The Mercury Colony Park was the top-of-the-line full-size station wagon offered by Mercury between 1957 and 1991. It wore woodgrain paneling on the bodysides and tailgate, as did the 1957-1991 Ford Country Squire and the 1958 Edsel Bermuda wagons.
In 1957, Mercury grouped all of its station wagons into their own series. From that year until 1960, the Colony Park was a pillarless hardtop model, then switched to pillared styling for 1961. Just as on the Mercury Turnpike Cruiser, the 368 cu in (6.0 L) Lincoln Y-Block V8 was standard equipment in 1957. An electric clock was also standard. A padded dash was optional.
The 1957-60 Mercury station wagons, as with the non-wagon models, are noted for having a basic body and chassis shared with no other Ford make with the exception of the 1958 Edsel Citation and Corsair.
Mercury station wagons of this vintage had the longest wheelbase, the widest bodies and the most cargo space of any station wagon ever built by this make. Moreover, the 1960 Mercury Colony Park had the same 430 cubic inch MEL engine as standard equipment as the Lincoln Continental.
The 1961-64 Mercury station wagons were the first since 1956 to share a body and chassis with Ford. This move was made because of declining Mercury sales from 1957 to 1960, and despite the obvious Ford origins of this generation of Mercurys, buyers began to return to the make. Indeed, the Mercury division's best sales years came during the early years when the cars were seen as little more than "gussied-up Fords.
In 1965, Colony Park was promoted to "the Lincoln Continental of station wagons", when it was given the Lincoln Continental's suspension package (along with its cushy, floaterboat ride). It continued to enjoy this distinction through its final year.
The 1966 Colony Park was fitted with Ford's two-way "Magic Doorgate", which was designed to fold down like a conventional tailgate and also swing sideways like a door. Ford's dual-facing rear seats became available on the 1967 Colony Park. Mercury also introduced a feature where windflow was directed across the rear window through channels integrated and covered with the "D" pillar. This also allowed fresh air to enter into the rear of the vehicle if the rear window was retracted into the tailgate.
On third-generation Colony Parks, the standard engine was a 390 cu in (6.4 L) FE V8 with 270 horsepower (200 kW). From 1966-1967, the 410 cu in (6.7 L) FE "Marauder" V8 with 330 horsepower (250 kW) was an option.
When the full-size Mercury wagons were restyled for 1969, they were no longer a separate series, and the Colony Park became a member of the Marquis series (Grand Marquis from 1983 forward). Also in 1969, the Magic Doorgate was reworked to that it could swing sideways without having to roll the window down.
The Colony Park was as heavy as it would ever be with the 1969-1978 generation. Because of the car's sheer heft, Mercury equipped this generation with a 400-cubic-inch (6.6 liter) V-8 as standard, with a 460-cubic-inch (7.5 liter) optional.
Toward the end of this generation, the 351-cubic-inch V-8 became available, although it was less than desirable. Most surviving examples carry either of the two larger engines, as they were far more popular—not to mention more capable of powering such a heavy vehicle—when new.
Approximately 7,850,000 full-size Fords and Mercurys were sold over 1969-78. This makes it the second best selling Ford automobile platform after the Ford Model T.
For 1979, Mercury joined its Detroit rivals in downsizing its largest models, resulting in a car considerably smaller and lighter than its predecessor. With the downsizing, the former 400- and 460-cubic-inch engines were discontinued, and the 351-cubic-inch Windsor V8 became the largest available in the Colony Park. All Colony Parks were equipped with standard 8-passenger seating and exterior woodgrain siding.
The 351 would be dropped early in the 1980s, as most customers deemed the 302 Windsor engine sufficiently powerful.
This generation of Colony Park would see few substantial changes during its 12-year lifespan, garnering only minor grille and trim revisions annually through 1987. In 1988, the entire front grille headlamp assembly (shared with the Grand Marquis) was redesigned for a more modern and aerodynamic appearance, and then in 1990, the instrument panel was revamped to allow the addition of a driver's side airbag.
When the Grand Marquis was redesigned with aero-styling for 1992, the Colony Park station wagon was dropped from Mercury's lineup. By that time, full-size station wagons were no longer popular due to the increasing popularity of minivans and SUVs. The last full-size station wagons, the Chevrolet Caprice, the Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser and the Buick Roadmaster Estate ended production in 1996. In 2005, DaimlerChrysler briefly reintroduced the Dodge Magnum name on a full-size wagon, based on the LX platform Chrysler 300, but it was dropped in 2008.