The Mercury Monterey is a series of full-size cars that were manufactured and marketed by the Mercury division of Ford from 1952 to 1974. Deriving its name from Monterey Bay, the Mercury Monterey served as the replacement for the Mercury Eight, the debut model line of the Mercury division. During its production, the Monterey would be offered in multiple body styles, ranging from coupes, convertibles, sedans, hardtops, and station wagons.
Over its 22 years of production, the Monterey served as the flagship, mid-range, and entry-level offering of the full-size Mercury product range. The only Mercury nameplate to be in continuous production throughout the 1960s, the Monterey was slotted above the Medalist, Custom, and Meteor; later, it was slotted below the Turnpike Cruiser, Montclair, Park Lane, and Marquis.
Following the 1974 model year, Mercury discontinued the Monterey, consolidating its full-size range down to the Marquis and Colony Park station wagon. For 2004, the Monterey nameplate was revived, becoming the counterpart of the Ford Freestar minivan; it was produced through the 2007 model year. The Monterey (model 72C) was introduced in 1950 as a high-end two-door coupe as part of the Mercury Eight series in the same vein as the Ford Crestliner, the Lincoln Lido coupe and the Lincoln Cosmopolitan Capri coupe in order to compete with the hardtop coupes General Motors had introduced the previous model year. Montereys had either a canvas covered top for $2146 or vinyl for $2157. Standard features included leather faced seats, simulated leather headliner, wool carpets, chrome-plated interior garnish moldings, two-toned dashboard, special black steering wheel, fender skirts, dual outside rearview mirrors, full wheelcovers & gold winged hood ornament. For $10 more all leather seats were an option. Two special colors were offered, Turquoise Blue with dark blue top and Cortaro Red metallic with black top. Black with yellow top was also available. Few Montereys were sold. For 1955 the car lost its status as Mercury's top model, replaced by the Montclair. The same year, it gained the 292 cu in (4.8 L) Y-block from the Thunderbird, producing 188 hp (140 kW) with the standard transmission or 198 with the Merc-O-Matic. It used independent ball-joint front suspension. Brake size was increased. It was available in two lower-priced trim packages called the Custom and with Medalist as the most basic model. The Medalist lasted only one year as Mercury moved further upscale in 1957. The fullsize Mercury was redesigned for 1957 and grew considerably larger as well, riding on an exclusive 122 in (3,099 mm) wheelbase. A new frame design allowed a lower floor which made the car look lower and longer. Interior features included a front seat track stop(to keep the front seat from breaking loose), a new design for the safety steering wheel, a new radio, and memory power front seats. The station wagons were divested from the Monterey series, with the Commuter, Voyager, and Colony Park lines. For 1959, the Mercury Monterey (and Montclair) grew in size, adopting a 126-inch wheelbase. The Mercury-derived Edsel Corsair and Edsel Citation were discontinued; for the first time since 1940, Mercury used its own chassis and body. For 1961, Mercury underwent a major transformation of its model line. In a transition from 1957-1960, Mercury again shared a bodyshell with a divisional counterpart, shifting from Edsel to Ford, with the Monterey becoming the equivalent of the Ford Galaxie. The Montclair and Park Lane were discontinued, shifting the Monterey from the base-trim Mercury sedan to its flagship, slotted above the newly-introduced Mercury Meteor (as with the Comet, intended as an Edsel before the discontinuation of the division).One of the first examples of downsizing, by adopting a common chassis and body with Ford, the Monterey lost six inches of wheelbase, nearly two inches of width, and over 4 inches of length; dependent on powertrain, the 1961 Monterey shed over 300 pounds of curb weight. At 120 inches, the Monterey was given a 1-inch longer wheelbase than the Galaxie. The Monterey was offered in four bodystyles, including two and four-door hardtops, a four-door sedan, and a two-door convertible. Sharing its roofline with the Galaxie (except for the Starliner fastback), the Monterey differed primarily by its grille; in place of two large taillamps, Mercury used six small taillamps. While slightly more adorned than its Galaxie counterpart, the Monterey continued to adopt more subdued styling, shifting chrome trim nearly entirely to the front and rear fascias and the roofline. Shared with the Ford Galaxie, the Monterey again received the 292 cubic-inch Y-block V8 (175 hp), with the option of 352 and 390 cubic-inch FE V8s (220 hp and 300/330 hp, respectively). As before, 3-speed manual and 3-speed automatics were offered, with a 4-speed manual becoming an option.