Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Mercury was a brand in flux in the early 1960s. The compact Comet was the best-selling model in 1961, widely outselling the less expensive full-sized Meteor 600 and 800, and the flagship Monterey. Ford brass felt the need to broaden Mercury’s product range, and they created a new Meteor in 1962, based on the mid-sized Fairlane. This Meteor -which Mercury advertising called “standard-size” despite being what we’d today call full-sized at 203.8 inches- was available in two- and four-door sedan body styles, and in base, Custom and S-33 trims. Economy-minded engine choices included a 101 hp, 170-cu.in. OHV inline-six and a new, lightweight 145 hp OHV V-8 with a historic displacement: 221-cu.in. Although it’s not listed in this brochure, power-hungry buyers could get a bit more in the optional 164 hp, 260-cu.in. V-8.
This model was quietly handsome, but not a head-turner, because even the sportiest, bucket-seated S-33 was still a two-door post sedan, rather than a slinky hardtop. Unsurprisingly, the Meteor wasn’t a runaway sales hit: The Standard Catalog of Ford lists total 1962 Meteor production as 51,912, a drop in the bucket next to the sibling-under-the-skin Fairlane’s 297,116. Things would improve for 1963, when this model added a station wagon and hardtop coupe to the mix.