Those Magnificent Mercurys

Part 1 - The Years 1939 - 1964

   1939 - Edsel Ford Had A New Idea

   In 1935, Edsel Ford  designed a more luxurious version of the Ford that he intended to call the Falcon . Since he did not think it fit in with other Fords, he created a new brand named for the Roman God Mercury . Henry Ford I was dead set against placing another vehicle between the Ford and the Lincoln Zephyr models .  Acountants  had figured maybe there was a $500 -$600 spread there . Edsel Ford saw this and noticed that other brands like Plymouth and Pontiac were beginning to wedge themselves into that territory. Edsel was known to have gone head to head with his father in the past over the Model A Ford and the 1932 Model B V-8 , only to be proven right and kept money in Ford's coffers. In mid 1937 ,Henry reluctantly gave Edsel the go ahead  and the Mercury was born.The new car was alot like the Ford , as per Henry's insistance - though slightly more rounded , with different grilles, body trim and lamps. The initial car would come as coupe  , sedan or convertible.It would utilize the venerable flathead engine. It was a very striking looking car. The advertisements for this car declared it to be "The car that truly dares to ask 'Why?'", referring to the idea that a big car couldn't also be economical.[1] The Mercury was priced in the thousand dollar range, several hundred dollars more than the Ford V-8, several hundred less than the Lincoln-Zephyr and about the same as the upper range Oldsmobile and Dodges and the lower-range Buicks and Chryslers, sales from all of which, it was hoped, the new Mercury would usurp.



        1940 - Mercury Is A Success

For 1940 , Edsel Ford had seen his project come to fruition. Sales for the model year would reach 81,128 units for a car now being perceived as a ''Super Deluxe Ford'' . Mercury proved a hit in its inaugural year and would go on to be a mainstay at Ford Motor Company.The original stylist in most part was in house guy  and good friend Bob Gregorie , who would later colaborate with Edsel Ford again on the Lincoln Continental project .Later , Mr. Gregorie made it known to Ford Motor Co. that he would only work exclusively with Edsel Ford.  New for 1940 was the convertible sedan while the other models did receive some slight revisions. Note the black sedan below sporting different tailamps , re shaped rear bumper bar & curved fender to help differentiate it more from the Ford.           





           1941 - A Stylish New Look  

The 1941 Mercury  got all-new styling and some engineering improvements. The Mercury now shared its bodyshell with Ford, probably to lower Mercury production costs. Mercury's wheelbase was expanded by 2.0 in (51 mm) to 118.0 in There were many chassis refinements, including improved spring lengths, rates, and deflections, plus changes in shackling, shocks, and an improved stabilizer bar, but the old fashioned transverse springs were still used. The new body featured door bottoms that flared out over the running boards, allowing for wider seats and interiors. The car had 2.0 in (51 mm) more headroom, two-piece front fenders (three-piece at first), and more glass area. The front pillars were made slimmer and the windshield was widened, deepened, and angled more steeply. Parking lights were separate and set atop the fenders for greater visibility. Headlight bezels were redesigned. In all closed Mercs , the rear-quarter windows opened out. Front vent wings were now crank-operated, and in closed cars the ventilation wing support bars rolled down with the windows. The 4-door convertible, offered in 1940, was gone, but a station wagon was added. The woodie wagon's body behind the engine cowl was identical to Ford's, and produced at the company's Iron Mountain plant in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The "Eight" script was moved to the rear of the hood. 90,556 Mercury Eights were sold in the 1941 model year.  Mercury was a very handsome car due to it's 4 inch longer nose which allowed for different sculpting of the hood & fenders. Ford's wheelbase expanded by two inches to 114, Mercury's to 118. The 1941 Ford and Mercury now shared the same frame that had been developed earlier for the Mercury. Its main advantage was that it virtually eliminated Ford's famous body flexing and rattling, making any Ford car built on it as quiet as anything coming out of General Motors or Chrysler, at least for the first few years. Particularly good looking cars were the convertible and ''woody'' station wagons that year . Ford's 1941 bodies 1941 Mercury wagon interiorremain controversial to this day. Some would call them "fat" (they were larger and wider than before), and few could say that the front-end design was an improvement over the classic look of 1939 and 1940. However, at the time it was designed, Ford stylists thought it quite attractive.  The 1941 Mercury in retrospect was infinitely better looking due primarily to the sharper grille, more in keeping with 1939-1940 styling than Ford's approach. It was sad because this new design never got a chance to prove itself because as things began to roll in 1941 , disaster struck  . With only a limited number of 1942 produced  ,  America was plunged into World War II .  All automobile production for civilian use would be suspended for the war effort.                                          


