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2023-06-14 19:16:58

What's the Highest Quality (and Unknown) Car of the 1960s - 1968 Mercury Park Lane Brougham Hardtop

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Hello , this is Adam and welcome back to Rare Classic cars .

Today , we're going to present one of my favorites of the sixties and I'll call it kind of a favorite and particularly unknown vehicle .

Unless you watched Hawaii 50 .

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The original series that ran from 1968 to 1980 .

This is a 1968 Mercury Park Lane , bro .

This was the last year of the Park Lane series , which was the top of the line series for Mercury until 1968 .

And then in 1969 the marquee which was previously just a coup and the top of the line coop actually was the top of the line Mercury , but it just happened to be a two door in 1967 and 68 .

The marquee name took over and then became really the range topping four door as well as two door for Mercury .

And the park lane name was Sunset .

And this is a really special park lane because it's not just a park lane , it's a park lane , Brome .

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So on the park lanes , these cars stickered for about 3600 and $50 which was about on par with a Pontiac Bonneville at the time about the midway between a Buick Wildcat and Electra in terms of base price , midway between a Delta 88 98 that was the regular park lane trim at around $3650 .

This bro trim was a $272 option in 1968 .

And it gave you this really rich sumptuous cytic interior that , you know , the standard Park Lane interior was nice , but this was really just a whole another level of luxury .

It had the same dash and IP and headliner , but you did get really different looking and handsome seats and interior trim and even door panels .

So it was just an overall very different vehicle from the park lane , at least on the inside , on the outside .

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The only signifying mark that you have a bro is this little name plate that's on the sale panel over there .

If you had a regular park lane , you had three hash marks .

And as I said , this is a four door hardtop car , very rare and these cars were not good sellers really at all .

So in 1968 Pontiac sold about 55 56,000 hard top four door hard top bona bills .

And by comparison , Mercury sold about 10,000 of these so really not a sales success .

And I think this was part of , you know , Ford was always vacillating in terms of what its philosophy was with Mercury , is it kind of a tarted up Ford or is it a baby Lincoln ?

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And they went back and forth so many times , I think they just confused customers in this era , they specifically marketed it as a baby Lincoln and they said even , you know , you'd hear phrases like Ride by Lincoln Mercury in the seventies or in this time , you'd say from the makers of the Lincoln Continental and in the Lincoln Continental tradition .

And that wasn't just talk .

These cars are , in my opinion , the highest build quality cars at least domestically of the 1960 S Ford from about 19 , I'd say 65 through the build quality was even good through about the mid 70 s .

Now somebody is going to say , well , you know , the engines lost power and yeah , they did .

I'm talking about the build quality , the fit and the finish .

It really was beyond reproach in this era .

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And I say that as somebody who grew up collecting General Motors cars , I have Chrysler vehicles , I have American Motors Vehicles of all the vehicles , Fords .

From about to me this mid sixties period to about 1974 my favorite and on the 68 s and the late sixties in particular , they had so much going , the build quality is just top shelf .

If you open the door , anybody who's owned one of these Fords , whether it's a coop or a four door , you know that it just closes effortlessly and has a great sound to it when it closes .

And Ford actually even advertised .

I think in some ads in the mid 70 s hardly any seat wobble when you close the door just to signify how rigid the overall structure of the car was .

But this is a special car for a number of reasons .

Like I said , it's a rare car to begin with .

They made 10,000 ish of these four door hard tops .

I don't know how many bros they made .

I would suspect about half of them were bros .

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And it's in a finished in a beautiful color which mercury called black cherry Lincoln called Maroon .

But I think it just makes this car stand out and it is particularly special .

I found this car in Maine , actually a friend located it on Facebook marketplace .

People often ask me where I find my cars and this one again was on Facebook marketplace .

A friend sent it to me and it actually was already sold and I'm not totally proud of this story .

Somebody's going to comment in the section that I'm a terrible human being , but I had wanted one of these for so many years and the friend sent it to me was still listed as for sale in the Facebook marketplace .

I called the seller and he said , well , I've kind of already sold it to a guy .

He hasn't given me a deposit yet , but I've verbally sold it to a guy who wanted to basically take the car , modify it , chop it , lower it and not keep its stock .

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I said , well , to be honest , I really love the car .

