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The 1956 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser is finally finished.

By Tom Maruska

After the last update there wasn’t a lot left to do except install the door and quarter panels, the carpet and the seat belts and seats. 

Once the interior was all together  I added all the fluids to the car, brake fluid, oil, transmission fluid, antifreeze, rear end oil, power steering fluid, windshield washer fluid and gas.

Now all I had to do was to see if it would run, so I double checked that the number-one cylinder was at top dead center in firing position and that the rotor in the distributor was pointing at the number one plug wire in the distributor cap.

Then I sprayed a little starting fluid in the carburetor and turned the key……

It fired immediately!  I had to spray a little starting fluid in the carburetor another time or two until the fuel pump brought the gas into the carburetor and it started and ran.  With a small adjustment to the distributor to improve the timing it starts and runs like it should.

New Exhaust

Last time I showed you the double exhaust outlet pipes I made to connect to the outlets on the lower rear quarter panels. Now that the car was running and drivable I trailered it to a local exhaust shop to have the mufflers and exhaust pipes installed connecting everything together under the car.


With the exhaust completed the XM Turnpike Cruiser restoration officially comes to a close.

It’s been a long 3.5 years but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. (almost)

Over the years I’ve encountered a lot of people who  embark on restoration projects and disassemble a vehicle, and in the process become overwhelmed with the amount of work it will entail, and they give up and sell the car in pieces, just like how I purchased the XMTC. None of the parts or attaching hardware is identified and often just tossed into coffee cans or lost.

If you want to restore a car, the first thing you want to do before taking anything apart is take LOTS of pictures, then as you’re taking something apart take MORE PICTURES.

I use zip-lock bags labeled like “brake booster to firewall” nuts or bolts and so on for the entire car. Then when you get around to re-installing the brake booster you can grab the bag with the correct hardware and either restore it or use new hardware but you’ll know exactly what you need. AND if you quit the project you can pass the pictures and baggies on to the next owner making his job a lot easier.

If you take one small part of the restoration and finish that to the extent you can before moving on to the next small part the project isn’t so overwhelming as is is when looking at it as a whole. If I wouldn’t have approached the XMTC that way I never would have finished it.

If anyone has any questions related to this car or restoration in general there is contact information on my website and I answer all emails and will be happy to help if I can.

Be sure to check out my website for all the professional photos taken of the completed 1956 XM TURNPIKE CRUISER CONCEPT CAR.

View the 17 images of this gallery on the original article

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