Scott Farrell’s 72 Mercury Montego GT “Forgotten American Muscle”

farrellmontegoleadartThis beautifully restored, second generation, 1972 Mercury Montego GT, is owned by Scott and Jody Farrell of Largo, Florida. It is a living example of the trends of the industry during that era. Executives in the ivory towers of Dearborn were looking to restructure the product line and boost sagging sales numbers. Replacing the once popular Cyclone with a completely restyled Montego seemed to be the answer. For the 1972 model year, Mercury introduced the Montego MX Brougham, and a sleek, two-door fastback coupe, the Montego GT.

72 Mercury201508190026

Not exactly what you would consider a musclecar front end.

The addition of the new Montego GT to Mercury’s lineup was deemed to be a great success with sales increasing 136 percent over the Cyclone for the previous model year. The Montego MX Brougham proved to be the saving grace with sales climbing nearly 900 percent from the previous model year. With these numbers as the catalyst, Ford dedicated the majority of the Mercury advertising budget to the promotion of the MX Brougham. Sadly, with little to no advertising for it, production on the Montego GT was reduced, and eventually phased out completely.

With production numbers of just 5,280 units during its initial year, and only 4,464 units during the final year of production, these cars are considered rare, and are highly sought after by enthusiasts and collectors alike. Often referred to as the “Forgotten Muscle Car,” the Montego GT was Mercury’s attempt to combine personal luxury with American made horsepower. Unfortunately, the idea just didn’t catch on and would ultimately result in the demise of the car.

72 Mercury201508190009

This Montego received the best of everything.

Although exact numbers on how many of these vehicles have survived over the years, the last entry on the now defunct Montego GT registry shows 159 vehicles as of 2007. Other sources show as many as 228 survivors. Due to the poor sales numbers during its final year of production, restoration parts are very hard to find. Some parts and body panels are virtually non-existent, meaning, that there are very few of these remaining vehicles that have been successfully and completely restored. Farrell’s beautiful bright red Montego GT certainly falls into this category, not only has the car been completely restored, it’s as close to showroom condition as Farrell could make it, with the exception of a bit more horsepower.

Farrell is a lifelong automotive enthusiast, and is considered to be a master craftsman of his trade. Well known in the industry as one of the premiere automotive painters in the state of Florida, Farrell’s shop, Attitude Custom Painting & Bodywork, is never lacking for work.

Farrell will modestly disagree with those that refer to him as a master craftsman; instead, he will tell you he just enjoys what he does. Those that know him best describe him as hard working, driven and goal oriented. His wife, Jody, says her husband of 30 years is the hardest working man she has ever seen. “He is very persistent, but also very patient. He’s just so organized in everything he does,” she said.

72 Mercury201508190039

From this vantage point, the Montego looks every bit the musclecar.

Originally from Beech Grove, Indiana, Ferrell spent his formative years in this small town just outside of Indianapolis. He finished his schooling at Seminole High School in Seminole, Florida, after his family relocated to the warmer confines of the sunshine state during his senior year. When questioned about where his love of the automobile came from, Farrell sat back in his chair, thoughtfully rubbed his chin and answered, “I don’t know.”

Farrell added, “Nobody in the family was ever into cars, I mean, a car was just basic transportation in my family.” Farrell readily admits he’s not sure where it came from, but he says he’s always been infatuated with anything that had a motor on, or in it. Two-wheels, four-wheels, six or eight didn’t matter to him, if it looked cool, and was fast, he liked it.

The Numbers Don't Lie

Researching the VIN on Farrell’s Montego GT shows some interesting numbers.

  • A total of 135.093 Montegos were produced in 1972.
  • 5,820 were Montego GT 2-door fastbacks.
  • 202 were equipped with the 429 cid engine.
  • 202 were equipped with a C-6 automatic transmission
  • 62 were painted bright red.
  • 28 had black knitted vinyl bucket seats.
  • 9 were equipped with air conditioning
  • 5 were produce with a center console
  • 4 had tinted glass
  • 2 were ordered with AM radios
  • 1 came with deluxe wheel covers

The VIN on Farrell’s Montego confirms that his car is the car, with these listed options including the deluxe wheel covers.

