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The Mercury Montego is a nameplate that was applied to three separate generations of vehicles marketed by the Mercury division of Ford Motor Company. Taking its name from Montego Bay, Jamaica, the nameplate made its first appearance for 1967 in the Canadian market as part of the Mercury-derived Meteor model line. For 1968, the Mercury Montego made its debut across North America, becoming the Mercury counterpart of the Ford Torino intermediate-size model line for two generations.

Mercury Montego
2005 Mercury Montego
Overview
ManufacturerMercury (Ford)
Production1968–1976
2004–2007
AssemblyAtlanta, Georgia, United States
Milpitas, California, United States
Lorain, Ohio, United States
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Oakville, Ontario, Canada

For the 1977 model year, Ford revised the intermediate-size product ranges of both its Ford and Mercury divisions; as part of a mid-cycle update, Mercury discontinued the Montego nameplate and expanded the Mercury Cougar line to include a full range of sedans and wagons (with the Ford Gran Torino becoming the Ford LTD II).

After a 28-year absence, the Mercury Montego nameplate was revived for the 2005 model year, shifting to a full-size sedan. Slotted in size between the Mercury Milan and the Mercury Grand Marquis, the 2005 Montego was the Mercury counterpart of the Ford Five Hundred. For the 2008 model year, the Montego adopted the nameplate of the car it had replaced, becoming the final generation of the Mercury Sable.

Contents

First generation (1968–1971)Edit

For 1968, Mercury introduced the Montego as part of its intermediate Mercury Comet product line, consolidating the Comet Capri and Comet Caliente into a single nameplate; the high-performance Mercury Cyclone became a distinct model line. As the Comet was the Mercury counterpart of the Ford Fairlane, the Montego was introduced alongside the Ford Torino. For 1970, Mercury intermediates adopted the Montego nameplate entirely (as the Comet became the Mercury counterpart of the Ford Maverick).

The first-generation Montego was offered as a four-door sedan, two-door hardtop, four-door station wagon, and two-door convertible. The model line was offered in base and MX trims (replacing the Comet Capri and Comet Caliente, respectively).

For 1970, the Montego underwent a mid-cycle exterior redesign to add a forward-thrusting hood and grille design. The convertible was withdrawn, replaced by a four-door hardtop. For all sedans, a MX Brougham trim was added (with a woodgrained MX Villager station wagon), distinguished by concealed headlamps.


Second generation (1972-1976)Edit

1972–1976
 
1974 Mercury Montego MX Brougham
 
Overview
Production1972–1976
Body and chassis
ClassIntermediate
Body style4-door sedan
4-door station wagon
2-door hardtop coupe
2-door fastback coupe
LayoutFR layout
RelatedFord Torino
Ford Elite
Mercury Cougar
Powertrain
Engine250 cu in (4.1 L) I6
302 cu in (4.9 L) V8
351 cu in (5.8 L) V8
390 cu in (6.4 L) V8
400 cu in (6.6 L) V8
460 cu in (7.5 L) V8[1][2]
Transmission3-speed automatic
3-speed manual
Dimensions
Wheelbase118.0 in (2,997 mm) (sedan, wagon)
114.0 in (2,896 mm) (coupe, convert.)[2]
Length223.1 in (5,667 mm) (sedan, wagon)
215.5 in (5,474 mm) (coupe, convert.)
Chronology
PredecessorMercury Comet
Mercury Cyclone
SuccessorMercury Cougar

For 1972, the second-generation Montego was introduced alongside the Ford Torino (and all-new Ford Gran Torino).[3] In a major design shift, the intermediate Ford/Mercury model lines shifted from unibody to body-on-frame construction; in line with the General Motors A-platform, the Torino/Montego adopted a split-wheelbase chassis (114-inch for two-doors, 118-inch for four-doors and station wagons). In a preview of the full-size lines for 1973, true four-door hardtops were replaced by "pillared hardtops" (frameless door glass remained, supported by a thin B-pillar). Two-door Montegos retained hardtop rooflines, though with much wider C-pillars.

The Cyclone had reverted from a stand-alone model line to an option package for 1972 for the Montego; only 30 1972 Cyclones would be produced, making it among the rarest Mercury vehicles. As a replacement for the Cyclone, Mercury introduced the Montego GT, a counterpart of the Ford Gran Torino SportsRoof for the first time; the Montego GT was offered from 1972 to 1973.

