(Found In) Lower Haight (San Francisco, California): 1964 Mercury Montclair Breezeway 4 Door Sedan

9319740544_48560d26f0_zFor the life of the brand, the Mercury division of Ford Motor Company struggled to figure out its image within the American Automotive marketplace.

Initially perched as the up-market solution to the vast gap between Ford and Lincoln, Mercury found that pound remarkably deep and wide, full of competition not only from General Motors and Chrysler, but some well-regarded independents as well. Matters weren’t helped much by which season the Mercurial brand was aligned with being a “Fancy Ford” or a “Cut-Rate Lincoln.”
9319741300_cf17fd5075_z
Truly, the only time Mercury claimed some independence for itself were the 1957-60 models. Even then, Senior Edsels shared their bodies for the 1958 season.

Otherwise, the typical difference between a Ford and Mercury was an inch of wheelbase here, a bit more decoration inside, and perhaps a standard V8 powerplant that only sometimes was greater in displacement that available V8s in comparable Fords. 1961 and 1962 were particularly fallow periods where Mercury fielded Meteors and Montereys that were nothing more than Galaxie 500s and Fairlanes with fake eyelashes. A solution towards a more unique identity was needed, so a dip into the recent past for a bit of technological wizardry was called upon.

9316950829_c4d08432a5_zFor 1963, it meant taking the time machine back to 1957 and the specialty Turnpike Cruiser model for one special feature: The roll down rear window. Add in the reverse slant glass from the 1958-60 Lincoln Continental and voila! A new sensation in Automotive roofing was resurrected for consumers to enjoy.

For 1964, Mercury reintroduced its traditional bevy of Full Sized offerings in Monterey, Montclair and Park Lane guises. The Breezeway roof competed for attention against the semi-fastback Maurader roofline both years, and quickly became an novelty, albeit a useful one. In an era that saw increased purchasing of Air Conditioning in cars, the Breezeway offered a interesting ventilation alternative: Open air motoring with shade and far less wind buffeting than expected.

9316953939_b9804dca65_zUnfortunately it was a styling detour referencing the past with little hope of carrying on to the future. Although the feature continued through the 1968 model year; the unique roof left after the 1966 model year. In fact, compared to the nearly full retraction of the original Breezeways, the 1967-68 models merely cracked open a few inches for a bit more air.

In these post-mortem years after the demise of the Mercury brand, the Breezeway Coupes and Sedans linger (quite prodigiously in the Bay Area for some reason) as mammoth memories of a quaint and curious Motown creation from half a Century ago. Perhaps Mercury, after the planet it was named after, continued to communicate answers to questions nobody asked. What shall the Mercury be? Que Sera Sera, the future wasn’t for it to see more often than not.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s