Excessive use of chrome trim, tailfins, and space-age design cues were reminiscent of 1950s styling themes. The 1960s saw the introduction of the Muscle and Pony car, culminating in some of the highest performance vehicles ever to roam the pavement. Increasing insurance premiums, safety concerns, new safety and emission requirements, and ultimately the fuel crisis of 1973 sent automakers scrambling to revamp their entire lineup in the wake of new consumer buying habits. Many automakers introduced smaller, safer, and more luxurious vehicles with a host of standard and optional equipment, powered by fuel-sipping engines. The big-block and high horsepower engines had become extinct, and engineers worked to supplement the performance loss with aerodynamics, reduced weight, turbocharging, and numerous other techniques.
The market favored an increase in the compact segment, and Ford entered its Maverick and Granada to contest for those sales. In the Mercury division, the Granada's counterpart was the Monarch, and the Mavericks was the Comet, adding a higher level of luxury and standard features than their siblings. It was an unusual formula of associating a compact size with a higher-than-usual level of luxury, but one that was consistent with the market demands.
Mercury used inspiration for the name of its new model from a marque of Ford Canada built during the 1940s and 1950s, called the Monarch. Introduced on the Mercury line in 1975, the Monarch served as the counterpart of the Ford Granada, positioned between the compact Comet and the larger intermediate-sized Montego. Production was brief, lasting until 1980 when it was replaced Cougar sedans and station wagons for 1981.
Both the Ford Granada and Mercury Monarch used a unibody chassis with a coil spring front suspension and a leaf-sprung live rear axle. Power was provided by a 200 cubic-inch inline six-cylinder unit with a 250 cubic-inch inline-6 being optional. Additional engine options included a 302 and 351 Windsor V8. The 302 CID V8 had a new variable-venturi carburetor, and the response throttle linkage was improved, along with a new DuraSpark ignition. A new standard four-speed manual floor shift had four-gear overdrive, and Mercury added lower rear axle ratios, and a new standard coolant recovery system.
The 200 CID six had overhead valves, a cast-iron block and head, 8.5:1 compression, seven main bearings, hydraulic valve lifters, a one-barrel carburetor, and delivered 96 horsepower at 4,400 RPM and 151 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 RPM. The 250 CID six also had seven main bearings, hydraulic valve lifters, a one-barrel carburetor, and delivered 98 horsepower and 182 lb-ft of torque. The 90-degree 302 CID V8 had overhead valves, 8.4:1 compression, and delivered 130 horsepower and 242 ft-lbs of torque. The 351 Windsor with a two-barrel carburetor and 8.3:1 compression had 149 horsepower and 291 lb-ft of torque. The 351 Windsor in the Monarch Ghia produced 135 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque.
Unlike the Coke bottle styling of the Comet, the Monarch had straighter-edged body panels, horizontal wrap-around taillamps with amber reflectors, a fuel filler door, and a color-keyed decorative trim panel. The grille was comprised of thin vertical bars with bright surround moldings. In the front fender extensions were horizontally-ribbed parking and signal lamps. The grille was flanked by single round headlamps in square bright housings. The stand-up hood ornament had seven small 'knobs' atop a pillar surrounded by a circle. The lower cowl carried the word 'Monarch', in script. Brightwork was used around the window frame moldings, full-length upper bodyside moldings, and full wheel lip moldings.
The two-door body styles had opera windows, while the four-doors had rear quarter windows.
The 1977 Mercury Monarch had a 109.9-inch wheelbase, the same as the Comet four-door, and slightly larger than the 103-inch platform used on the two-door Comet. The four-door Mercury Cougar had a 118-inch wheelbase while the two-door measured 114-inches. In comparison, the full-size Mercury Marquis had a 124-inch wheelbase platform and an overall length of 229-inches, nearly 32-inches longer than the Monarch. While the Marquis was priced at $6,230 for the two-door hardtop (even more for the Pillared Hardtop, at $6,975), the Monarch pricing began at $4,100 for the two-door sedan. The four-door version was slightly higher at $4,190.
Mounted on the dash was a plaque that proclaimed 'Ride-Engineered by Lincoln-Mercury.' The dashboards had a simulated burled walnut woodgrain applique.
Changes were minimal for 1977, apart from new optional four-way manual bucket setas, temperature-control air conditioning, white lacy-spoke cast-aluminum wheels, simulated wire wheel covers, wide-band whitewall tires, illuminated entry, front cornering lamps, electric trunk lid release, and high-altitude emissions. Additional body colors were added to the list, and several appearance options that had been introduced mid-year 1976 were carried into 1977, including dual racing mirrors, styled steel wheels, and a landau half-vinyl roof.
The Monarch came standard with front disc brakes, blackwall SBR tires, full wheel covers, front parking brake, a lighter, and a locking glovebox. The Monarch Ghia came standard with the 250 CID six, a tapered bodyside paint stripe, paint stripping on hood contours and decklid, full-length lower bodyside moldings with wide color-keyed vinyl inserts. The two-doors had a Ghia ornament on the opera windows and the rear pillar of the four-doors. The base Monarch's rear full wheel lip moldings were replaced by partial wheel lip moldings. Additional equipment included a carpeted trunk, remote driver's mirror, day/night mirror, inside hood release, map pockets, color-keyed wheel covers, and Flight Bench Seat.
The Monarch S
option had a landau vinyl roof on the two-door body styles, rocker panel moldings, dual remote racing mirrors, styled steel wheels with gold-color accents and trim rings, and goldtone paint/tape stripes on the bodysides, hood, and decklid. Mechanical upgrades included a heavy-duty suspension. Bucket seats were on the interior, along with a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Mercury produced 44,509 examples of the two-door sedan and 55,592 of the four-door sedan. An additional 11,051 examples were Ghia two-door sedans and 16,545 were Ghia four-door sedans.By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2021