“A car is only original once.” That’s the old saw that car collectors like to use to stress the importance of originality when you own an old classic. It really make a difference to some of us. This week we renewed an old acquaintance here at the Cars-On-Line office. It was in 2010 when we first noticed this 1963 Mercury Monterey S-55 at the Iola Car Show in Iola, Wisconsin. It was in the featured display that year. It is one of the best kept survivor cars you will ever see. This week it was put up for sale right here on the Cars-On-Line.com website. It just goes to show, whatever goes around, comes around.
The private party collector and owner of this 1963 Mercury Monterey S-55 4-Door Hardtop thinks it might be the lowest-mile American car in existence from 1963. Ford Motor Company has verified that it has only 7,200 miles from new. That in itself is a story worth writing about. But there is more. This 1963 Mercury Monterey is a Breezeway with the 6.4 liter 390 ci V8 Marauder big block motor. It has the “Y” in the VIN code. They called it a Sport Sedan back then, and there were only 50 of them produced. This car has collectibility in spades. (Click here to review the private ad currently posted on Cars-On-Line.com.) And it has all the paperwork to verify its history. For car collectors, this car is like a blueprint for “How to buy a collector car.”
As all great collector cars do, this one has a great story behind it, too. It was a wedding present for a newly wed couple in 1963. But by 1964 there was a divorce and this car was hidden away in storage for the next 36 years. Thus the low miles. The seller says there was some mechanical work done to it over the years, but he says only OEM parts were used.
As we said at the top of this article, we originally saw this 1963 Mercury Monterey S-55 with the Marauder engine at the Iola Car Show in 2010. Any time we find old Mercs with the Marauder big block motors we get interested. There is a small sub culture of Mercury collectors who are intensely interested in the Marauder 428 and 390 big block cars. (Here is a link to a feature we did on this car back in 2010.) At the Iola Show it was said to be an unrestored survivor with only 6,400 original miles. They must have only driven it another 800 miles since then. We noted that it had spectacular chrome and trim and the Breezeway power rear window is still admired as a big deal for 1963.
In 2010, we wrote: “But my jaw dropped when I realized what I was looking at … This is a rare 1963 Mercury Monterey S-55 with a Marauder 390 V8 big block motor. There were only 1,203 4-Door Montereys produced with the S-55 option. Fewer than 50 came with the Marauder 390 V8. Among the accolades this trailer queen has received, the curators of the Henry Ford Museum called it the best ‘Survivor-in-Kind.’ They say it has factory air conditioning.”
The term Breezeway was used on Mercury and Lincoln cars to describe the retractable rear window, a Ford-Mercury invention. When Mercury used the slanted back window on the 1957 and 1958 Turnpike Cruisers, it had a radical look. It was also used on the 1958 to 1960 Continental Mark III, IV and V. When opened even slightly, it created powerful air ventilation through the car. The retractable glass back window was power operated by a control switch on the drivers arm rest.
The Breezeway concept back window was reintroduced by Mercury in 1963. In fact, Mercury put on a big marketing campaign touting its many uses. The retracting glass design fit perfectly with the trendy reverse sloped Z-line roof that came on the Park Lane, Montclair and Monterey. It was available in both two-door and four-door styles, pillarless hardtop and post bodies.
Ford figured the use of air conditioning would make the Breezeway superfluous and discontinued it altogether after 1968.