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Breezeway! 1963 Mercury Monterey Custom Hardtop


Normally, we’ll show you a front 3/4 shot if possible as the lead picture for a post, but since the most distinguishing feature of this Mercury design was the “breezeway” retractable rear window, I decided to make an exception. This clean 1963 Monterey Custom Hardtop (so identified by the three vertical pieces of trim on the rear fenders) is listed for sale here on eBay with a buy it now of $4,500. It’s located in Las Vegas, Nevada–possible bribery to get a family member to come along when you go to pick it up?


The seller purchased the vehicle from an eBay auction in 2009, and includes a printout of the auction listing here if you want to look closer–which isn’t a bad idea as they don’t tell us much themselves apart from them not having enough time to drive the car enough; thus the sale. That listing said the car was largely original, but featured an older repaint in the original color and no rust present at all. It looks like that may still be the case, and with the Nevada climate it’s very likely. There’s one other surprise about the car, but I’ll save that for now.


I know this is a four door advertisement, but I wanted you folks to see how the window really was a big thing for Mercury. They called it “the window that came in out of the rain,” and stressed how it would make being in the car more comfortable in all conditions. I found one source that stated the window mechanism was actually designed for the large Ford station wagons and borrowed for the Mercury. I’m not sure how well it was received, though, because as of mid-1963 you could get the Marauder, which was largely a Monterey with the fastback roof from the 1963-1/2 Ford sporty looking hardtop grafted onto the body.


I’m guessing this is how the car has been stored, out of the majority of the Nevada sun. The seller does tell us that the breezeway window works well, which must be a necessity in the heat, especially without air conditioning.


The inside looks really nice, despite the seller telling us that there is one rip on a seam in the driver’s seat. I hope it can be repaired; it would be a shame to lose that original upholstery!


But what’s that other surprise, you ask? This Monterey should have been originally equipped with a 390 cubic inch V8, and some sources say there was an optional 406 cubic inch one. But this is a honking big 428 V8 engine, and it’s attached to a C6 transmission rather than the original Merc-o-matic. This was done prior to the current seller’s ownership, and we don’t know the reason why. I’m also a little suspicious of the brown deposits all around the coolant filler cap; I hope it’s nothing more than sloppyness and/or a bad cap. However, how many rust free Breezeway-equipped Mercurys have you seen lately for only $4,500? Seems like a good buy to me–how about you?



  1. John H. in CT

    Hmm, 428 or just a 428 air cleaner? I don’t know my Fomocos well enough to confirm. If that truly is a 428 and it runs well, the rest of the car is free.

    Had an uncle with one of these. That back window was sooo cool when you were an eight year old.

    • Mepo

      My Grandfather had one, it was cool. Pretty much my first recollection of a specific car.

    • David Montanbeau

      390 with a 2 or 4 barrel was available. Also, 427 with single and dual quads was an option along with power steering and brakes along with air conditioning.

      • Jay S.

        My brother has a ’63 Ford that came from the factory with a 406. He says that option was available for 6 months, then dropped in favor of the 428. Could have been the same option for the Mercury.

  2. albert hellebuyck

    The 390 has a vertical mount thermostat and a tank that is part of the front thermostat housing and the tank also has the radiator cap. This most likely is a 428.

  3. Boss351

    Motor looks like it is a 429 from the late 1960’s. Probably a 1968 or 1969 Thunderbird.

    Back window was a neat feature but I beleive it was only on the 63 model.

    • David Montanbeau

      63 and 64. Here is my 64. One owner car.

      • Siegfried

        That’s exactly like the one my dad had when I was a kid. It had a special order 3 speed overdrive matched up to a 390. We liked to play with the rear window. Brought back some good memories. Thanks for posting it.

