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New to restoration

@Triedaq & @Whawho Correct; my handbook “Americans Cars from 1930” shows the various Meteor models. The name originated with Ford of Canada who needed a cheaper car for their Mercury Lincoln dealers. From 1949, a standard Ford was rebadged as the Meteor and was a full size Ford with different trim till 1966 or so. Mechanically they were identical and built on the same assembly line. The US Meteor models were not sold under that name in Canada.

I came close to ordering a Comet Caliente in 1966 with the big engine, but reports on excessive rust made me cancel those plans.

Looking at pictures of this model, I have to say it’s not much to look at. I’d rather restore something prettier, like a '56 or '57 Chevy, maybe a classic VW Beetle.

Those Chevy’s are icons and will be expensive. I’d prefer a full size car from the 1960s, like a Pontiac Catalina or Bonneville; 1964 starts a better looking generation IMO. There were no Buick or Oldsmobile analogs back in the day and they had handsome large cars, too. But this will be a weekend car and you should go for the real deal: Lincoln, Imperial, or Cadillac. My favorite is the 1964 Cadillac Model 62 hardtop, but my parents had one and it was a dream. The Fleetwood would be great, and the 1960s Lincoln Continentals are sweet, too.

Back in 1977, I bought a 1948 one-owner Dodge sedan to restore. It needed a right rear fender. I answered an ad in an old car magazine and got a fender for $30. I did get the engine to run well and drove the car around. However, I found out that the needed body work and floorboard repair would be quite expensive. Also, reupholstering the seats was pricey. I was driving the car down the street one day and someone pulled up beside me and offered me $800. He followed me home, gave me $800 in cash and I gave him the title. I learned two things from this experience:

  1. restoring a car is expensive, particularly body work.
  2. if you are going to restore a car, restore a coupe or a convertible. These models are worth much more than sedans.

Lots of great info guys, Thanks. I think a 56/57 chevy would be a little above my budget. I also like the look of the 60’s sedans. I think the Meteor looks neat. I am going to look around and see what else is available in my area, but I think I will be going ahead with the Meteor. It has what I am looking for…Parts that are somewhat common, an easy project, and a look that is cool. I think this will be a good little starter project for me and my son. I appreciate all of your help.

You never did tell us which engine is in the the 1962 Meteor you are considering, nor have you told us whether it is a manual transmission or automatic. If it has the 170 cubic inch 6 cylinder engine and an automatic transmission, the acceleration will be rather slow. The automatic transmission on the 6 cylinder was a 2 speed unit. Either V-8 engine, the 221 cubic inch or the 260 cubic inch will produce better acceleration. I don’t remember whether the automatic transmission with these V-8 engines is a two speed or three speed unit. The great combination, in my opinion, would be either of the V-8 engines with the three speed manual transmission and the Borg-Warner overdrive.

" If it has the 170 cubic inch 6 cylinder engine and an automatic transmission, the acceleration will be rather slow"

@Treidaq - you get the award for the understatement of the year. My '65 Mustang had the 170 with a manual 4 sp. I drove it HARD, and my friend with a V8 LTD would just laugh…I wouldn’t want that engine in a much heavier car with a power-draining automatic, hobby car or not.

6 cylinder with 3 on the tree. I am so new to this I don’t even know what that really means. I am assuming it means 3 speed manual on the steering column. So yes I think it would be rather slow, but it would be a GREAt starter car for when my son learns to drive. Slow and heavy.

“Three on the tree” means the car has a manual transmission with three forward speeds and the gearshift is on the steering column. The engine is a 6 cylinder with the cylinders in a straight line from the front to the back of the engine. I would rather have the manual transmission in this car than an automatic with the 6 cylinder engine.

I wouldn’t want my kid on anything but a parking lot with this kind of car, they are EXTREMELY unsafe as far as handling, braking, and especially any kind of accident is concerned.

The 1961 Meteor was built as a full-size car…But in 1962, they wanted a smaller model so they used the Fairlane platform…Until this model, Mercury’s were exclusively V-8 powered cars and they usually got the more powerful engines a year before the Fords did…

The problem with restoring a car like this is parts availability. Most mechanical things can be worked around; body and trim may be a lot more difficult and expensive.

The word “restore” can also mean mega-bucks even for a DIYer and if the car is relatively rust free and if you’re serious about getting it then I would not bother restoring it to showroom condition. Just concentrate on making it presentable.

Cars like this are the ugly ducklings of the auto world and just my 2 cents as being the salmon who decides to go downstream (fate be darned), I kind of like the more unusual cars. When attending a car show I see Mustangs, Camaros, and Chevelles by the dozens but usually gravitate towards the oddballs in the bunch such as the early 60s Plymouth Belvederes. Those cars are the root definition of ugly, but…

@Caddyman–the 1961 Mercury Meteor was available with the 223 cubic inch inline 6. Until 1960, all Mercury cars had V-8 engines. The 1960 Mercury Comet was the first car bearing the Mercury nameplate that had a 6 cylinder engine of either 144 cubic inches or 170 cubic inches. This Comet was essentially a Ford Falcon. However, the full size 1960 Mercury was on its own chassis and was quite different than the full size 1960 Ford. However, in 1961, the full size Mercury was a glorified Ford and had the same engine options. This was the first full size Mercury that offered a 6 cylinder engine. After 1961, the full size Mercury was only available with the V-8 as I remember.

texases… Not a daily driver, but a 2-3 day a week driver.
triedaq… Wow that is a lot of information. Do you know all of that or did you copy and paste? Either way good stuff. Thanks
Bing… 500.00 is GREAT!!! I thought if I could get it for $2,000 I would be happy, but maybe I am shooting too high.

I think you’re going into this with a good, realistic attitude which I applaud.

I myself kind of like the way these cars look. At least it’s not a “navel” car. (Everyone has or has had one.)

You’re going to be driving in this car with your son, (No way he’s going to let you leave him behind.) so you’ll want to seriously consider the installation of aftermarket seat belts. I’m pretty confident this car does not have them from the factory. If, by some odd chance it DOES, then consider replacements since the original webbing will be almost 50 years old.

Straight six with a three on the tree? Cool. Very basic, and will certainly be pretty easy to work on. That’s the combo I learned to drive on.

Good luck, and let’s see some pictures if you choose to buy it.

I was the proud owner of one of these back in my college days(70-73). It was a great car. Do not have any clue as to why I sold it but I am looking for one to do exactly what you want to do…restore it. I am talking a full frame off restore . You have to keep in mind, a good restoration will cost several dollars. Parts will not be cheap. But once done it will be a great car.

Here you go…

Some guy about 20 miles down the road from me has a pair of complete mid 60s Mercury Marauders sitting out back.They’ve been parked there for decades and he apparently is content to let them weather away to nothing rather than fix or sell them. It’s pretty sad; especially considering the 2 DR fastback body lines.

Mid 60’s…There might be 428 Marauder engines under those hoods… Same as Cobra-Jets…Now you get into '68, 69, 70 and the Mercury Division built a few Cyclone Spoiler II patterned after the Torino Talladega race cars. (427 power). Only a handful of these cars were built…

You’d be money ahead buying that restored one for $10,000 in my view. We had a 61 Merc and an always liked that car. I don’t know about it being a glorified Ford but it was the same size and frame, but rode much nicer and nicer interior, etc. Back then that was the difference in a lot of models.