Thursday, June 18, 2015

Flights of Fancy: 1976 & 1977 Mercury Monarchs

The Mercury Monarch was a replacement for the outgoing Falcon based Comet, the Mercury branded equivalent to the Ford Granada and Lincoln Versailles.  Mercury sold an astonishing 575,000 of these malaise-mobiles when new, a feat truly impressive when you consider what an appalling pile of rubbish the Monarch was when new.  However, the surviving Monarchs are like a distilled version of the original, only the best, those that were properly maintained, and not assembled by ham-fisted neanderthals or UAW saboteurs have survived outside of the wilds of the American junkyard.  Today we've got a pair to start your collection.  Tip from K2 Mr E Car.


First up is this  1976 Mercury Monarch Grand Ghia Sedan found here on eBay currently bidding for $1,775 reserve-not-met with a $4,500 buy-it-now located in SLC, UT.  The name may have been grandiose, but the Monarch Grand Ghia is mostly known for its use as a donor vehicle for rear end and brake equipment to be transferred to classic Mustangs & hot rods.  The beefy 9" rear axle has two discs on the end and the Grand Ghia & Lincoln Versailles were worth less than the sum of their rear axle parts about 5 minutes after they left the dealer lot.  The 5.0 liter Ford V8 could also be torn down to bare metal and rebuilt into something useful, the rest of the car is best recycled into Chinese refrigerator magnets.


If a 4-door slushbox shifted Monarch isn't to your liking, you might want to check out this 1977 Mercury Monarch here on eBay bidding for $6,000 with 4 days to go, located in Wichita, KS.  This Monarch is a basic 2-door version powered by a 5.0 V8, but it is shifted with a 3-speed manual gearbox.


See another malaise era boat for sale? tips@dailyturismo.com

20 comments:

  1. Memories of our rental car during a family vacation in 1977 are coming back. I never knew anyone who actually bought one, just rented them.

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  2. The green Mercury is strangely appealing to me, the 302 with the manual is the hook. I also like that it’s a low-spec car without the vinyl roof; the round headlights are a plus too.
    This would be unique wrapper for the ubiquitous Ford 302 V8 build. Most of the parts to improve the brakes, suspension, rear differential, and interior are just a junk yard expedition away. As for the Windsor V8, you would have to reside on the moon not to find go-fast parts for it, heck; I think even your wife’s Avon catalog sells 302 hot rod parts.
    For me I’d message about 300 or so HP (up from the malaise 139, yikes!) out of the engine room and concentrate on making this pig handle and brake like it was never intended. Being the only guy on earth that’s not a drag racer I’d want the car to have enough poke to be fun but, more importantly, not squeal for mercy at the sight of a curve.

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    1. The club may be small MarveH, but I'm not a drag racer either. Nor have I ever been in drag. Just ask Stan; he'll verify that I haven't. Which explains why I never made the high school football team.

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    2. That’s good K2, shutting a skirt in the door is very unseemly. Just an FYI, being in drag is no longer PC, I believe the current term is trans-missioned.

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    3. Thanks, MarveH. That explains what a slushboxer is, then. I run into those occasionally. They can't hit worth a d@mn. Also, the related condition known as "punch drunk" is now crystal clear to me.

      [img]http://i.imgur.com/yi80M8R.jpg?2[/img]

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    4. If you wanted to build the chassis on one of these things you can basically shop at the early Mustang parts bins, almost everything will fit or adapt readily.

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  3. I'm alarmingly attracted to the green one too. If it was beige with a brown interior, it would be irresistible for turning into a sleeper.

    "3-speed + overdrive" = 4-speed.

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    1. The '3-speed overdrive' transmissions were a very-wide-ratio and rather weak version of the old Toploader 4-speed design. It was news at the time that they were Mexican-built, but since Tremec does all their manufacturing there now (and Ford uses a Chinese-sourced ZF transmission in the Mustang) that's a yawn now.

