By on February 27, 2010

[Eugene culture alert] It’s sunny and warm outside (and Saturday) , so I’m going to have to skip a long-winded essay on the joys and artistry of this beautiful 1970 Montego. Instead, you can just enjoy this color-coordinated Montego montage, and hopefully fill in some of the blanks. Let’s just say its not every day one finds one of these, especially in the front yard of an artist’s house. It’s his contribution to the colorful streetscape of Eugene, and now you can enjoy it too. I sure did. perhaps I should start a monthly Eugene art-car walk.

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56 Comments on “Curbside Classic Outtake: 1970 Mercury Montego...”


  • avatar
    thornmark

    CRAPtastic!!!

    Mercury should have been euthanized after the original Cougar’s demise.

  • avatar
    fincar1

    In that yard, I’m not surprised that the car has its own ball.

  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    The photos do an excellent job of showing off the “Knudsen nose” that was endemic to Ford products of the era.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr Lemming

      And oh what a nose it was. Cyclone’s treatment was a bit more interesting, with the weird gunsight center and the road lights stolen from the T-Bird.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Actually, I think those lights originated as the front valance-mounted turn-signals on the 1969 Cougar … then were recycled in the grille of the Cyclone and Maverick.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr Lemming

      Robert.Walter: I’m going by pictures rather than Actual Experience ™, but the 1970 Cyclone and T-Bird both appear to have upright, vertical road lamps that are rectangular. The 1969-70 Cougar, and both the Comet and Maverick Grabber from 1971 onward have turn signals that are slightly wider and angled forward at the top of the horizontal lens.

  • avatar
    educatordan

    Well I don’t think Mercury should have revived the Sable name after reviving Montego. The 2005-2007 model was certainly good enough for the Montego name, hell, likely it was 100 times better than that rusting piece of yard art was when it was new.

    • 0 avatar
      rocketrodeo

      My favorite recent Montegos were a small fleet of test mules for the Ecoboost engines that prowled metro Detroit in 2008–proto-SHOs. Black, with spigot exhausts and quick-drain fuel cells, and blacked-out low-profile wheels and tires. One had its badge modified by the removal of a few letters to read “MO GO.”

    • 0 avatar
      educatordan

      Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww SWEET! I love test mules. I would love to see in person some of the Caprice Classic Wagons that Chevy built with Corvette drive trains to test the original LT1s durability.

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    The ’70 Ford family of products had a nice feature … the front and rear side-marker lamps both blinked out-of-phase along with the front and rear turn signals.

  • avatar
    h82w8

    If on the option sheet you checked off the 429 CJ engine, 4 speed tranny and either the 3.91 or 4.30 ratio rear end, this automatically got you the Super Cobra Jet version of the 429 CJ engine: Solid lifter cam, 780cfm Holley 4 bbl carb, engine oil cooler, forged crank and con rods, and the same 4-bolt main bottom end as the fabled Boss 429. You also got yourself one of the baddest, quickest muscle cars of the era.

  • avatar
    Moparman426W

    Looks like they don’t have much in the way of housing codes in that neighborhood.

    • 0 avatar
      majo8

      Thank goodness for that.

      BTW………great looking car, especially the Cyclone Spoiler.

    • 0 avatar
      zenith

      Another “Amen To That”, re the housing codes. Those things started out as minimum safety standards for plumbing, electrical,structure, and sanitation that snooty busybodies with totalitarian tendencies have perverted to ruin individuality in one’s own home environment.

      And yeah, LOVE the late 60s-early 70s Fords!

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    I had one, dark green exterior, dark green vinyl immersion interior, with a 302. I bought it with bald tires, and while it was in the shop for a rebuild we had a very heavy snow. It really did well on the ice coverend streets even with its crappy tires. Later on I noticed the vehicle weight was 3900lbs empty. That might have been a factor; since my dad’s ’71 Fury weighed 4200. Mid sized car indeed.

    It wasn’t a bad car really, it was fairly reliable, got decent gas mileage for that day and rode very comfortably. It was just not the prettiest car you’d ever see, everything was okay except that odd front end.

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    I call shenanigans on Niedermeyer. It is neither sunny nor warm in western Oregon from October until July.

