As this project has developed, we determined there is a need for a new site with more information about the lost Lincoln-Mercury dream cars. The new site will be uploaded by May 1 of 2016.
Though the history of Ford Division dream cars in the Fifties and Sixties has been well documented and considered by many to be settled in its scope and detail, some historians have long considered that there was something missing from Ford corporate concept car history.
Every afficionado knows about the 1953 XL-500...
and the Mystere. These cars helped set the stage for Ford production vehicles. Similarly, Ford’s X-Cars – which were campaigned in the early Sixties and pioneered major design and technical details that found their way into production vehicles, are well known and respected.
The intriguing question – unanswered until recently – is whether the Lincoln-Mercury Division had its own version of the Ford Division’s X-Cars (Allegro I, Mustang II, Cougar II). Everything suggests that the Lincoln Mercury Division should have had their own vehicle to capture the youthful imagination of the marketplace. After all, Mercury had been historically interested in performance – at least in a more sophisticated version of Ford’s raucous cars: Bill Stroppe and other speed enthusiasts had campaigned Mercurys with tacit factory approval for some time. (See these two articles from Hot Rod Magazine - about 500K each. Hot Rod 1956, Hot Rod 1957). On top of that, the upscale Ford Motor Company Division had its own dream cars: Lincoln was no stranger to creating and aggressively campaigning styling exercises either – witness the Lincoln Futura:
Certainly, Mercury’s late Fifties Turnpike Cruiser (below)helped set the stage for Fifties Lincoln-Mercury muscle cars: Lincoln-Mercury production ‘58 Turnpike Cruiser (which shared a few styling cues from the dream car) as fitted with a 430 V-8 fitted with triple-carbureation.
But what about the early Sixties? Was Lincoln-Mercury chief Benjamin Mills content to let the Ford Division grab the spotlight? On one hand, the answer is no: though little known, the Lincoln-Mercury Division produced the Caravan of Stars, a response to Ford Division’s Custom Car Caravan. The famed Mercury Super Marauder
was a leading element in that display, along with the Comet Super Cyclone
and the Comet Escapade
All of these cars were featured in the hot rod and custom press, and each was well-received. But none of those cars were production-oriented: all were tarted up production cars meant for the show circuit only. Therefore, the issue was and remains acute: Why was there no Lincoln-Mercury response to Ford’s X-Cars? Or, if such a car or cars were built, why isn’t there any record of such vehicles? What about the persistent rumors of a single car that the L-M Division designed, had built in Italy, and displayed Stateside to reap some of the same incredibly positive public relations bonanza that Ford had reaped from its X-Cars.
And, if such a car existed, what happened to it? What did it look like? Why is so little known today about it today? Until recently, almost nothing has been known, but now the full story is beginning to emerge from this wonderfully mysterious era in Lincoln-Mercury history.
To understand this story, let’s take a look at Ford corporate history.