The Marauder Convertible Concept, which premiered at the Chicago Auto Show in 2002, has just resurfaced on eBay. For only $75,000 USD, this concept can be yours – providing you don’t mind that it can’t be registered for the street and that it likely doesn’t have an actual top (at least a picture has never been shown of it).
The concept is a converted 1999 Crown ‘Vic LX, shorted and converted to 2 doors, along with the swap of the production Marauder body pieces and interior. It also has a 4.6 liter 2-valve engine with a factory supercharger. This prototype engine was intended for the 2005 production Marauder, which was of course cancelled, and also for the S197 Mustang – just another part of that car which was cancelled (including the 4.6 DOHC supercharged engine as an option in the GT, the independent rear suspension, and of course the actual SVT Cobra model before it was dumbed-down and tarted up as the solid-axle Shelby with an iron block engine).
We have a complete gallery of images of the Marauder Convertible Concept, including the original introduction images from Ford as well as images of the car as shown in eBay when it went up for sale in September 2011. The images also include two of the engine, the only time this particular engine was shown in public. It was, however, discussed at the time by the Marauder product planner, who revealed that it would replace the 4.6 4V DOHC engine for the 2005 model year in order to provide more low-end power and torque – something the DOHC Marauder was conspicuously missing.
For extensive Marauder coverage on the DrivingEnthusiast network, see:
- Blog tag “Marauder” (where you’ll find the story of our encounter with a Marauder prototype on the cold streets of Dearborn)
- Our concept section (detailing over 150 concepts from Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury) covering both the Marauder Concept and the Marauder Convertible Concept
- Production Marauder – complete details
Here are a couple of the images from eBay, followed by original production images (all images are in the gallery) and the original press release.
What the concept is doing at a Sears is hard to say – it certainly wasn’t driven there.
The following notice is added to all Ford Motor Co. concepts that are sold to the public. None of them can registered or used on public streets.
The engine is the same as shown originally… however, oddly, the fuel lines have been changed. It appears that the car now uses a different fuel pressure regulator.
- 335 HP @ 5,250 rpm rpm
- 355 lb.-ft. @ 3,000 rpm
In the original press image below from 2002, you can see the different fuel pressure regulator and fuel lines, almost cobbled together here judging by the appearance. As far as we can tell, this is the only change from the original concept vehicle (other than the missing red battery terminal cap). Click on the engine picture below for a 2000-pixel high-res image of this prototype engine.
As you can see in the press image below, the Marauder was a good-looking car and delivered a knock-out blow to the usual Mercury demographic (which may have been the problem in trying to sell it).
Press Release follows:
MERCURY MARAUDER RETURNS TO CHICAGO AS A CONVERTIBLE CONCEPT
CHICAGO, Feb. 6, 2002 – A new convertible concept debuting at this year’s Chicago Auto Show points to future possibilities for Mercury and for the all-new 2003 Mercury Marauder four-door performance sedan that goes on sale this summer.
The Marauder Convertible builds on the popularity of the sedan, which is designed to deliver a 1960s muscle car experience with contemporary driving dynamics, comfort and safety. It is designed to be like no other vehicle:
- Its supercharged 335-horsepower V-8 delivers more horsepower than any other full size convertible priced less than $85,000.
- It is a five-passenger convertible. All other convertibles on the market today only seat two or four passengers.
- Rear seat room is generous. At approximately 38 inches, the convertible’s rear seat legroom is the same as Marauder sedan’s.
- While true to its American muscle car heritage, it is thoroughly modern – with low emissions, cutting-edge safety and driving dynamics that balance comfort with control.
“The Marauder and the Marauder Convertible concept say a lot about the next generation of Mercury vehicles, which we’re defining now,” says Brian Kelley, president of Lincoln Mercury. “Both Marauders have heritage, performance and charisma. You’ll see these same qualities in future Mercurys.”
