A huge car with a propensity for luxury is often called a “land yacht.” Our Pick of the Day is a car that can stake that claim better than just about every automobile out there: a 1968 Mercury Park Lane convertible with the Colony Park Paneling option. It is for sale on ClassicCars.com by a dealership in Hopedale, Massachusetts. (Click the link to view the listing)
In 1968, Mercury offered more full-size models than you may remember. The traditional ones were Monterey, Montclair, and Park Lane, but Mercury also offered the Marquis and Brougham, both which had been introduced the year before. The Marquis was a personal-luxury coupe with extra emphasis on luxury. It was only available as a two-door hardtop and featured the formal C-pillar that was used by the Ford LTD. The Brougham took the Park Lane one further with sumptuous interior appointments, available only as a four-door hardtop and sedan until a two-door coupe was introduced mid-year 1968.
Another mid-year addition was the Colony Park Paneling option, an applique available on the Mercury Park Lane two-door hardtop and convertible, and the Brougham two-door hardtop. “In today’s style-conscious marketing, there is a clear demand for the rich, natural look of wood,” said E.F. Laux, Mercury’s general manager at the time. “This is evidenced by the growing popularity of simulated wood-grain inserts in car interiors and on the trunk lids of many of the new models.” The option, of course, was influenced from Mercury’s top-of-the-line wagon, the Colony Park, with its generous use of wood paneling. As the Colony Park had risen from three percent of Mercury sales from 10 years previous to more than 15 percent, Mercury thought it would be logical to apply the “yacht-deck paneling” to some of its other upscale offerings.
Eventually, Colony Park Paneling became available for the Monterey two-door hardtop as well. According to Marti Auto Works, 943 full-size Mercurys were built with the Colony Park Paneling option, including 215 Park Lane convertibles — that’s a generous 19.33 percent of Park Lane convertibles out of 1,112 built.
This 50,000-mile 1968 Mercury Park Lane convertible is one of 82 painted Lime Frost (identical to Ford’s Lime Gold), of which 42 of those featured a Dark Ivy Gold Ruffino vinyl bench seat. It’s also one of 874 Park Lane convertibles built with the 390 four-barrel engine, though it currently is powered by a new 460 crate motor. “The rear bumper is excellent, but the front is showing its age,” claims the seller. “Fairly new white power convertible top with top boot. Was born with black top.” Inside, the “interior has held up extremely well. Deluxe steering wheel, beautiful dash, AM radio, and seat belts.”
Land yachts will always have a place in the collector car market. “Keep a copy of the Marti Report with you. The doubters will be out in force,” adds the seller, which only means this 1968 Mercury Park Lane is a very interesting car that gets people talking. Want to be the talk of the town? For $27,500, you can direct the narrative.