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Mario's Tribute to 1956 Mercury XM-100 Turnpike Cruiser

1956 Mercury

1 1956 Mercury XM-100 Turnpike Cruiser show car at the 1956 Cleveland Auto Show. "XM" stands for eXperimental Mercury

2 Extremely roomy trunk as displayed by the two models.

3 In the 1950s auto design ideas were inspired by science fiction TV shows like “Buck Rogers” and others that speculated on the future of America and the American dream.

4 A Ford designer that was very involved in the creation of the 1956 Mercury XM-100 Turnpike Cruiser was John Najjar, who was working under George Walker at the time. Najjar was in charge of the Lincoln pre-production studios.

5 1956 Mercury XM-100 Turnpike Cruiser show car promotional brochure.

6 Preview of Ford’s Future theme.

7 Mercury XM-100 Turnpike Cruiser features.

8 The show car could be rotated in the trailer. Both transport and show car made their debuts at the 1956 Chicago Auto Show.

9 The 1956 Mercury XM-100 Turnpike Cruiser show car came with its own trailer, featuring big picture windows on either side to highlight the model.

10 The tractor and trailer were painted the same color as the XM-100 and fitted with wide whitewall tires.

11 One of the most iconic automotive show cars of the 1950s the 1956 Mercury XM-100 Turnpike Cruiser, an innovatively styled vehicle created by the Ford Motors design team.

12 This Mercury was unlike any other show car, and its design elements and innovations were polarizing to American car enthusiasts of the era.

13 Original Prototype Clay Model survives today. The model was called the Mandalay and was originally conceived by Ford designer John Najjar in 1954.

14 The Mandalay caught the eye of Ford executive Jack Reith, one of the original “whiz kids” who enjoyed its overall styling and advocated for its further development.

15 312 CID Y Block V8 engine 225hp with four-barrel carburetor and a Merc-O-Matic transmission.

16 312 CID Y Block V8 engine 225hp with four-barrel carburetor and a Merc-O-Matic transmission.

17 Ghia in Turin, Italy was selected to fabricate the XM-100 in metal at a cost of $80,000 which was a large amount of money for an automotive project. A scale plaster model, numerous full-scale drawings, chassis, and drive train were sent to Ghia.

18 Ghia added eighteen inches to the chassis that Ford had sent over. Ford Motor Company called the show car “an experimental car that anticipates future motoring needs”.

19 Regarding the interior, the show car offered four bucket seats with two-tone leather seat upholstery.

20 Tom Maruska purchased the car in 2018 and invested a great deal of money to restore the car to its original condition. It survives today in his collection.

21 The 1956 Mercury XM-100 Turnpike Cruiser features great looking transparent roof panels that can be raised or lowered for the driver as well as the passengers.

22 The XM-100 also offered a unique new plastic “butterfly” top that some consumers liked and some did not.

23 The biggest contribution to styling was the little half gull wing doors. They enable you to exit the car more easily. The interior, including the headliner, was all leather.

24 A bank of 4 chrome edged cylinders house speedometer, tachometer, fuel and temp gauges and oil and battery charge indicators.

25 The front-end design featured sculpted grille work with twin jet pods on each side designed in a chrome plated nacelle. The headlights were hooded and recessed for a forward thrusting look.

26 Another futuristic design was the V-shaped taillight, along with the side channel design, which was developed by Larry Shinoda considered his most significant contribution to the design of the car.

27 An extra-large trunk can hold a lot of luggage and groceries.

28 The XM-100 had a retractable rear window. It’s not known why anyone would want a retractable rear window, but that feature reached production.

29 Remember the XM-100 Turnpike Cruiser. The name for the show car came from the then new superhighways that made coast to coast traveling easier.

30 Some of the features that were good were fins that were more like a shallow tray running half of the car’s length culminating in a taillight.

31 The XM-100 was low and long designed in 1954 and was the brain child of the new modern 1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser.

32 The show car styling became the driving force for the all-new 1957 Mercury line.

33 It’s Done! After four years, the restoration of the XM-100 Turnpike Cruiser was completed in 2022. The original paint color was matched and is Persimmon, with a coat of pearl sprayed over it.

34 Chromed dual exhaust stacks were placed in each rear fender. Originally these were not real and didn’t make it to production but ironically we see similar fake exhaust vents at car accessory stores today some 70 years later.