Over the next five years, eight new Mercury products are planned, including two all-new sedans, a new multi-purpose vehicle and specialty image-building niche products.
The 2003 Mercury Marauder sedan goes on sale this summer. Pricing will be announced closer to launch. At this time, the convertible is purely a concept, but public reaction will be closely monitored to gauge whether sufficient demand exists to justify a full development program.
The Marauder Convertible brings together types of vehicles that have become Mercury signatures: premium cars with outstanding performance and comfort, and stylish convertibles.
The Marauder Convertible concept’s lineage includes these notable vehicles:
- 1939 Series 99A Convertible:
- Ford Motor Company created the Mercury brand to offer premium products between the Ford and Lincoln brands, and a convertible was offered in 1939, the first model year.
- 1949 Mercury Series 9CM: James Dean drove a de-chromed Mercury six-passenger coupe in the movie “Rebel Without a Cause.” Mercury coupes went on to become the car of choice for performance tuners and hot-rodders.
- 1950 Mercury Series OMC Convertible:
- Mercury’s first Indianapolis 500 pace car was driven by Benson Ford, Henry Ford’s grandson.
- 1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser Convertible:
- Mercury’s second Indianapolis 500 pace car
- 1963 ½-1964 Mercury Marauder: The first Mercury Marauders were performance versions of Mercury’s mainstream sedans, the Montclair and Monterey. They made their debut at the dawn of the muscle car era and were designed to capitalize on the success of the Bill Stroppe prepared Marauder stock cars, including the one that Parnelli Jones drove to victory in the 1963 Pikes Peak Hill Climb.
- 1966 Mercury Cyclone GT Convertible:
- Once again, Benson Ford drove a Mercury pace car at the Indianapolis 500. His Cyclone GT convertible was super-tuned to achieve 0-60 mph in 7 seconds.
- 1967 Mercury Cougar: The first Cougar – Mercury’s luxurious pony car – was named Motor Trend magazine’s “Car of the Year.”
- 1968 Mercury Parklane Brougham 4-door: Actor Jack Lord drove a triple black Mercury on the hit television series “Hawaii Five-O.”
- 1969 and 1970 Mercury Marauder X-100: 1969 marked the return of the Marauder, which included the feature-packed top-of-the line Marauder X-100, which was powered by a 429 cubic-inch V-8 engine.
“Since the day we began work on the first Marauder concept, everyone on the team knew we were building a car for customers who were like ourselves – total gear heads who remember what it was like to drive cars that made you feel like you owned the road,” says Steve Babcock, Marauder project manager. “I think the Marauder Convertible may be the ultimate car for Woodward Avenue or Mulholland Drive because it has the performance we remember, the comfort and roominess of a Mercury sedan, and nothing but open sky when the top is down.”
The Mercury team, like most enthusiasts, knows the engine is the heart and soul of a car. Even though the sedan’s normally aspirated, all-aluminum 4.6-liter DOHC V-8 will produce 300 horsepower and 310 lbs.-ft of torque, the team craved even more torque for the convertible to give it the performance feel of a 1960s “big block” V-8 off the line. So, they chose the same supercharged 4.6-liter SOHC V-8 that appeared in the 1998 Marauder sedan concept.
This iron block engine with aluminum cylinder heads and two valves per cylinder produces 335 horsepower at 5,250 rpm and 355 lbs.-ft of torque at 3,000 rpm. The engine breathes through a high-flow filter and aluminum upper and lower intake manifolds. A belt-driven Eaton Gen 4 Supercharger- Model 90 produces 6 psi of boost. The Roots-type supercharger is mated to a dual-core air-to-water intercooler, which extracts heat from the compressed air charge to improve combustion efficiency. Premium unleaded fuel is fed to the engine through a dual-bore 57 mm throttle body and high-flow fuel injectors. The compression ratio is 9.85:1.
