A Brief History
In 1939, Ford introduced their Mercury marque and it was made for the upscale market. Its name was taken from a god in Roman Mythology. During its initial release, Mercury became famous because of its performance. One of the most expensive models that Mercury has to offer was introduced in 1950 as a part of Mercury Eight Series and it was called Mercury Monterey.
While GM and Chrysler are starting to dominate the car market with their pillarless coupes, Ford found an answer in making Mercury Monterey along with Ford Crestliner. Both of these cars were made using the same formula and William Schmidt was the one who was credited for the Monterey’s design. It was available in a 4-door sedan, 2-door sedan and 2-door coupe.
During its release, an option of canvas or vinyl roof is available and this car also features a deluxe steering wheel with all leather seats. Its 118 inch wheelbase is paired with coil and wishbone suspension up front and leaf springs under a live axle in the rear. This Mercury Monterey was powered by 255.4 in V-8 while its chassis and all of its running gears are the same with other Mercury models. This configuration resulted in 110bhp and with its base price of over $2,000, this luxury car was considered to be a ‘4,000 lbs. of Pure Decadence’.
Each year, this luxurious Mercury Monterey featured several improvements just like in 1952, when it became a separate model and became Mercury’s top product. This car also benefited from Ford’s yearly innovations and it was pretty evident in 1954 when Monterey received an upgrade on its engine with the 161hp overhead valve Ford Y-block V-8. Aside from this, it also received an upgrade on its front suspension that gave it a better handling.
In its second generation from 1955 to 1956, a new 4-door hardtop was added to its body options and for its engine, 292 cu in with 188hp was utilized. A more powerful engine was introduced in 1956 wherein a 312 cu in with 235hp was used. This was also the year when Ford became aware of the consequences of their powerful engines that is why they started using Lifeguard safety equipment on their cars.
The size of the third generation Mercury Monterey was increased, the lower and longer body was the result of the new frame that Mercury used for this release. The larger body requires larger wheelbase and large engine, its wheelbase was stretched to 122 inch and its engine receives more horsepower. A 383 cu in Mel V-8 became available and it comes with Multi-drive automatic transmission.
A major change was performed on Mercury and its cars in 1961. The bodies, interior and chassis of their cars were revamped and they are now the same as Ford’s, the only difference between their cars was its trim levels. The design for the Mercury Monterey was changed heavily and became Mercury’s top product for the second time. The most powerful engine that is available for this fifth generation was the 427 cu in and it is capable of producing 410hp. The Mercury Monterey was sold in Canada as Mercury Meteor.
The End Of The Road For Mercury Monterey
The redesigning and engine upgrades continued until its 6th generation from 1965 to 1968 and Mercury Monterey grew larger for its 7th and last generation. The redesigning of Monterey resulted in a larger and boxier body. Its wheelbase was stretched to 124 inches and Mercury’s intention for their redesigning and modification was part of their plan of emulating the Lincoln Continental.
As part of the business, the company needs to change to accommodate the needs of their customers and the Monterey models saw its final year in 1975 when they were replaced by Grand Marquis. This Grand Marquis also served as Mercury’s new top-of-the-line product.