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    2. Interesting...they put the OD gear in the 3rd gear position in the cluster and turned the shifter arm around, so as you went through the H you actually went 1-2 then into 1:1 4th then OD 3rd.

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  4. This one goes out to my pal Gianni. I hope he shares some fond memories and nightmares of the Monarch with us!

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    1. Oh and THANK YOU, El Jefe for featuring these fine pieces of...uh, workmanship.

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    2. Yes, my mom owned a two door metallic beige Monarch when I was in high school. It had the half vinyl top unlike the above example, but didn't have the alloys. It had hubcaps with emblems that rattled and drove you crazy, until I siliconed them in place. My dad took it to the Ford dealer 'cuz he thought it was something to do with the brakes. They happily took his money and did a brake job, and it still rattled when he got it back. It took a 16 year old kid to figure out the source.

      The doors on the thing must have weighed 500 lbs each. I forget what v-8 it had under the hood, but it was thirsty, yet anemic.

      Because of my experience with this POS, I still, to this day, would never buy and American car, rightly or wrongly.

      I will say it was cheap to have your brother's friend that owned a body shop, repair a fender.

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    3. Beige...color of the gods.

      I saw a hubcap lying on the side of the road the other day while I was doing one of my drug and gun deals and thought to myself, "Remember when you used to see those all the time...in that state?"

      I didn't answer myself, disappointingly. But...ah, memories of happier times...

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    4. This was a fancy, copper-y metallic beige color. I found a picture of it's twin complete with tan vinyl top and hubcaps:

      [img]http://blogs.artvoice.com/avdaily/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/79-monarch-nt-r1.jpg[/img]

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  5. Yeah, for a car that was everywhere for half a decade there seems to be more Saab 99s left on the road. Same is true of the later Fairmont, a much better basic design but still built like a tin wind-up toy.

    If some individual is inclined to pick up one of these shining examples of Bordinat Baroque excrescence, the good news is that the chassis shares its basic design, pretty much all its dimensions and many of its parts with the early Mustangs, so you can lower those upper arms, find yourself some tweaked control arms and roller spring perches and so on, and go out and frighten people.

    I lean toward the sedan, myself.

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  6. I like the sedan, myself. Growing up in the shadow of the Ford assembly plant in Wayne MI (Home of the Bronco!) Monarchs and Granadas were EVERYWHERE when I was a kid. Not a surprise, since IIRC they built them over there. My best friend's dad had one and when he got junked it when we were 14 or so, he let us tear the thing apart. I still have the taillights and turn signals. A car doesn't have to be a good car to inspire fond memories, and I'm glad these two popped up!

    Also, it occurs to me, doing the math, that Steve's dad was junking that Monarch when it was less than ten years old. And it wasn't wrecked, it just didn't run any more and wasn't worth fixing. Sheebus.

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  7. I flirted with the siren call of the Granada/Monarch back then, but thank goodness I held out until the Fairmont/Zephyr arrived. The difference in the driving experience was like night and day. But I did use wrecked Granadas as parts sources to upgrade my Fairmonts (cushy supportive fully adjustable separate bucket seats, and especially the gorgeous thick genuine-leather-wrapped steering wheels that were common on those earlier models).

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    1. Mom's Monarch had a nasty plastic two spoke wheel with fake wood trim and integrated cruise control buttons on it. The only reason I thought of the Monarch and mentioned it to K2 was that I was at a Cars & Coffee event a couple of weeks ago and saw a Ford Elite and it had the same wheel. I had (thankfully) forgotten about the Monarch until then. :-)

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  8. I love the idea of a malaise - era boat that is equipped with a manual transmission. Every now and then you will see a late 70s Cutlass or a Monarch like this come up for sale with a stick. It would definitely be a unique driving experience.

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    1. I believe you could even get these with drum front brakes for the first couple years, if that kind of thing appealed to you...this and the platform-companion Maverick were also the last products to use Ford's lousy linkage boosted power steering. Not the last car on the market to use a similar design, though, the C3 Vette had something comparable until the end of production in '82.

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