To minimize exhaust backpressure – and make a bold visual and auditory statement – the six-brick catalyst system uses 2-inch diameter high-flow stainless steel exhaust pipes through the hot end and 2.25-inch tailpipes out of the muffler with 3.5-inch stain less steel Megs tips. Under acceleration, the exhaust note is aggressive, with the unmistakable sound of a large American V-8 engine, but overall sound levels are very subdued when cruising for a surprisingly tranquil cabin.
To handle the torque of the supercharged engine, Marauder uses a heavy-duty four-speed transmission with overdrive. For good off-the-line performance, the team went to their drag racing playbooks and added a reinforced 11¼-inch high-stallspeed torque converter with a heavy-duty 1-inch, one-way clutch.
The high stall speed allows engine revolutions to rise into the peak power band before torque is transmitted to the rear wheels. A 3.55:1 rear axle with an 8.8-inch ring gear and limited slip differential also enhances launch performance and acceleration.
Under-hood detailing recalls the heritage of the “Super Marauder” production and stock car engines:
- The black painted cam covers are adorned with badges that recall the original red, white and blue Super Marauder badges from 1963.
- The exhaust manifolds are finished in black.
The chassis shared by both the Marauder Convertible concept and the production Marauder sedan is capable of delivering a combination of ride, handling, braking and safety performance unattainable in the heyday of the muscle car era.
The full perimeter frame has several significant enhancements compared with the frame used on full-size Mercury sedans before the 2003 model year:
- Strong but lightweight hydroformed steel is used for the front rails for good performance in full and offset frontal impacts.
- The critical number two crossmember – which serves as a mounting surface for the steering rack, engine mounts and the suspension’s lower control arms – is now a solid cast-aluminum piece. This strong, lightweight crossmember provides a precise mounting surface and better alignment tolerances than a steel crossmember.
- The steel crossmember that ties the frame together behind the A-pillar is a more robust design that improves the frame’s resistance to torsion and bending forces. This new member is designed to help manage side impact crash forces by transferring energy across the frame structure into the opposite rail.
All told, the sedan frame’s torsional rigidity has been increased by 24 percent, and its resistance to vertical bending has been improved by 20 percent. A frame that resists twisting and bending allows the suspension components to operate more efficiently. It also limits the transmission of noise, vibration and harshness into the body structure.
The independent front suspension uses a short and long-arm design with steel upper and aluminum lower control arms and coil-over-shock springs with Tokico monotube dampers. Monotube dampers were selected because they are more efficient and “tunable” than conventional twin-tube shocks because the damping pistons have a larger effective area. Heat dissipation also is improved.
To reduce lateral suspension compliance for crisp turn-in with reduced body roll, the Marauder sedan and convertible use a 28mm solid front Gripper™ stabilizer bar system. This system provides enhanced on-center steering response and better high-speed lane change stability.
Upper and lower control arms and a lateral Watt’s linkage locate the live-axle rear suspension. Load-leveling air springs and monotube dampers manage impacts. The rear air springs help maintain the car’s ride height even when the trunk is fully loaded and are very effective at absorbing minor road imperfections.
The combination of air springs and monotube dampers also is effective at managing the unsprung mass of the solid axle, which keeps the rear of the vehicle firmly planted during cornering on rough roads or washboard surfaces. A 21mm solid rear stabilizer bar, which uses rubber bushings, further improves body roll and tracking.
The steering system is rack-and-pinion with speed-sensitive variable power assist. Previous full-size Mercurys used a recirculating ball steering system. Because a rack-and-pinion system has fewer links, operating friction and compliance in the system are substantially reduced, which improves steering feel and precision. The new system also weighs 22.5 pounds less.
Other steering changes include a new intermediate steering shaft design called a swing link, which helps reduce operating friction compared with the old system. The steering knuckle is now cast aluminum for an additional five-pound weight savings.