I want to keep it just as it is and it needed a few little things that had been sitting and long story short , I convinced him to sell it to me versus the other person because he wanted to see the car preserved in its original condition and the car is just in too good of shape to do something like that to it and modify it .

It would , it would have definitely pained me .

I've been searching for one of these for many years .

I actually previously bought a 68 park lane sedan .

So in the exact same color combination , black cherry , black vinyl roof and then the red cloth interior .

But that's a whole another story on how I acquired that car that I'll save that for when I put these two side by side .

So you can see the differences between the hard top roof line and the sedan roof line .

But in any case , that car kind of tied me over until I found this one and it came from Maine of all places .

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And thankfully , it was apparently , you know , I would say garage , there's no cracks in the dash , the seats and interior are in really , really nice shape .

It drives fantastically .

And as I said , the build quality on these is just amazing for everything from the materials that they use .

The seat fabric just has this wonderfully lush feel that you don't get in seat fabrics anymore .

They feel so plasticky today .

This one just feels rich with lots of foam padding .

It does have faux wood grain on the door panels and the IP , but it looks quite convincing and tasteful and handsome .

And then the overall car , I mean , just looks to my eyes at least like a very handsome masculine car .

The hardest part about these cars , if you're trying to restore them , which now is almost a pipe dream .

You can't find , can't find parts for these cars .

Sure you can find , you know , I would say regular everyday tune up items like spark plugs , spark plug wires starting to get hard to even find brake pads now for these .

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But the hardest part if you were trying to restore one is finding that trim piece that goes along the bottom edge of the car , I'll take the camera off .

You can see it up close .

It actually has like faux wood grain within it .

And if you dent it , you know , that's or it's destroyed , you're not going to find another .

Thankfully , there are some people who can repair them .

This car , the trim was all perfect .

So I didn't have to do anything .

I did have to , when I bought it , I had to replace the rear bumper because whoever did the dual exhaust on , it had the dual exhaust exhausting right out at the back of the bumper in both places .

So right behind the exhaust , it had started to corrode and rot a little bit thankfully , I was able to find a bumper , but other than that , the car , the car was in really , really nice shape .

So let's take the camera off and walk around it a bit .

Now explain why to me , I think this is the best top quality built car of the 1960 s .

All right .

So let's walk around this beauty .

I love the black cherry on this car .

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It just is absolutely stunning .

And the super astute person is going to point out that these are not the correct wheel covers .

These are correct for a pre 67 mercury .

I think they started these in 1965 .

But by 1967 spinners had been outlawed , at least spinners that sat proud of the wheel cover were outlawed in the US .

And so the 68 wheel covers , I got my marquee that has these don't have the spinners , they look the exact same , but these three little pieces are gone .

It does still have the red ring and the mercury head there and everything else is the exact same on them .

Now , I do have a friend who has a 68 Park Lane Brome .

That's black .

It was sold originally in Canada Dealer demonstrator and it has the wire wheel covers and it came with these spinners .

So I wonder these could be correct for Canadian cars in 1968 because that was a U law that outlawed them .

And that's a beautiful car that I've actually had a chance to drive .

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Boy , that would be a great one to own someday , but my friend is having good fun with it .

So Ford in this era was really into these big front and rear overhangs , check out the rear overhang on this car and you know , by today's standards , this would be absolutely comical .

You have designers that really want to push the wheels out to the corners .

You'd have more of a fast back roof profile on the car .

They're really pushing for more dash to axle or the distance here between where the end of the dash is or the cow and the center line of the front wheel .

So this car kind of defies most modern design standards and I don't care .

I love it .

I think it looks very tasteful .

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Have the sail panel , the line almost kind of goes straight down into the wheel and you can see some hints of Pontiac styling , the so called Coke bottle with this kick up here at the rear door toward the sea pillar that Pontiac had .

If you look at my 65 4 door hardtop Bonneville , I think to be honest , Pontiac did the surfacing much better .

This doesn't have that three dimensional Coke bottle shape .

Really the Pontiac as this kick up occurs , it also bulges out in the back .

You can see that this is pretty much flat .

The car does curve in a bit toward the end that back to the rear fender tip just to confuse your eye and make it look like it's actually straight , but it's not .

So inside , we have a towel .

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We have the park lane , bro interior , which was this beautiful biscuit pleaded design here .

This car does not have the optional deluxe seat belts , which would have been color coded has the standard black seat belts , unfortunately , but what are you going to do ?

