Full-Size Mercury Cars of the 1960s
For all its activity in compacts and intermediates, big cars remained Mercury's bread-and-butter in the '60s. Annual production averaged around 100,000, though there were back-to-back records for 1965-66 -- over 165,000 each year.
Of all the big-Merc model names, only Monterey lasted the entire decade. The upper-echelon Montclair and Park Lane returned for 1964-68, then vanished again, replaced by a full-range Marquis line.
With Meteor an intermediate, the 1962 full-size fleet was reorganized around Monterey, Monterey Custom, and Station Wagon. The lone convertible shifted to the Custom series. Joining Mercury's bucket-seat brigade at midyear were the S-55 hardtop coupe and convertible. Styling was busier on all the big '62s, with tunneled taillights and a complex convex grille. All V-8s returned, as did the faithful "big six" as standard power for base Montereys and Commuter wagons.
A similar array on the same 120-inch wheelbase returned for 1963, when a heavy reskin introduced "Breezeway Styling" for nonwagon closed models: reverse-slant rear windows that dropped down for ventilation as on the old Turnpike Cruiser (and 1958-60 Continental Marks). Wagons were pared to a pair of Colony Parks. Joining the S-55 subseries at midyear was a handsome "slantback" two-door like Ford's Galaxie Sports Hardtop. Engines remained strictly V-8s: 390s with 250-330 bhp, a new 406-cid enlargement packing 385/405 bhp, and, as a late-season option, a high-performance 427 with 410 bhp.
Tradition returned for Silver Anniversary year 1964 in a revived four-series line of Monterey, Montclair, Park Lane, and Commuter/Colony Park wagons. The first three listed Breezeway two- and four-door hardtops and four-door sedans (Monterey still included a pillared two-door), plus slantback "Marauder" hardtop coupes and sedans. A toothy convex grille replaced the concave '63 unit.
The previous 390 V-8s continued, but the 406s didn't, giving way to 427s with 410/425 optional bhp for all models save wagons. Big-inch Marauders were awesome performers.
The record 1965 model year brought a larger full-size body with crisp, rectilinear lines "in the Lincoln Continental tradition," as well as a new "torque box" frame (tuned for each body to minimize noise, vibration, and harshness). Wagons now rode the 119-inch Ford wheelbase; other models were up to 123.
Breezeways thinned to a trio of four-door sedans, all hardtops were now slantbacks, and the Marauder name was de-emphasized amid calls for greater automotive safety. V-8s now comprised a quartet of 390s with 250-330 bhp, plus a single 425-bhp 427. The basic '65 look carried into 1966 with a new diecast "electric-shaver" grille and, for hardtop coupes, a "sweep-style roof" with a concave backlight.
More-rounded bodysides mixed well with sharp-edged fenders for '67. Sedans adopted conventional rooflines but still offered an optional drop-down backlight. Hardtop coupes received "faster" roof profiles. Three new limited-production line-toppers arrived: Marquis, a two-door hardtop with broad C-pillars and standard vinyl-roof covering, a similar Park Lane Brougham hardtop sedan, and a Park Lane Brougham Breezeway four-door sedan. Intermediates were waging Mercury's sporty-car wars, so the bucket-seat S-55 ragtop and hardtop were in their final year -- and just a Monterey option package now. Respective production was minuscule: just 145 and 570.
After a minor '68 facelift, the big Mercs were fully revised for 1969. Wheelbases grew to 121 inches on wagons and 124 on other models (except Marauder), sizes that would persist until their first downsizing for 1979. Series regrouped around base Monterey, revived Monterey Custom, and a full Marquis line comprising Colony Park wagon, convertible, and base and Brougham sedans, hardtop coupes, and hardtop sedans.
Riding the shorter 121-inch wheelbase was a new Marauder, a high-performance "tunnelback" hardtop that garnered 14,666 sales. Offered in standard and spiffier X-100 trim, it shared Marquis' hidden-headlamp front and the ventless side glass used by most other models. V-8s comprised the usual 390s and a new 429-cid big-block with 360 bhp, the latter being standard for Marauder X-100, optional elsewhere.
The 1970s were basically reruns save minor trim and equipment revisions. Sporty big cars had mostly disappeared by now, and so would the Marauder after just 6043 sales that model year.
For more information on Mercury models, check these out:
- Mercury New Car Reviews and Prices
- Mercury Used Car Reviews and Prices