A Brief Look at the Mercury Turnpike Cruiser
The Mercury Turnpike Cruiser: A Journey Through Generations
The Mercury Turnpike Cruiser, also known as the Mercury Park Lane, was a vehicle model manufactured by the Ford Motor Company from 1957 to 1958 and from 1965 to 1968. As a signature luxury car of the Mercury brand, the Turnpike Cruiser went through three generations, each with its unique features and variations. Let’s dive into the history and evolution of the Mercury Turnpike Cruiser.
First Generation (1957-1958)
The first generation of the Mercury Turnpike Cruiser was introduced in 1957 as a convertible and a two-door hardtop model. The car earned its name from the Turnpike system, which was developed by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to provide high-speed travel across several states. Thus, the Turnpike Cruiser was built for high-speed cruising, equipped with a 368 cubic inch V-8 engine that produced 290 horsepower and 405 lb-ft of torque. The car also featured a push-button transmission, making it easy to shift gears quickly.
The ’57 Turnpike Cruiser presented several innovative features in the automobile industry, including a retractable rear window that allowed for an open-air experience without having to lower the convertible top. The car also had a futuristic dashboard with “floating” instruments, where the speedometer and other gauges appeared to hover above the dashboard surface. Other features of the ’57 Turnpike Cruiser included power brakes, power steering, and a luxury interior with leather upholstery.
For the 1958 model year, the Turnpike Cruiser received some styling changes, including quad headlights and a larger grille. Mechanical updates included a new three-speed automatic transmission and a revised engine producing 312 horsepower. However, despite the upgrades, the Turnpike Cruiser’s sales took a dive, leading to its discontinuation in 1958.
Second Generation (1965-1966)
The Turnpike Cruiser returned in 1965 for a second generation, this time as a four-door sedan only. The car was designed to be more conservative and family-oriented than its predecessor, featuring a boxier shape and a less flamboyant design. However, it still retained the signature Turnpike Cruiser features, such as a powerful V-8 engine and luxury amenities.
Under the hood, the ’65 Turnpike Cruiser came with a 390 cubic inch engine that produced 270 horsepower and 396 lb-ft of torque, coupled with a three-speed automatic transmission. The car also featured an improved suspension system for a smoother ride and better handling.
The interior of the ’65 Turnpike Cruiser was spacious and comfortable, with a full-length center console and reclining front seats. The dashboard featured a more traditional design, with round gauges and toggle switches. Other standard features included power brakes, power steering, and air conditioning.
In 1966, the Turnpike Cruiser underwent minor updates, including a new grille and a revised interior. However, the car failed to capture the hearts of consumers, leading to its discontinuation after the 1966 model year.
Third Generation (1967-1968)
The third and final generation of the Mercury Turnpike Cruiser arrived in 1967, featuring a sharper, more angular design than the previous generation. The car was also available in several body styles, including a two-door hardtop, a four-door sedan, and a station wagon.
The ’67 Turnpike Cruiser came with a 390 cubic inch engine that produced 315 horsepower and 427 lb-ft of torque. The car could go from 0 to 60 mph in just 9.9 seconds, making it a powerful and fast cruiser. The car also featured an updated suspension system for superior handling and a smoother ride.
The interior of the ’67 Turnpike Cruiser was arguably the most luxurious yet, with plush seats, wood paneling, and chrome accents. The car also came with an AM/FM radio, a rear-seat speaker, and a hidden glove compartment. Other features included power brakes, power steering, and an automatic transmission.
For the 1968 model year, the Turnpike Cruiser underwent minor updates, including a new grille and taillights. The car also received a new engine option, a 428 cubic inch V-8 engine that produced 345 horsepower and 462 lb-ft of torque. However, the Turnpike Cruiser’s sales continued to decline, leading to its discontinuation after the 1968 model year.
The Mercury Turnpike Cruiser was an impressive vehicle in its heyday, a symbol of luxury and power on the American roads. Although it may not have been a commercial success, the Turnpike Cruiser remains a beloved classic car, cherished by collectors and enthusiasts alike. Its three generations each had their unique features and variations, leaving a rich legacy in American automotive history.