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Mercury Turnpike Cruiser

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mercury Turnpike Cruiser
1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser (35442133721).jpg
1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser
ManufacturerMercury (Ford)
Also calledMercury Convertible Cruiser
Model years1957–1958
AssemblySt. Louis, Missouri
Pico Rivera, California
Atlanta, Georgia
Mahwah, New Jersey
Body and chassis
ClassFull-size car
Body style2-door hardtop
4-door hardtop sedan
2-door convertible
LayoutFR layout, body-on-frame
Engine368 cu in (6.0 L) Y-Block V8
383 cu in (6.3 L) Marauder V8
430 cu in (7.0 L) Marauder V8
430 cu in (7.0 L) Super Marauder V8
Transmission3-speed Merc-O-Matic automatic[1]
Wheelbase122 in (3,099 mm) [1]
Length211 in (5,359 mm)
Width79.1 in (2,009 mm)
Height56.5 in (1,435 mm) [1]
SuccessorMercury Park Lane

The Mercury Turnpike Cruiser is a series of automobiles that were produced by the Mercury division of Ford for the 1957 and 1958 model years. Named to commemorate the creation of the Interstate Highway System, the Turnpike Cruiser was marketed as the flagship Mercury model line, slotted above the Montclair.

The Turnpike Cruiser was produced as a two-door and a four-door hardtop sedan. During the 1957 model year, a convertible (called the Convertible Cruiser) was offered on a limited basis, serving as one of the first replica pace cars. Mercury fitted the Turnpike Cruiser with a wide variety of advanced features for the time of its production, including a retractable rear window, compound-curve windshield, and a trip computer.[2][3][4]

In total, 23,268 examples of the Turnpike Cruiser were produced over two years. For 1959, Mercury discontinued the Turnpike Cruiser, phasing its content into the Park Lane product line.

Model overview

The Turnpike Cruiser derives its name from the 1956 Mercury XM-Turnpike Cruiser concept car,[5] a two-door hardtop which largely served as a preview of the 1957 Mercury model line.[6] For 1957, the Turnpike Cruiser was offered as the flagship Mercury model line. For 1958, the Turnpike Cruiser was phased into the Montclair line, sharing the flagship role with the newly introduced Park Lane.


The Turnpike Cruiser shared its rear-wheel drive chassis with the Monterey and Montclair, using a 122-inch wheelbase.[7] Using body-on frame construction, the front axle of the Turnpike Cruiser was fitted with independent ball-joint front suspension with coil springs; the live rear axle was fitted with leaf springs.[7] 11-inch drum brakes were fitted to all four wheels.[7]

For 1958, the chassis (using a 124-inch wheelbase) was adopted by Edsel for its premium Corsair and Citation model lines.


For 1957, the Turnpike Cruiser was fitted with a 368 cubic-inch V8, producing 290 hp.[8] Sharing its name with the car, the 290-hp engine was offered as an option across the rest of the Mercury line. For 1958, two all-new "Marauder" engines were introduced. The standard engine (shared with the Montclair and Colony Park) was a 383 cubic-inch V8, producing 330 hp.[9] A 430 cubic-inch version (shared with the Park Lane) produced 360 hp.[9][10] As a special order option, a triple-carburetor "Super Marauder" version of the 430 V8 produced 400 hp.[9][11][12] Exclusive to Mercury, the Super Marauder was the first factory-produced engine with a 400 hp output.

All Turnpike Cruiser engines were paired with a 3-speed "Merc-O-Matic" automatic. In place of a column-mounted shifter, the transmission shifter was push-button operated (along with the parking brake).[13] For 1958, the shifter was redesigned, adding multiple drive ranges.[14][15]

1957-1958 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser powertrain details
Engine name Production Configuration Fuel system Output Transmission
Horsepower Torque
Turnpike Cruiser V8[16]

(Lincoln Y-block)

1957 368 cu in (6.0 L) V8 4-barrel carburetor 290 hp (220 kW) @ 4600 rpm 405 lb⋅ft (549 N⋅m) @ 2600 rpm 3-speed "Merc-O-Matic" automatic[14][15]
Marauder V8[17]

(Ford MEL)

1958 383 cu in (6.3 L) V8 4-barrel carburetor 330 hp (250 kW) @ 4800 rpm 425 lb⋅ft (576 N⋅m) @ 3000 rpm
Marauder V8[18]

(Ford MEL)

