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It seems like the perfect pastime. That’s if you have lots of free time, lots of money, and are mechanically inclined.

Well, Tom Maruska of Duluth seems to have all three of those things going for him and it could pay off big if he decides to auction off his masterpiece.

As reported by, Maruska bought what was left of this rare classic in 2018 from a fellow restaurateur in California. He saw the value in this car and shelled out $100,000 for this 1956 Mercury XM-Turnpike Cruiser.

Photo credit; Tom Maruska

Photo credit; Tom Maruska

The car was rusty and in bad enough shape to have been left out in the elements for who knows how long before Maruska’s car enthusiast picked it up. Some 6000 hours of work later and a good amount of money invested, this beauty is ready for auction.

So what makes this car so special and potentially worth over a million dollars restored? The answer is that it is a one-of-a-kind concept car built by Mercury to gauge consumer interest at auto shows.

Maruska predicts as much when he displays this restored classic at a car show in January, most likely in Arizona, where collectors come from all over when auction time comes. He expects it to fetch a handsome sum, “should go north of $1 million. At least I hope it does.” he said.

Maruska is not new to this labor-intensive hobby. He has restored 22 vehicles to their original look, mostly Thunderbirds. Maruska, 73, plans to pursue her love of restoring classic cars.

WATCH: See how much gas it cost the year you started driving

To learn more about how gas prices have changed over the years, Stacker calculated the cost of a gallon of gas for each of the past 84 years. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (released April 2020), we analyzed the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline from 1976 to 2020 along with the consumer price index (CPI ) for regular unleaded gasoline from 1937 to 1976, including absolute and inflation-adjusted prices for each year.

Read on to explore the cost of gas over time and rediscover how much a gallon cost when you first started driving.

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