Breezeway Beauty: 1963 Mercury Monterey S-55 Four-Door Hardtop – $12,000

by | Jun 2024 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Four Door Friday

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A pillar-less four-door hardtop typically has a unique style, especially with all the windows rolled down.  One 1960s classic four-door hardtop that made it even more unique was the 1963-1964 Mercury Monterey.  Borrowing a design element first featured on the ’58-’60 Continentals, Mercury stylists added a reverse-canted roofline option on the fifth-generation full-size Monterey for the 1963 model year. the canted roofline was much more than a styling gimmick; the design feature facilitated the ability for the rear window to be lowered, even when raining, as this picture from 1963 Mercury Monterey Brochure we downloaded from the Ford Heritage Vault:

Pink Frost 1963 Mercury Monterey S-55 Four Door Hardtop For Sale

Remember that in the early 1960s, air conditioning was a very expensive option on automobiles, often adding ten percent to the cost of a typical car. Air conditioning was still optional even on most Cadillacs of this period. Consequently, most buyers outside of the hottest climates rarely added A/C to their new car options list. Mercury’s breezeway option was a great way to get decent ventilation through the car, even when it was raining.

Another trend emerging in the early 1960s was the rise of performance-oriented, full-size, two-door cars. While notable examples include the Pontiac Grand Priz and Chrysler 300, Mercury’s S-55 Marauder was a lesser-known but highly capable alternative.  If you stick to the 1963 Mercury Monterey Brochure and our typical syndicated pricing guides as your only research, you’ll falsely believe that Mercury’s sporty, performance-oriented S-55 version of the full-size Monterey was only available in two-door hardtop and convertible models.  However, by the middle of the model year, Mercury’s marketing team opened up the S-55 bucket seat trim availability to all Monterey models.

Pink Frost Metallic 1963 Mercury Monterey S-55 Four Door Hardtop For Sale, first spotted on Craigslist in Tarzana, California (Los Angeles) in June 2024, is reported to be an 81k-mile survivor-quality California car featuring “mostly original” paint, original interior and engine. Opting for the S-55 trim meant your new 1963 Monterey featured a four-barrel-topped, 300-horsepower 390 cubic inch engine feeding standard dual exhausts, so we’re assuming that’s the engine this example features.

Some readers will likely notice this 1963 Mercury Monterey features what appear to be quarter panel marker lights or reflectors.  Marker lights were not made mandatory in the U.S. until 1967, however many dealers prior to that would install them as an option prior to delivery. You’ll need to confirm that with the seller the details of the units mounted on this Monterey.

Currently offered for $12,000, Classic.com, the analytics and search engine for the collector car market, confirms the ask is well below this guide’s five-year market data for the early 1960s S-55 Mercury Monterey. In addition to very limited sale data for these models, what is available is based on completed sales of two-door hardtops and convertibles:

As a second data point, the  Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s ask falls between this guide’s #3 “Good” estimate of $11,700 and its #2 “Very Good” appraisal of $18,000 before making a five percent adjustment for the optional rear breezeway power window. We note these prices are based on the two-door hardtop S-55 listing, as the four-door hardtop is not shown as an option.

Ford’s Mercury Division produced the fifth generation of its full-size Monterey for the 1961 through 1964 model years.  Available in several trim levels, the sportiest version was the S-55. A badge-engineered equivalent of Ford’s Galaxie 500XL of the period, Mercury developed the Monterey S-55 to compete against other full-size sporty luxury cars such as Pontiac’s Grand Prix and Chryler’s 300. In addition to a standard padded dashboard and deep pile carpeting, the S-55 trim Mercury Monterey featured standard bucket seats and a full-length floor console housing the transmission gear shifter.

Under the hood, the 1963 Monterey was available with a range of V8 “Marauder” engines. Standard equipment on S-55 trim cars was a four-barrel-topped “Marauder Super 390” V8 producing 300 gross horsepower.  Optional were two 406 cubic inch V8s: the four-barrel version produced 385 gross horsepower, while a three two-barrel-topped “Marauder Super 406” churned out 405 gross horsepower.  All S-55 trimmed Montereys came standard with dual exhausts. S-55 buyers had a choice between a Merc-O-Matic slushbox or a four-speed manual, both of which featured floor shifters mounted in a full-length console.

The interior of the 1963 Monterey S-55 was designed with luxury and comfort in mind. The cabin was spacious, with ample legroom and headroom for all passengers. The seats were upholstered in high-quality “leather-feel” vinyl, with bucket seats in the front being a hallmark of the S-55 variant. The Monterey S-55’s dashboard came equipped with a driver-centric layout featuring a large, easy-to-read speedometer and a full array of gauges providing vital information. The bucket seat and center console added to the interior’s sporty feel.

While the 1961 and 1962 Monterey models featured unmemorable rooflines, Mercury stylists dramatically changed them in terms of both form and function. Borrowing styling and function from the 1958-1960 Lincoln Continental, Mercury stylists created a reverse canted rear window featuring an optional powered “Breezeway” rear window.  This unique feature allowed the driver to lower the rear window electrically, providing improved ventilation while maintaining the car’s sleek profile. This innovation added to the car’s comfort and contributed to its distinctive styling. Mercury marketing materials also noted that the canted roofline provided rear passengers maximum sun protection during the hottest day. The canted roofline also meant drivers could keep the rear window open even while driving through rain.  The car came equipped with Mercury’s “Safety-Sentry” speedometer, which featured a red band that could be set to indicate the driver’s chosen speed limit, providing a visual reminder to avoid exceeding it.

The AutomobileHistoryUSA YouTube Channel features this 1963 Mercury Monterey TV commercial showing the virtues of the car’s unique Breezeway back window:

The seller of this 1963 Mercury Monterey four-door hardtop for sale provides two dozen excellent pictures.  However, one picture they did not provide is of the vehicle’s trim tag to confirm the car is a legitimate S-55 four-door hardtop and what powertrain this survivor-quality example features.  This is a very rare survivor-quality California classic car for not a lot of money in today’s world.

If you are serious about buying this Monterey S-55 for sale, you can start the conversation by using the contact information provided by the seller in their Craigslist ad.  When you connect, please mention that you saw their Mercury featured here on GuysWithRides.com. Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“Rare model S 55 with pillar less 4 door, bucket seats and console. Mostly original paint. Original interior. All gauges function correctly. Original engine runs well with no over heating issues. Automatic transmission works well. Good driving car. Well maintained.

Show or go: What would you do with this survivor-quality 1963 Mercury Monterey S-55 for sale? Please comment below and let us know!

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