Antique Auto Advertising: 1963 Mercury Monterey Breezeway

Ford always had a problem distinguishing the now shuttered Mercury brand from similar Ford products. The early 1960s was a time of innovation and gadgetry in the American auto industry so I suppose it wasn’t considered outlandish to have a back window that rolled down to allow better ventilation. Though air conditioning was available by then, it was a very expensive and not very frequently ordered option. As stylists in the 1950s experimented with new body shapes, one influential design was the1953 Packard Balboa-X concept car with a slightly reversed backlight angle. That show car’s fabricators, the Mitchell-Bentley company, patented a retractable backlight for it, but when Packard decided not to use it, the rights were sold to Ford. Reversed backlights with retractable glass started showing up on Lincolns in the late 1950s. After Robert McNamara, Ford’s president, had made a rare business misstep hoping to reduce costs by rationalizing the Ford and Mercury bodies around that same time, by 1963 Mercurys needed a distinguishing feature. Hence the distinctive Mercury reverse backlight roofline and the Breezeway option, available from 1963 to 1968. They say that the past is a foreign country, people act differently there. In the ad, a girl in the back seat turns around to enjoy the breeze as she leans on the back window ledge. It seems strange to see a child in a car without some kind of restraint. Today, driving with your child unrestrained might get you accused of child neglect or abuse.

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