Cohort Pic(k) Of The Day: 1963 Mercury Monterey — Looking For A Proper Tune

Photo from the Cohort by tbm3fan.

I occasionally think of music and cars, as in: What type of music would work with this car? And if one must think about it, many factors come into play to figure out a car’s proper soundtrack. After all, cars are a product of their time and each carries a certain essence. Plus, location plays a factor too.

The last is not an element that often comes into mind, but a defining one. In the tropics, where I currently live, it takes some getting used to listening to gloomy Pink Floyd records while driving. All that sun and brightness just work against lyrics like: “I have grown older, and you have grown colder, and nothing is very much fun anymore.”

We know that today’s ’63 Monterey came out of the assembly lines just as Rock’n Roll was becoming a worldwide phenomenon. But I think such an association would be wrong for an early ’60s Mercury as these cars were the furthest thing from a Rock’n Roll type of transport. The decade is now forever associated with restless youths, fun times and Rock bands. But the ones purchasing large sedans back then were parents, and that was a Mantovani crowd.

So, while I don’t have this trouble with other cars, I struggle to think what mental soundtrack to play with a ’63 Monterey. My parents listened to a good deal of Herb Alpert in the ’60s, but even Herb was too cool for these Mercurys. The one tune that keeps popping into my head right now is Moonriver, in the voice of Andy Williams. So that might do for now.

The idea needs some work though, since Audrey’s character wouldn’t look at me twice if I arrived to pick her up in a Monterey. On the other hand, I could see myself driving to the cinema in a Mercury on my way to watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s. A long way from seducing Audrey, but is not like that would ever be close to happening.

Talking about finding the right soundtrack, it’s well known that by the early ’60s, Mercury’s erratic Ford manager was trying to figure out what tunes to play with the meant-as-upscale division. The brand’s cars had gone from the early Zephyr’s cool Swing lines to a brassy and unsuccessful BeBop late ’50s era. Troubled, the early ’60s Mercury became just one more crooner, lost against the Mathis and Sinatras of the period. However, in the case of the Monterey, the model at least got some congas a Breezeway roof in order to stand out. A nice feature that shot up sales (All told at CC before).

Of course, this Monterey has seen some rough times, and it is hard to imagine listening to anything while driving it. I mean, does it even have a working radio? If at the wheel of this one, I would probably end up humming Moonriver rather than listening to it. Which is just as fine.

You probably have a different idea of what tune to play with this old Monterey, and honestly, any suggestion is welcome. As I said, location and era play a factor in such decisions, and your suggestions may vary wildly. My wife loves listening to Salsa records in my ’96 Golf and her music is now part of the car’s expanding soundtrack. Not the kind of music one would associate with the model, but our Golfs are of Mexican origin and my tropical surroundings work better with her tunes too. So, how does one say Fahrvergnügen in Spanish?


Related CC reading:

Curbside Classic: 1963 Mercury Monterey Breezeway – The Cure for the Heatwave

CC Outtake: 1963 Mercury Monterey – Red Is The Color Of Love’s Unheeded Call