(Found In) Northwest Berkeley (Berkeley, California): 1964 Ford Fairlane 500 2 Door Hardtop Coupe

image (21).jpegIt’s not easy peaking the first time on stage. It happens with music acts, television shows, and quite often, cars. The combination of right place, right time and blessings from the stars (and economic conditions) bodes well for certain product successes. Here lies the story of the re-branded, midsized Ford Fairlane. For one shining moment, without market factors against it, it claimed a genre all unto it’s own.

By 1964, it found itself, like many a pioneering girl group in the shadows of something Supreme rising from Detroit. Once the starlet, now a reliable box office draw, it tried a hand at presenting something special, smart and sporty. Yet somehow time passed it by.

Continue reading “(Found In) Northwest Berkeley (Berkeley, California): 1964 Ford Fairlane 500 2 Door Hardtop Coupe”

(Found In) Lone Mountain (San Francisco, California): 1959 Mercury Park Lane Cruiser 4 Door Hardtop Sedan

image (11).jpegWe’ve discussed before how choosing the name Mercury for its middle class brand might have been FordMoCo’s biggest mistake. Selecting the celestial body known to astrologically put the most mix-ups in our lives was just right for conjuring up a make full of surprises and shadows.

This Mercury Retrograde we once again trace back to the heady times of 1959, from the alternate perspective of a top of the line Park Lane, all dressed in Black. Different in mission and purpose than the bare bones Monterey, we’ll see how it was supposed to be a giant killer and a bridge to bigger things, but had to retrace its steps under the age of McNamara.

Continue reading “(Found In) Lone Mountain (San Francisco, California): 1959 Mercury Park Lane Cruiser 4 Door Hardtop Sedan”

(Found In) South Of Market (San Francisco, California): 1963 Mercury Meteor Custom Station Wagon

13895026_1232262606784763_38402590838525256_n We’ve covered the fall to earth of the 1962-63 Mercury Meteor before. What we didn’t cover were the distinct efforts of metal these Mercurial beasts were offered in. From bargain to slightly brash, it’s kind of a sad story that the 1-2-3 diversity left Mercury dealers with a plethora of plodding ambiguity.

Today we swap out the dashing, dapper coupe version for something far more practical. Spacious, savvy and spoiled with options, the upmarket Meteor Wagons should have been bigger hits.

 
Continue reading “(Found In) South Of Market (San Francisco, California): 1963 Mercury Meteor Custom Station Wagon”

(Found In) Lone Mountain (San Francisco, California): 1959 Mercury Monterey 2 Door Hardtop Coupe

photo-2The superstitions around “Mercury Retrograde” are perceived as explanations for communication and travel gone awry. Maybe that was the first mistake Ford made; naming their middle brand Mercury in the first place. For every two steps forward the brand made, it seemingly made two steps back.

They always ended up in the same place: being a Fancy Ford. Before it gave up the ghost and entered another period of review, the 1959 Mercury models tried to right any wrongs that prevented its individualized success on the medium car market.
Continue reading “(Found In) Lone Mountain (San Francisco, California): 1959 Mercury Monterey 2 Door Hardtop Coupe”

(Found In) Clawson (Oakland, California): 1973 Lincoln Continental 4 Door Sedan

photo 2Much can be said for the foreboding presence that many a vintage domestic luxury sedan exudes. With forty-plus years of changing automotive trends, a premium offering like a 1973 Lincoln Continental perhaps tells even more of a story compared to when they were new.

As a cross between 1960’s restraint and 1970’s isolation, these Continentals struck a Goldilock’s “just right” once you got past the intimidating presentation.

Continue reading “(Found In) Clawson (Oakland, California): 1973 Lincoln Continental 4 Door Sedan”

(Found In) Fernside (Alameda, California): 1963 Mercury Comet S-22 Convertible

24511649174_c64999eed7_hFuller and Fancier than the Falcon, the Comet had carved out a pretty succesful niche as being a borderline Mid-sized entry level medium priced car in the early 196o’s. As the Falcon added to its repetoire, so did the Comet. For 1963 that mean a few more shots across the sky in hardtop coupe and covertible form. Not only was the fun in the way to accesorize your roofs, some new, some would say needed, zoom was available under the hood as well.