For the convertible’s wheels and tires, the Marauder team selected strong but lightweight 18 x 8-inch, 10-spoke forged aluminum-alloy wheels shod with ultra-high-performance BFGoodrich g-Force T/A tires. The P245/55WR18 rear tires have a higher aspect ratio than the P235/50WR18 front tires to give the car a muscle car rake. The rear tires also have a slightly larger contact patch for maximum traction under acceleration.
These tires have an asymmetrical tread with sidewall inserts to enhance steering response.
In addition, the steel belts are reinforced with spiral-wound nylon to provide high-speed durability while minimizing weight and optimizing ride quality.
The concept shares the Marauder sedan’s 12-inch vented front and 11-inch rear brake rotors with twin-piston front and single-piston rear calipers.
The Marauder Convertible concept’s monochromatic body is finished in black gloss paint. Dark-tinted headlamps and taillamp bezels flow from the black exterior to continue the serious, but understated appearance. Unmistakable but subtle performance cues include the high intensity Cibié fog lamps integrated into the fascia, the three-inch chrome exhaust tips and the “Marauder” name embossed on the rear bumper.
The Mercury Marauder sent the message that the V-8 rear-drive muscle car is back. The convertible concept shows customers the possibilities for fun Marauder can create with its top down,” said Steve Park, Marauder chief designer.
The car’s lowered front suspension gives it an aggressive, muscle-car stance that is reinforced by the large 18-inch wheels and tires. The classic image of the Roman god Mercury is cast into each of the wheel caps to further communicate the car’s personality and heritage.
Like the Marauder sedan, the convertible is true to classic Mercury and Marauder heritage with added luxury touches for comfort. Inside, dual eight-way-power reclining bucket seats are appointed in rich black leather with classic French seam stitching derived from vintage Marauders. The seats have extra padding for better thigh, lumbar, and shoulder support. A modern rendition Mercury god’s head is debossed into the front seat backs.
For the convertible, the safety belts are seat-integrated for easier egress and ingress. Power adjustable accelerator and brake pedals are standard to help accommodate tall and short stature drivers.
On all Marauders, modern, technical-looking dot matrix gray trim accents the instrument panel.
A leather-wrapped floor shifter highlights the floor console area that flows into space for two-cup holders and a high storage bin for CDs and cell phones.
The white-faced gauges include a 7,000-rpm tachometer that redlines at 6,250 rpm. The 140-mph speedometer has a red-lit “Marauder” graphic. Auto Meter® brand high-performance oil-pressure and voltmeter gauges are located just in front of the shifter.
The audio system is a 140-watt Alpine AM/FM/CD/cassette player (a 6-CD changer is optional on the sedan) with four 100-amp speakers and a rear subwoofer for excellent top-down sound quality. For convenience, the steering wheel features secondary audio and climate controls.
The Marauder team refused to sacrifice passenger space when designing the convertible, so the interior package is the same as a Marauder sedan. The trunk is roomy and offers additional cargo-carrying convenience – golf clubs and athletic equipment can actually fit in the trunk, unlike; most modern convertibles. If produced for sale, the Marauder Convertible’s top would be a fully lined power-folding unit that would store cleanly under a hard tonneau cover.
The Marauder Convertible concept and sedan include several advanced safety technologies, including four-wheel antilock disc brakes, side-impact air bags and the Personal Safety System.
The Personal Safety System is one of the most comprehensive driver and front seat passenger restraint systems available. It includes dual-stage front air bags that deploy based on crash severity; sensors to detect if front-seat occupants are wearing safety belts; seat weight sensors; driver’s seat position sensor; safety-belt pretensioners and load-limiting retractors.
In addition, the BeltMinder™ system rings a chime to remind front seat occupants to buckle up. Standard child-safety seat tether anchors are located in the parcel tray behind all three rear-seating positions.
All Marauders also feature the Securilock™ passive anti-theft system, which prevents the vehicle from being started unless a key containing a uniquely encoded computer chip is inserted into the ignition.
