What spurs loyalty to a specific automaker? Does it come from treasured memories of family cars, your first ride, or simply a model’s engaging, eye-catching styling? For Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, resident Robert MacDowell, his adoration of Blue Oval brands stemmed from a 1957 Ford F-100 pickup truck and a 1953 Mercury, his first and second vehicles. Both left a lasting impression on Bob, as did his early career path.
After high school graduation in 1956, Bob became an Edsel parts man in 1957, learned auto mechanics and bodywork, went for Ford training, and became a certified Ford mechanic by 1960. The Edsel dealer he worked for switched to selling Mercury, and Bob later went to an Oldsmobile dealer for short time before adding a successful stint with an HVAC company and then NAPA, from where he retired. He reports that he still does 99 percent of the work on the cars in his collection in his well-equipped home shop/garage.
Bob has also long appreciated eclectic options and accessories —the 1965 390 Galaxie convertible he bought new is equipped with a three-speed manual transmission with overdrive and a 45-rpm record player—so when he laid eyes on this Sea Foam Green 1968 Mercury Park Lane convertible at Fall Carlisle in 2007, he had to have it. The seldom-seen extra-cost Colony Park Paneling (aka yacht-deck, wood-tone, or simulated walnut-tone paneling), which derived its name from the upscale Mercury station wagon that wore the same style of trim, struck a chord with him. Consequently, he purchased the car shortly after the event from a collector who kept it in a climate-controlled garage with about 30 other vehicles.
The Park Lane was in its last year of production in 1968, and its line included two-door and four-door hardtops, four-door sedans, and a convertible. Though this 123-inch wheelbase, 220.1-inch-long, and 77.9-inch-wide luxury liner wasn’t the top model amongst Mercury’s solid-roof offerings, it did serve as such in soft-top form. The Monterey, which shared the same dimensions, was the entry-level full-size convertible.
Our example’s Marti Report reveals that just 1,111 Park Lane convertibles were built in 1968, and 876 were equipped with the standard Marauder Super 390-cu.in. engine. The 315-hp four-barrel V-8 is mated to the optional Merc-O-Matic C-6 three-speed transmission, and a 2.75:1-geared 9-inch axle resides out back. The car was ordered with options that included power steering, power front disc brakes, power windows, AM radio, Deluxe seatbelts, 8.45 x 15 white sidewall tires, and a remote-controlled driver’s side mirror.
Bob recalls that it had less than 33,000 miles on it when he bought it and was in “decent condition but still needed work.” Thus, his intention was to “bring it back to factory standards, not over restored like many do today,” and to participate in AACA events. It only took from late 2007 to 2009 to meet that objective