As a standard engine, the Montego was equipped with a 250 cubic-inch inline-six, with five different V8 engines available as options. Starting in 1974, the Mercury Montego was available with a 460 V8, shared with the Mercury Marquis/Colony Park.

The redesign was initially met with success, as 1972 Montego sales increased 136% over 1971;[4] the MX Brougham saw the largest increases in sales, as the two-door increased its sales by 897% while the four-door increased by 1,021%.[4]

Following the 1973 gas crisis, sales were depressed by industry-wide fuel economy concerns. The 1974 redesign of the Mercury Cougar began to produce model overlap (shifting from the Ford Mustang chassis to the Ford Elite chassis, itself a counterpart of the Gran Torino/Montego) along with the success of the Mercury Monarch, as buyers shifted from intermediates and full-size cars towards fuel-efficient compact sedans.

For 1977, in a mid-cycle redesign of the Ford intermediate lines, several nameplates were shifted. Mercury rebranded the Montego as the Cougar, in favor of offering a full range of body styles for the Cougar line (alongside the flagship XR7 personal luxury coupe); Ford rebranded the Torino/Gran Torino as a facelifted LTD II, with the Elite rebranded as a downsized 1977 Thunderbird.

Mercury Montego GT
1974 Mercury Montego MX Villager station wagon

Third generation (2005–2007)Edit

2005–2007 (D333)
 
2005 Mercury Montego Premier
Overview
Also calledFord Five Hundred
ProductionJuly 2004–April 2007
AssemblyChicago, Illinois, United States
Body and chassis
ClassFull-size
Body style4-door sedan
LayoutFront engine, front-wheel drive / four-wheel drive
PlatformFord D3 platform
RelatedFord Taurus (2008-2009)
Ford Freestyle/Ford Taurus X
Volvo S80
Powertrain
Engine3.0 L Duratec 30 V6 203 hp
TransmissionFord/ZF CVT
6-speed Aisin automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase112.9 in (2,868 mm)
Length200.4 in (5,090 mm)
Width74.5 in (1,892 mm)
Height61.5 in (1,562 mm)
Chronology
PredecessorMercury Sable
SuccessorMercury Sable

For the 2005 model year, Mercury revived the Montego nameplate after a 28-year hiatus, entering production on July 12, 2004.[5] As the larger of the two sedans intended to replace the Mercury Sable (the other being the 2006 Mercury Milan), the Montego was introduced as the Mercury version of the Ford Five Hundred. The first all-new full-size Mercury since the redesign of the Grand Marquis in 1991, the introduction of the Montego marked the first time since the 1974 discontinuation of the Monterey that Mercury offered two separate model lines. In place of the three trims of the Five Hundred, the Montego was offered in two: Luxury and Premier.

The Montego was manufactured at the Chicago Assembly facility in Chicago, Illinois, alongside the Ford Five Hundred and the Ford Freestyle, a crossover SUV intended to be the replacement for the Taurus/Sable station wagon.

ChassisEdit

 
2005 Mercury Montego

The 2005 Montego was built on the all-new D3 platform developed along with Volvo. In a major shift from the Panther-platform Grand Marquis, the Montego was configured with front-wheel drive as standard (all-wheel drive was an option).

Front-wheel drive versions were equipped with a 6-speed Aisin AW F21++ automatic while AWD versions were equipped with a ZF CVT. Shared with its Sable predecessor, the Montego was powered exclusively by a 3.0L DOHC Duratec V6 producing 203 hp.

The Montego, Five Hundred and Ford Freestyle were manufactured using a Volvo-derived system called Total Vehicle Geometry (TVG) to ensure fit, finish and craftsmanship — by requiring comprehensive participation by all engineers as well as suppliers and vendors. Heavily using computer-aided design, TVG tracks all design modifications, translating them into the central CAD database which in turn allows each engineer access to current project data. The system improves part tolerance at the body-in-white stage as well as early cabin integrity testing, via air leakage testing. TVG improved fit and finish at the first prototype stage and decreases pilot manufacturing times.[6] For side impact protection the bodywork is braced at the B-pillar via an energy-channeling structural cross-car roof tube and a corresponding undercar energy channelling cross-tube — with the front seats mounted above the lower tube, locating them above a side impact energy path. The system derives from a side-impact safety design marketed by Volvo as its Side Impact Protection System (SIPS).[6][7]

