Knowing that Montegos share body shells, engines and many other com­ponents with the less expensive Fair­lane, you may fairly question just what it is that you get when you pop for the $200 or so extra required to take title to a Mercury nameplate. One hid­den extra is a torque box at each of the four wheels. Fairlanes only have them at the two rear wheels. The func­tion of a torque box is to allow the sus­pension, whether it be the coil in front or the leaf in the rear, a measure of controlled fore-and-aft movement so that the shock of entering and leaving a pothole or impacting a bump is not transferred directly to the body through a fixed spring anchor. Springs and shocks alone do a good job of damping vertical motion but that is only part of the force created. And unitized bodies, like those used in Montegos, are the most sensitive as the springs must mount directly to their structure.

Another Montego plus for your extra dollar is about 60 pounds more of judi­ciously placed insulation material than will be found in an equivalent Fairlane. Despite the ads, it is really Mercury products and not Ford that are the "silent ones." 

Transmission availability follows pret­ty much the pattern of Fairlane de­scribed in the previous section with one important exception: the floor­shifted 4-speed transmission is offered with any V-8 powered body style until you get to the 390-cubic-inch option where wagons are excepted. The 4­ speed is standard with the 428 engine but it should be noted that this power option is restricted to 2-door hardtops. So, too, is the 427 which comes only with a 3-speed automatic when deliv­ered to private citizens. Obviously, 427's can be hooked to the 4-speed because that is the supposedly stock racing configuration but you'll go blind looking for this combination in any catalog available to the public. 

Rural mail carriers and others with a traction problem but no real need for excess horsepower won't be happy to know that the newly designed locking differential isn't offered with any engine smaller than a 351-inch V-8. The reason apparently is because locking force in this design increases in proportion to the amount of driving torque applied, a commodity in which the 6 and the 302-inch V -8 are deficient. 

The Montego instrument panel has 5 equal-sized receptacles for gauges but since one of these holes is used up by heater controls, you have your­ choice of a clock or a tach but not both. This thinly disguised gripe on our part has appeared elsewhere in this text in the hope that Detroit's product planners will someday realize that most buyers of performance-oriented cars want at least the option of complete instrumentation without having to re­sort to aftermarket hang-ons. 

CJ Cyclones with the optional ram­air package are distinguished by a big and functional hood scoop that is paint­ed a dull black whenever this color doesn't conflict with ,the basic paint scheme. The system operates the same as the one in Fairlanes in that it goes into action only when the engine is operating at or near full ,throttle. This is really probably the safest arrangement from a durability standpoint as ram air of necessity must bypass the en­gine's air cleaner. 

When you order power brakes you get front discs at no extra charge. Power steering is available except with the 427 and manually shifted 428's, and the Montego is the only intermediate that offers power-assisted side windows on its wagons as well as regular body styles. A Cyclone styling gimmick, along with hood pins, are dual and stream­lined "racing mirrors" painted in body color. A steering wheel with the horn control imbedded in its rim is optional on any model and so, too, are Good­year's new 70-series belted tires with the trademark and other data per­manently affixed in white rubber.