         1942 to 1945 .... The World At War 


Very few civilian vehicles were built for '42 , as factories were turned over to war time production. America did it's part to rid the world of maniacs bent on destruction ,persecution and pure evil.  As you read this , please take a moment and remember our ''Greatest Generation'' , those galant men & women  who served & fought , and for all those who lost thier lives as the ultimate sacrifice. Pray that  they rest in peace with God and may they all know that to this day , we respect them   and  we salute them for all that they have given, for they are really true Americans ,and will never be forgotten.


      1946 - 1948... The Return To Business

After World War II was over factories across the U.S. returned to peace time production. The auto makers , having been producong war goods , had no new designs on tap . Essentially , the new cars offered now , were warmed over '41 or '42 designs. Mercury production resumed on November 1, 1945. Just ten days earlier, on October 22, Lincoln-Mercury had finally become a separate division. The new "high-style" grille was a busy though pleasant affair with the upper diecast portion sporting closely spaced vertical bars grouped into eight sections, separated at the center by E-I-G-H-T in vertically arranged block letters. This

ensemble was encased in a body-color frame, highlighted by three mini chrome strips on each side. A lower painted catwalk section housed twin stainless steel, flattened oval grilles, each divided by a pair of horizontal bars. That bottom section, incidentally, was an integral part of the front fenders. The business coupe disappeared from the 1946 lineup, but not from Ford's. A new and very limited edition, the Sportsman, was Mercury's version of Ford's wood-bodied convertible, also called Sportsman. Due to its later introduction, this model wasn't shown in the Mercury brochure, perhaps part of the reason that only 205 were built for 1946 (compared to 3,025 Ford versions for 1946-1948).  Designers did their best to make the old look new. A new twist for '46 was the Sportsman convertible -  a wood bodied 2 door ragtop , to be sold along with the standard steel body convertible. The upper grille frame was now chromed, eliminating the need for the three bright stripes at each outer end. Trunklid trim and bumper guards were mildly revised, and the hood ornament lost its red stripes. Hubcaps and instrument faces were slightly different, as well. Actually, the biggest change was the price, up $150 on average from 1946. The Sportsman was gone, and the slow-selling two-door Sedan was eliminated after only 34 were produced for 1947 . For all practical purposes the 1948 Mercury Eights were identical to the 1947s. The major changes consisted of different dial faces and no steering column lock. 50,268 Mercury Eights were sold , in a short model year . The totally new '49 Mercury would debut in April 1948 .


             1949 Mercury - An Instant Classic

The Mercury Eight was the first Post War Mercury design, and the first named Mercury model (earlier Mercury vehicles had carried only the brand name). It has an 8 tube radio as an option. The engine was a Flathead V8 that produced slightly more power than the then also newly-designed 1949 Ford. A new overdrive system was optional, and was activated by a handle under the dash . The styling of the Mercury Eight, when it was released in 1949, was successful in both ending the monotony of warmed-over pre-war style, and differentiating Mercury from its comparable Ford cousin, a trick that spelled sales success. Sales figures for both Ford and Mercury broke records in 1949. The new approach to styling was also evident in the new luxury sedan Lincoln Cosmopolitian also introduced in 1949. It used full instrumentation. .Within its era and beyond, the Mercury Eight was popular with customizers. In 1949, Sam Barris built the first lead sled from a 1949 Mercury Eight; the Eight became a definitive lead sled, much like the Ford V-8 was becoming the definitive hot rod. The Eights were among the first models to receive an aftermarket OHV engine swap, since Oldsmobile and Cadillac had developed the first high-compression OHV V8 engines in 1949, whereas Ford was still using their sidevalve engine.For 1949 , the first new post-

war design Mercury finally hits the the street. This bodystyle would last through 1951 and was they were effectionatly known as the ''bathtub  Mercury's'' due to the new bulbous style. It came in convertible , wagon and 2 and 4 door sedans . Like the Lincolns , the 4 doors had ''suicide'' doors. The flathead v-8 was still under the hood .  The car was also very roomy and was a family favorite .