You can't go down to your local Lincoln Mercury dealer and order one of these and it doesn't have air conditioning , but it does have an option called comfort stream air which you pull this lever out under the dash and then fresh air comes from these upper register vents .

Normally they are just blocked off like they are over here on the passenger side .

If you don't get an air conditioned car , this is a very rare option .

I actually have that option on my 68 m montcalm as well in the cooler weather climates .

Some people bought it , you know , this car like I said was originally from Maine .

So there was no reason to get air conditioning and I do have a Ford Factory original under dash air conditioner if I ever wanted to install it .

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You know , I got plenty of cars with air conditioning and this car is great to drive around since it's a hard top , there's no B pillar .

So some people are confused .

What's the term hardtop mean ?

Versus a sedan , a sedan typically meant you had a car with a pillar , the hard top was devoid of the pillar and you just had this open space .

So I mentioned that bro , little script , there is the only thing that really tells you from the outside that this is something different than the Standard Park Lane .

The Standard Park Lane would have three kind of 45 degree rotated slits and in the back , you know , it's interesting .

A lot of people say , well , this is very Cadillac esque and it is always had these vertical tail lights .

And if you notice Cale had perfectly vertical tail lights for many years , Chrysler , like on the three hundreds had kind of canted tail lights or the Imperials .

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My 72 Imperial has canted tail lights , canted inward Cadillacs were always perfectly vertical look all the way even through the eighties era .

And this copies that now one could argue it's a bit of a copy of the 64 Pontiac Rear where those cars had this half moon vertical tail light for that year only .

So it might be a copy of a Pontiac .

That's a copy of a Cadillac for whatever reason in the sixties .

And even in some cases , you know , a little bit before that .

But in the sixties , in particular , the top of line Oldsmobiles , Buicks Pontiacs really started emulating Cadillacs in those vertical queues and they kept it for a number of years .

You know , the old 98 even by 1986 old 98 has perfectly vertical tail lights on it .

Very Cadillac , even though it's not a Cadillac , as I mentioned , this is the hardest part in the car to find is this .

It's like a faux wood grain wood trim .

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And thankfully , this car I didn't need to find any .

Here's a better look at the spinner wheel .

I think it's a really attractive design , particularly on this vehicle .

I do have the standard wheel cover which came on this car , but I found a set of these on ebay a little while back and you know , it depends on my mood , put these on , put the other ones on if I'm in a different mood and upfront .

Interestingly , the mercury didn't have the hidden headlights , the lower priced LTD got the hidden headlights .

So this has the fixed headlights as opposed to anything with a hidden headlight cover that flips open and that's good enough for me .

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I spent plenty of time trying to chase vacuum leaks and replace head lamp , actuator motors in my Mercies and Lincolns that have the pop-up headlights and this car rides on 100 23 inch wheel base .

The Fords were 119 inch .

The Lincolns were 126 inch .

So it kind of straddles both of them more expensive car .

You get a little bit more length .

Let's take a better look at the inside and the view from the driver's seat .

This is a one year only Ford steering wheel and they had a one year only steering wheel in 1967 as well .

The so called flower pot wheel starting to think about safety in these years .

This has the collapsible steering column .

So the car is starting to get safer .

There is no steering column lock here .

It does have two great anti theft features .

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Although this car did replace the neutral safety switch , often , one anti theft feature for the zero is you have to pull up on the gear shift for the starter to engage , which thankfully this car that's not the case , but you often see people reach around with their left hand , push this up and start the car with the right hand .

The other anti theft feature is that the keyhole is almost , you know , you can't see it from sitting in the driver seat .

It's down here , sometimes not visible when you're actually sitting in the seat .

This does have the so called cyclops speedometer as I like to call it .

That was for two years , 67 68 the 67 8 dashes are pretty similar except the 68 has this much bigger safety padded hood over the driver's compartment area here .

67 it's much more flat .

There's a little bit of a hood with a crest over the speedometer but nothing like this .

And as I said , this car is , it just looks , the door panel looks rich .

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Yes , it is full wood grain , but it's a great looking door panel .

And as you sit behind the wheel here , it really just feels like you're driving something expensive .

All these switches feel have great tactile feel to them .

Nothing in this car feels cheap .

Even beautiful bright work pedal trim .

This is the lever for the comfort stream area .

You can , you have it pulled out , you can push it in and then that will make sure all the air comes out of the lower register when you have the vent on or the heat .

