The Mercury Monterey began production in 1950 and ran for twenty-four years before being replaced by the Marquis in 1974. Throughout its production the Monterey was available in a wide range of body styles from the smaller 2-door coupe to the much larger 4-door station wagon. Earlier generations from the 1950s had the classic styling, which accentuated the look of the 2-door soft top convertible. The Monterey was also known as the Mercury Meteor for much of its existence.
Beneath the hood of the sixth generation Monterey was a 6.6 liter Cleveland V8 engine that produced close to 290 horsepower, much more powerful than the first generation 4.2 liter V8 engines providing only 186 horses to the large Monterey frame. This large frame housed an interior well-equipped for a large family growing up in the early 1950s to mid 1970s. Assembly was done in St. Louis, Missouri for the duration of the Monterey's production.
For six generations, the Mercury Monterey evolved as much as the cars that surrounded it. The classic styling of the 50s evolved into a much longer, boxier style in the 70s. The one thing that remained true throughout its production cycle was the optional body styles. Even in the 1970s, the Monterey was available as a 2-door coupe, 2-door convertible, 4-door sedan and 4-door station wagon. Only the final sixth generation provided one choice of engines, while previous generations offered at least two.
As the Monterey pushed into the 1970s, it was redesigned with a longer frame and flat front and rear fascia, but it retained its two circular headlamps. Newer models featured an egg-crate grill, as well as new power steering and front disc brakes. Before 1973 the Monterey offered frameless windows, flipper door handles and seatbelt warning buzzers on most models. Once the Monterey was discontinued, the Meteor name carried over to the Mercury Marquis nameplate through 1981.
Mercury began manufacturing a new breed of minivans in 2004 under the same Monterey name. The base model and upscale version are both manufactured in Canada, and both were given rave reviews by car enthusiasts everywhere. Edmunds gave the 2004 Monterey positive points for its sharp design and safety features. Motor Trend commented that the 2005 model was a comfortable cruiser" that can "drag along a good-sized trailer". Edmunds also reported that the 2007 model was safe and stylish.
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