One of Mercury’s most memorable dream cars is the XM Turnpike Cruiser. The XM foretold the styling of the '57-59 production Mercury models. Bold styling was highlighted by 12-inch V-shaped taillights flowing from matching white pearlescent, concave sculpted, canted rear fender tips/fins.
Twin transparent-tint Plexiglas roof panels tilted up when doors were opened to assist entry and exit. Other interesting design details included dual exhaust exiting from the rear fenders, chromed quad bullets in the front bumper, four bucket seats and concealed door handles. The center portion of the three-section backlight could be lowered for ventilation, a feature adapted by the production 1957 Turnpike Cruiser.
In order to acquaint the public with Mercury's upcoming radically new look, it was decided to build running concept car. A full-size, fully-operational model, the Mercury XM Turnpike Cruiser was constructed in 1955 by Ghia in Italy for $80,000.
This one-off dream car made its public debut at the Cleveland Auto Show in January 1956. The XM was powered by a 312 cu. in. Mercury V-8 with dual four barrel carbs connected to a stock Merc-O-Matic automatic transmission. The dashboard had a tachometer and a 150 mph speedometer.
After it traveled the auto show circuit, the persimmon beauty was carted to various Lincoln Mercury dealers throughout the U.S. in a special trailer with large transparent side glazing so that the car could easily be viewed while still in the trailer. The tractor and trailer were painted the same color as the XM and fitted with wide whitewall tires.
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