AJ’s Car of the Day: 1978 Mercury Colony Park Wagon

AJ’s Car of the Day: 1978 Mercury Colony Park Wagon

Car: Mercury Colony Park Wagon

Year: 1978

What makes it special: The Colony Park was a full-size station wagon marketed by the Mercury division of Ford Motor Company between 1957 and 1991. Colony Park was marketed as either the premium-trim or the sole full-size station wagon offering of the division. Full-size Mercury and Ford vehicles adopted similar bodyshells, with the Colony Park becoming the counterpart of the Ford Country Squire until their discontinuation.

What made it famous: The fifth generation introduced covered headlights, which were deployed using a vacuum canister system that kept the doors down when a vacuum condition existed in the lines, provided by the engine when it was running. If a loss of vacuum occurred, the doors would retract up so that the headlights were visible if the system should fail.. The Magic Doorgate was reworked so that it could swing outward without having to roll the window down.  Coinciding with the addition of 5mph bumpers, Ford and Mercury station wagons underwent a major redesign for 1973, including a completely new roofline. In place of the framed doors, the station wagons were marketed as “pillarless hardtops”; though the roof was fitted with slim B-pillars, the doors were fitted with frameless door glass. This generation of the Colony Park would be the longest and heaviest station wagon ever sold by Mercury. For the 1978 model year, a 351 Windsor V8 became standard, with the 400 and 460 as options. Most surviving examples are equipped with one of the two larger V8 engines, as they were far more popular, with the 351 proving to have little fuel-economy gains.

Why I would want one: Wagons of all makes and models have become more popular, largely due to their multiple uses and their post-minivan and SUV scarcity.

Fun fact: As the Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis sedans underwent a major redesign for the 1992 model year, the station wagon body style was dropped from the model lineup, leaving the Colony Park with no direct replacement.

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