Car Collector Corner: Is my 1968 Mercury worth restoring?
Q: Hi Greg, I have a 1968 Mercury Montego with a six cylinder engine and a "three on the tree" standard transmission. I believe Mercury only built 20 of these cars in 1968, so I am wondering if this car is worth restoring back too new condition? It is in pretty good shape. Please Advise and thanks very much. Ray Owens, email from Ohio.
A: Ray, I receive several letters like yours every year, and in your case, I'll try to be as specific as possible. First and foremost, your 1968 Mercury Montego will never under any circumstances be a desirable collector car like the status of cars sold at Mecum or Barrett Jackson classic auctions. Your car is currently listed under NAPA Old Car prices somewhere in the neighborhood of $1,620 to $2,948, mainly because of the six-cylinder engine which is a 10-percent deduction in value. The three-speed standard isn't even listed, but I would assume it would be another deduction of five to 10 percent. When new, your Montego sold for a base of $2,504, but the model came in many different variations.
Had your Montego been the 2-door with a 428 Cobra Jet engine and 4-speed transmission with the Cyclone Ram Air package, the value would jump to a minimum $25,000 in good shape. This comparison let's you know what collectors look for these days when considering 1968 Mercury Montego for purchase.
Enthusiasts who restore their cars do so for one of three reasons: first for enjoyment, second for investment, and third for enjoyment and investment. If you were to spend thousands of dollars restoring your Montego with the three-speed standard on the column, you will never get that money back when you re-sell, but you may have fun and do so for personal fulfillment. If this is the case, have at it but keep in mind a full restoration of a "no real-collector-value" car or truck can set you back some serious money.
However, from what I read into your letter, you are seeking guidance on whether to spend money on this car and if it is worth it to do so.
Thus, my answer is a firm no.
I would, however, enjoy the car as it does have local car show value and is indeed a rare conversation piece. In ending, maintain your Montego well and spend wisely on visual upgrades. Thanks for the letter.
(Greg Zyla is a syndicated auto columnist who welcomes reader questions on collector cars at 116 Main St., Towanda, Pa. 18848 or email at email@example.com).