    • 0 avatar
      revjasper

      Define warm? It was 60 degrees in the antique Fahrenheit scale, with full sun for about eight hours today. The streets were even dry. The convertible was even uncovered. The wife bought gardening supplies.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    I sort of like that Mercury nose; it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.

  • avatar
    folkdancer

    Some people haven’t watched Oprah and haven’t learned how to deal with clutter.

    I am referring, of course, to the designers at Ford during the 1970s.

    Thank you for the pictures and I would love to take such a walking tour.

  • avatar
    rocketrodeo

    Nice photos. I like how not only the house trim matches the car, but also the ball matches the tree in the Oregon tag.

  • avatar
    gasser

    We had one of the early Montegos, 1968. I am forever grateful that it carried the 5 year, 50,000 mile warranty. That got me 3 transmissions, and a valve job (the valves stems “mushroomed” early on, leading to an incessant tapping.) Whatever doubts I had about Ford quality that were raised with the ’68 Montego, were answered by the ’71, which was even worse. Started my family on the path to Honda, where we still are with multiple Accords and minimal car hassles.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    I’m still in love with those late 60′s FoMoCo products. Even though I was seven years old when these were released, I would love to have one of these, even one of the more mundane Montego MX versions. There’s something about the Bunkie noses… The closest I ever came was a 390 & 4 spd equipped Torino Coupe (not the fastback). I have never crossed paths with one of these Mercs while they were for sale.

  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    The more I look at this car, the more I see that the Bunkie Knudsen/GM-styling influence goes beyond the nose.

    The entire exterior’s styling is a fairly blatant copy of the 1968-72 GM A-bodies, in particular the Olds version. I’m surprised that Ford didn’t offer a wagon with heavily tinted windows in the roof…

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      I had a first year ’68 Montego, and the coupes were not much different from the ’70′s. It’s hard to imagine it’s a blatant copy when the GM “original” came out the same year. Do you think Bunkie had spies to supply Ford with upcoming styling?

      Gasser, I had the same year, with a 302 (2bbl) and the same C4 transmission used for the entire Montego run. The C4 has a rep for durability, and never gave me any trouble. Maybe I bought a car built on Wednesday, and you got a Monday morning model?

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Given that:
      - engines were made in Windsor(ON) or Cleveland(OH),
      - valves in Northville(MI),
      - transmissions came out of Livonia(MI) or Batavia(OH),
      - axles came from Sterling Heights(MI),
      - steering from Indianapolis(IN),
      - electrics from Ypsilanti(MI) or Sandusky(OH),
      - fuel senders from Bedford(PA),
      - climate control from Connersville(IN) or Northville(MI),
      - fuel tank from Dearborn,
      - Carlite glass from (I forget OK, KY or ??),
      - interior trim from Utica or Saline(MI),
      - radios from Philco,
      - headlamps and battery from Auto-lite,
      - stampings from various locations,
      and parts from various suppliers in various locations…
      and all these things sat in stock at their production locations,
      then made their way to the assy plant,
      where they sat some more until finding their way to the trim, chassis and final lines and waited for bodies made on one day,
      painted on another,
      and possibly assembled on a third day…

      … I think it is pretty safe to say that the Monday/Friday car is somewhat mythical…

    • 0 avatar
      BuzzDog

      While it’s correct that the ’68′s basic body was the same as the ’70, there appears to be a change in the rear of the coupe’s roofline that occurred in 1970. That change, along with the front fascia and smoother conturing on the sides, gives the ’70 Montego a strong resemblance to the Oldsmobile Cutlass of the same era.

      May be a coincidence, but if nothing else Bunkie’s arrival two years prior makes for a good story…

  • avatar
    rudiger

    I think Mercury had the ‘W’ shape nose before Knudson showed up. He just exaggerated it.

    The regular Montego actually looks better than the ‘gunsight’ in the beak of the Cyclone.

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    For those enamoured of the NASCAR/CobraJet version of that car, I know where’s there is one for sale.

    It’s been for sale for quite a while (owner has delusions about what an unrestored 70s product is worth….).

