Modified Mustangs & Fords
1969 Mercury Montego Fully Restored
This Blown Mercury Is A Far Cry From Grandpa's Grocery-Getter
The year was 1986. Doug Freyta was cruising his neighborhood of Englewood, a suburb of Colorado renowned for its mullets. While chances are Doug's hair was party in the back and business on top, his search for a unique Ford to build was nothing to mock. "I am a Ford guy, but I was tired of the typical Mustangs and Fairlanes that everyone had," said Doug. "One day I spotted a Mercury Montego for sale. I went to the house to inquire about the car, but they wanted $3,000. At the time I felt that was a lot of money." The journey from stock to hard rock is one that takes place over 25 years. But first a little history about this rare bird named after Montego Bay, Jamaica, is in order.
Introduced in 1968, the Mercury Montego was an upscale version of the Mercury Comet. It eventually supplanted the Comet model in 1969. That year, it came in four versions: four-door sedan, two-door hardtop, station wagon, and convertible. Doug's version is obviously the two-door hardtop. That model had a production run of around 17,000 and sold for less than $3,000 dollars in 1969. Coincidentally, the same price the widower, whose husband had left it to her, was asking. A "friend" had advised her that was what it was worth. "I thought that was a lot of money back then for a Mercury Montego, although it was a very nice car," said Doug.
As Confucius said, patience is a virtue; and Doug had plenty of that. He lay in wait licking his chops like a hungry lion ready to pounce, when the meaty Montego became available. "About six months went by and I was driving down the same street and saw that the car was still for sale," said Doug. But there was one major difference. The Montego, which had already been sitting for a while, had had the rear quarter-panel hit with a baseball bat. We suppose these are the kinds of things that people do in Westminster, Colorado-just walk down the street and smack the crap out of cars, but unfortunately it can happen anywhere.
Doug inquired about the car again. At this point, the widower just wanted to get rid of it. It was just being damaged sitting out in the street (most likely by guys with mullets). As a reward for his patience Doug scored the car for $2,000 less than the original asking price. Remember this was 24 years ago. The rock group Tesla was cool, people wore "Venetian Blind" sunglasses, and the Montego you see before you, well, it was just a Montego. "The car was all stock with lots of old guy's stuff on it," said Doug. "But it was in great shape with 63,000 miles on it."
Of course, one of the first things that he did was fix the baseball-bat dent on the rear quarter-panel before applying the first of what would be two paintjobs over the near quarter of a century that it took to complete this classic. He started out with a few basic modifications like Centerline wheels, a set of headers and a high-rise intake. Other aesthetics would come later throughout its life span, including polished aluminum 17-inch Billet Specialties that measure 9-inches in width up front and 11-inches rear. These are wrapped with Fuzion rubber at all four corners. The contact patch of these tires is modulated by KYB shocks at all four corners as well. "When my friends saw the car originally with the dent they gave me a lot of grief for buying an old man's car, but I had a vision," said Doug. "The car's image was nothing a 6-71 blower couldn't fix. So that became my new mission."