           1950 - Just Some Subtle Changes

The 2nd year for this body style brought about some slight trim changes .  Available body styles were still the wagon , 2 and 4 door sedans and the convertible . Times were changing , we were on the eve of the Korean Conflict , so some production space would be shifted to war time effort . Buyers tastes were changing and they were beginning to look for more in a new automobile purchase. Detroit was now beginning to listen and designers were hard  at work to bring new machinery into the showrooms .The '50 model in particular began to catch the eye of car customizers on the west coast , and be came a favorite canvas for thier artistic capabilities  .  New for 1950 was the Monterey . The Monterey's special touches were designed under the direction of William Schmidt, whose Lincoln-Mercury Division stylists performed a light face lift of Eugene Gregorie's 1949 Mercury design for 1950. The custom coupe came with a choice of canv as or vinyl roof coverings, and fabric-and-leather or all-leather seats. Bright trim edged the windows on the inside, and a deluxe steering wheel was used. Otherwise, it features the same chassis and running gear used on all other Mercurys. The 118-inch wheelbase runs between coil-and-wishbone suspension up front and leaf springs under a live axle in the rear. Power comes from an L-head V-8 displacing 255.4 cubic inches and making 110 bhp.

custom coupe came with a choice of canv as or vinyl roof coverings, and fabric-and-leather or all-leather seats. Bright trim edged the windows on the inside, and a deluxe steering wheel was used. Otherwise, it features the same chassis and running gear used on all other Mercurys. The 118-inch wheelbase runs between coil-and-wishbone suspension up front and leaf springs under a live axle in the rear. Power comes from an L-head V-8 displacing 255.4 cubic inches and making 110 bhp.




       1951 -  Looking A Little Longer

For 1951 , we basically still have the same car with some new , subtle changes. The flathead engine is still  present , but with re-finements. The front end got new grille , bumper and parking lamps. The rear quarter panels wer extended for a new longer look . The tailamps and rear bumper were changed also. Mercury added a couple of new models to its lineup for 1950: a stripped price-leader coupe ($1875) and the interesting Monterey. xxThe latter was a spiffy limited edition with upgraded interior and a top

   covered  in canvas or vinyl. At around $2150, it cost some $160 more than the standard coupe, but it wasn't the    costliest 1950-51 Merc: The wagon was over $400 more. Monterey's purpose, as with the Ford Crestliner and Lincoln Lido/Capri of those years, was to stand in for the pillarless "hardtop-convertibles" being offered by GM and Chrysler rivals.This would be the last year on this bodystyle as the design teams wer preparing the new pillarless versions for 1952.




    1952 - The Long Awaited Hardtop

For 1952 , the long awaited re-styled cars for Ford , Lincoln and Mercury had arrived. The new slab sided bodies and with wrap around windshields with nicely appointed body trim was what the public was looking for.The 1952  Mercury models  were a standout among early '50s Mercurys for exceptional styling and sound engineering, coupled with solid construction and high-quality fit and finish. The Monterey was a top-line subseries in 1952, then became a separate line (with a three-model Custom series further down the price scale) for 1953-54. Ford's flathead V-8 continued in the first two yearsof this body style , with its highest horsepower rating ever in Mercury tune. For 1954, the company's new Y-Block overhead-valve V-8 would arrive with a five-main-bearing crankshaft and standard four-barrel carburetor. After being a "little Lincoln" in styling and bodyshell for 1949-1951, Mercury again became more of a junior line in these years, with similar styling to Ford but on a three-inch longer wheelbase.
 They were nothing like the GM or Chrysler styled  vehicles of the time, so FoMoCo would have them plying catch up. The flathead engine was still in for '52 as the proposed new y-block engine was still 2 years away. The '52 mercury was still a great car for the money. 

   1953 - Revisions  And Refinements

 The previous year's styling with refinements was carried over in 1953 along with some model shuffling, and emerged with two series; the Custom and the Monterey. Monterey’s were the upscale models. A station wagon bowed for 1953, the same year a Siren Red Monterey Convertible became Ford's forty-millionth car produced Mercury’s had an interesting dashboard with aircraft-type toggle levers for heating and ventilation flanking a central gauge cluster. Mercury added some new trim changes and new emblems , side moldings and front grille & bumper inserts . Different color combinations and new interior fabrics and use of a single piece rear glass would round out the changes. The flathead was still under the hood.




