Reader’s Wheels: Sometimes A Musclecar Can Also Be A Luxury Cruiser

IMG_4536Reader’s Wheels is a regular feature on Street Legal TV that is usually reserved for high-powered performance musclecars. You know, things like Yenko Chevy Camaros, blown Ford Mustangs, and Dodge Chargers with more horses than an entire Civil War cavalry battalion. However, when we came across the e-mail from Dan Henrich about the car he had purchased for his wife Shelley’s 50th birthday present, we thought it was just way too cool to pass up.

That is not to say the 1962 Mercury S-55 convertible doesn’t have some brawn under the hood. It’s just that most people would take one look at it and file it away as a cruiser, not a musclecar. That would be a mistake, though. The 1962 Mercury S-55 was the company’s counter play to the Ford Galaxie 500. It has all the signs of an early 60’s muscle car. The S-55 came with bucket seats, sleek styling, and a large displacement V8 engine.

IMG_4924As a matter of fact, the S-55 was offered with your choice of a 390 ci V8 or a 406 ci V8 engine. The two V8s came with a three-speed automatic transmission, but a four-speed manual transmission was an option. Henrich’s wife Shelley had asked for a very specific birthday present. She wanted a classic car that was built the same year she was born, and it had to be a convertible.

Henrich began doing web searches for just that, and came across this 1962 Mercury Monterey Custom S-55 convertible at a Redlands, California, classic car specialty dealership. One look at it and he knew this was the car he had to get. The car had the 390 ci V8 engine, four-barrel carb, four-speed manual transmission, power steering, and the original AM radio (that worked). Even better, the S-55 had a little more than 82,000 miles on it, and was in very good condition.

The engine and transmission had been rebuilt, and an aftermarket air conditioning system had been put into it. The only upgrades or repairs that were necessary to the Mercury S-55 before Henrich had it perfect for the presentation to his wife Shelley were new tires, a fuel tank clean out, the suspension was gone through, seat belts were installed, and some minor repairs were made to the upholstery.

The 1962 Mercury S-55 began production mid-year, and so sales were naturally small. Only 1,315 examples of the S-55 left the factory that year, so it’s a pretty rare bird. This low build number, it’s pristine condition, and the fact that according to the dealer, it is the only one he has ever seen with a 390 ci V8 and four-speed manual, make it an exceptional vehicle. Shelly is more than happy with her birthday present, and said that the first road trip in the car was a cruise to Palm Springs that she, her sister, and a girlfriend took to celebrate the friend’s birthday.

The car was the object of attention by everyone that saw it, and the hotel valet even parked it in front of the hotel, so it was quite literally “on display” for all the quests to see. The car received a very positive reaction from all who saw it, and that made the gift all the sweeter for her. So guys, has this upped the ante for your lady’s next milestone birthday? If you have any similar tales let us know about it.

If you would like to share your ride (or that of a relative) with us here at Street Legal TV, send us an e-mail to Reader’s Wheels and tell us a little about your car. Get some pictures ready, and we’ll contact you to get more information. Then you will be on your way to sharing your car with the rest of our readers. Let us know what you think of this entry in the Comments section below.

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About the author

Stuart Bourdon

A passion for anything automotive (especially off-road vehicles), camping, and photography led to a life exploring the mountains and deserts of the Southwest and Baja, and a career in automotive, outdoor, and RV journalism.
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