Cohort Outtake: Mercury Colony Parks – Seeing Triple?

ColonyParks1photos: William Rubano

When was the last time (if even ever) you saw three white Mercury Colony Parks lined up in a row? This is obviously the business of a Colony Park lover. Always the top-of-the-line, and eventually the only full-size wagon, Colony Park was a mainstay in Mercury’s lineup from 1957 through 1991. In fact, it was Mercury’s longest running model continuously in production. The Grand Marquis and Cougar names were used longer, but Grand Marquis was only its own model for 28 years, and the Cougar was briefly discontinued in 1998.


These Colony Parks are from the final generation, sold from 1979-1991. Riding on the Panther platform, the downsized 1979 Colony Park was 11 inches shorter and over 1,000 pounds lighter than the ’78 models. Despite that, these were still big wagons, capable of seating 8 (or 10, as 4 children could easily fit in the dual facing 3rd row seats).


From the signs in the back window, it appears that the owner uses these for his fence and deck business. Whatever the reason, it appears that these wagons have been put to work throughout their lifetime, unlike some examples I’ve seen that were purchased by elderly collectors.


Personally, I prefer the original, sharper styling. I’ve always loved the front “fins” and their cornering lamps. Combined with the grille, it was a rather menacing, yet elegant look. This one is missing its “Lincoln” hood ornament, and looks incomplete without it.


While the 1988 “aero” facelift was well-executed on the Grand Marquis sedan, I don’t think it did the Colony Park any justice. The wagon bodyshell was just too square at the rear, and received no design modifications to complement the new front clip. I may be sounding nitpicky now, but I also preferred the cursive script used in badging on the pre-1988s to the block font that replaced it.


By this time, sales of the Colony Park and all full-size wagons were falling on a yearly basis, as the market had shifted towards smaller FWD wagons, minivans, and SUVs. The Panthers were set to receive all-new sheet metal in 1992. With the shrinking full-size wagon segment, it was deemed not profitable to include a wagon bodystyle for the 1992 update, and the long-running Colony Park and its Ford Country Squire quietly went the way of full-size wagons from Chrysler, Dodge, Plymouth, and Pontiac.