        1954 - Enter The ''Y'' Block  V-8

For '54 Mercury continued with refinements to the existing car. Once again , a new front bumper & grille treatment , the rear quarter panels were lengthened to accomodate new tailamps.Also for '54  , the new 239 c.i.d. 'y' block engine made it's debut ,with horsepower rated at 130 .This spelled the end of the tried and true flathead 8 cylinder . Ford had originally introduced the flathead in 1932 with Mercury's benefiting from years of design, use, testing, and experimentation. It was larger with over 160 horsepower and 238 foot-pounds of torque.  For transmossions , a three-speed manual was standard but overdrive and a Merc-O-Matic automatic transmission were optional.   Leaf springs remained the standard for the rear suspension.Another important feature on the Mercury cars for 1954 was a ball joint suspension in the front, allowing for sharper handling and a better ride.  Also new was the  Sun Valley hardtop , which put a tinted plexiglass into the roofs front section . The Sun Valley is a highly sought after collectible today. The 1954 Mercury was one of the most crisply styled cars of the early 1950's. That's partly why it still looks good today.  It also had flush fender body sides with sculpturing in the rear fender area, decorated with chrome strips to suggest air scoops. There was even a simulated hood scoop with a chromed front end.


        1955 - A  Whole  New  Look

In 1955 Ford Motor Company spent big money to restyle all 3 Divisions. Mercury fared very well with cars. Mercury had a record-setting year in 1955 with a total of 329,000 Mercury vehicles sold. This was the same year they split from Lincoln. Mercury offered three series in 1955, the Custom, Monterey, and Montclair. These series came in a wide variety of body styles which included sedans, convertibles, and even station wagons. Further customization was available such as engine options, air-conditioning, power equipment, and more.   The new Montclair model , which now became top of the line , over the existing Monterey nameplate , led the way in sales . Power was up in the engine compartment with the -


 292 cid  v-8 . The stylists at Mercury really did a good job. From the deep hooded headlamps to th sculpted rear quarters and body trim , this car really had a sleek profile. 1955 would give Mercury a record year of 329,000 + units.


       1956 - A Year For Refinements

Like most of the other auto makers , for 1956 , Mercury received  a 12 volt electrical system to handle increased loads of the power options and higher compression engines. Topping the '56 Mercury fleet was the new Montclair line: four-door sedan, hardtop, convertible, and Sun Valley. All wore a slim contrast-color panel outlined in bright metal beneath the side windows. A step below were the Monterey sedan, hardtop, and wagon, followed by the Custom series with the same body styles plus a two-door sedan. Common to all were Mercury's first wrapped windshield, an evolutionary form of the '54 grille, hooded headlamps, and eye-catching surface ornamentation. A Y-block V-8 swelled to 292 cid was offered in two forms: 188 bhp for Custom and Monterey and 198 bhp for Montclair. The higher output version was also available as an option for lesser models with the optional Merc-O-Matic. Four-door Phaeton hardtops arrived for 1956's "Big M" line, which represented an ambitious expansion into somewhat uncharted territory. To stay competitive in the face of rising prices, Mercury fielded a cut-rate group of Medalist two- and four-door hardtops and sedans at the bottom end of the medium­-price ladder.But inflation made these "low-price" Mercs more expensive than 1955 Customs ($2250-$2460) -- and not that much cheaper than the better-trimmed '56 Customs ($2350-$2800). Dealers pushed hard with two-door sedans, but Medalist sales came to only 45,812 in all. Custom, Monterey, and Montclair all beat the price-leader by more than 2-to-1. With that, Medalist was duly dropped, only to resurface for '58, when it interfered in a price bracket that should have been reserved exclusively for the new Edsel.Mercury's '56 styling was a good update of its '55 look. All models save Medalists wore jazzy Z-shaped side moldings that delineated the contrast color area with optional two-toning (the area below was generally matched to the roof).Monterey and Montclair added Phaeton hardtop sedans at mid-season, replacements for their low-roof pillared Sport Sedans held over from mid-1955. Mercury also offered a second convertible for the first time, a Custom. The Y-block was enlarged again, this time to 312 cid, good for 210 bhp that could be tuned to 235; the latter was standard for Monterey and Montclair.