It’s spring, and that means that car clubs all over the northern hemisphere are starting to announce their get-togethers for the summer and fall.
One subject we’ve written about on this site in the past is the Mercury Marauder… it’s successes and failures. The 2003-2004 Marauder was created by enthusiasts inside Ford’s product planning and engineering groups, but was a victim of the multiple illnesses inside Ford at the time and the near collapse of the product planning process. Despite Ford’s failure to follow thru with several planned updates to the Marauder (including a supercharged engine and better transmission), the Marauder was cancelled and the long history of the Marauder – going back to the sixties – came to a permanent end.
But the passion and loyalty of the Marauder owners survives, like so many of Ford’s most famous brands (the prime example of which is the Thunderbird).
MercuryMarauder.net is an enthusiast site dedicated to owners and fans of the Marauder. They’ve just announced their 9th annual yearly convention to be held in October in Hersey, PA USA. Read the details here: http://www.mercurymarauder.net/forums/showthread.php?t=68290.
If you’ve got a Marauder, this is the place to be. And Pennsylvania is a great place to visit in the fall. We may stop by ourselves to see their show.
If you are not familiar with the Marauder, you’ll find all the details on our site in the Marauder section. As is our practice, we’ve saved everything possible.
I’m working today on cleaning up my library (at last), which contains several hundred original brochures, press kits, and other enthusiast memorabilia. And, no, I’m not one of those cheap wads who collects this stuff en masse just to make a buck on eBay – this stuff is for me.
I came across a 2003 Mercury Merauder press kit that I didn’t remember I had – complete including DVD. The DVD has some special footage shot by ford, along with a retrospective of the original Marauder and a Tommy Kendall test of the 2003. Both produced by Speed Channel for Ford.
Very nice video… and it makes me remember how much Ford has lost and fallen behind. This car could have been successful, it could have “held the line” until a new and more modern platform came along (a plan put in place by Jacques Nasser and then canceled by Bill Ford – without an alternative plan). It’s true it wouldn’t have been competitive against the 300C that was then on the horizon… and they knew that. But, alternatives were possible including the stop-gap supercharged 4.6.
The other day I was looking at the 1999 SVT Dealer Training video thinking the same thing – they made an hour long promotional video of the car that was never made available to the public (don’t ask why and how I have one) - it was just for dealer training. These were the salad days of SVT… before their quality record caught up with them. And before they gave up the idea of driving dynamics… versus only producing a single pointless straight-liner. By contrast, the press kit for the 2007 Shelby is all about bluff and appearance… it’s not anywhere near as serious as the earlier SVTs were (spoken as an owner of 4 SVTs).
The Marauder is not my kind of car… but I will remember these golden years… it will be a long time – if ever – before we have the kind of years we had in the late 90s and very early 2000s. It does seem to go in cycles… I was also looking thru my collection of early SVO and SHO memorabilia – another two sets of cars that were well conceived but couldn’t make it (in both cases due to dealers who didn’t know what they were selling).
Lots of updates to the Marauder section this AM, including production pics from 2003 and 2004 and a high-res image of the 4.6 DOHC 4V production engine.
Also, a new section in the Concepts area: the Supercharged Marauder Convertible Concept. Includes numerous pics (although not of the top up – it was non-functional) of the car including two unique pictures of the supercharged 4.6 SOHC 2V modular engine. that was intended for production, and later canceled. Shown here in production ready trim.
It’s a shame this didn’t go into production. In the great purge of “all things Nasser” led by Himself Bill Ford, the Marauder didn’t have a chance. The reign of Bill Ford brought an end to an era.
Follow the Ford tab above to links of production and concept Fords for the complete coverage.
