Remember the Turnpike Cruiser? If you do, you've got a good memory -- and you've been around awhile.
The Turnpike Cruiser was a 1957 Mercury and among the most renowned, not to say notorious, vehicles in the annals of the 71-year-old brand that Ford now plans to strangle.
The Turnpike Cruiser is memorable because it marked Mercury's last attempt to be something other than a Ford under another name. Styling featured scooped-out channels that extended from the door to the back of the car. Taillights were integrated into the channels.
Some people called it a styling breakthrough. Others considered it a styling disaster.
It was not a hit with the ultimate jury, the folks who visited Mercury showrooms to buy one. Not enough people did. Sales dwindled in the late 1950s, and the Turnpike Cruiser faded away. Mercury resumed its role of Ford's more expensive brother.
The Cruiser didn't do much for Jack Reith either. Reith, one of Ford's famed post-WWII Whiz Kids, sold the Cruiser to Ford Motor Co. when he was Mercury general manager in 1955-57.The Cruiser bombed, and so did Reith.