       1957 - Rockets For The Space Age

Mercury stylists had really taken off for 1957. The new  Mercury received cutting edge styling under the direction of a new, young designer, Don de la Rossa. The cars literally looked like rockets. Led by the new Turnpike Cruiser with the Montclair  and  Monterey as well  , they were sometimes referred to as the ''Detroit Dreamboats'' . Several technological advances were tried out for the first time and enabled a state-of-the-art frame, suspension, engines, glass and of course sheet metalThe Turnpike Cruiser was Mercury's top-of-the-line offering in 1957 . It was a bold car that went against the public's opinion that Mercury only produced conservative cars. They came in either two or four door hard top configuration. Matching their style was their list of standard equipment, which was virtually every power item available. The interior was filled with push buttons. Under the hood was an overhead valve  8 with Holley four-barrel carburetors. The 368 cubic-inch beast produced 290 horsepower. The Merc-O-Matic automatic transmission gently sent the power to the rear wheels. The 122 inch wheels base was delicately held in place by coil springs and semi-elliptic leaf springs. Four-wheel hydraulic brakes rovided the stopping power.There were 1265 examples produced of the Turnpike Convertible Cruisers, each carrying a sticker price of $4103.  Monterey and Montclair were tough to tell apart at a glance: the principal clues being chrome headlight bezels, minor trim tweaks, and standard Merc-O-Matic transmission on the intermediate Montclair. Both cars shared the standard 255-bhp "Safety Surge" 312-cid V-8, and options on either line included the 368-cid/290-bhp Turnpike Cruiser engine. A Monterey convertible like this featured car had a list price of $3,005 -- $425 less than a Montclair ragtop and $1,098 less than a droptop Turnpike Cruiser.  The dashboard and instrument panel were straight out of the contemporary conception of a spaceship. The speedometer is a horizontal red bar that increases in length as speed increases. Other gauges and controls are housed in two pods on either side of the speedometer. Controls for air resemble aircraft levers and in the same theme, all gauges except fuel and engine temperature were replaced with warning lights.In 1957, Mercury learned the hard way that exclusive does not necessarily mean popular.The all-new cars lured only enough buyers to net the company eighth place in the sales race. There it would remain through 1958 -- when the recession-ravaged economy would treat all autos cruelly, particularly mid-priced models like Mercury and its new cousin, the Edsel.



 1958 - Recession Year Sports Minor Changes

Mercury was all new for '57 , so chages were minimal for 1958 . The front body got a massive new bumper and grille. Headlamps were changed, as quad lamps were now standard in all states , the front fenders edges were re-worked to accomomdate the lamps.The engine was now the 352 c.i.d. 8 cylinder with the 400 horsepower Super Marauder engine as an option.There were some new color and trim combinations also .  This was a bad recession year and saw Mercury sales off by 40 percent. In 1958 Mercury offered an option that got very little publicity, but broke all previous and at the time current size and horsepower records. I don't know how fast these things were, because I can't find much information on them. I'm still looking, so check back and we may have something. Yes, this is one of those little known "one year only" super muscle cars from a manufacturer not known at the time for performance. Dubbed the Super Marauder, the option was available across the Mercury line. Sporting 430 cubic inches and packing 400 horsepower, the big Mercury could make you wish you had stayed home with Mommy. You did not want to tangle with one of these things on the street. They weighed in at around the same tonnage as the 300C, so you know you could be in trouble on the highway if one of these babies came up on your bumper with all those ponies under the packing 400 horsepower, the big Mercury could make you wish you had stayed home with Mommy. You did not want to tangle with one of these things on the street. They weighed in at around the same tonnage as the 300C, so you know you could be in trouble on the highway if one of these babies came up on your bumper with all those ponies under the hood. The 430 inch MEL (Mercury-Lincoln-Edsel) engine was produced from 1958 through 1965. It was also used in Ford Thunderbirds in 1959, rated at 350 horsepower. The Super Marauder used an aluminum intake with three two barrel Holley series 2300 carburetors. The 1958 Super Marauder was the first American production automobile engine to attain an advertised 400 horsepower rating. Take that, AMA!


