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The Mercury Montego, (presumably derived from Montego Baymarker, Jamaicamarker) was a mid-size vehicle in Ford's Mercury line from 1968-76. The name had first been used in 1967 on the Meteor Montego, the top trim level in the Mercury-derived Canadian Meteor line. The name was resurrected from 2005-07.

1968-1976

The Montego was introduced for 1968 as an upscale version of the intermediate Mercury Comet, which it eventually supplanted after 1969. It was essentially a twin of the Ford Torino. The Cyclone was a high performance variant of the Montego through 1971.

The 1968 models were available in four body styles: four-door sedan, two-door hardtop, station wagon and convertible, in base and fancier MX trim. In 1969, a luxury MX Brougham trim level was added.

For 1970, the convertible was dropped, but new four-door hardtops and woodgrained MX Villager station wagon were added to the model selection. The 1970 and 1971 Montegos (and Cyclones) were notable for their striking forward-thrusting hood and grille centers. Concealed headlamps provided extra distinction for 1970 Broughams and Villagers.

The 1972 Montego (and Torino) was fully restyled. Whereas previous Montegos (except wagons) had been produced on a single wheelbase with unitized construction, the 1972-1976 models were built body-on-frame and used a 114-inch span for coupe models, 118 inches for sedans and wagons. Although Ford called the four-door sedans "pillared hardtops" (they used thin "B" pillars), true four-door hardtops were not offered in this generation. In 1972 and 1973, a sporty fastback coupe called Montego GT (mirroring Ford's Gran Torino SportsRoof) was offered, replacing the Cyclone.

Montego sales through 1973 ranged from fair to decent, but were subsequently depressed by gas mileage concerns, and in-house competition from an all-new 1974 Cougar cast in the personal luxury mold and the more efficient Monarch introduced for 1975. After the original run of Montegos ended in 1976, the Cougar wagon & sedan replaced the Montego wagon & sedan, whereas the coupe was replaced by the Monarch.

Six-cylinder engines were offered in Montegos through 1973. V8 power—up to a massive 460 cubic inches from 1974 forward—was available throughout the entire run.

In the 1968 NASCAR Grand National stock car season, the fastback Fairlane body style proved much slicker than other makes, but the nose of the Mercury Cyclone Fastback was the main reason pointed to it being even slightly faster than its Ford counterpart. Cale Yarborough drove a Wood Brothers Cyclone to victory in the Daytona 500, and the Mercury bodies would remain a major force in NASCAR through 2 generations of bodies. The battle over aerodynamics would prompt Chrysler to respond with specialized "winged wonder" Daytona and Superbird bodies after its own fastback bodies proved disappointing.

2005-2007

Mercury again used the name for their 2005 version of the Ford Five Hundred, which along with the Mercury Milan filled the Mercury Sable's place in the brand's lineup. The Montego had a standard 3.0L Duratec DOHC 24 Valve V6, and 6-speed automatic. A CVT transmission was optional, along with an all-wheel drive system. The Montego was classified as a fullsize/large car. The car started at an MSRP of $25,000. The car was praised by owners and received generally positive, if not glowing reviews. But to an ever greater degree than the Ford Five-Hundred, the Montego experienced lackluster sales through the 2005 and 2006 model years, partly attributed to the name change from the Sable which had established a stronger level of brand equity.

The Montego was built in Chicagomarker, alongside its former cousins, the Ford Five Hundred and Ford Freestyle crossover. This plant formerly built both the Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable. The Montego was marketed in the USmarker and Mexicomarker, however it was not sold in Canadamarker as the Mercury line had been discontinued there.

Discontinuation of the Montego

Along with a minor redesign, the 2008 Five Hundred was renamed the Taurus, and the Montego was renamed the Sable as it was felt that these long-standing nameplates had better consumer recognition. [80206] The new Sable went on sale in Summer 2007 and featured a new 3.5L V6 already available in the smaller Lincoln MKZ.

References



Notes

  1. [1] 68 Mercury Cyclone GT
  2. Edmunds review


External links




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