    • MrBlueOval 57

      It’s definitely a 429 385 series from atleast 1969 era. 1969 was the first year for that engine and it basically replaced the tired FE engine. The breezeway rear window was a cool option and ran from 1958 thru 1960 on the Lincoln Continental and then again from 1963 thru 1968 on the Mercury Monterey though the backwards facing breezeway only ran thru 1966. I don’t know why but Mercury(Ford) had a breezeway window on the ’67 and ’68 Mercs but it only went down about 2 inches and the rear pillars were normal looking and not reversed like the earlier ’63-’66 models. A power sunroof was a new option on the 1968 Ford and Mercury’s so the breezeway was discontinued mid-year in 1968.

      • MrBlueOval 57

        Here’s a pic of my white ’65 Breezeway.

      • rimj49

        I believe you are wrong with stating that the breezeway window started in 1958. My father bought two of these the first in 1957 and the second in 1965. Great cars!

      • MrBlueOval 57

        Hey rimj49, NOPE I’m not wrong. Having worked for ford for well over 40 years, I think I know them better than my wife, LOL !!! Anyway, The 1957 Lincoln was the older and completely different bodystyle and did not have that breezeway back window. 1958 was the first year of the newer longer wider bodystyle that lasted until 1960. The 1958 cars came out in September of 1957 so he might have bought a car in 1957 but it had to be a 1958 model year if it had the breezeway back window in it. See attached photo of the 1957 Lincoln compared to a 1958 Lincoln and you’ll see what I mean. . Kenny/MrBlueOval 57

      • rimj49

        Kenny/ Mr. Big Blue Oval 57
        Well there you are. Another instance where age gets in the way of reality. Looking at your beautiful 65 Merc. brought back such great memories. I remember being with my Dad as he was purchasing the 65 and trying to persuade him into the black on black 2 door Marauder. Thanks for your input another good day, another thing (re)learned. Jim(rimj49)

      • CCFisher

        You wasted that “NOPE.” 1957-58 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser used a retractable rear window. Though it wasn’t called “Breezeway” (neither were the Lincolns), it’s definitely the same concept.

    • Neil

      I had a ’65, and it had the Breezeway Window. Mine was a 390/ 4 door.
      It was a treat to drive on the highway, just kinda floated down the road. Got the Merc in ’66 from my Dad, and traded it shortly there after for a ‘ 66 GTO. Talk about a radical difference.

  4. SSPBill

    The listing now says it’s a 429 and I believe it. The thermostat housing looks like the 385 series not the FE series where the thermostat sits vertically on the front of the intake.

    I have a co-worker with an identical 390 car right down to the color (it’s for sale by the way). If you haven’t experienced a Breezeway on the open road it’s like driving your front porch down the highway with the pillarless doors and rear window down.

  5. Craig MacDonald

    If I remember correctly, Mercury had a TV ad that featured quarterback Bart Starr throwing a pass through a lowered breezeway window to a person sitting in the back seat. He was the most famous QB of the era and that ad was a big deal.

  6. Mark S

    On a station wagon if you drive down the high way with the back widow open you will fill the car up with exhaust. I’ve always wondered if all your windows are up except this back one if you’d get the same problem with this car. Anyone out there with experience with one of these that can comment on this issue.

    • St. Ramone de V8

      Mark, I had a ’64 Park Lane 2dr. With a factory 4-speed and 352-2bbl. Red on white. I blew up the 352, and put in a 390-4bbl. Fun boat, and I ran it with the back window down all the time because we were stupid enough to smoke back then. The threat of exhaust fumes was not an issue. Ever. The exhaust came out on both sides of the rear bumper which seemed like a half an acre away from that rear window. I sold it cheap to buy my first house in 1989. It was the right thing to do back then, but for me it was the one that got away!

  7. Luke Fitzgerald

    Bill and Boss are right – Lima 385, the air cleaner of a polluted post 70 car – shame


    I agree with Boss that it is a 429 just by looking at the thermostat housing placement and a couple other things. I could be wrong but think the thermostat on a 428 is more forward and out the front and the 429 sets back and is on top. It would be easy if you just had the numbers on the heads or block. If interested that’s what id ask for.

