In 1955, Mercury claimed an upper-class identity with unique styling and a colorful new top-line series called the 1955 Mercury Montclair, home to Mercury's lone convertible. The result was a 27-percent sales gain over '54 to nearly 330,000 cars, a high-water mark that wouldn't be exceeded until the mid-'60s.

1955 mercury montclair
The 1955 Mercury Montclair was Mercury's only convertible, and a
hot seller as well. See more pictures of classic convertibles.

Priced at $2712, the ragtop Montclair naturally shared the bold new look of Mercury's Customs and Montereys, with longer and lower bodies, wrapped windshields, and squarer, more imposing lines. A slim beltline contrast-color panel distinguished Montclairs, which also included a unique low-roof four-door sedan and the interesting Sun Valley hardtop with a green-tinted transparent roof insert above the front seat. Introduced as a '54 Monterey, the Sun Valley sold just 1787 copies for '55 versus 10,668 convertibles -- proving perhaps that there's no substitute for real top-down motoring.

Also back from '54 was Mercury's first overhead-valve V-8, newly enlarged to 292 cubic inches and good for 198 horsepower with standard dual exhausts in Montclairs, which also came with self-shift Merc-O-Matic transmission. "Uncle" Tom McCahill clocked 0-60 mph at 12.8 seconds with a hardtop, so Mercury was still something of a "hot" car. Yet all '55s rode and handled better, thanks to refinements in the year-old ball-joint front suspension, and larger brakes improved stopping power.

1955 mercury montclair
The 1955 Mercury Montclair was the first Mercury to offer factory air conditioning.

Montclairs were Mercury's best in '55, but they could be even better with options like power windows, four-way power seat, and first-time factory air conditioning. Of course, the convertible hardly needed A/C -- just a sunny day and room to roam.

For more classic convertibles of the 1950s, see:

1950 Oldsmobile 88

1955 Cadillac Series 62

1957 Lincoln Premiere

1951 Chrysler New Yorker

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air

1957 Oldsmobile Super 88

1951 Lincoln Cosmopolitan

1956 Ford Thunderbird

1958 Continental Mark III

1951 Rambler Custom Landau

1956 Lincoln Premiere

1958 Edsel Citation

1953 Oldsmobile Fiesta

1956 Packard Caribbean

1959 Cadillac Series 62

1954 Hudson Hornet Brougham

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

1959 Dodge Custom Royal

1954 Packard Caribbean

1957 Chrysler New Yorker

1959 Ford Thunderbird

1955 Buick Century

1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner

1959 Pontiac Bonneville

For more information on all kinds of cars, try these: