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Hemmings Motor News Blog

Hemmings Motor News has been around since 1954. We're proud of our heritage, but we're also more than the Hemmings full of classifieds that your father subscribed to. Aside from new editorial content every month in Hemmings, we have three monthly magazines: Hemmings Muscle Machines, Hemmings Classic Car and Hemmings Sports and Exotic Car.

While our editors traverse the country to find the best content for those magazines, we find other oddities related to the old-car hobby that we really had no place for - until now. With this blog, we're giving you a behind-the-scenes look at what we see and what we do during the course of putting out some of the finest automotive magazines you'll ever read.

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Mercury XM-Turnpike Cruiser Finds a New Home at American Muscle Car Museum

Posted February 15, 2023 5:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: Mercury

With rows upon rows of Shelby Mustangs, Hemi-powered Dodges, Yenkos of all stripes, and other production-line Detroit performance vehicles, the American Muscle Car Museum seems an unlikely place for the 1956 Mercury XM-Turnpike Cruiser, a recently restored chrome-laden one-off show car, to wind up. But museum founder Mark Pieloch thinks it'll still fit in nicely.

"The car struck me - it's stunning from a color perspective," Pieloch said. "I like to have a tremendous variety of colors in the museum; I'm not a black and white guy."

Pieloch noticed the car at last month's Mecum Kissimmee auction, where restorer Tom Maruska had consigned it after a restoration odyssey that started with a car that had been vandalized, left out in the elements in Detroit, and rusted to the gills. It was far from the gleaming, pearl-orange turntable twirler that John Najjar and Elwood Engle designed with rocket-inspired side sculpting, butterfly panels above each door, and a dual-quad Y-block as a precursor to the production 1957 Mercury lineup, but Maruska, no stranger to restoring unique concept cars - he's done both the Ford Thunderbird Italien and the 1954 Mercury XM-800 - took on the Ghia-built concept car figuring it'd be just a two-year job.

Four years later, Maruska, working on his own out of his shop in Duluth, Minnesota, ended up having to replace much of the rusted-away frame with sections from a 1954 Mercury's frame, fabricate an entirely new floor and lower sections of the body panels, nearly re-create the entire interior, and teach himself how to shape plexiglass to shape the unique rear wraparound windows. He researched just about every aspect of the car, from how the Ford and Ghia workers put it together to the exact color they painted it (a 1956 Mercury production color called Persimmon with a coat of pearl sprayed over it), discovering a number of oddities about it along the way, including the fact that it used F-250 chassis components and that one of the butterfly panels ended up being longer than the other by a couple inches.

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Re: Mercury XM-Turnpike Cruiser Finds a New Home at American Muscle Car Museum

02/15/2023 6:28 PM

A distinctive bumper to say the least.

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