1958 430 cu in (7.0 L) V8 4-barrel carburetor 360 hp (270 kW) @ 4600 rpm 480 lb⋅ft (650 N⋅m) @ 3000 rpm
Super Marauder V8[19]

(Ford MEL)

1958 430 cu in (7.0 L) V8 3x2-barrel carburetor 400 hp (300 kW) @ 5200 rpm 480 lb⋅ft (650 N⋅m) @ 3200 rpm


Closeup of "breezeway" rear window in closed position, 1958 Montclair Turnpike Cruiser
Closeup of "breezeway" rear window in closed position, 1958 Montclair Turnpike Cruiser
Closeup image of rooftop air intake/radio antenna, 1957 Turnpike Cruiser
Closeup image of rooftop air intake/radio antenna, 1957 Turnpike Cruiser

During its production, the Turnpike Cruiser was offered as a two-door and four-door hardtop. To serve as the pace car for the 1957 Indianapolis 500, a convertible was created (named the Convertible Cruiser), leading Mercury to offer a version for sale. Effectively one of the first replica pace cars, the Convertible Cruiser was offered in a single yellow (Sun Glitter) exterior color and were fitted with the optional continental tire kit.

While sharing much of its body with the Montclair, the Turnpike Cruiser was distinguished by several exterior design features. Although not legalized across the entire United States until 1958, quad headlamps were fitted as standard equipment (the only 1957 Mercury to do so, as well as one of very few cars from that year to be equipped as such); for states that still allowed the use of single headlights only, the Turnpike Cruiser also used the then-standard singles setup. In place of contrasting paint, the scalloped tailfins were gold-anodized. Distinguished by its retractable "Breezeway" rear window, the Turnpike Cruiser received a separate roofline, along with a windshield curving into the roof;[20] the windshield was among the first to use tint to reduce solar glare.[13] As a consequence of the compound-curve design of the windshield, Mercury added rooftop ventilation intakes to the Turnpike Cruiser to cover a body seam (in a secondary function, each intake also housed a radio antenna).[20] Coupled with the retractable rear window, the Turnpike Cruiser was among the first cars to offer flow-through ventilation; air conditioning and power side windows were an additional cost options.[21] For 1958, the Turnpike Cruiser adapted the styling changes of the Montclair and Monterey, shifting the grilles into the front bumper. The rear fascia multiple changes, as the gold-anodized trim was removed from the scalloped fins; "rocket-style" taillamps were added.[22] To distinguish the model line from the Montclair (and Park Lane), the Turnpike Cruiser was given gold trim for its badging (including the Mercury "M" grille badge).

The interior of the Turnpike Cruiser offered several features distinct from other Mercury sedans. To aid forward visibility, a flat-top deep-dish steering wheel was fitted (to match the curve of the instrument panel).[20][23] Alongside a tachometer ("to measure engine efficiency"[13]),[8] the instrument panel was fitted with a clock to calculate average speed and a trip odometer (effectively, a trip computer).[20] One of the first memory seats, "Seat-O-Matic" was programmable and moved down and back when the ignition was off.[20][24] While not equipped with cruise control, in 1958, the Turnpike Cruiser (alongside all Mercurys) was introduced with a programmable speed warning, setting off a warning if a preset speed was exceeded.[24]

The Turnpike Cruiser standardized several Mercury safety features, including a padded dashboard (and dashboard gauges[20]), a deep-dish flat-top steering wheel, and safety door locks; seatbelts were optional, alongside a safety harness for children.[20] Nearly 10 years before their introduction, the design of the taillamps performed as side marker lamps.[20]

Design epilogue

1958 Continental Mark III convertible, retractable rear window open
1958 Continental Mark III convertible, retractable rear window open
1963 Mercury Monterey S-55 with "Breezeway" rear window
1963 Mercury Monterey S-55 with "Breezeway" rear window

While the Turnpike Cruiser was produced only for two years, elements of its design would be adopted across several other Lincoln-Mercury vehicles. For 1958, Lincoln introduced the Continental Mark III; to distinguish it from the standard Lincoln, the Mark III was fitted with a retractable rear window on all body styles (including convertibles). While using a similar roofline as the Turnpike Cruiser, Continental used a reverse-slant rear window.

For 1959, following the discontinuation of the Turnpike Cruiser, Mercury designated its hardtop roofline as a Hardtop Cruiser, with all Park Lanes (except convertibles) produced as hardtops. A compound-curved rear window was introduced, creating a fastback roofline, adopted by the 1960s Mercury Marauder and Mercury S-55.

