Recently in the 1960 Lincoln CC, there was some talk in the comments about how wild the 1957 Mercury was, especially the Turnpike Cruiser. Well guys, unfortunately there aren’t any daily driver ’57 Mercs around here (maybe Laurence Jones could find one in his neck of the woods?) but here’s the next best thing – mini Turnpike Cruisers!
The 1957 Mercury was totally different from the 1957 Fords, it was one of those rare Mercurys with its own identity. And what an identity! Space race gadgetry and chrome doodads were everywhere, but the top of the line Turnpike Cruiser really took the cake. It is perhaps the only production car with hood and trunk ornaments. It also featured the “Breezeway” retractable backlight one year before Lincoln, and a squared off steering wheel that was several years ahead of Chrysler’s rectangular tillers.
The 1/64 scale hardtop is a new release by M2 Machines, and it has great detail for its size. It also has opening doors and hood, a rarity in this scale. I don’t want to shill for any particular retailers, but these are not too hard to find. The red and white is the first version, but a blue and white one is due to be released in the near future. I’ll probably have to get one of those, too.
The convertible was released in about 2001 by Ertl, they also made a ’57 Chevy and ’57 Chrysler 300. They were available in a 3-car set or individually. They also made an Indy 500 pace car version of the Mercury, though I never got one of those. There are no opening features, but it has a lot of detail and nice paint. Mine came with its own plastic display case, but I took it out long enough to get these pics.
As for the 1957 Mercurys, they didn’t do too bad, though sales were down by about 42,000 from 1956. The Turnpike Cruiser was a flop, with less than 17,000 built out of 286,000 1957 Mercurys. The convertible was by far the rarest, with only 1,265 made. They are very collectible today however, with their multiple gadgets, gold anodized trim in the rear coves, and air ducts built into the windshield, complete with fake antennas sticking out.
As with so many memorable Fifties cars, many are available in diecast form. There are many more Turnpike Cruisers available than these two, of that I’m sure!