it was quite common to weld new ones in when they were all rusted out. The trick was to match the paint that my neighbor had a problem with.

On the Mercs, I guess the best way now is to look at the front bumper and grill. The 57’s had the large grill above the bumper but the 58’s had the top of the bumper up to about where the old grill was and the grill were more in the center of the bumper. So far that is working but I hope they didn’t change grills in mid stream too or I’m really confused. Used to be the year was molded into the tail light and parking light lenses but of course pretty hard to read those in a picture.

As I remember, states were changing their specifications as to quad headlights. Chrysler products and the Mercury had all new bodies in 1957 and had them set up for the new fad of quad headlights. The 1957 Chevrolet and Pontiac were carryover bodies from 1955 and couldn’t easily be adapted to quad lights in 1957. The Buick and Oldsmobile had new bodies, but weren’t styles for quad headlights. The Chevrolet and Pontiac had all new bodies in 1958 and the Buick and Oldsmobile were extensively restyled. The 1957 Ford was extensively restyled for 1958 and part of the restyling was to accommodate quad lights. I personally preferred 2 headlights to 4. Some cars never did go to 4 headlights.

@VDCDriver Yes, both my torsion bats snapped; one while I was enjoying a meal at my favorite restaurant, looked out of the window and the car suddenly sagged.

The floor rusted out on mine and the front seat fell right through, so that I sat 4 inches lower. On many, pulling the “emergency” brake in a panic made the car pole vault as the brake was on the front of the driveshaft and the front universal would snap, making the driveshaft dig into the pavement.

Sounds like that old joke “Missing, one eyed dog, deaf, 3 legs, answers to ‘Lucky’…”

"The floor rusted out on mine and the front seat fell right through"

I just recalled that my cousin had a '57 Chrysler when he was away at college, and when he returned I can recall being able to see the roadway through the holes in the car’s floor.

It’s really sad to contemplate how Chrysler products–which had been rock-solid reliable prior to 1957–descended to the absolute pits for the '57 and '58 model years. We had a '59 Plymouth, and it was a fairly decent car–unlike the two prior model years.

The quad headlights on the 1957 Mercury look like a hasty design change, they don’t fit in the top of the fenders. The 1958 headlights look better.

If you want to see a hasty headlight design, take a look at the '58 “Packard” (mostly a Studebaker):

Just as manufacturers often make more than one trim version of a car today, manufacturers made more than one trim version of cars in the fifties.

A friend of mine has an all-original, unrestored, three-owner '57 Chevy convertible with full paperwork. It has an honestly unattractive trim package that Chevy tried that sold really poorly. They made very few before discontinuing the trim package, and he sought out and purchased one of the only remaining ones known. He purchased it in '75. The last time I saw him was about ten years ago. I rode with him on a trip of about 50 miles, and the car ran and rode beautifully… although it took forever to get the beast to highway speed. The only things wrong with it are a radio that long ago gave up the ghost and a broken visor.

There’s no question in my mind that the dual headlights and the quad headlights on the '57 Mercs were just variations on the main theme.