    1959 - Closing The Fabulous '50s

1959 was Mercury's 20th Anniversary . The 1959 Mercury  was as big as a "Big M" ever got, the last remnant of Dearborn's overly ambitious mid-'50s expansion plan that also produced jumbo Lincolns and the ill-timed Edsel. The platform was still unique to Mercury, as in 1957-1958 (though once also planned for '59 Edsels), but all-new, with husky styling, more massive proportions, and huge compound-curve windshields. The Park Lane had all this, plus wider, new-design frames with longer wheelbases and lower floorpans for vast interior space (abetted up front by a more compact dash). The new-for-'59  Park Lane completely took over for the glitzy Turnpike Cruiser as the top-line series, though all hardtops were now called Cruiser. Park Lanes again rode Merc's longest wheelbase and carried the huge Lincoln 430 V-8 as standard. A four barrel carb was featured for '59, but the '60 came with a two-barrel, a faint gesture toward "economy" brought on by the '58 recession. Styling was quieter on the inside as well .
A still-depressed medium-price market makes these pricey Park Lanes among the rarest 1959  Mercurys, though like so many contemporaries they've since become coveted as big, bright, and brazen. A product of a glitzy decade, where the designers gave us the most space age , rocket ship looking Mercury's yet.  Body styles were still the wagons , 2 and 4 door sedans and the new Park Lane convertible. Power was still the 352 v-8 with Merc-o-matic transmission. The new car was longer and sleek looking due to an additional 4 inches added to the car's wheelbase.  
arrel carb was featured for '59, but the '60 came with a two-barrel, a faint gesture toward "economy" brought on by the '58 recession. Styling was quieter on the inside as well .  due to sound deadening measures .
A still-depressed medium-price market makes these pricey Park Lanes among the rarest 1959  Mercurys, though like so many contemporaries they've since become coveted as big, bright, and brazen. A product of a glitzy decade, where t
he designers gave us the most space age , rocket ship looking Mercury's yet.  Body styles were still the wagons , 2 and 4 door sedans and the new Park Lane convertible. Power was still the 352 v-8 with Merc-o-matic transmission. The new car was longer and sleeker looking due to an additional 4 inches added to the car's wheelbase ,  which gave it a striking appearance .. 



                1960 - Enter The Comet

 The 1960 Mercury's got a total outer body re-skinning over the existing frame, which was new for 1959.  Gone were the garish rocket shaped side trim and fins , replaced by modest gull wing shaped quarter panel ends and tailamps The interiors featured new cloths & color combinations and instrument panel layout . Body ranges were as usual - the 2 and 4 door sedans , Commuter wagons and Park Lane & Monterey convertiblse. Engine drivetrain was carryover from 1959  . Midway through the model year , Mercury dealerships welcomed the Comet . The Comet was designed by and supposed to be marketed by the now defunct Edsel Group. For 1960 , no where on the Comet will you find a Mercury nameplate. Mercury needed this car.  It was introduced in March 1960, initial body styles were 2-door coupes, 4-door sedans and 2- and 4-door station wagons. Two trim levels were available, standard and "Custom", with the custom package including badging, additional chrome trim and all-vinyl interiors. In 1960, the only engine available was the 144 cid Thriftpower straight six with a single-barrel Holley carburetor which produced 90 hp (67 kW) at 4200 rpm. (Some sources list it as producing 85 hp (63 kW) at 4200 rpm.) Transmission options were a column-shifted 3-speed manual and a 2-speed Merc-O-Matic automatic transmission (unique to the Comet, despite sharing a name with the Merc-O-Matic installed in other Mercurys). With the recession of the late 1950s, mid-priced cars were becoming an increasingly hard sell at dealerships. The failure of Edsel and declining Lincoln-Mercury sales led Ford executives, led by company president Robert McNamara, to streamline Ford Motor Company down to its namesake division. Along with the rest of the Mercury product line, the station wagons were updated for the 1960 model year; the mid-price Voyager was discontinued, trimming the station wagon line down to the Colony Park and the base-model Commuter.

With the demise of the premium-model Edsels, the Mercury division now had a body and chassis to itself. The 1959 redesign gave the Colony Park a 4-inch wheelbase stretch, to 126 inches. With a curb weight of nearly 5000 pounds, Mercury specified the 315-hp 430 cubic-inch MEL engine shared with Lincoln and the Ford Thunderbird. Mercury station wagons of this vintage had the longest wheelbase, t h e widest bodies and the most cargo space of any station wagon ever built by this make. 


