By on March 2, 2012

Of all the crazy ideas to come out of Dearborn in the 1960s, the Breezeway option on big Mercury cars is one of my favorites. You had a rear-canted back window that rolled up and down, providing a hurricane of wind through the car at speed, and no doubt enhancing the passengers’ intake of Vitamin CO. It made no sense, but so what? Not surprisingly, mid-60s Montereys and Park Lanes (the Mercury-ized Ford Galaxie), aren’t worth much in beat condition these days (nice ones are another story), but I still wasn’t expecting to find this one in a Northern California wrecking yard last month.
Mercury really went overboard on the wild trim and weird gingerbread during this period, but it ended up looking pretty good.
Here’s a good example of Northern California rust; the quarters and floors are fine, but the places where rainwater pools during the winter end up rusting through. This car probably sat outside for a decade or three.
There’s not much demand for 390 parts these days, though someone— probably a Mustang guy— has grabbed the carburetor and valve covers off this one.
Let’s return to the trim around the Breezeway window. Such style!

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51 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1965 Mercury Park Lane Breezeway...”


  • avatar

    Reminds me of Mike Judge talking about his neighbor during a 1994 Letterman interview.

    Youtube links are apparently not allowed by B&B, so just search Youtube for
    “mike
    judge
    neighbour
    truck
    window
    medication
    happy”

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      That’s a good punchline.

    • 0 avatar

      I own a 1967 Mercury Montclair. I had never seen one before and that seemed odd living in Detroit. I stumbled upon it only about 20 miles from me with only 32K orignial 1-owner miles. A little TLC and it is now becoming my good weather DD. http://s13.photobucket.com/albums/a273/XLR82XS/1967%20Mercury%20Montclair/

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    A little TLC (and a new drivetrain) could turn that into a pretty decent daily driver.

    I took a old sedan that was in that in between phase of it’s life where it’s next stop was a junk yard. It’s turned out to be such a great daily driver and has already helped kept 15k miles off of our new cars. Getting it back from the paint shop today.

    • 0 avatar
      Volt 230

      Abuddy of mine had one of these that he got from his uncle, only interesting thing about it was the stupid back window which helped since the damn A/C was not working!

    • 0 avatar
      Volt 230

      A buddy of mine had one of these that he got from his uncle, only interesting thing about it was the stupid back window which helped since the damn A/C was not working!

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    That generation of Mercury was interesting because of its “Cadillac-esque” tail lights.

    Someone at the salvage yard id’d that vehicle as a ’75 Mercury Marquis. Helloooo…

  • avatar
    woofyman

    My mom had a 1966 Mercury Monterey with the opening back window. Great fun to crawl out the window and lay on the trunk while parked.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      As the youngest of 5 kids I was relegated to the middle of the back seat for a very long time, and I thought that one of these windows would have been the coolest thing ever, monoxide be damned!

  • avatar
    mistermau

    I’d drive one of these TODAY…in a heartbeat.

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    Interesting details on that one for sure.

    Looking at the photos, looks like you intermingled some photos from the white car next door to it but if what I see of the interior, this one is pretty ragged out and someone’s stripped some parts off it already, or was it dragged in like that?

    Either way, it looks like it sat for a good while outside because the trim around the back window is pocked pretty bad.

    I think the car had been a soft metallic blue at one point, the photo of the door jamb shoes where the beige/tan color was and yet the jams don’t match. Also where the paint has chipped, you see light specs of blue under it, barely though.

    Anyway, an interesting find non the less.

    • 0 avatar
      MadHungarian

      The neighboring car is a ’64 Comet. I’m surprised nobody else has ID’ed it yet. It’s also kinda amazing that these two mid 60’s Mercury siblings should be neighbors in the boneyard almost a half century later.

  • avatar
    gmrn

    I’m certain pic #4 is not the subject car.

    The subject car provides fond memories of my near identical car,
    a 1965 Mercury Montclair Breezeway. I would so love to know how rare that car was! It had the 390 2V, but had a factory 4 speed. Very interesting combo of float, power, and truckish shifting via the 2+ foot long shifter.

    Re: those tail lights.
    Very fragile, as they ARE the bumper. They look less Cadillac-esque when dangling by the wires…

    • 0 avatar
      JKC

      My dad had a near-identical car when I was a kid, except it had an automatic. I remember that car being fast. And comfortable, at least from the perspective of an eleven year old in he back seat with two siblings and a large dog.

    • 0 avatar
      Lumbergh21

      My mom had a 1964 Mercury Montclair with the breezeway rear window and an auto. I loved the look of that car from the front all the way back to the tail fins with all of the chrome in between. In 1981, a drunk teenager came tearing around the corner in a residential area and nailed the passenger’s side rear quarter panel. It was literally impossible for my grandfather or any of the mechanics he knew from work to find a replacement. So it sat in the back driveway at my grandparents’ house until my grandfather died 3 years later and my grandmother gave it away to a couple she knew that wanted to restore it. They were sure they could find a new quarter panel. They were wrong.

