Unique 1960's Cars

I am posting this discussion because I am curious to see, how many folks remember the full-size Mercury cars (Monterey, Montclair, Park Lane) from 1963 thru 1966 model years, with the “Breezeway” roof (backward-slanting rear roof pillar with the power drop-down window pane)? This roof style was actually first used on the 1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser, and then revived in 1963 if I’m not mistaken. I remember as a kid growing up in the 1960’s-1970’s, a former neighbor of ours had a dark blue Mercury Montclair 4-door sedan (1964 model, I think) with the breezeway roof option. I always thought it was a neat-looking car, because there was nothing on the block quite like it. I also remember another unusual car owned by a resident in another part of the old neighborhood, and that was a white 4-door 1962 Chrysler New Yorker with a “square” steering wheel. When I was about 6 or 7, I even got to ride in an Amphicar, on a lake in my hometown. Yep, there were some rather uncommon cars around back then, and it’s almost impossible to find a lot of these cars now.

Yep, neighbor had one, thought it was neat (course, I was 7 at the time). And the Turnpike Cruiser has to win some kind of award for “unusual” styling:

I’ve always liked the volvo p1800.

My brother had a black 2 door 1963 Mercury hardtop with the retracting back window. It did not have air conditioning, but sure created a draft through the car with the window down.

Other than that, the car was unstable at speed due to the soft suspension and really drank gas. With the red interior and rakish styling it sure drew looks.

That red and black car would have helped to pave the way for the Pontiac Aztek but there was too much time in between them.

Actually, prior to Mercury’s 1963-65 use of the “Breezeway” design, this unique roofline was used on Lincoln Continentals in the '59 & '60 model years. This was the BIG Lincoln body style, prior to the downsizing of the new design introduced for the '61 model year.

Anyway–here’s a little bit of trivia for you:
During the years of “Breezeway” Mercury production, quite a few were purchased by the US Secret Service, for their Executive Protection Division. The reason? Unlike other cars of the time, it was easy to fire shots rearward from these Mercuries, thus giving the agents an advantage in the event of an attack.

Looks like it went down on the '57 Turnpike Cruiser, too (you may need to shield your eyes):

The Chevy Corvair was certainly unique…With the Mercs, you always got a bigger engine than was available in the Ford lineup…At least on paper…

Mercury had an interesting history. From its introduction through 1948, it was a glorified Ford. In 1949, it had a different body and chassis. This lasted until the 1952 models arrived. From 1952 through 1956, the Mercury reverted back to Ford chassis. In 1957, Mercury again became its own car. The Mercury was given a higher status than the Edsel which was introduced in late 1957 as a 1958 model. In 1958 there were essentially two different Edsels–a Ford based Edsel and a Mercury based Edsel. In 1959, the Mercury based Edsel was dropped, and after a run of a few 1960 Edsels, the line was discontinued. The 1960 Mercury, however, was its ownd car. That changed in 1961 when the Mercury, with different body styling, reverted back to being a glorified Ford. The 1963 through 1965 Mercury did have some unique features, including the reverse slant roll down rear window. In this time period there was also a Mercury Comet that was essentially a Ford Falcon and a Mercury Meteor which was essentially a Ford Fairlane until 1966, when the Mercury Comet moved onto a Fairlane chassis and the Meteor was dropped. In 1967, Mercury introduced the Cougar, which was an upscale Ford Mustang, but in my opinion, had better styling.

If someone were to give me my choice of cars from the 1960s, I would take a 1963 Studebaker Avanti. If I had to choose my favorite Mercury from the 1960s, it would be the 1968 Mercury Cougar. The most stylish car that I owned from the 1960s was a 1968 AMC Javelin.

The Meteor was produced in Canada from 1949 till well into the 60s. My sister had a 1966 model. It was a Ford with a Meteor grill and badge and was sold by Mercury dealers. There was also a Mercury pickup truck, a Ford with a Mercury grill and badge. All were built on the same Ford “flex” assembly line in Oakville, Ontario.

There was also a Mercury sold by Ford dealers called the “Monarch”. It was just a regrilled and rebadged Mercury. This gave both Ford and Mercury dealers a full line to sell.

There was a Canadian Meteor, but Ford also used the name for an intermediate car for the 1962 and 1963 models in this country. The car was the upscale Ford Fairlane. It was gone by the end of the 1963 model year.
The Canadian Meteor was something different. For some reason, Ford of Canada wanted something that was a Ford with a different nameplate. In this time period, the Canadian Pontiac was a Chevrolet with different trim and the Canadian Dodges were retrimmed Plymouths. I think that there may have been a Mercury truck in Canada. Chrysler had the Fargo trucks in place of the Dodge trucks.

I had a '61 Mercury Convertible (owned from 1965 to 1967), my family had a '63 Mercury Wagon, and relatives had a Mercury with the funky roll down rear window. They were fine cars and enjoyed by the owners. I liked Merc’s due to some extra luxury and less of them on the roads compared to Fords and Chevy’s. Most are not really valued as collectible cars, but I certainly remember them fondly.

The 1960 Chrysler 300. If the original batmobile had been built from one of these, it would have barely needed to be altered. You could cut yourself on those tail fins. 390 HP too…

How about the 1966 Ford Mustero

Messerschmidt KR-200. The same guys who made the war planes. Made from the late 50’s to the mid 60’s. One of the weirder ones from that era. I’ve always wanted one.

When I was a kid, doctors made house calls. Our family doctor had a Messerschmitt and a BMW Isetta. I grew up in a large city in Europe so it was easy to park these things but he must have liked small cars because you wouldn’t see them all that much.


It was quite a sight to see him pour out of these little cars since the man was really tall.

Nothing was more uniquely functional in our family of three teenage boys then my 62 Rambler for obvious reasons.

We had a 61 Merc. I really liked that car. In fact that’s the car I took my driver’s test in. We tried out a 65 Park Lane which I thought was the cats meow. Only problem was that it was 20 below out and there was something wrong with the heater in the thing. That was a beautiful car and I’m sure it wouldn’t have taken much for the heater but my folks jumped ship because of it and bought a 66 Plymouth instead. I’d sure love to have one of those 61 or 65 Mercs again for fun. I literally was brought to tears when they got rid of it. So much for my vote back then.

There used to be several of those breezeway Mercurys running around here and someone locally still has one that I see now and then. Another gentleman here used to have an Amphicar that he would tool around in on occasion but I haven’t seen that one in quite a few years.

I don’t think most of the domestics of the 60s really stood out as too unusual except for one batch. That would be the early 60s Chrysler products; especially the Dodges and Plymouths.

They had some very strange styling quirks around 1961 to 1963 with bullet taillights, slanted headlights, frog-eyed headlight bezels, and some downright strange body lines.
As unusual as they were, and even criticized quite a bit at the time, those cars are worth some serious bucks now.

Bing mentions the 61 Mercurys. Someone in a small town about 20 miles from me has a pair of them sitting behind an abandonded house. I’ve seriously wanted to buy one or both but so far can’t seem to find anyone who knows where the owner went. Even better, both are identical 2 door hardtops. I left a note on the door so maybe one of these days… :slight_smile:

I learned to drive on my father’s Corvair. With the Slush-a-Matic two speed transmissions it was a great car to learn to drive on.