  9. Howard A Member

    If I remember, the “Breezeway” rear window, did indeed allow exhaust fumes to enter the car something like a station wagon, and was meant to be used in conjunction with the heater vent for flow through ventilation. Just opening the back window created a negative draft, and exhaust did come in. Not one of Ford’s better ideas, and was dropped in ’64. As for the car, Ford was turning out some of the best cars. My mom had a ’62 Mercury that was her favorite car. Started in any weather. Very cool find.

    • David montanbeau

      You do get exhaust fumes with the rear window down.

  10. Marc Lawrence

    My uncle was a car nut who bought and sold cars like crazy back then. Sometimes he would change cars twice a year. But he loved this car and kept it an amazing (for him) 6 or 7 years. I loved the breezeway window option and the chrome went on forever, inside and out on these cars. His was a beautiful light champagne brown metallic. It always stuck in my mind.

  11. Dick in SoCal

    I remember riding in the backseat one of these cars with a guy whose father owned a Mercury dealership. It was super nice car. He must have been running the heater because the air flow was neutral and there were no noticeable fumes. I always thought the roof line looked a little weird.

  12. charlie Member

    And this is a case where the four door “hardtop” – no B pillar – is, in my opinion then, and now, a much cleaner design than the two door.

  13. David Montanbeau

    Jay S
    428 did not come out till 1966.

    • Jay S.

      Correct. I meant to say 427.
      The 406 was available in the ’63 Monterey S-55 and S-55 Marauder, either with
      one 4bbl or three 2bbl carb

  14. ray sigler

    I had a 63 Breezeway 390 4dr hardtop and my Dad had a 64 Breezeway Hardtop
    way back when, never notice any fumes !!

  15. Jay S.

    Excellent reference. Thanks.

  16. Jay S.

    The ’57 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser had the breezeway window.

    • jackthemailman

      I thought so! I remember riding in one in the summer of ’57 as a 10 year old. A friend’s older sister was driving and foolishly let me sit up front. She went around a corner (to the left) a bit too fast: I was holding onto the door handle and, zoop, I was the world’s fastest boy for about 5 seconds, until the car stopped. My third (!) experience of being “pre-disastered.” I had a fun childhood!

  17. gearjam1

    Grandparents had one. I’ve been tempted to inquire about one that has been sitting next town over for years…tied up in probate. My Dad says these did have electrical issues…and quite a few of them burned.

  18. Jay S.

    The ’57 Lincoln sales brochure does not show any models with a breezeway window.

    The Mercury Turnpike Cruiser was the only ’57 vehicle with that feature.

    • MrBlueOval 57

      Here’s a 57 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser (the year I was born) with the Breezeway back window setup. This was the car that started it all. The ONLY car in ’57 that had it. A Beautiful car too. Probably Ford’s most beautiful vehicle ever built but just my opinion.
      Kenny/MrBlueOval 57

      Like 1
  19. David Montanbeau
  20. chad

    Thanks guys for all the links.
    Some of the art & graphics reminded me of the adds (on screen & ‘hard copy’) at the drive in of the late 50s/early 60s (color, rendering, etc).
    Quite a flash back.
    Amassing info on the FE 427/8/9 too ~

    Glad the ‘thumbs up’ is back U all get several!

    Like 1
  21. MRE2ME

    My dad had a 65 Montclair with the Breezeway power window in the rear with manual window winders on all 4 doors. Seemed kind of odd to me even then. Equipped with the 352. Still remember driving that boat at 16 years old.

  22. Barry Klotz

    I had a 63-Mercury Marauder back in 1969. It had a 390 – 4 V. Built it to put a little more horses. Wish I still had it. My brother at the same time had a 63 Monterey Breezthru , it was 390 also.Thanks, for the memories.

  23. Colin

    I have a ’63 Monterey convertible. I have owned since ’81. I found it under a tree outside of Wetaskiwin Alberta. $300 bucks. Just floats down the highway, real smooth!!

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