  • avatar
    mzr

    390 parts not in demand? If that surge tank is good, I guarantee it’d be sold in five minutes.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    For some reason this body style seems more modern than the rest of Merc’s line up of the same year. It’s body is clean, understated and while I don’t care for that back window, it’s a good looking car. Love the dash too. Plain, simple and gauges. There was one for sale here in NH in decent running shape for 2400. I already had a classic ride when I saw it. You don’t see too many of these around during the nice weather.

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    I found one of these recently outside a yard here in the “builder” lot for sale, a 63′.

    There’s nothing like them. So cool. I tried to steer my brother/friends into buying it so we could swap in a Cummins diesel and use it as a Lemons support vehicle. A “Smokey breezeway” if you will. They only wanted $700, but it was pretty far rusted, so it was probably a bad idea.

    Mmmmm, yeah. I can imagine it now. Me and five of my friends seated in comfort on the bench seats, rear window down, listening to the drone of the diesel, cavernous trunk full of gear, stares from all the squares, the patina…not shining in the sun….

  • avatar
    skor

    I believe the breezeway window made its first appearance on the Mercury Turnpike Cruiser back in 1957. The Turnpike Cruiser was a sales flop. The car was the baby of one of Ford’s “Whiz Kids”, I don’t remember his name. Soon after the car came out, the Whiz Kid responsible committed suicide.

    Looking at those pictures, there is one thing I really miss about old cars…real cloth headliners. The headliner in that car still looks to be in fairly good shape, unlike the glued up, rat-fur cover, cardboard monstrosities in today’s car that de-laminate after a few years and fall on your head.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    Any of the B&B know what year the Breezeway window became a feature on the big Lincolns? Had to be the late 1950’s…all the major style innovations for Mercury came from Lincoln, didn’t they?

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      It was introduced on the Continental (then called the Mark III, IV, and V) during the ’58-’60 model years. The Lincoln had a regular sloping rear window.

    • 0 avatar
      CA Guy

      I believe the Breezeway window was available on the 1958-1960 Continentals (not sure about Lincolns as they were a separate model designation during these years). When I was in grade school my mother’s best friend had a new 1960 Continental in metallic green with this rear window. Rarely saw her open it as her car was one of the very few in our small midwestern town with air conditioning.

      When in high school one of my friend’s family had a new Mercury with the Breezeway window – I think it was a 1967. We did open it once in a while and IIRC it helped to cool the car down without a lot of noise.

  • avatar
    Lokki

    As a kid I really, really thought that these turnpike crusiers were toooo coool. Some family acquaintences had one. I wanted my dad to buy one so badly. Instead, my pipe smoking tweed jacketed dad got charmed by our good looking Scandi neighbors and came home with a early 2 stroke, 3 cylinder SAAB 96. It took me years to forgive him, and THEN I got old enough to realize that he’d traded off our 1956 Chevy Station Wagon.

  • avatar
    340-4

    Neighbor had one growing up. There are still a few of these, including two doors, on the road around here.

  • avatar
    TR4

    I suppose the backwards slope of the rear window allowed the lowered glass to sit right behind the seat cushion and not take up trunk space.
    Across the pond, the 59-68 Ford Anglia had the same ugly backwards slope but with fixed glass. It was promoted as staying dry in the rain.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Those back windows stayed dry and clean enough to see out of. I’ve got neighbors who clean the back windows of their late model cars about every other day, and it’s not unusual to see some of them clean them before they drive off every morning. Form over function leads to some strange rituals.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Keep in mind that air conditioning wasn’t common during the early ’60’s, so the breezeway with good dash/floor vents, or windwings made a certain amount of sense. Once air conditioning became inexpensive enough for most buyers to consider it, the breezeway rapidly obsoleted out.

  • avatar
    replica

    I’ve never heard of one of these cars or the “Breezeway” idea. I keep looking at the pictures trying to understand how it operates. Is it like a Del Sol?

    It’s a very handsome car. That dash is beautiful.

    • 0 avatar
      gsf12man

      replica, it the rear window was power, with a switch on the dash. It went all the way down and provided draft-free ventilation; you could even have it open in rain. Alternatively, you could lie on the trunk of your friend’s mom’s Montclair on a starry night, feet safely on rear seat, while he drove and you looked at the Milky Way . . . that was a rush.

      The full Breezeway went away for ’67, but there was still an optional rear window in a conventional roofline that opened a couple inches for ventilation. Worked very well. That was indeed a beautiful car!

      • 0 avatar
        replica

        Sounds fantastic.

        I think the only modern interpretations of the Breezeway are the previously mentioned Honda Del Sol and one of the Toyota SUV’s, I think the 4 runner, has a back window that goes down.

    • 0 avatar
      gsf12man

      replica, the rear window was power, with a switch on the dash. It went all the way down and provided draft-free ventilation; you could even have it open in rain. Alternatively, you could lie on the trunk of your friend’s mom’s Montclair on a starry night, feet safely on rear seat, while he drove and you looked at the Milky Way . . . that was a rush.

