This 1972 Mercury Montego Sportshauler Concept Is an Old-School Tesla Cybertruck That Never Was

This coupe could hold a 6x6 ATV inside.

1972 mercury montego sportshauler concept tesla cybertruck
(image: Ford Motor Company)

The 1972 Mercury Montego Sportshauler could haul a 6×6 Argo – and you’d never know it.

For reference, the 1972 Mercury Montego Sportshauler was based on a early 70’s Ford Ranchero. Despite its coupe-like profile, it was more of a pickup with a lid. Still, that didn’t make it any less cool. Also called the Lincoln-Mercury Montego Cyclone Sportshauler Show Car, the Sportshauler made the autoshow rounds for about a year. It debuted at the 1971 Chicago Auto Show.

This was on the original sheet for the auto show:

“The Sportshauler has a unique rear window and deck lid which form a rear door that opens electrically. When the rear is fully open, a tailgate drops to the ground to form a ramp and the vehicle is lowered by an electric winch. The all-terrain vehicle can be replaced by a minibike, snowmobile, or another recreation vehicle.”

As for the 6×6? The ATV looks like a ODG Argo. Power came from a Kohler or Tecumseh engine. They also used the vaunted skid-steer 6×6 system. Argos were amphibious, extremely capable in the rough, (painfully) slow and truly were the genesis of ATV/UTVs. They still build a version of the Argo today.

At the time, there were a few early ATVs/dune-buggies and small motorcycles that could have fit inside the Montego Sportshauler, including vehicles like the Rupp Ruppster and even the early Honda ATC 70.

One of the most striking things about the 1972 Mercury Montego Sportshauler was the rear-end when it was buttoned up. It was kind of like an undercover toy-hauler, way before the term was coined. In some ways, it looks like it would have been epic – if built. Unfortunately, a van or trailer were far more practical.

Bummer.

Kind of looks like the Tesla Cybertruck from the rear – no?

Possible powertrains:

There are conflicting reports about the powerplant and transmission of this concept. After some digging, it appears that the Sportshauler may have been equipped with one of the stronger powertrains available for the Ranchero at the time. That would be something like the Ford Windsor 351 V8, or a 360 horsepower 429 V8 connected to a three-speed automatic transmission. Looking at the photos, it looks like the concept isn’t squatting much under load.

Normally, the rear suspension will have lower longitudinal links, upper braces, longitudinal leaf springs and hydraulic telescopic shock absorbers. Given the fact it looks rock solid with something that weighs well over 1,000 lbs, it may have a beefed up rear suspension, and maybe – just maybe, a Traction-Lok rear end. Still, that’s a lot of weight to sit over the rear axle. It might be rough of hard terrain.

I guess having a 4×4 pull or carry your off-road machine off the beaten path makes more sense.

What do you think? Kind of cool – right?

Speaking of hauling ATVs…

Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.