Mercury's lush Park Lane convertible hit the deck with a new option for the 1968 Mercury Park Lane called "Yacht Paneling." Though an appliqué, it was a nice, nostalgic nod to the real woodies of the late 1940s.
Full-size late-'60s Mercurys were what we'd now call "near luxury" models, yet they were typically big, smooth, feature-laden machines. The all-new '65s were even grandly trumpeted as being "In the Lincoln Continental tradition," especially their square, formal styling. A more fulsome look arrived for '67, when Mercury billed itself "The Man's Car." How times have changed!
The 1968 Mercury Park Lane yacht paneling look carried into its interior.
Mercury's big '68s were not much changed, still riding a 123-inch wheelbase and offering V-8s up to 428 cubic inches, but there was an interesting new option called "Yacht Paneling." Restricted at first to the top-line Park Lane fastback and $3822 convertible, this involved woody-look side trim like that on Colony Park wagons. As a full-length decal, Yacht Paneling wasn't structural like the real wood on Mercury's 1946 Sportsman convertible, but it was no less distinctive. However, it was none too popular either, lasting only this one year. Of the 1112 Park Lane ragtops built for '68, just a handful were Yacht Paneled, and a mere 15 are known to exist today. Sometimes, it just doesn't pay to go "retro."
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