Farrell’s love of painting goes back to his early high school days,.“I had a friend that was going to a vocational school, and I used to watch what he was doing, and I just thought that this was the coolest job anyone could have,” he said. Farrell was a very artistic young man growing up, and was often seen drawing or sketching whatever was on his mind at the time. Today, his natural artistic talent serves him well and is very evident in the many custom paint jobs he has completed over the years.

Farrell’s love of the Montego began when he was only 16 years old. “My very first car was a 1972, 2-door Montego MX coupe,” he recalled. The car served the young man well, but like many first cars the Montego MX finally succumbed to the daily grind. When we fast forward to today, the bright red Montego GT that resides in Farrell’s garage is the third such car that Farrell has owned. It is his first Montego to undergo a complete frame off restoration, and 98 percent of the work was completed by Farrell himself. There is not one single piece of the car that Farrell has not had in his hands.

Before and after.

Farrell took the car down to the bare frame, every piece related to the frame and suspension was sand blasted, cleaned and repainted. The frame remains in the stock configuration with a few suspension upgrades to handle the added horsepower Farrell had planned for the car. designed and fabricated the coil springs on all four corners of Farrell’s Montego to accommodate the additional horsepower and lower the overall ride height. Farrell also upgraded the brakes from the standard 10-inch drum and shoe system to a more modern single piston disc brake with 12-inch drilled and slotted rotors in the front, and 10.5-inch rotors in the rear. A pair of heavier aftermarket sway bars were installed to replace the stock bars front and rear, and Farrell was ready to work on the drive train once the suspension was complete.

429 cubic inches of Mercury power with lots of go-fast goodies inside.

The motor in the car is based on the original 429-4V engine that was in the car when it left the showroom. Farrell installed a stroker kit from Eagle Specialty Products, with a 4.300-inch cast iron crank, 6.800-inch steel I-beam connecting rods and -38.0cc forged Mahle pistons to bring the engine up to a whooping 521 cubic-inch, 500 plus horsepower beast. The cylinder heads are Edelbrock RPM 429/460 stock steel heads, with an Edelbrock Torker II intake sitting between them, topped off with an 850cfm Mighty Demon 4bbl. carburetor. Pertronix supplies the fire, and the 3-inch Hooker Headerss exhaust flows through a pair of Jones Full Boar mufflers. A stock Ford C6 automatic transmission is bolted to the back of Farrell’s stroker, and the horses get to the ground via a stock 9-inch Ford differential with a 3:25 gears. The car rides on Billett Specialties’ Legend Series wheels wrapped with Nitto 555 rubber.

Lots of gauges and bucket seats, otherwise, a rather luxurious interior.

Bill Hess Upholstery is responsible for the carpet and seats in the car; the seats are the original seats, and have been reupholstered using the OEM comfort weave material. Everything else in the interior is original OEM parts, Farrell removed and rebuilt the gauges, and the rim blow steering wheel was rebuilt by The Rim Blow Buddy in Glendale, Arizona.

72 Mercury201508190041The body has been completely stripped, and all sections affected by rust were removed and replaced with new metal. Farrell is very proud of the fact that his Montego is completely rust free, and no body fillers were used anywhere on the car. The bumpers are original and have been rechromed, all exterior body trim including the side, wheel well, drip rail, and waist moldings are the original moldings for the car, and have been removed and hand polished. All badging on the car is NOS, and Farrell repainted the car with the original Ford paint code 2H bright red, and finished the job with a couple applications of clear coat.

Just a few styling clues that tell you this Mercury has a little performance built in.

All in all, Farrell’s finished Montego GT is a definite show stopper. The craftsmanship displayed in the build is extraordinary, and attention to detail is second to none. The overall goal of maintaining the car in its original condition is very evident when you look at the details. Granted, Farrell’s Montego GT may not be the only one out there, but you can rest assured, you will not find another one restored with the care, and dedication that Farrell put into this one.

Photo gallery


About the author

Chuck Green

As a professional writer, and photographer Chuck has always had an affliction for anything related to motorsports. Over the years he worked events from local short tracks to the high profile series of NASCAR, Indy Car, IHRA, and NHRA.
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