Here are two pictures of Mercury Marauder engines:
1) The first engine is the Marauder engine we didn’t get – it was planned for a later model before the Marauder was suddenly cancelled. It’s a 4.6 2-valve SOHC, supercharged and intercooled. Rated at 335 HP @ 5,250 rpm and 355 lb.-ft. @ 3,000 RPM. It was shown in the 2002 Chicago Auto Show show in another killed-off Marauder – a 2-door convertible prototype.
2) The second is of course the engine we did get – a 4.6 4V DOHC aluminum engine shared with the Mach 1 and Aviator (and note that this was *not* a Cobra engine, although it did use the 2003 Cobra heads). It made 302 HP and 318 lb-ft torque in this application (varying in output across the applications because of intake and exhaust differences). Many of the early 2003 engines have a valve clearance issue with the cylinder wall and had to be recalled (yet another unacceptable mod-motor engineering issue). In the 2004 Marauder, this engine was enhanced with dual knock sensors to provide better part-throttle response, as well as improved tuning in the transmission.
So what happened to the Marauder? It lasted two years (’03-04) and was then unceremoniously dumped. Sales were an issue, safety of the base Panther platform was a very serious concern, Panther plans came and went with the wind, the plans changed for the modular engine family, and of course the car wasn’t competitive against the upcoming Chrysler LX-platform cars (300C and Magnum). The Marauder, BTW, weighed in at only 150 pds more than the morbidly obese ’07 Shelby ‘vert – despite being 212 inches long.
On my site you’ll find numerous pics of the production Marauder, as well as the concept. I’ve also located some convertible Marauder concept pics I’ll add soon.
In January 2001, I was in Dearborn driving around outside the Ford complex after seeing the NAIAS show and came across a development Marauder driving between Ford sites. It was complete in every way, right down the Marauder lettering on the rear bumper, even though it wouldn’t be announced for some time yet (was there an issue? This was a very early time to see this car in this final form – my theory was the engine wasn’t ready yet, or budget for it was cut). Once the driver saw that I was following closely and had some interest, he floored it and took off. And I noticed the exhaust sound was great!
So why bring up the Marauder now? Well, it was yet another example of Ford doing too little too late… they entered a market with a half-way product. Wrong platform. Wrong engine, Wrong transmission. Wrong timing. And then when it started to look good, it was abruptly cancelled. How many times have we seen that?
And also because I watched the press announcement from Australia on the new full-size Holden sedan… which to summarize is everything the Marauder never was and never could be. It’s very nicely done and more than makes up for the horrible old Holdens base don ye olde Catera chassis (aka GTO). GM now has a world-class rear wheel drive platform that makes economic sense for a variety of uses around the world – including the upcoming Camaro.
What does Ford have for a world-class rear wheel drive platform? Well:
- any number of Jags and Astons.
- The idea of an SVT Cobra that would have made a viable (and much cheaper) alternative to an M3 (a dream that was killed off along with Nasser).
- A Lincoln LS that was never invested in (neither marketing nor follow-on updates) and was finally prematurely cancelled. And I say prematurely because despite needing a few updates this could have been Ford’s own FM (Nissan/Infiniti) or LX (Chrysler/Dodge) shared platform. Yes, it was expensive to build – but modern and forward-thinking and truly-innovative manufacturers have found it could have been built much more efficiently by sharing the entire platform with other major lines – including a volume line like the Mustang.
- The S197 Mustang? Don’t even go there, it’s unsophisticated and crude platform is under-suspended, overly large, and grossly overweight. And carrying around a dark pall because it was built on the remnants of the Lincoln LS chassis – minus all of the good bits. Every single one of them. What this car could have been, and what it ended up being – are sadly distinct.
- And the Australian Falcon… not exactly world-class engineering (it’s old), and a platform that is coming to the end of it’s lifespan. You’ll have to admire the Australians for keeping this line going as long as they did and for making the most of it (despite a minuscule market, the platform was updated with SLA and IRS as it aged – as well as a big American 5.4 liter V-8).
