Pack Automotive Museum

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For a brief history of Mercury click here.

1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser

History Overview:

Mercury underwent its most extensive redesign in a decade for 1957 and for the first time since 1940 did not share body shells with Ford.  Dubbed “Dream Car Design”, the new Mercs had flamboyant styling on a wheelbase stretched three inches to 122 inches.  The 4,125 pound convertible cruiser was fitted with a new 368 cubic inch motor, a four-barrel carburetor, dual exhaust and 9.75:1 compression ratio.  It was rated at 290 bhp at 4600 RPM and 405 foot pounds of torque at 2800 RPM.  A plaque on the right rocker arm cover identified it as a “Turnpike Cruiser Engine.”  The cruisers used a Merc-O-Matic automatic transmission with a, new for 1957 Keyboard Control Panel.  This Pace Car was one of only 1,265 Turnpike Cruisers built and carried a list price of $4,103.  Somewhere between 700 and 1000 of those (or all of those since there are no exact records) came with Pace Car Applique Kits if you so opted to dress your car up like the original one that appeared at Indy.  Some dealers did so to attract attention at their stores while others thought it to "garish" to drive down the elm-lined streets in 1957 suburbia looking like they should be in a Sal Mineo film. This is a body-off restoration. This car is equipped with every option including rear factory air conditioner.

All Pace cars were painted Sun Glitter (Light Yellow) and all were fitted with the “Dream Car Spare Tire Carrier.”  For only the second time in history Mercury was selected as the Pace car for the Indianapolis 500 Race on May 30, 1957.  Francis C. “Jack” Reith, General Manager of Mercury drove the Convertible.  1957 marked the first time a Pace Car would actually lead two laps around the Brick Yard before the race to give the cars additional time to warm up. 

Originally Sold to:  N/A
Dealer Invoice:  N/A
MRSP: $4,103.00
Total 1957 Mercury Production:  286,163
Total 1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser Production:  2,165
           Vehicle Mileage:  29 (Original)


Sam Hanks had been trying to win the Indy 500 since 1940.  Hanks started in the unlucky number “13” position, but won the race in his unconventional “BeLond Equi-Flow Exhaust SpecialOffenhauser Roadster, which was lay-flat, four-cylinder Offy.  He was awarded this Official 1957 Mercury Pace car as part of his prize money.  In victory circle Hanks tearfully announced his retirement.


1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser Convertible
“Indianapolis 500 Pace Car”

VIN Number:   57SL5812M
Exterior Color:  Sun Glitter (Light Yellow)
Convertible Top:   Black Vinyl
Interior Trim:  Cream & Black Vinyl
Engine:  366 CID - Mercury OHV V-8
290 Horsepower @ 6500 RPM
4- Barrel Carburetor
Torque: 405 Ft-LBS @ 2800 RPM
Bore/Stroke: 4.00” X 3.66”
“Turnpike cruiser Engine” Plaque on valve cover
Transmission:    Merc-O-Matic w/in-dash Keyboard Control Panel


  • AM Push Button Radio
  • Power Antenna
  • Factory Air Conditioner
  • Seat-O-Matic - Memory Power Seat
  • Heater & Defroster
  • Power Convertible Top
  • Power Windows
  • Power Steering & Brakes
  • Windshield Washer
  • Automatic “Chassis Multi-Luber” System
  • Dual Exhaust
  • Trailer Hitch
  • “Dream Car” Spare Tire Carrier
  • Full Wheel Covers
  • Wide Whitewall Tires
  • “1957 Mercury Junior” – Replica Model of Car – scaled-down drivable model of car powered by a single-cylinder gasoline engine with trailer

Wheelbase:  122 inches
Height: N/A
Length: N/A
Width: N/A
Weight:  4,125 LBS
Vehicle Mileage: N/A

Stock Number: C 21

1957 Mercury Junior Replica Car

Introduced by The Power Car Company of Mystic, Connecticut in the fall of 1954, the first “Junior” car was a 1955 Thunderbird.  The body was fiberglass with vinyl over foam rubber cushioned seat.

By 1957 The Power Car Company was manufacturing many of the popular models including Pontiac, Oldsmobile and Mercury.  The cars were powered by either an electric starter motor with a rechargeable battery or a gasoline engine.  This 1957 Mercury Junior is equipped with a single-cylinder gas engine, a hand brake and an optional windshield.

Although it was never built by Mercury, the Mercury Junior was heavily promoted by Mercury as an attention-getting sales aid.  The cars were offered as a prize in dealer promotions to obtain mailing list from those who registered to win it in a drawing.

The Power Car Company continued to produce the Mercury Junior until 1966

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