Lot #984 - This fully restored 1957 Mercury has been on display as part of the Hendricks Collection at the Gateway Auto Museum since its opening. The Turnpike Cruiser engine was based on Lincoln's 368cid V8, and produced 290hp. The Turnpike Cruiser was the flagship model for Mercury in 1957 and 1958. It was initially introduced in 1957 with either a two or four door hardtop and featured quite daring styling - even for 1957. With an out-of-this-world front fascia, a space travel inspired roofline, and more gadgets than at the Jetsons, the Turnpike Cruiser may have been overly successful at altering public opinion that Mercury produced conservative cars. With every power item being standard equipment there is no lack of buttons to be pushed, and no reason not to fiddle with them. The "Quadra-Beam" headlights were so bright and advanced they were banned in Tennessee and South Dakota. The overhanging roof has a retractable rear window, while the front windshield has "twin jet" air ducts mounted to it with fake antennas. Inside the car the power seats have a memory dial, there is a special starter button and fancy sliding door locks. The rear end of the car has gold anodized inserts in the upper rear fenders leading to the taillights. The 4,125 pound convertible cruiser was powered by a new 368cid engine with a 4 barrel carburetor, dual exhausts and a 9.75:1 compression ratio. It was rated at 260bhp at 4,600rpm and 405 ft/lbs of torque at 2,800rpm. A plaque on the right rocker arm cover identified it as "Turnpike Cruiser Engine." The cruisers used a Merc-O-Matic automatic transmission with a new for 1957, keyboard control panel. The Turnpike convertible Cruiser was introduced late in 1957 and designed specifically to be the Official Pace Car of the 1957 Indianapolis 500. This marked only the second time in its history that Mercury was selected as the Pace Car for the Indianapolis 500 mile race. With Francis C. "Jack" Reith, the General Manager of Mercury behind the wheel, 1957 marked the first time the Pace Car would lead two laps around the Brick Yard before the race to give the race cars additional time to warm up. Selling for a hefty $4,103 each, only 1,265 Pace Car convertible Cruisers were made, each having the Continental tire kit "Dream Car Spare Tire Carrier" and each was painted "Sun Glitter" yellow like the original pace car. With 3,148 franchised dealers, Mercury only produced one for approximately every two and a half dealers. There were four actual pace cars for the 1957 Indy 500, one of which went to the winner. This Pace Car from the Hendricks Collection was selected to participate in the 100th Anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 in 2011 along with Pace Cars from every year able to attend. And after multiple requests from all Pace Car attendees, they were allowed to take a few laps...including this 1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser Official Pace Car.
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