Recently we’ve heard that Ford of Australia might be charged with creating a world-wide rear wheel drive platform. Having repeatedly seen the creativity of the Australians in nearly everything they do… there may be some hope here for a decent platform to get to the United States eventually. It depends entirely on budget, and perceived market. Budget because Ford of US is broke. “Perceived” market because there are serious energy issues in the mind of Bill Ford and getting back into the muscle market with large 4-dr sedans may not be in his strategic plan. So, in a scenario that is so familiar to Ford fans, we’ll just have to wait and see. And wait, and hope, and wait. As usual….
We came across this old press release from Mercury today – from 4 and a half years ago. Despite the statement in the press release, the Cougar and the Marauder both suddenly died the following model year. In media interviews at the time, many planned updates were discussed for both (a Cougar SVT version - announced and shown then suddenly cancelled, and a number of Marauder updates including a supercharged SOHC 2V 4.6 and even an aftermarket-supplied gauge package).
The Cougar was based on the Contour/Mondeo chassis – which after several failed product plan churns was finally up for a replacement. The new Mondeo chassis – despite an early plan to bring it to the United States as a Mercury model – would not be seen in the United States (except from Mexican tourists driving them into the ‘states – they get the full car and we don’t!). So that had to change.
The Marauder, based on the Mercury Marquis, was initially a slow seller and a poor performer. Changes made to the engine (such as dual knock sensors, to allow more initial spark advance and low-end response) helped but major technology updates such as a 5-speed transmission weren’t in the pipeline, and the supercharged engine was cancelled. As you know, “Panther” product plans would be kicked around for years before the decision was finally made to let it slowly fade out over time.
A dearth of product plans followed the installment of Bill Ford after the engineered departure of Jac Nasser. Jac was the target of a lot of unfair (and carefully orchestrated from the highest levels) negative attention after the Ford family decided to install the very-unqualified Billy Ford to protect it’s financial interests. Many important product plans were cancelled in the political purge that followed the departure of Jac. Some of these plans include:
- an all-new small rear wheel drive platform for Lincoln – smaller than the LS, purposefully designed to target the market known as the “3-series competitors”. This is really astounding - Lincoln/Mercury would have had a platform that would compete with the G35 family. Unbelievable.
- a major rev of the DEW (LS, T-Bird, Jaguar) platform, leading to many new models including a Panther replacement as well as a world-class Mustang chassis
- all planned updates to the T-Bird and LS (supercharged engine, sport suspension, new dash, functional updates, and eventually a major platform update)
- all advanced plans for Lincoln that were created as part of an effort to identify a “DNA” for Lincoln. These included a Lincoln Continental in the spirit of the early sixties model and a new Mark model. Both were built on a common version of an enlarged next-gen DEW chassis, but were very carefully and extensively tailored for their mission. If the production models had held true to the concepts, they would have been very unique and desirable in the marketplace.
So this leaves us with a struggling company, extensive platform re-use, a very poor financial rating (and getting worse), and many competitive issues.
CHICAGO, Feb. 6, 2002 – Since its founding in the late 1930s, Mercury has been a premium brand with products blending performance, comfort and luxury appointments. As Mercury designers, engineers and marketers begin work on a new generation of vehicles, the stylish convertibles, premium sedans, performance machines and family cars of the brand’s past – and strong brand names like “Cougar” and “Marauder” – will provide ample inspiration for the future.
- 1937: Edsel Ford begins planning a new premium vehicle range between mainstream Ford “Blue Oval” products and Lincoln luxury cars. After considering a number of names, including “Winged Victory,” Ford eventually named the brand Mercury after the winged messenger of the Roman gods, known for dependability, eloquence, skill and speed.
- 1939: The first model year for Mercury included four models, a sedan, two coupes and the Series 99A convertible. The Mercury coupes were considered by designers to be quite avant-garde for the era.
- 1945: The Lincoln-Mercury Division is established.