As compact cars struck different fancies in the ever diversifying American Automotive market, the Comet wanted to woo you with interstellar fantasies and earthbound charms a plenty. Charming, carefree and coy, it was one of the most compelling choices among compact cars in 1963.

Continue reading “(Found In) Fernside (Alameda, California): 1963 Mercury Comet S-22 Convertible”

(Found In) Fairview Park (Oakland, California): 1972 Ford Pinto Squire Station Wagon

24694209420_56de8de8fb_hGiven the lawsuits and safety concerns about their fuel tanks; its often forgotten these days that the Ford Pinto was a rousing success for Ford in the Early 70’s. Upon introduction the frolicsome combination of sprite, plucky nature and a reasonable entry price made the Ford Pinto seemingly like the answer to the onslaught of Subcompact imports flooding the American Automotive Market.

Ford upped the versatility quotient to match Chevrolet’s Vega with first a Hatchback, then the Station wagon model for 1972. The Squire option brought enough charm for housewives and handymen a plenty to consider the smallest by a large margin of Ford Haulers. In a way, its the ultimate expression of the virtues early Pintos contained.

Continue reading “(Found In) Fairview Park (Oakland, California): 1972 Ford Pinto Squire Station Wagon”

(Found In) Claremont (Oakland, California): 1966 Ford Thunderbird Convertible

24160339594_3a70c0783d_kThe Thunderbird legacy started as a top down thrill. However, the thrill was a bit muted in some ways. To give the original Thunderbird a leg up over a host of sports cars, the Thunderbird was marketed as a “personal” car. As such, comfort and convenience was built in from the beginning.

Featuring an optional Hardtop, and a slew of convienience options, the open air quotient always seemed to be an optional one. Ford flirted and fielded the idea of closing off the full free-breeze feeling as early as 1960 with an option of a sliding metal sunroof for Hardtop Coupes. But by 1966, the writing was on the wall within the confines of the Private World of Thunderbird.
Continue reading “(Found In) Claremont (Oakland, California): 1966 Ford Thunderbird Convertible”

(Found In) Fair Oaks (San Mateo County, California): 1959 Edsel Corsair 4 Door Sedan

24018417839_021f4fb5a0_kSo much of the narrative attention given to the Edsel brand is given to the first year cars. With high expectations and projections of greatness, the ultimate failure to meet the mark sours the story of the whole brand.

It decidedly makes the 1959 versions a case of “why bother?” Indeed, the Edsel was a Ford in a gaudier suit when Ford could ill afford the expense of tailoring a new set of clothes for an old body. One would also have to look at the case of saving face and not throwing in the towel as well. The 1959 Edsel in Ranger and Corsair guise were the inevitable placeholders before the eventual march off into oblivion.

Continue reading “(Found In) Fair Oaks (San Mateo County, California): 1959 Edsel Corsair 4 Door Sedan”

(Found In) Gold Coast (Alameda, California): 1963 Mercury Meteor Custom 2 Door Hardtop Coupe

22287512303_553ac0e23c_z The Mercury Meteor didn’t have to be a quick flash in the sky that fell to the earth without much success as it did between 1962 and 1963. In a market newly hungry for downsized premium and luxury items, it seems Mercury, the middle movers of Dearborn Dreams, would be perfectly poised to seize upon upwardly mobile Mid-Sized opportunities in the early 1960’s.

Unfortunately, a lack of faith on the part of Ford to set the Meteor apart from its sister ship the Fairlane lead to certain fatality on the American market.

Continue reading “(Found In) Gold Coast (Alameda, California): 1963 Mercury Meteor Custom 2 Door Hardtop Coupe”