The Vault

The Full Monty: Greg Jones’ ‘56 Mercury Montclair

Anne Grinney-Colomban Car Feature, Pinup Tags: , , , ,
1956 Mercury Montclair

Words: Anna Marco

Photos: Mike Basso

Model: Cara

When it comes to custom tricks, this ‘56 Mercury Montclair has it all!


Love Affair

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.


Custom Potential

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?


Trick Tech

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

Seats: Stock

Upholstery: Black cloth w/white vinyl

Dashboard: Shaved

Steering Column: ididit chrome tilt

Steering Wheel: 1964 Buick Riviera