     1961 - A New Style For The Big Mercs

Mercury sort of downsized their big cars for 1961.  They began sharing the Ford frame again ,  thereby saving in manufacturing costs . The first step taken to make Mercury cost effective within Ford, Mercury shed its higher priced Montclair and Park Lane models. The Monterey, previously the entry-level full-sized Mercury offering and priced slightly higher for the 1961 model year than comparable 1960 models, would become the new top-of-the-line model. It was joined by the new, lower-priced Meteor 600 and Meteor 800. The Meteor 600 and Meteor 800 were, respectively, the spiritual descendants of the Medalist and Custom models last offered in 1956, as well as replacements for the discontinued Edsel. All full-sized 1961 Mercurys rode on a 120” wheelbase. For 1961 the Meteor was a full-sized model, differentiated from the Monterey through its trim and taillights. Meteor 600 taillights were oblong while the Meteor 800 and upmarket Monterey used six circular tail lights, three on each side. Meteor 600s, available only as two and four-door sedans featured chrome spears from the taillights to the front wheels. Meteor 800s, available in two and four door sedan and hardtop body styles, featured the spear and three chrome bars on the front fenders, chrome fender fin trim, rocker panel trim and back-up lights. The Commuter 4-door station wagon was trimmed comparably to the Meteors, while the Colony Park with simulated woodgrain trim on the side-panels was trimmed comparably to the Monterey. The standard engine in the Meteor and Commuter was a 223 cubic inch displacement inline six-cylinder with a 1-barrel carburetor that generated 135 horsepower (101 kW) @ 4000 rpm. Optional engines included a 292 cubic inch displacement V-8 with 2-barrel carburetor generating 175 horsepower (130 kW) @ 4200 rpm (standard on the Monterey on Colony Park), as well as a 352 cubic inch Marauder V-8 with 2-barrel carburetor generating 220 horsepower (160 kW), a 390 cubic inch Marauder V-8 with 4-barrel carburetor generating 300 horsepower (220 kW), and a 390 cubic inch Marauder V-8 with 4-barrel carburetor generating 330 horsepower (250 kW). The standard transmission was a 3-speed manual with overdrive available as an option. Merc-O-Matic and Multi-Drive automatic transmissions were available as options. Comets were still sold under the Mercury umbrella , but still didn't wear any Mercury badging and wouldn't until 1962.



 1962 - The New Mid-Size Mercury Meteor 

For 1962 , the big Mercs got a revised rear end styling by shving the fins pp the quarter panels and some slight changes to the front bumper & grille. Comet was officially made a Mercury model for the 1962 model year, and it received some minor restyling, mainly a redesign of the trunk and taillight area to bring the car more in line with the Mercury look. This is the first year the car carried Mercury badging. The S-22 received six tail lights, while regular Comets had four. A Comet Villager station wagon, basically a Comet Custom 4-door station wagon with simulated woodgrain side panels, was added to the lineup. (The Villager name had previously been used to denote the 4-door steel-sided station wagon in the Edsel Ranger series.) The biggest news is that the new for '61 full size Meteor now becomes Mercury's equivalent to ford's new midsize Fairlane. For 1962, Mercury marketing decided that the Monterey nameplate had better consumer recognition than the Meteor moniker as far as full-sized vehicles were concerned (despite the fact that Meteor outsold Monterey), and instead assigned the Meteor name to a new line of mid-sized cars , which in turn, were based on a long-wheelbase version of the Ford Falcon chassis. This smaller, mid-sized Meteor filled the product gap between the full-sized Monterey and the compact, Ford Falcon-based Mercury Comet.  Riding the Fairlane’s 116.5 wheelbase, the 1962 Meteors wore unique rear quarter panels that mimicked the Monterey's jet-pod tail lights. The base Meteor and better trimmed Meteor Custom were available in two and four door sedans. The Meteor S-33 was a specially trimmed two door sedan featuring premium exterior trim and interior appointments including bucket seats, and a center console. Engines are the straight 6 cylinder and the new 221 and 260 small block v-8's . The car adopted a lot of styling cues from the larger Mercury's , so the family resemblance was there.


