The Mercury Turnpike Cruiser was the flagship model of the Mercury Division of the Ford Motor Company that was produced from 1957 to 1958. The Turnpike Cruiser was produced in two body styles: a two-door and four-door hardtop were offered. In 1957 a convertible was produced, serving as the pace car for the Indianapolis 500 of that year.
At introduction of the 1957 line up the Turnpike Cruiser series offered two- and four-door hardtop body styles. They are best known for the unique styling cues and wide array of gadgets including a "Breezeway" power rear window that could be lowered to improve ventilation, "twin jet" air intakes at upper corners of car's windshield, "seat-o-matic" automatically adjusting seat, and an average speed "computer". A convertible version served as the pace car of the 1957 Indianapolis 500.
For 1957, the Turnpike Cruiser was the premium model offering from Mercury. In addition to its unique features, the car was further differentiated from other Mercury models by a gold anodized trim strip in the car's rear fin. It came standard with an automatic transmission and a 368-c.i.d. engine producing 290 horsepower (220 kW); this engine was optional on other Mercurys. A tachometer was available. Safety features such as an impact absorbing, deep-dish steering wheel and safety door locks were standard, while seat belts and a padded dash were optional. It made up 8.47% of Mercury's sales in 1957.
Later in the model year an open car named Convertible Cruiser was added to this series. From the beginning it was created only to be used as the official pace car of the 1957 Indianapolis 500. On January 7, 1957 it was announced that the Convertible Cruiser would be available as a production model as well. All Convertible cruisers had a continental tire kit and were painted yellow (Sun Glitter), similar to the original pace cars.
In 1958 the Turnpike Cruiser joined the mid-range Mercury Montclair line with only minor trim changes to the car from the previous year, but the convertible version was not offered this year. Standard engine became the 383-c.i.d. "Marauder" V8 engine, with the 430-c.i.d., 360 horsepower (270 kW) version available as an option. A triple-carburetor "Super Marauder" 400 horsepower (300 kW) version was available across the Mercury line.
The Turnpike Cruiser was discontinued for 1959. However from 1963 to 1966 Mercury revived the Turnpike Cruiser's most noted feature, the retractable rear window, on its "Breezeway" sub-series in the Monterey, Montclair and Park Lane model ranges.