2 thoughts on “Almost In One Piece!”

  1. 1957-58 Turnpike Cruiser Read this article, published in Hemmings, for further appreciation of this unique automobile:
    The Mercury Turnpike Cruiser's bag of tricks was a deep one indeed, but one of its most memorable gadgets was one of its simplest: At the touch of a button, the rear window could be lowered to allow cooling air to pass right through the cabin.

    It seems like the kind of design drawn up with young backseat passengers in mind. There are Mom and Dad in the front bench seat, Connie Francis on the radio, a long, straight road stretching out ahead, and the balmy, summer evening air rushing through. In the days before seat belts, it must have been irresistible for the kids to turn around in their seats and look out that open window and across that broad, flat trunk lid to the asphalt ribbon reeling out behind them.

    "With Breezeway Ventilation-greatest improvement in car ventilation in automotive history-air is brought in through supplementary roof-level air intakes and flows out through the retractable, power-operated back window," the advertising brochure announced. "You enjoy the refreshing comfort of a continuous flow of gentle air."

    The idea apparently was borrowed from Mercury's D-528 concept car of 1955, the first car to feature an electrically operated rear window. But the idea dates back further; sedans of the 1930s featured rear windows that could be cranked down, and many coupes with rumble seats had opening rear windows so that those inside the car could chat with those outside.

    In a car that had so many wild styling flourishes fighting it out for the viewer's attention, the Turnpike Cruiser's roll-down back window was relatively sedate. The trailing edge of the roof is cut at a rearward slant at the C-pillars, with the rear window assembly composed of two curved, fixed windows flanking the movable, rectangular center section. Bright trim decorates the lip of the roof and the window channels.

    The novel feature became a signature for Mercury throughout the 1960s. It went out of production with the 1960 Lincoln Continental Mark V, but returned with a vengeance as the "Breezeway" roofline, available on full-sized Mercurys from 1963 through 1968. These windows are memorable for their backward slant, a design that Mercury said allowed the window to remain open, rain or shine.

    The Turnpike Cruiser, offered as a hardtop coupe, hardtop sedan and convertible, was never a big seller, and was gone from the lineup after just two years.

    Production was just 16,861 for 1957, slowing to a trickle of 6,404 the next year. Was it the styling? The steep $3,597 sticker price? Whatever it was, we're sure it couldn't have been the back window's fault. After all, it was the "greatest improvement in car ventilation in automotive history."


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