   1963 - Emphasis On Style &  Performance

The Big Mercs got two new roof lines - a slanted roof with a breezeway rear window , and an aerodynamic roofine in the new S-55 Marauder models . The Mercury was  once again on the NASCAR tracks just like it;s sister car , the Ford Galaxie . The 427 v-8 was the class of the field , and Mercury  was holding thier own as a performance car. The Monterey for 1963 was also featuring the breezeway rear window which helped flow through ventilation. For 1963, Mercury offered their Monterey as one of their luxury vehicles outfitted with a host of amenities and targeted to discerning buyers. The top of the line Mercury was the Park Lane, but Ford had stopped production for several years making the Monterey the new leader until 1964. The Comet got a front end fresnening and introduced a bucket seat and console sport models , the S-22 and  and for the first time , a convertible.  For 1963 Meteors received an annual trim update and the addition of two body styles, a four-door station wagon and a two-door hardtop coupe. The four-door station wagon was added to both the Meteor series and the Meteor Custom series. In the Meteor Custom series the station wagon was referred to as the Mercury Country Cruiser and featured simulated wood-grain trim on the exterior. The hardtop coupe was added to the Meteor Custom and Meteor S-33 series. The hardtop coupe replaced the 2-door sedan in the Meteor S-33 series.


      1964 - Mercury's  25th Anniversary

Mercury celebrated its 25th year by winning 12 NASCAR races . The 427 was making a name for itself in the new Marauder. For this year it was a very striking automobile with that fastback roofline , new front end and tailamp treatment. The Monterey also continued in 2 and 4 doors. The colony park wagon was still available and popular with families.The Marauder became a Marauder sub-series of the full-size '63 Mercury line.

 The Marauder trim and several Marauder engine choices were made available on all three full-size Mercury models, so you could buy a Mercury Monterey Marauder, a Mercury Montclair Marauder, or a Mercury Park Lane Marauder, each with a checkered flag on the fender. The engine choices, though all V-8s, were varied as well. The stock-car racing Marauder was equipped with a 410-horsepower version of the Ford 427 big-block, but few street cars got this highly complicated and highly expensive engine. Instead, the vast majority were equipped with the Marauder Super 390 V-8, which delivered 300 horsepower, or the Marauder Interceptor 390 V-8, which offered 330 horsepower. The big-block 390 cubic-inch engine was relentlessly conventional. In Interceptor form, the overhead valve V-8 was equipped with mechanical lifters and a big four-barrel carburetor. With 10:1 compression, it not only churned out 330 horsepower at 5,000 rpm, but also a wheel-spinning 427 pound-feet of torque at a leisurely 3,200 rpm. The Marauder models could be equipped with a three-speed manual transmission, a three-speed plus overdrive manual, a four-speed manual and a three-speed Merc-O-Matic automatic transmission. The Comet line  was expanded and re-designed top to bottom and filled the void that was left after Meteor was canceled due to poor sales. It never did match Ford's Fairlane sales volume. The 1964 Comet was redesigned with a much more square shape, though it was still built on the same unibody as the 1963 model. The front grille used styling similar to that of the Lincoln Continental. Along with the redesign, the model designations were changed. The performance version was known as the Cyclone, replacing the previous S-22. Then in descending order of trim levels were the Caliente, 404 and 202, replacing the previous Custom and base models. The 2-door station wagon bodystyle was discontinued. The top-of-the-line station wagon continued to be known as the Villager. The base 144 cid six engine was dropped and the 170 cid six became the new base engine. The 260 V8 was available at the beginning of the production run, with the new 289 being available mid-year. This car is the one and still draws a lot of attention. All in all ,this would be a good year for Mercury in sales and performance with thier best looking models to date.


                Mercury In The Media


        1950 Mercury TV Commercial .....

         1949 Mercury Tv Commercial .....

         1956 Mercury TV Commercial .....

         1954 Mercury Tv Promo .............

         1961 Meteor tv Commercial .........

         1963 Monterey TV Commercial ..... 

     '' Thunderbolt & Lightfoot''  ' 51 Mercury Clip .... 

     '' American Graffitti ''  ' 50 Mercury Clip ............ 

     '' Hawaii 5.0 ''  Mc Garretts  '67 Mercury ...........


               A Little Mercury Humor...



               Well folks , Thanks for Visiting - Stop Back Again Real Soon !


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