    But if that was your childhood dream ride, have I got a resto project for you…

  • avatar
    threeer

    We owned the final year 1976 Montego…blue, with blue vinyl interior. Bought in Germany (imagine THAT thing on the small roads…it completely dwarfed my father’s Opels), shipped to the USA, back to Germany, then back to the USA. We owned it for 13 years, and it was dead-reliable. Rust finally put the car out to pasture (though the junkyard that took it felt it was “solid” enough to sell it again and drive it for a while longer)…but it was all still mechanically sound. For all the talk of the crap that was coming out of American carmakers at the time, ours soldiered on for well over a decade without fault.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Is that the same car that did the 5-lb saussage in a 3-lb casing routine in a parking garage leaving some of its paint on the garage wall?

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @threeer: Holy cow, that thing must have felt like a Sturmpanzer on those roads! My father (who immigrated here from Germany) had a love affair with those Mercurys, he had a ’68, a ’72 and a ’74 similar to the ’76 you write about. I remember when I got to Germany myself, and particularly being raised in America, how tiny the roads seemed.

      And, I also remember how incapable some of the American cars of the ’70′s were on the Autobahn. A cousin had a then new ’79 Camaro Z28 (he got a good deal from a serviceman), but with the 3 speed TH350 trans at Autobahn speed, the thing was totally wound out. Even though it was smaller than my father’s Mercurys, it was still HUGE on those roads over there. I came back with a great deal of respect for the German cars of the time.

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      @robert…nah…that was my best friend’s dark green (sort of) metallic Ford Galaxie that gave up some of it’s paint to a Paris parking garage wall! After our paint completely oxidized (about five years into ownership), we found a body shop in Mannheim that did a stunning job of repainting the old Montego a beautiful, deep metallic blue.

      @geo…all I know is that my mother and father successfully navigated some tight spaces with that tank over the years we spent in Germany. Later in life, my father went so far as to buy a (then new) 1996 Dodge Ram 4X4 while there shortly before his death. That bright red monster caused quite a stir sitting alongside the curb every evening in the little town they lived in. I never got to experience driving the Montego or Ram in Germany (the biggest car I ever commanded on the Autobahn was a new Opel Vectra GTS)…but I did drive the Montego for a year or so in Tennessee before my parents returned to Germany. That Montego wasn’t fancy (vinyl interior…crank windows)…but it always ran for us…and with the 351(W) under the hood, I could at least lay a decent strip of rubber down…oh, and that back seat…see, there was this dead end road that my girlfriend and I would go to…oh, never mind…:)

  • avatar
    RangerM

    Do people ever see the author taking pictures of their cars, and confront him, either verbally or physically?

    • 0 avatar
      CC_Stadt

      Eugene is a pretty non-confrontational place…

      In my case, it was Paul who “confronted” me in an auto parts parking lot. The “confrontation” in this case consisted in his polite request for a few pictures. I didn’t mind. In fact, I knew of TTAC before he came up to me, so it was a funny crossover from the virtual to the real.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      @cc: Are you the little old lady with the Opel Manta?

    • 0 avatar
      CC_Stadt

      @Robert.Walter:

      I wish.

      No, nothing quite so rare:

      http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/curbside-classics-1966-mercedes-benz-250-s/

    • 0 avatar
      Paul Niedermeyer

      In this case, he practically invited me in for a beer. I’ve gotten to know all sorts of terrific folks; people who have old cars generally appreciate the attentions of someone who is interested in them.
      The guy with the ’50 Caddy Coupe is my buddy now.

    • 0 avatar
      RangerM

      The reason for the question was because when I looked at the pics I began to wonder if the homeowner would think Paul was “casing the joint”.

      Around here (Raleigh, NC) the guys with old cars usually meet on a specific weekend (I think usually the last Saturday in a month) at the Grill ’57, or other similarly themed restaurant parking lot, for an impromptu car show and swap meet. The restaurant managers have to love it for the business it brings.

  • avatar
    pudelpointer

    It reminds me of my 71′ Mercury Marquis,429,5000lbs. of unabashed luxury and raw power. Those were the days.

  • avatar
    scottcom36

    A friend had a red ’70 MX: a beautiful Florida car with a 351 Cleveland and automatic on the floor. Miles of rubber on demand and 20 mpg highway, but probably not both at the same time.