- 1948: Benson Ford, grandson of Henry Ford, is elected a company vice president and named general manager of Lincoln-Mercury Division.
- 1949: James Dean immortalized the 1949 Mercury when he drove a de-chromed six-passenger Mercury Series 9CM in the 1955 move “Rebel Without a Cause.”
- 1949-51: Mercury coupes become the car of choice for performance tuners and hot-rodders who chopped the tops, removed body trim and filled the resulting holes with lead to create “Lead Sleds” – famous for their long, low, smooth appearance.
- 1950: Benson Ford drove Mercury’s first Indianapolis 500 pace car, a Mercury Series OMC Coupe. The one-millionth Mercury rolls off the line in August.
- 1957: Mercury’s second Indianapolis 500 pace car is a Turnpike Cruiser convertible.
- 1960: Mercury introduces the Comet, the first upscale compact car.
- 1963-64: The first Mercury Marauders, performance versions of Mercury’s mainstream Montclair and Monterey sedans, debut at the dawn of the muscle-car era. Production Marauders capitalize on the success of the Bill Stroppe-prepared Marauder stock cars, including the one Parnelli Jones drove to victory at the 1963 Pikes Peak Hill Climb.
- 1965: Mercury Comets become drag-strip sensations thanks to Jack Christman, who developed the first Funny Car, a lightweight Comet with a supercharged, fuel-injected, nitro-burning 427-cubic-inch V-8.
- 1966: Once again, Benson Ford drives a Mercury pace car at the Indianapolis 500. His Cyclone GT convertible is super-tuned to achieve 0-60 mph in seven seconds.
- 1967: The first Cougar – Mercury’s luxurious pony car – is named Motor Trend magazine’s “Car of the Year.” Chauncey, a three-year-old Cougar, stars in famous television ads for Mercury – “at the sign of the cat.”
- 1968: Cale Yarborough wins the Daytona 500 in a Mercury Cyclone. Actor Jack Lord drives a triple black four-door Mercury Parklane Brougham on the hit television series “Hawaii Five-O.”
- 1975: The Mercury Grand Marquis nameplate is introduced. Grand Marquis goes on to become Mercury’s longest-running, best-selling nameplate, with more than 2.7 million sold.
- 1985: The aerodynamic Mercury Sable, offered as a space- and fuel-efficient front-wheel-drive sedan and station wagon, is introduced.
- 1992: The second-generation Sable is introduced.
- 1996: Mercury enters the sport-utility market with the all-wheel-drive V-8-powered Mountaineer. The third-generation Mercury Sable is introduced.
- 1998: Lincoln Mercury moves its headquarters from Detroit to Irvine, Calif. The Mercury Marauder Concept, powered by a supercharged 4.6-liter V-8, is unveiled at the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas.
- 1999: The fourth-generation Sable is introduced as a 2000 model. The new Sable offers a long list of safety and security features, including the Personal Safety System™, side-impact air bags for front-seat occupants and an emergency trunk release system.
2000 and Beyond
- 2000: Lincoln Mercury-dedicated product development, design and manufacturing organizations are established.
- 2001: The second-generation Mercury Mountaineer is introduced as a 2002 model. The new Mountaineer rides on an all-new chassis with four-wheel independent suspension and offers innovative features, including a third-row seat that folds flats into the floor. It is named a “Best Pick” by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The production version of the 1998 Mercury Marauder Concept is unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show. The 2003 model is powered by an all-aluminum 4.6-liter DOHC V-8 and incorporates significant chassis and safety improvements planned for Mercury’s rear-wheel-drive architecture.
- 2002: Brian Kelley becomes president of Lincoln Mercury. Susan Pacheco is appointed as director, Mercury Product Development, Elena Ford is appointed Mercury group brand manager and Darrell Behmer is named Mercury chief designer. The Mercury Marauder Convertible Concept is unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show. The 2003 Marauder and Grand Marquis arrive in dealerships in the summer.