After a rocky start to the first generation of Mercury Park Lane vehicles, the second generation boasted a more luxurious model: The 1968 Mercury Park Lane Brougham. This jewel was Mercury’s top-of-the-line model at the time as they attempted to fill in the price gap between a Ford and a Lincoln. Featured in the hit TV show “Hawaii 5-0,” the ’68 Park Lane Brougham raced onto television screens across America. However, the car never made a hit in the sales industry, and ultimately, Mercury retired the Park Lane at the end of the 1968 model year.
A Bigger and Better Park Lane
To live up to its flagship name, Mercury made the Park Lane better than it had ever been before. More options were now available, along with changes and features that enhanced the vehicles desirability among buyers. The Park Lane’s cockpit was redesigned to bring the gauges closer to the driver, and the electrical system was completely redesigned as well as greatly improved. In addition to these changes, buyers now had the chance to opt in on the new, luxury “yacht paneling” option. Although the paneling was only a sticker appliqué, it was a nostalgic replica of the real woodies of the late 1940s. Significant changes were also made under the hood. A big engine was needed for a big car. The four-barrel carburetor and a 7-liter, 345 hp, V-8 were highlights of the ’68 Park Lane. It also featured a Multi-Drive Merc-O-Matic transmission.
Differentiating Between the Standard Park Lane and the Brougham
What set the Brougham above a standard Park Lane was its power and luxury. You could choose from a four-door sedan, a four-door hardtop or a two-door hardtop. The Brougham differentiated itself from the standard Park Lane by featuring 50-50 split bench seats with deep foam and thick box pleating for ultimate comfort. Unique ornamentation was aesthetically pleasing to a buyers’ eye, along with upscale door panels that had higher trim levels and pull straps.
Many auto enthusiasts wonder why the Brougham never became a successful selling vehicle. Some say Mercury struggled to find its niche within the auto industry. It simply wasn’t a Ford or a Lincoln, and buyers could opt to go for the cheaper Ford or splurge on a luxurious Lincoln.
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