      The full Breezeway went away for ’67, but there was still an optional rear window in a conventional roofline that opened a couple inches for ventilation. Worked very well. That was indeed a beautiful car!

      • 0 avatar
        Moparman426W

        Our neighbors had a 64 merc, can’t remember the model but it was a sharp looking 2 door with the power back window. I remember it made for nice flow through ventilation, at speeds above 35-40 no A/C was necessary.

    • 0 avatar
      Firestorm 500

      The rear glass rolls down electrically from a switch on the dash.

  • avatar
    55_wrench

    There is a house a couple of miles from where we live-and this guy has two of them, both drivers, parked in his driveway.
    A cool styling detour, would be nice to see them again.

  • avatar
    Lokki

    In those days AC was still an expensive rarity. Flow through ventilation was the big thing. You’ll see that most cars built until the end of the 60’s had “vent wing” windows in the front doors to improve air flow through the car. The “breezeway window” was an extention of that idea, taking advantage of the low pressure area behind the passenger compartment to move fresh (and ideally cooler) into the car. The rear window is just a power window that slides down behind the seat. It’s angled so that in theory rain won’t be sucked in …in theory. Anyway it , as stated above, doesn’t steal as much trunk space from your 3-body trunk.

    In a sedan with a long trunk as most cars had in those days, it’s just a bad idea as it will suck some exhaust fumes into the car,but in a station wagon it is a just plain BAD idea as it WILL suck ALL the exhaust fumes into the passenger compartment. Great feature though if you wanted to keep the kids in the back seat quiet. They just drift off to sleep.

    • 0 avatar
      replica

      I’ve always wanted vent wing windows like 60s cars. Closest thing I’ve seen are the 88-91 Civic hatches have back side windows that open at the rear and pivot from the front.

      • 0 avatar
        Lumbergh21

        And are real easy to break into. The windwings/front vent windows that I’m familiar with have decently secure latches (much easier just to pop the lock inside the door); however, those rear pivoting windows were a piece of cake to jimmy (not that I would ever do anything like that).

    • 0 avatar
      Moparman426W

      Coming from a family with 5 kids we always had station wagons, 62 belair, 68 chevelle and 75 LTD. My dad always drove with the tailgate window down during the summer, sometimes for hours on end when we would go on trips from Ohio to Tenn. No fumes ever got inside the car.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    My dad had a ’65 Marauder coupe. I always loved the look of the 65’s all straight lines a mile long. In fact, I think it’s unfortunate theses aren’t more popular. And, that dashboard has got to be one of the best ever, so simple, so classic.

  • avatar

    My parents had one of these in Bronze back-in-the-day.

    Two things I remember Dad saying about it:

    1) “Light in the front end”…a little loose-handling, maybe?
    2) “Falcon transmission”…when the tranny went, that’s what the guy at the shop must have told him. I’m guessing Merc-O-Matic? I don’t know.

    It was a 390 and yes, as a kid the Breezeway window was a blast. Although it was rarely used as I remember. It was sold in 1970 and replaced with a ’64 Chevy II wagon…with a stick.

  • avatar
    Pinzgauer

    The picture from the back left makes me think they should have made it a small pickup like in the same style as a Subaru Baja.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    Just noticed, looks like they wrote “75 Mercury Marquis” on it when it came in. I bet that trim might be worth something to someone..

  • avatar
    Chipper Carb

    Dad bought one of these some years ago as a father/son project. ’65 convertible Parklane. It was as blue as a swimming pool and about as big! Three speed on the column was its biggest fault, because it was geared too high. It was a great cruiser until we were driving down the road with the top down and the hood came up and smashed the windshield! That was a lot of blue in the face to see! In the end, we never used it as much as intended and dad sold (sadly) a couple of years ago. It is still around and maybe I can get my hands back on it again. Thanks for the memories.

  • avatar
    obbop

    Friend’s folks had one of those Mercury goes down rear window cars.

    Can’t remember year,model, etc.

    Good lookin’ critter.

    I much preferred his 1969 GTX with the 440 4-speed.

    Vroooom.

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    My parents next door neighbor out at the lake had a ’65 4 dr in light metallic blue.

    I recall well as a most unusual design that impressed me greatly even though I was only years old last time I saw it.

    Very pretty and totally cool car (thought this when I was 3 and I still think so nearly 50 years later.

  • avatar
    claytori

    From what I remember of that era, that opening rear window would be great for clearing the “smoke” from the cabin. (Ref: Cheech & Chong “Up in Smoke”)

  • avatar
    Jetstar 88

    “Full instrumentation? What is this blasphemy!” says the man who drives an Oldsmobile.

  • avatar
    chas404

    Actually the power back window is not that bad of an idea. My luxo F150 has it and I love it. Many pickups have now. Didn’t the early Tundra have a huge window too?


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