Why do I struggle so much with these mid-70s Fords and Mercurys? Is it their overwrought but underachieving styling? Their sodden handling? Their limp engines?
No. I could live with all of that, in the right package. It’s because I have an obsession with packaging and space efficiency, as well as just efficiency period. I don’t know if there’s an objective metric that we could create to measure it against, but these have to be about the most space-squandering family wagons ever.
Admittedly, I have Ramblers on the brain. But for a good reason, as this composite photo shows. These three are all to scale. The ’56 and ’63 Rambler wagons are both 191″ long; the Montego 215.4″ long. Check out where that over two feet of additional length went: All in its absurdly long hood. And the Montego weighs almost a full thousand pounds more.
You think the Montego has any more real usable room inside? Maybe a couple of inches of hip room; maybe. But since it’s lower too, I suspect I’d feel a lot more comfortable behind the wheel or in the back seat of either of the Ramblers.
I’m sorry, but I find this obscene. But that’s just me. You know what they say about the first years of one’s life being the most formative ones. I must have missed out on something, while Americans happily drove these absurd caricatures of family station wagons around, getting some 12 or 14 mpg. Never mind; let’s turn on the nostalgia for the good old days…
Sorry for being such a killbuzz. Please don’t let me stop you from your veneration. Far be it from me…
The best shot, of what’s really important. Now if it only actually housed something worth all that space and pretension.