Following the 1960 Continental Mark V, Lincoln discontinued the retractable rear window design feature. For 1963, the design feature was revived by Mercury, making a reverse-slant retractable rear window standard on its full-size sedans (including the Monterey, Montclair, S-55, and Park Lane).[25][26] In 1965, the roofline became an option and was discontinued after 1966.

For 2001, the Ford Explorer Sport Trac mid-size pickup truck adopted a retractable rear window between the cab and cargo area. While vertical in design, the Sport Trac used a retracting center portion in line with the previous Mercury and Lincoln designs.


1957-1958 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser production[22]
Year Sales Notes
1957 16,861 1,265 Convertible Cruisers

4 pace cars[27]

1958 6,407
Total 23,268


  1. ^ a b c Flory Jr., J. "Kelly" (2008). American Cars, 1946-1959 Every Model Every Year. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. ISBN 978-0-7864-3229-5.
  2. ^ "Directory Index: Mercury/1957 Mercury/album". Retrieved 2011-11-20.
  3. ^ "1957-1958 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser". 2007-10-29.
  4. ^ "Directory Index: Mercury/1957 Mercury/1957_Mercury_Foldout".
  5. ^ "Predicting the (near) future - Mercury's 1956 XM Turnpike Cruiser concept". Retrieved 2019-05-31.
  6. ^ "1957-1958 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser". HowStuffWorks. 2007-10-29. Retrieved 2019-05-31.
  7. ^ a b c "Directory Index: Mercury/1957 Mercury/1957_Mercury_Foldout". Retrieved 2019-05-31.
  8. ^ a b "Directory Index: Mercury/1957 Mercury/1957_Mercury_Foldout". Retrieved 2011-11-20.
  9. ^ a b c "Directory Index: Mercury/1958 Mercury/1958_Mercury_Brochure". Retrieved 2019-05-31.
  10. ^ "MEL 430 Engine Specifications -".
  11. ^ "The MEL Engine Tripower Heaven -".
  12. ^ "430 Super Marauder -".
  13. ^ a b c "Directory Index: Mercury/1957 Mercury/1957_Mercury_Foldout". Retrieved 2019-05-31.
  14. ^ a b "Directory Index: Mercury/1958 Mercury/1958_Mercury_Flyer". Retrieved 2019-05-31.
  15. ^ a b "Directory Index: Mercury/1958 Mercury/1958_Mercury_Brochure". Retrieved 2019-05-31.
  16. ^ "Detailed specs review of 1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser Phaeton Sedan offered since December 1956 for North America U.S." Retrieved 2019-06-01.
  17. ^ "Detailed specs review of 1958 Mercury Montclair 4-Door Turnpike Cruiser 383 Marauder V-8 330-hp Merc-O-Matic Drive offered since October 1957 for North America U.S." Retrieved 2019-06-01.
  18. ^ "Detailed specs review of 1958 Mercury Montclair 4-Door Turnpike Cruiser 430 Marauder V-8 360-hp Multi-Drive Merc-O-Matic offered since October 1957 for North America U.S." Retrieved 2019-06-01.
  19. ^ "Detailed specs review of 1958 Mercury Montclair 4-Door Turnpike Cruiser 430 Super Marauder V-8 400-hp Multi-Drive Merc-O-Matic offered since October 1957 for North America U.S." Retrieved 2019-06-01.
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h "1957-1958 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser". HowStuffWorks. 2007-10-29. Retrieved 2019-05-31.
  21. ^ "1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser Brochure". Retrieved 2019-06-01.
  22. ^ a b "1957-1958 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser". HowStuffWorks. 2007-10-29. Retrieved 2019-06-01.
  23. ^ "Directory Index: Mercury/1957 Mercury/1957_Mercury_Brochure". How Stuff Works.
  24. ^ a b "Directory Index: Mercury/1958 Mercury/1958_Mercury_Brochure". Retrieved 2019-06-01.
  25. ^ "1963 Mercury Full Line Brochure". Retrieved 2019-06-01.
  26. ^ "Directory Index: Mercury/1964 Mercury/1964_Mercury_and_Comet_Brochure". Retrieved 2019-06-01.
  27. ^ "1957-1958 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser". HowStuffWorks. 2007-10-29. Retrieved 2019-06-01.
This page was last edited on 29 September 2020, at 23:57
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