5 Mercurys that struck out swinging


Hear that rumble? It's Mercury, a once-proud part of the American landscape now dead and nearly forgotten. And yet, Mercury paced the Indianapolis 500 in 1950, ’57, and ’66. A 1949 Mercury was driven by James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause, and nothing is cooler than that. Heck, even Jack Lord drove a Merc in the TV Series Hawaii Five-0.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/11/29/5-mercurys-that-struck-out-swinging


Gee Larry, you couldn’t find one nice thing to say???


You got a few things wrong about the Marauder, including the caption under the pic.

As a former Marauder owner (mine was T-boned by a minivan driver who wasn’t paying attention to what she was doing) I can help out here.

Both years that the Marauder was available, it was offered in three colors. The most common one was black, but the options were:

2003: Black Clearcoat, Dark Pearl Blue Clearcoat, Silver Birch Clearcoat Metallic
2004: Black Clearcoat, Dark Toreador Red Clearcoat Metallic, Silver Birch Clearcoat Metallic

The car’s biggest hurdle was the timing of its introduction, in the midst of a recession. Had Ford brought the Marauder out seven years earlier, we would have had an Impala SS/Mercury Marauder battle going. Six years later and the economy would have been in recovery, with people willing to spend the money on it.

The Marauder was an extremely fun car to drive, it rode like it was on rails.


IMHO there was nothing wrong with any of these products. They were appropriate for the time when they were introduced, but Ford made a marketing, not an engineering mistake. All of these cars were sold through dealerships that wanted to sell full-sized luxo-barges to 70 and 80 y/o drivers. The dealer network was horrible, trying to compete with Buick, not Mazda.

The XR4ti was a great car with quirky looks. The Scorpio was a great idea and a good sports sedan with really neat features at an affordable price. And so on and so on. Had Ford sent these vehicles through the Ford dealer network, they would have fared much better.

I tried to buy a Scorpio and met so much resistance and outright lies by dealers on loan interest rates, lease rates, and refusal to look for the color/interior combination (two different dealers pulled the same crap) that I wound up with a Saab 9000. Shame on Ford bureaucrats for trying to shore up the lame Mercury dealer network instead of thinking who their actual audience for these cars was!


IMHO the 1999 Cougar was a very attractive front wheel drive coupe with excellent driving dynamics. As the former owner of several Contour SVT’s (the same platform in a four-door body) I can say these were great little cars that were more fun to drive than most vehicles available at that time. I racked up over 300,000 mile between the between the two I owned with very few issues. Ford should have offered the Cougar with the SVT upgrades for those of us looking for that kind of performance.


Owned 4 Marauders in the last ten years.
Great road car.
Hope to be able to find another.


There was no mention of the beautiful 1967 - 1968 Mercury Cougars!


Lots of errors in the Merkur XR4Ti mention also. Actual sales were closer to 44,000 over the four years. I’ve owned two and still have one with Cosworth mods that now sports collector plates. The Sierra was very popular in Europe and ROW under the Ford badge and I credit the demise of the Merkur on Ford’s lousy dealership system…it always me how few car salesman in the USA actually know much about cars. The author didn’t mention that two of them swept Imsa, driven by the likes of Pruitt and Willy T. Ribbs, beating Mustangs, Camaros, et cetera. The Merkurs were actually built by Karmann while the Sierras were built by Ford in Belgium. The XR is truly a fun drive.


@dennis.mcgillis - Do you feel the '67-68 Cougar missed the mark or was an otherwise disappointment?


I had a '91 Capri, red with the black and gray interior and automatic (so my wife could drive it, too), and really enjoyed it for five years before selling it to a friend’s daughter. My only real problem with it was the design of the folding top, which never quite seemed to seat itself at the rear corners. Otherwise, it handled very well, had plenty of pep for real-world driving on Houston’s notoriously competitive freeways, and drew its share of admiring looks and comments. A shame that the car, not to mention the brand, had to disappear.


Always really liked the Marauders. Hopefully, I’ll be able to pick one up one of these days.


Well, I believe this article was about the enthusiast-targeted Mercurys of the '80s and later. Which does make one wonder about the lack of coverage of the Fox-body-based Capris of this time period. Were they really that much “uglier” than the Ford Mustang upon which they were based?


I own a 1991 Mercury Capri turbo with the 5 speed.Bought it about 10 years ago for $1400.Dollar for dollar you can’t beat it.Turbo lag is hardly noticeable. Handles like a go cart.Get rubber in 3 gears .
Styling is meh. But for the money once you sit in it you don’t see what it looks like.Poor car gets no respect!


Once they started making colours other than black, and started offering a moonroof, all that really kept me from a Marauder (it would have been great for my family trips) was the disappointing acceleration performance. It was built-up ahead of intro as being a 6-6.5 second 0-60 car. When actual road tests were done, it could not come close to these times - nor even close to the Impala SS of 1994-1996 (a great-driving car). As I was driving a supercharged Grand Prix GTP with excellent throttle response and acceleration (0-60 in about 6.6 seconds per C&D, if I recall correctly) at the time, I had no desire to “slow down”.


They didn’t “strike out swinging” - Cougars scored a solid double or better, depending upon the model year. To me, the 1967/68 model was a homerun!


@nonadabove Thanks for pointing these errors out to us! We’ve gone ahead and made some corrections based upon your recommendations.


As a Lincoln-Mercury dealer during this time frame, our thought was that Ford Motor Company was unwilling to give us products that might steal sales from their Ford dealers. The Marauder was originally pitched to us as being available with a supercharger, the Cougar was going to be available in an “S” model that would have the Ford SVT mods, the Lincoln LS convertible became the Ford Thunderbird, etc. The Capri took five months from time of ordering to time of delivery. We were truly the “red-headed step-child”


Interesting - you may well be right about Ford shunning its own Mercury brand.


If anyone wants a stupid fun car to beat on, the turbo Capri drivetrain swaps into a Ford Festiva fairly easily.


Love my black 04 Marauder - gets lots of compliments. Just gave it a nice polymer sealant coating - shiny and smooth as silk.