Paula and I decided after the 2006 Western National Meet in Tacoma to find a closed car that we could use for touring. We purchased a 1953 Mercury Monterey in Oregon and brought it home to Puyallup. We participated in a couple of tours and had lots of fun in our tour car until we drove it on the 2007 club Puget Sound picnic and the car overheated several times on the way home from the home of Elmo & Bev Lewis. It was a 95-degree day and it didn’t help driving over the Tiger Mountain Summit with little or no water. We did finally limp home and I discovered later that I had cracked the block. I parked the car in the garage and there it sat for 9 years while I worked on my other projects.
Fast forward to the spring 2016 Monroe Swap Meet where I met a fellow who I had a chance conversation with and discovered he had a Mercury 8BA motor completely rebuilt with new aluminum heads and twin carburetors. After the swap meet, Paula and I went to the fellow’s home in Lake Stevens and purchased the motor. The guy was so happy to sell the motor that he loaded my truck with all his flathead parts to include four 3-speed and two overdrive transmissions. I purchased a rebuilt ’54 automatic transmission that I thought I could install with the simple changing of the bell housing and torque converter. I soon found out that the crank on the replacement motor was different than that of my original engine and the rebuilt transmission wouldn’t work. Plan B, change the Honey Bee from an automatic to a three-speed overdrive. That should be relatively easy- NOT!
Plan B would mean that I would replace the transmission with an overdrive transmission. Only problem was that I had a 1951 Ford overdrive unit that would fit if I changed the driveshaft as my original driveshaft would be too long. After speaking to Todd Dunsdon our resident Mercury collector of all things Mercury, he traded me a ‘53 Mercury Overdrive Transmission for my rebuilt ’54 Mercury automatic transmission. I asked Gary Duff to rebuild the Overdrive Transmission and I was off and running. Now I needed to locate the column shift and clutch linkage this should be easy right-NOT! I also had to locate a steering column as well. Again, I knew that we had a resident ’53 Mercury expert in Jim Hendry who was able to provide almost all the linkage and the steering column as well. A deal was made and I was off and running.