Video and audio clips

1956 Mercury XM-100 Turnpike Cruiser Concept Car


1956 XM-100 Turnpike Cruiser Walk Around


1956 Mercury XM-100 with owner/restorer Tom Maruska


XM-100 Driving around



Related

More Cars of the 1950s
More Mercury Coverage

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Comments

Mario on Dec 22, 2022 said:

One of the most iconic automotive show cars of the 1950s is the 1956 Mercury XM-100 Turnpike Cruiser, an innovatively styled vehicle created by the Ford Motors design team.

Ford Motor Company called the show car, “an experimental car that anticipates future motoring needs”. "XM" stands for eXperimental Mercury.

[Reply to this comment]

Mario on Dec 22, 2022 said:

The 1956 Mercury XM-100 Turnpike Cruiser features great looking transparent roof panels that can be raised or lowered for the driver as well as the passengers. These are little half gull wing doors that enable you to enter and exit the car more easily.

The restoration of the XM-100 Turnpike Cruiser was completed in 2022 after 4 years and owned by car collector/restorer Tom Maruska from Duluth, MN.

The XM-100 Turnpike Cruiser has been consigned to Mecum Kissimmee, FL Auction. Scheduled to run across the block January 14, 2023, Lot S207.

https://www.mecum.com/lots/FL0123-539716/1956-mercury-xm-turnpike-cruiser-concept-car/

Enjoy! Mario

[Reply to this comment]

Mario on Dec 22, 2022 said:

The Mercury XM-100 Turnpike Cruiser was originally conceived by Ford designer John Najjar in 1954.

It was the brain child of the new modern 1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser. Named after the modern Super Highways of the mid 50's.

[Reply to this comment]

azmusclecar on Dec 22, 2022 said:

Mario,

Odd how one Expo car can be conceived and designed by one person, and other cars, it seems like it's a team effort. I see things I really like and then I see things that I wonder what illegal drugs were available in that time.

I know camera angles will accent some parts while making other parts look rather distasteful.

You remind me these are concepts cars or Expo cars. I thought the Merc Turnpike Cruiser was HOT. As a kid I thought you could only drive these on the TURNPIKE. Hey give me a break, we had the Pennsylvania Turnpike close by and I just made the word association.

This concept for me, is a take it or leave it. I see 50% I like and 50% I don't like.

I flipped a coin trying to make up my mind, and the coin stood on edge (this is a lie or exaggerated truth as some call it.

[Reply to this comment]

Mario on Dec 23, 2022 said:

The original restored Mercury goes up for auction in Jan 2023. Who knows how much it will sell for. I'll follow up and post the selling price on this Page.

[Reply to this comment]

azmusclecar on Dec 22, 2022 said:

I did like the optional 2 models in the trunk the best.

[Reply to this comment]

Mario on Dec 23, 2022 said:

I thought you would. Nice size trunk that fits a lot!

[Reply to this comment]

57timemachine on Dec 23, 2022 said:

The actual car that finally came out in 1957 was and is far better looking than this X job. The 1957 1958 and 1959 Mercury's never sold very well but I always thought they were very good looking cars. I can see myself in a 1957-1958 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser because it is nothing but class and style. Another interesting topic Mario and you never seem to run out of ideas. Cheers to you.

[Reply to this comment]

Mario on Dec 23, 2022 said:

I agree George the XM-100 was the inspiration for the 57 to 59 Mercury Turnpike Cruisers but the final designs were the best.

The 57 and 58's were true Turnpike Cruisers with retractable rear window. The 59 Cruiser was phased out and became part of the Park Lane series.

All 3 years are beautiful and rare to see at car shows since sales were not there. Less than 24,000 total 57 and 58 Turnpike Cruisers were sold, the two most popular years.

The 57 price was high at $3758 and $4103 for HT and Convertible. Compared to the 57 Ford Fairlane 500 at $2381 it was a hard sell. Cheers!

[Reply to this comment]

57timemachine on Dec 23, 2022 said:

I agree with our good buddy Rob on the optional two good looking gals in the trunk option, but it would never work for me because my wife would easily kill me in my sleep. I try to play it safe and easy in life when I can. Cheers.

[Reply to this comment]

Mario on Dec 24, 2022 said:

Yes that would be a Very expensive option. I don't recommend it!

[Reply to this comment]


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