Curbside Classic: 1963 Mercury Colony Park – What’s In A Name?

Why did this Mercury have to present itself?  And, to make matters worse, how was it able to present such an effective and persuasive argument for being granted the time commitment to allow it a moment of internet glory?  It somehow made a formidable enough case for itself that its talents of persuasion are likely the envy of both trial lawyers and Don Juan’s everywhere.

Despite my initial reluctance and apprehension about devoting time to this wagon being like that of a curious teetotaler at a keg party, by the indescribable grace of automotive provenance my trepidation has been whipped away quicker than an eager groom can get his new bride disrobed in an overpriced hotel room.  Apparently there are more than seven wonders in this world.

Had this Mercury been a 1964 model, or even better the disrespected 1962, I would have been throughly unabashed and vigorously penning virtual reams of paper cooing the never-ending attributes this Colony Park faster than a late model Mercury depreciates.  But, no, it’s a 1963, a model of Mercury in which this will be the third example I’ve written up.  The luck of automotive findings can be so ruthlessly cruel.

Thinking about it in great depth, it’s that model name which has lured me in like a catfish to stink bait.  Colony Park.  It sounds so majestic, so regal, so grandiose.  Obviously, the third time is the charm – although if I find yet another body style of ’63 Mercury all bets are off and we’ll be subjected to Round Four.

Upon deep consideration and introspection, maybe writing up this Mercury indicates I am glutton for punishment.  Or perhaps due to my self-appointment as the CC Chief Mercury Fanboi & Apologist™ I feel compelled to bring Mercury some long overdue glory and accolades, something it rarely enjoyed during its lifetime.  Or maybe my chronic case of Mercury poisoning, along with my CC Contract, requires me to write about a Mercury with some regularity.  It wouldn’t be fair to make anyone suffer from withdrawal symptoms.

But it’s really just the name “Colony Park” which has me fired up like a supercharged Ford FE engine running on 103 octane racing fuel.

This time.

Ford possessed and maintained a certain charisma and slyness in naming their wagons as Colony Park sounds so much more enticing than Pontiac Safari, Olds Custom Cruiser, or Buick Estate.  One gives a mental picture of steaming piles of rhinoceros crap, another conjures up images of the constabulary, while the third makes it sound like the reading of a deceased person’s last will and testament.  Nothing tempting there.

Colony Park.

It sounds so 1770s American, providing a whiff of the pride of the colonies right before the bloody ruckus that resulted with our evicting the British from these shores (well, at least until 1812).  But let’s come back to this as we need to dive deeper into Ford’s wagon naming schemes as it’ll only serve to better amplify the sweet tongue candy and auditory ecstasy that is “Colony Park”.

At the low end of the Ford Food Chain, one could find the Country Sedan.

It’s a decent name but far from exciting.  One could speculate such wagons could have been named Rural Saloon, but in America the word “saloon” has a more pervasive association.

Watching a 1960s episode of Gunsmoke or any number of countless western movies will give testimony about the word “saloon” meaning different things in different locales.

Speaking of Gunsmoke, what exactly did Miss Kitty do for a living?

An alternative would have been to take a more populated approach.  Urban Sedan?  No, there’s nothing to quicken the pulse with that name.

Going a step upwards, Ford’s Country Squire paints an intriguing mental picture of portly gentlemen of noble lineage traipsing around the English countryside.  The name makes a certain degree of sense given Henry Ford’s father William was born in neighboring Ireland’s County Cork.  With all the knightly association of the Norman invasion of England and Ireland, it makes sense.

Plus, Country Squire rolls off the tongue easier, and sounds more genteel, than does, say, Knights Templar.

Forget the scurrilous rumor about Ford’s mother being of Belgian descent.  While true, that’s just a distraction.  Upon her parents demise she was adopted by a family named O’Herns; that name doesn’t sound overly Belgian, does it?

Mercury itself had some other terrific wagon names.

Let’s start with “Voyager”.  Unfortunately many of us, primarily those born in the most awesome 1970s and afterwards, automatically associate that name with a Plymouth minivan.

For those who possess more life experience, there is yet another Voyager of near unicorn status – it was a full-size van with a Plymouth nameplate.

Another alluring Mercury wagon name was the ever so plain yet descriptive “Commuter”.

While many might scoff at the notion one would even consider commuting to work in one of these full-size big-boned buxom beauties, be careful.  These only weighed around 4,000 pounds, about the same or less than a new Taurus.  Naming this wagon “Commuter” is proof of truth in advertising.

If one peruses elsewhere in the 1963 Mercury line, they will find a midsize wagon possessing a name with a certain auditory allure – Country Cruiser.  Yes, it sounds a little Oldsmobile-y but wouldn’t “Country Cruiser” make a fabulous trim designation on a new F-150 with a suspension lift and running some big, honking knobby tires while equipped with everything except a butt-wiper?  That’s a sales hit waiting to happen.

So this excursion (another fantastic Ford name) of taking an expedition into the history of Ford wagon names brings us back to Colony Park.  We at CC are nothing if not explorers of automotive history.  Once the automotive bug has hit, you can’t escape.

Can’t you see the monied neighborhood?  Tall, two story brick and stone houses on large plots that aren’t too close but not overly separated.  Circular driveways in the front, with each house having immaculate landscaping and large, wooden front doors.  Setbacks from the street of around 100 feet.  A large, stately red and white wagon with an intoxicating burble from its 390 V8 slowly eases into the driveway, bringing cultured ladies over for a game of bridge or well dressed gentlemen over for scotch and cigars.  A butler is waiting at the curb to open doors for the passengers.

The name of the settlement has a stately air about it – Colony Park.  A high dollar subdivision with a colonial theme.  Everything is restrained and in good taste.

That’s Colony Park.  This upscale demeanor could only be captured by a Mercury, the Ford with added panache or the Lincoln for the non-showy, old money set.  Colony Park says it all.

So what’s in a name?  Everything.


Found at Country Classic Cars in Staunton, Illinois, during the 2018 CC Meet up

Related reading:

1962 Mercury by JPC

1963 Marauder S-55 convertible by JS

1963 Marauder two-door hardtop by JS

1963 Monterey Breezeway by DougD