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    @Robert Walker,

    Solid with matching numbers?

    Owner claimed it was original, and I don’t do enough domestic stuff to know how to decode the VIN and recognize all the minutae.

    I do have friends who know Fords well and if you are interested I can get it looked at. (These guys know inspection marks, VIN codes, and whose uncle turned the wrench that shift. I don’t.)

    As to solid, it looked rather solid, no big rust through that I remember. (In fact, i don’t remember any rust through, but I don’t remeber any. But I wasn’t looking to purchase.)

    Interior is shot but not missing/trashed.
    Surface rust plentiful, needs full strip/paint.

    IIRC, a decent basis for a resto if you dig the vehicle.

  • avatar
    newcarscostalot

    AH HA! So YOU stole our sunshine! I was wondering who had it.

  • avatar
    john.fritz

    Boy, that thing is whooped.

  • avatar
    pacificpom2

    still lives in a muted format
    http://images.google.com.au/imgres?imgurl=http://www.aus-ford-uk.co.uk/assets/images/NicsXA1-5.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.aus-ford-uk.co.uk/html/xa_falcon.html&usg=__eFLpkcFgMeDoKg22bTPEJXBqDxo=&h=450&w=600&sz=73&hl=en&start=1&itbs=1&tbnid=RFazywHvQ9C0oM:&tbnh=101&tbnw=135&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dxa%2Bfalcon%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26gbv%3D2%26tbs%3Disch:1

  • avatar
    Moparman426W

    Actually the 68-9 montegos were quite different from the 70-71′s, exteriorwise. The wheel arches on the 68-9 were shaped very similar to those on the mark111. And the tail lights were vertical.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      From 1966 until 1972, Ford’s intermediates were on a two-year body cycle. The 1970 models were new enough that Motor Trend named the 1970 Torino as its “Car of the Year.”

      The 1970 Montego did not share its body with the 1968-69 models. While Motor Trend apparently liked the new Ford intermediates for 1970, Car and Driver was less enamored with them them, noting their increased size over the 1968-69 generation.

      The 1970-71 Torino and Montego were the last unibody Ford intermediates. For 1972, Ford intermediates switched to body-on-frame construction to better compete with the GM intermediates in the smoothness and silence departments.

      The 1972 body shell lasted through the 1976 model year, after which it was restyled and renamed “LTD II.” At Mercury, the Montego disappeared and all intermediates were renamed “Cougar,” which meant that it was possible to buy a Cougar station wagon for a few years! The old personal luxury Cougar was rechristened the “Cougar XR-7.”

  • avatar
    NickR

    What style wheels are those? They seem to be standard equipment on neglected cars from that era.

    • 0 avatar
      educatordan

      They look quite a bit like Cragar “Quick Trick I.” http://www.cragar.com/ProductView.aspx?id=1019&bq=%3fc%3d15
      Which IIRC were quite cheap in the back of Hot Rod Magazine during the 80s and 90s. My father has a 1967 Ford Mustang convertible that was wearing a set of Cragar SS wheels which later got eaten by the moist Midwestern environment. It now wears Keystone http://www.cragar.com/ProductView.aspx?id=1006&bq=%3fc%3d15 wheels. To me Cragar was what said “hot rod.”

  • avatar

    I would have liked to see more of the house and less of the car. The house looks really cool, and if I ever get to Eugene I’d love the walking tour. But the car… I mean, even the color is dreadful.

    Incidentally though, there is an interesting note about the car’s nose. Bunkie apparently was a closet francophile, and the nose was in honor of De Gaulle.

  • avatar

    @CC_Stadt: nice MB. Somehow I missed its CC at the time. I’m envious of you guys in Eugene.

  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    @NickR: What style wheels are those? They seem to be standard equipment on neglected cars from that era.
    You know, I never noticed that before…but you’re right! Most likely those wheels were originally made by Cragar, but knock-offs now abound.

    @David Holzman: Bunkie apparently was a closet francophile, and the nose was in honor of De Gaulle.
    And all these years I’ve thought they were a tribute to Bob Hope.


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