Words: Anna Marco
Photos: Mike Basso
When it comes to custom tricks, this ‘56 Mercury Montclair has it all!
Blame Cupid. Unbeknownst to Greg Jones, naughty little Eros shot an arrow thru his heart at the 2005 Del Mar Goodguys show. After walking around for eight hours, studying custom cars of every shape and size, Greg was smitten by a 1956 Mercury Montclair, literally 100 yards from the exit. Three months later he purchased one of his own off the Internet and began an eight-year love affair rebuilding it.
New to the concept of rebuilding cars, Greg was momentarily struck with a what-the-heck-am-I-doing moment after the car arrived. That didn’t last long as visions of tasteful modifications, potential, and dramatic chrome danced in his head. The original goal to restore the Montclair true to its original style was sidetracked when he quickly learned “once you do chrome and stainless, there’s no turning back.” The whole car had to be redone! Meanwhile, one thing led to another: louvered hood, custom fender skirts, door poppers, steel headlight hoods, shaved dash, custom interior and paint. We know the rest, right?
Jon Guilmet (Hot Rod Hell) helmed the rework, including trick modifications seamlessly welded to steel with “no Bondo allowed anywhere!” Everything from the top down was then replaced, rebuilt, reworked and refreshed by a team of the best auto mechanics and craftsmen in Southern California. The 1966 Ford 390 engine (originally balanced by Ed Hale’s famed race engine shop) was rebuilt by Matt Alford. A balanced driveshaft is courtesy of Drive Line Service in Linda Vista, California, and Dorschell Twins Customs handled finish bodywork, paint and the dual exhaust.
The difficult job of installing modern rack and pinion in this make and model was engineered by Tony Cortes at True-Line (El Cajon, California). Original gauges were refreshed by The Speedo Shop (Santee, California) and then mounted in a shaved dash. Electronics expert Ted Stoltz wired a new harness, stereo, and security system. Two shops handled the custom interior: Ron’s Auto Upholstery (Pittsburgh, PA) did the sewing and Jim’s Upholstery (San Diego, CA) did the install. Finally, Pacific Chrome (San Diego, CA) repaired and polished all the shiny stuff inside and out.
The Full Monty
Finally, the Merc received a two-tone paint PPG scheme: stock 1957-59 Colonial White and custom 2013 Metallic Pewter with clearcoat. Legendary pinstriper Lyle Fisk added subtle accents under the hood. This beloved vehicle, now an award winning beauty, is a whole shebang of trick tech and creates a stir in the neighborhood whenever it’s driven. Despite the trials and tribulations of building “his first and last custom,” the Montclair is now parked in Greg’s heart, never to be sold.
Special thanks: Brad Dorschell
Owner: Gregg Jones
Location: Valley Center, CA
Builder: Jon Guilmet, Hot Rod Hell
Vehicle: 1956 Mercury Montclair
Body Modifications: Shaved, nosed, decked, molded front fenders, louvered hood, shrouded lake pipes, custom fender skirts
Paint: PPG cream & custom metallic pearl pewter
Painter: Dorschell Twins Customs
Engine: 1966 Ford 390 (by Matt Alford)
Transmission: 1966 Ford C6
Intake & Carb: Edelbrock performer intake w/Holley 650 carb
Exhaust: Dual lake pipes, 2.25”
Rear End: Ford 9”
Suspension: F– Rebuilt stock, lowered (Tony @Truline, Santee, CA); R- Rebuilt stock, lowered
Brakes: Power drum
Wheels: 15×6 w/spinner caps
Tires: 225/75R15 Goodyear
Upholstery: Black cloth w/white vinyl
Steering Column: ididit chrome tilt
Steering Wheel: 1964 Buick Riviera