Tuesday, February 1, 2011
1939 Mercury Convertible
Detroit has done it again. Killed another historic brand and in so doing destroyed the faith of many who purchased and loved one in the past. This time it's Mercury which, since 1939, bridged the gap between Ford and Lincoln, offering a touch of luxury for less than luxury car prices. Of course the demise of Mercury is no surprise; during the past few years the corporation failed to support it with automobiles unique to the brand. As a result it only accounts for 0.8 percent of Ford Motor Company's overall market share. Mercury will be discontinued in the fourth quarter of this year, joining Pontiac and Plymouth on the scrap heap of autos ignored or forgotten by executives too busy playing marketing games to understand what really motivates car owners.
So what was your favorite Mercury? Or do you have one? I sometimes wonder if the brand ever did register with the North American public as more than an overcooked Ford or an underdone Lincoln. How often did you hear someone say "I'm a Mercury man?" Personally I've never owned a Mercury, its sole connection being the make in which I first gathered the courage to lay a hand on a young lady's bosom. Choosing a favorite, however, I'd go for the original Cougar, which bowed as a longer, sleeker version of the Mustang. Or maybe the very first Mercury, from 1939. Determined to make it different from lower-price Fords, the designers successfully blended streamlining with art deco character.
1965 Mercury Monterey
I would not, however, vote for the Mercury's of the mid-60's (above). While the Breezeway reverse-slant rear windows made them distinctive enough, they were giant-size barges in the worst Detroit tradition. No, wait... I take that back. During a brief stint as a Ford p.r. person I borrowed one of those big Mercury's from the company fleet in order to attend a cousin's wedding. On arrival I almost stole the show as everyone ignored the bride to see the car. If ever an automobile created a positive image for me, that was it. Mercury fans, your cars have just moved up a notch in the collector car hierarchy.
Posted by Palmer at 4:02 PM