Hello, I'm Tom Maruska and you're witnessing history being made as the 1954 Mercury XM-800 concept car drives into view.
You see, the XM-800 was a push car when new. It was common for auto manufacturers to not make their concept cars fully functional for cost saving measures. The XM-800 lacked certain drive train components needed to make it driveable. I installed these missing components when I restored the XM-800.
The XM-800 was designed by John Najjar of the Lincoln-Mercury Design Division of Ford Motor Company in 1952. It was built in late 1953 and is crafted entirely of fiberglass. a new challenge in the auto industry and Fords first venture into fiberglass. Even the bumpers are fiberglass and chrome plated, likely the first plastics ever to be chrome plated. I restored the XM-800 over the winter of 2008/2009.The windshield and rear windows are plexiglass. The Xm-800 features power windows, power seats, power brakes and sual exhaust. All quite commonplace in todays automobiles but something quite amazing in 1954. It also features power opening and closing hood and trunk lids as well as a power reclining front passenger seat. These are features you still not available in todays autos.
Other features include bucket seats front and rear, something not repeated in the auto industry until Pontiac did it in 1960. It has center consoles front and rear which contain controls for the seats and windows as well as a place to store personal items and cigarette lighters and ash trays.
The XM-800 has an aircraft inspired instrument panel which includes a new instrument, a tachometer, which tells the engine speed in revolutions per minute.
Many of the features from the XM-800 show up in later Ford products, particularily the 1956 Lincoln Premier.
The XM-800 is the first ever Ford product with fins.
The XM-800 premiered at the February 1954 Detroit auto show alongside the all new Thunderbird and as we know, the Thunderbird made it to production but the XM-800 did not. If built it would have been built of steel.
The XM-800 was featured in the 1954 movie "Womans World" starring Fred MacMurray, Lauren Bacall, Van Hefflin, June Allyson, Clifton Webb, Arlene Dahl and Cornell Wilde.
Minneature models of the XM-800 were free inside boxes of Post Grape Nuts Flakes cereal.
The XM-800 appeared in Many Auto magazines including Motor Trend, Road & Track and Car Life
The entire history of the XM-800 and it's complete restoration can be seen by visiting www.tbirdsquare.com