ExteriorEdit

While sharing much of its body styling with the Ford Five Hundred (except for its large waterfall grille), the Montego was distinguished by several features unavailable on its Ford counterpart, including standard-equipment HID headlamps and LED tail lamps. At the time, the Montego utilized the largest array of LED taillights in any Ford Motor Company vehicle worldwide.[6]

Ford chief designer, George Bucher, said "it was a challenge to sculpt a Ford-styled body around a Volvo chassis, and added that designers used what he calls plainer surfaces with taut lines to give the car a modern look without losing its passenger-car proportions."[7]

InteriorEdit

 
Interior

In contrast to both the Grand Marquis and the Sable, the Montego was available solely in a five-passenger configuration; as with the discontinued Marauder, bucket seats with a console-mounted shifter were the exclusive design for the front seats. Slotted in between the Five Hundred SE and SEL, the Montego Luxury featured cloth seats as standard, with leather seats as optional. The Mercury equivalent of a Five Hundred Limited, the Montego Premier featured leather seats as standard, with only all-wheel drive and a sunroof as the primary options.

Featuring 21 cubic feet of trunk space (larger than the Grand Marquis or Lincoln Town Car), the Montego allowed for expansion of cargo space with a 60/40 fold-down rear seat and an optional folding front passenger seat. With the decklid closed, objects up to 10 feet in length could be transported within the car.

A design feature of the Montego includes its overall height to add interior space to the vehicle. To appeal to buyers of both sedans and sport-utility vehicles, Ford raised the viewpoint of the driver. Marketed as Command Seating, the Montego features high H-point seating (the location of the occupants hip-point relative to the road or the vehicle floor); its H-point is closer to the ground than that of a sport utility vehicle, but higher than a typical sedan, easing entry and exit. Also, the distance from the H-point to the floor of the vehicle is reflective of more upright seating. At its press launch, Ford said the Five Hundred's H-point is up to four and a half inches higher than its competitors. The Montego also features theater seating, where second row seats are higher: in the front row, the distance between the H-point and the heel point, where the occupant's foot touches the floor, is 12.7 inches — in the second row the distance between the H-point and the heel point is 15.7 inches.

SalesEdit

Calendar Year American sales
2004[8] 2,974
2005 27,007
2006[9] 22,332
2007 10,755

DiscontinuationEdit

 
2008 Mercury Sable Premier

Following a poor critical reception, the Mercury Montego and Ford Five Hundred fell under sales projections from the 2005 to 2007 model years. While both models had undergone a mid-cycle update for the 2008 model year, with pre-production prototypes unveiled at auto shows, Ford Motor Company CEO Alan Mullaly ordered the two nameplates retired before reaching production; for the 2008 model year, the Mercury Montego was rechristened the Mercury Sable.[1][2]

Featuring a more extensive styling update than the reintroduced Taurus, the 2008 Mercury Sable featured a 263 hp 3.5L V6 (shared with the Taurus and Lincoln MKZ).

Use in competitionEdit

 
A Mercury Montego fielded by Wood Brothers Racing.

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.[10]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ http://www.lov2xlr8.no/brochures/mercury/69merc/bilder/24.jpg 1969 Mercury Brochure
  2. ^ a b http://www.lov2xlr8.no/brochures/lincoln/74lm/bilder/31.jpg 1974 Lincoln-Mercury Div. Brochure
  3. ^ Flory, J. "Kelly", Jr. American Cars 1960-1972 (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Coy, 2004), p.911.
  4. ^ a b Flory, p.914.
  5. ^ Binder, Alan K, ed. (2005). Ward's Automotive Yearbook 2005. Ward's Communications, Inc. p. 112.
  6. ^ a b c "2005 Mercury Montego Introduced". The Auto Channel, February 7, 2004.
  7. ^ a b "2006 Ford Five Hundred". Larry Edsall, Twincities.com.
  8. ^ "Ford Achieves First Car Sales Increase Since 1999". Theautochannel.com. 2004-11-17. Retrieved 2009-04-28.
  9. ^ "Ford Motor Company 2007 sales". January 3, 2008. Archived from the original on February 12, 2009.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-01-10. Retrieved 2009-09-21.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) 68 Mercury Cyclone GT

External linksEdit