Before gas became scarce in 1973, American cars grew ever larger. This Montego MX Brougham was very much a part of that trend.
This Montego MX Brougham is another very well-preserved California car, as evidenced by its apparently original blue license plates.
The Montego was Mercury’s intermediate, one step below full-size – or “standard-sized” as they called it then. It shared its platform with the Ford Fairlane, but the Fairlane did without the dramatic, scooped-out front end of the Mercury.
Prior to the gas-station lines in which this Montego was soon to wait, the Big 3 US automakers were stretching their cars as far as they could. While passenger volume remained the same between the Fairlane and Montego, the latter added the inches with abandon.
Especially up front. Mercury knew that a long hood spoke of power and presence.
The hood’s length was indeed impressive…
…as was its contouring. This was a heckuva view from behind the wheel.
The 1970 Montego MX Brougham had an even more contoured nose with hidden headlights, but for 1971, it was clipped back slightly, and it made do with exposed round headlights…
…along with a convex, eggcrate-patterned grille. With almost no protection from the thin bumper beneath, it was common to see these with a few of their grille tines knocked out, as they were the first point of contact in parking nudges. It’s impressive that this one is still intact.
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In back, Mercury distinguished its intermediate from the lesser Ford with lots of shiny criss-crosses.
Three tail light lenses on each side emphasized the Montego’s width. While California’s mild climate has spared this Montego from rust, the upper edges of the tail light surrounds are free of their paint from years of sunny days.
The fastback roofline stressed the lower-and-longer style that was popular back then, of course with a generous covering of vinyl…
…and the rear window was steeply raked.
Width was also drawn out by the boat-like side contouring.
Meanwhile, the interior was on the lower end of intermediate roominess…
…and its trim was remarkably plain for a car calling itself a Brougham. Like the tail lights, the dashboard on this one has seen the sun.
We do miss the hardtops that allowed you to roll down all the windows for a pillarless, near-convertible experience.
Cars that were big on the outside and small on the inside fell out of favor as the 1970s progressed, but not before this Montego was replaced in 1972 with a model that was even larger.
The freewheeling abandon of not being accountable to a car’s practicality or gas mileage was gone by the 1980s, and most examples of them were traded for cars that were more blandly servile. So the impressive dimensions of this Montego stand out as a timepiece rooted in the fashion of a bygone era.