Curbside Capsule: 1964 Mercury Monterey Breezeway – A Case of Mistaken Identity?

(first posted 7/5/2017)        It’s not uncommon to see Craigslist ads with improperly identified vehicles, but this one’s sitting in front of one of the mid-sized used car dealers in a town near us, and they oughtta know better…

Because it’s definitely not a Marauder. This Monterey four-door sedan would be one of 20,234 sold in 1964, around 18% of the total number of Mercurys sold that year. Hopefully I correctly identified it, as it’s missing its name badges from the rear fender, but it looks like it has minimal trim on the sides, consistent with the lower Monterey trim level.

Is it possible that the dealer misidentified this as a “Marauder” from the engine valve cover (interwebs photo, not from the subject car)?

I couldn’t confirm whether all Mercury V8s got a Marauder decal or not, though. The 390 (6.4l) Ford FE V8 was made standard as of 1963, so every full-size 1964 Mercury had a “Marauder V8” under the hood and the brochure referred to them all this way. Given this car has the Merc-O-Matic, I’ll hazard a guess that the 266 hp/378 lb.ft. variant is fitted.

Most reviewers agree that this year’s styling was quite effective, and I would be in agreement. Many of the design details seem to have been lifted from or influenced by the 1958-1960 Lincoln Continental, including the breezeway rear window.

The interior prescribes to the “solid wall of chrome” school of instrument panel design. That “Athenian Cord” seat fabric looks to be original and has held up relatively well over the years.

Here’s a closeup of the electrically-retractable rear window that gave this feature its name. Interestingly, Monterey was raised and lowered in the Mercury lineup from 1961-64 almost as often as that rear window might have been. 1961 saw the elimination of the Montclair and Park Lane trims. The new Meteor slotted in at the bottom of the range, which put Monterey in the top slot. Meteor became a intermediate trim in 1962 so a Monterey 6 (with a straight six engine) took over the bottom rung. 1963 saw a mid-year introduction of the fastback roofed Marauder. Monterey was the entry-level trim for 1964, with Park Lane and Montclair being re-introduced alongside the Marauder.

I can just imagine hearing the burble of the big 390 through the open rear window, as I cruise through town with Hang on Sloopy crackling from the radio on a sultry July evening…

Related reading: CC For Sale: 1964 Mercury Montclair – Care For A Breezy Car? PN