This is the pole for the right air , the cigarette lighter .

If you have power door locks , there would be a toggle here .

Power antenna would be a toggle here as well .

So you can tell the option content of your mercury , 60 mercury products .

But how many rows of buttons you have or things poles here .

This thing under here is for the rear window defogger .

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And strangely , that is the factory placement of it .

That is not a dealer accessory .

Why they did not put it in line with all the other buttons .

I have no idea but I have another car with a rear window defogger and that is its location as well and it's on the window sticker for this car .

So it's just how it came on this side .

If you got cruise control , there will be a pole here with a little lever .

You pull it out to activate the cruise and you'd push the end of the turn signal stock to activate it .

This car is powered by a 390 cubic inch four barrel or four venturi and Ford speak V eight engine .

There was an optional 428 engine and those are quite rare .

I think they were on about 15% of the cars .

I've seen a number of 428 cars for whatever reason , those are often more beat up than the 390 cars and of course , people wanted the engines in those more .

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So there's even fewer left of them , but the 390 is a great V eight .

It's very peppy .

I would say this car is probably a mid to high eight second , 0 to 60 car .

It's not a slouch .

So let's pop the hood and take a look under there again .

Beautiful door closures on these .

Well , gotta give it a little more velocity than that .

Here we go .

Let's take a look .

So they said this is a 3 90 V eight .

This is the wrong sticker .

I unfortunately thought I was able to order the correct sticker which is a full ring .

There was one on ebay that a friend sent me , but the seller never sent it .

Unfortunately .

So if you have one , the full ring sticker goes across the whole air cleaner , let me know I'd love to own it .

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This is a pretty simple car under hood .

No air conditioning compressor which would normally sit here .

There is no big air conditioning box .

If you had air conditioning , these heater hoses actually run into the fender and if you ever have to change one , you basically have to remove the fender .

Not good .

So I don't mind that this car doesn't have air does have this little Wimpy radiator , which is a two row radiator .

I've had it record never have a problem on a hot day even .

I've taken it out on 85 degree days .

It's been idling .

I have a little infrared heat gun .

I shoot at the thermostat housing there never really gets that hot .

So I guess it's adequate and it also doesn't have a de clutching fan on these non ac cars .

It's just the regular bladed fan and that's not a Flex fan .

Let's start it up .

This car runs just perfectly to my famous reach and start .

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Although you gotta be careful on these fords .

I have checked the park clock on this and it does hold .

So that's good .

I did add factory due exhaust in this .

I did say I had to redo the exhaust boy , does that sound great .

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You know , I enjoy electric cars , but the sound of these engines is just , just wonderful and the engine up front is so quiet , so smooth , not a tick or knock in this engine .

Such a pleasure .

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This car does also have intermittent windshield wipers and this is the system here operates off a vacuum and this car , it actually does work .

This is the subject of that famous movie that came out a few years ago .

But this car does have the intermittent wipers overall .

Just a wonderful , wonderful , high quality machine with , as I said , great build quality , great , looks great ride .

The only thing that really lets these cars down is the stock carburetor , the 390 or Ford Edsel V eight .

It was the Ford Edsel V eight and then there was the ML the Mercury Edel Lincoln V eight .

Really lets these down is that auto 8 , 4300 carburetor and they're notorious for flooding .

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And if they flooded , then of course you get gas and the oil and you get gas and the oil , then it loses its lubricating properties and the engine wears out prematurely .

I don't think people knew that .

So some of these you'll find with low miles and they're oil burners .

And I think that's the reason others , this car only has about 54,000 miles on it .

I mean , this car doesn't burn a drop of oil , doesn't smoke you heard the engine doesn't knock tick anything .

It just runs perfectly .

Such a delight to drive and another little tidbit .

Some of these have this kind of cardboard I package shelf .

Some of them have my 68 Park Lane sedan has one that's plastic and they both came that way from the factory and both of those cars have rear window defoggers .

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Not quite sure what the differentiator was on that , in any case , I hope you enjoyed this look and a beautiful 68 Park Lane , Brome .

Thanks again for watching .

Until next time .

Take care .

Thanks again for watching .

Be sure to like , comment and subscribe as well as Hit Super .

Thanks if you enjoyed the video until next time , check out the video , thumbnails at bottom left and right for some suggestions for you .

Thanks again and take care .


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