Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Prospect Park Colony Park

I was strolling the border between the South Slope and Windsor Terrace in Brooklyn when I passed this great colossus:
This is a 1986/1987 Mercury Grand Marquis Colony Park station wagon in Oxford White with Rosewood wood-tone applique paneling. This executive looking beast soldiered on in it's 29th year of production in '86 oblivious to the changes all around it. Up front is a V8 engine powering the rear wheels just like the original Colony Park from 1957.
First of all I would like to give a huge shout-out to the accommodating woodgrain trim that neatly skirts around the soft impact zone behind the bumper. In a move I don't remember seeing elsewhere the woodgrain is also present inside the trim surround! Faux wood outlined by faux wood. This wagon is in near-perfect condition.
Here we see Colony Park in all its glory. A big selling point in the literature of the day was its size. According to the brochure you could haul 6 adults and still have 52.5 cubic feet of cargo space. Kick out the passengers and fold the back seat flat and you get 88 cubic feet of space. You can lay full sheets of plywood flat on the cargo floor like this was a truck. If you opt for a trailer hitch you can tow a 5,000 pound boat or camping trailer with ease.
This is exactly what the Colony Park looked like from '79-'91 as the body from the windshield back to the tailgate never changed (the front clip became more streamlined in '88). The only indicator that this is an '86-'87 version is that third brake light mounted on the tailgate.
I've got to hand it to Mercury for their realistic wood grain. It's like they finally got it right the moment it was about to disappear from the automotive scene.
Grand Marquis is the name of the this Mercury line. Colony Park is the name for the wagon only.
The tailgate is an old-school dual version. It can swing open like a door or open flat like a pickup tailgate. The rear window is powered and can be lowered by either the key or a button on the dash. In the rear area there was a Ford Motor Company only option of dual sideways rear seats where the passengers would be facing each other knee to knee.
This ride is 2 feet longer than the Ford Ranger of the same year!
That vertical white rectangle between the front and rear door glass is an '80s classic; electroluminescent coach or opera lights. These don't contain light bulbs but are actually a strip of material that will glow when charged. The problem is that they burn out relatively quickly and nobody knows what to do or where to go to replace them. Well almost nobody! This guy made a DIY post on how to rebuild your EL lighting for your '80s ride. I'm glad he did because I have a great admiration for people who take it upon themselves to conquer automotive problems that nobody realized they had.
We'll leave this smart wagon here to ferry kids from soccer practice in 1987. With its jutting sharp corners and crisp straight lines this is a ride that was built at the very end of its desirability. Minivans had been filling up family garages for years at this point, taking large portions of the target market with it. In addition another threat was emerging from its own parent company. The smaller Mercury Sable wagon was built on the same platform as the aerodynamic Ford Taurus. Both of these newer cars looked like the future and were instant hits. This Colony Park was like the highest end 8-track stereo money can buy while CDs are hitting the shelves. It would continue on into the '90s with a slightly softened look but the march towards oblivion had begun. These days when I do encounter one of these it's usually being used as a construction vehicle filled with ladders and debris. To see a flawless one was a surprise.

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