18 February 2014

Car Stuff: Random Sighting #21

This car isn't old, but I took pictures of it anyway, mainly because it has a vinyl roof covering and I didn't think those were available anymore. It turns out they aren't—not from the factory, at least.

It happened that I had just read a post on Curbside Classic about new Cadillacs with dealer-installed vinyl tops when I saw this car driving through my neighborhood. It's not a Cadillac but a Mercury, though I'll admit that I had to look up exactly which model, because some of the cars they made in their final few years on the market sold in such small numbers that they I simply was not aware they had existed.
It turns out this was called a Montego, which is a nameplate from the 1960s and '70s that Mercury went and dug out of its corporate attic, but applied to this particular car it's basically meaningless. It's essentially the same car as a Ford Five Hundred, which was the early-2000's replacement for the Taurus.
The roof treatment appears to be part of a "Park Lane" decor package (another model name from Mercury's past) that also includes the shiny window trim, and more than anything else, I couldn't help but wonder why someone would still want a car equipped this way. It's such a dated look, especially with its aerodynamically rounded roofline (which looks borrowed from something like an Audi A6) that is totally unsuited to a faux-convertible treatment.
Oddly enough, I had to stalk this car for a while, which accounts for the extremely mediocre nature of these pictures. When I took the distant shot above, from across the street and behind the car, I didn't realize its owner was getting into it and was looking in my direction (probably trying to figure out why someone might want to take a picture of him or his car). Had I been able to see him clearly from that far away, I wouldn't have taken the shot. Subsequently I walked down the block and attempted to get a side shot of the car as it passed me, but tried to make it look like I was taking a picture of something else. I was able to get the front shot of it in its driveway a few days later, but you don't really get the full effect of the tacky add-on vinyl roof from that angle.

Looking at that last shot, it kind of reminds me of some of those old surveillance photos of Whitey Bulger. Too bad this isn't a genuine Mercury Montego from back in the '70s; that would have been even more evocative of those pictures.

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