1966 Mercury: The Shell Game

 The puny blinkers in the fender blades give it away.

The puny blinkers in the fender blades give it away.

This is the 1966 Mercury ______ 4-door hardtop. We know this because the 1966 Mercury full size catalog tells us so. It tells us there are three discrete model ranges: Monterey, Montclair, Park Lane. Which model is it? The all kind of look the same, like Toyotas. Maybe it’s a question of big, bigger, biggest. Let’s look at the size. That will tell us.

 Or not.

Or not.

Looks like Ford’s better idea to fill out the Mercury line was to give one car five model names across 7 body styles. That’s one way, I guess, but geez, even 1980s Chrysler found a way to disguise the K-car and 1960s Dart —> Aspen —> Diplomat chassis that all their cars (and minivans) used.

Maybe there is a visual clue. The grill? Nope. They all look like this (NTTAWWT)

 One grill to rule them all.

One grill to rule them all.

The wheel covers? Nope.

 Standard covers across the range. Not much help.

Standard covers across the range. Not much help.

The taillights? Nope.

 Usually, there would be a badge on the rear fender to clear up the mystery.

Usually, there would be a badge on the rear fender to clear up the mystery.

But, hey! I spy a clue! The trunk lid has a chromed accent panel. Mercury showed it on the Park Lane Breezway sedan and 2-door hardtop. It’s not shown on the Montclair or the Monterey. There is also a front fender badge and a deleted chrome strip under the doors. Those are both exclusive to the Park Lane.

 Montclair and Monterey don’t need no stinking badges.

Montclair and Monterey don’t need no stinking badges.

Still, there’s one more thing. All Park Lane versions have elaborate trim on/by the lower character line won the side. This one is clean. So, do we think this is a Park Lane minus side trim, or a lesser model that’s been bedazzled with some PL bits? Throw us a comment with your guess.