MERCURY automobiles Dearborn Michigan USA 1938-2011 founded by Edsel Ford

1939 Mercury Eight

1939 Mercury Eight

Mercury (automobile)

Mercury
Division
Industry Automotive
Fate Dissolved
Founded 1938, by Edsel Ford
Defunct January 4, 2011
Headquarters Dearborn, Michigan, U.S.
Key people
Edsel Ford, founder
Products Automobiles
Parent Ford Motor Company
Website www.MercuryVehicles.com

Mercury was a car brand of the Ford Motor Company launched in 1938 by Edsel Ford, son of Henry Ford, to market entry-level luxury cars slotted between Ford-branded regular models and Lincoln-branded luxury vehicles, similar to General MotorsBuick (and former Oldsmobile) brand, and Chrysler’s DeSoto division.

From 1945 to 2011, Mercury was half of the Lincoln-Mercury division of Ford; however, for the 1958-1960 model years, the Lincoln-Mercury division was known as Lincoln-Edsel-Mercury with the inclusion of the Edsel brand. Through rebadging, the majority of Mercury models were based on Ford platforms.

1939 Mercury Sedan Coupé

1939 Mercury Sedan Coupé

The name “Mercury” is derived from the messenger of the gods of Roman mythology, and during its early years, the Mercury brand was known for performance, which was briefly revived in 2003 with the Mercury Marauder. The brand was sold in the United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Middle East. In 1999, the Mercury brand was dropped in Canada, although the Grand Marquis was still marketed there wearing a Mercury badge through 2007.

The Mercury brand was phased out in 2011 as Ford Motor Company refocused its marketing and engineering efforts on the Ford and Lincoln brands. Production of Mercury vehicles ceased in the fourth quarter of 2010. The final Mercury automobile, a Grand Marquis, rolled off the assembly line on January 4, 2011.

History

1940 Mercury

1940 Mercury

During the mid-1930s, despite the continuing success of its new V8-powered models, Ford Motor Company was in danger of being left at a competitive disadvantage to both of its largest competitors. While General Motors and upstart Chrysler Corporation both had a comprehensive line of brands (in terms of price), by 1935, Ford sold only its namesake brand and the cars of Lincoln Motor Company. Aside from the Cadillac V-16, the Lincoln Model K was one of the most expensive vehicles in the United States.

1940 Mercury Coupe 03

1940 Mercury Coupe 03

In 1933, Chevrolet had used the Mercury name on a passenger car called the Chevrolet Mercury as a lower-priced alternative to the 1933 Chevrolet Confederate. The name was used only for 1933, after which it was renamed the Chevrolet Standard for 1934.

From 1936 to 1939, Ford would introduce several different models; all were intended to bridge the massive price gap between the highest-trim V8 Ford and the base model of the V12 Lincoln. In 1936, Lincoln introduced the Lincoln-Zephyr. A standardized and far more modern body than the Model K allowed for a much lower price, opening Lincoln to compete directly with the Cadillac LaSalle brand. Inside Ford, there was debate whether a medium-priced car should be a Ford model or a new marque entirely. Eventually, the company took both approaches. For 1938, Ford introduced the De Luxe Ford model line; it was largely differentiated from the standard V8 Ford by upscale trim and a distinct hood and grille. For 1939, the Mercury was introduced. Started as a distinct company in 1937 by Edsel Ford, Mercury was chosen from over 100 potential model and marque names. The designs of the new car (referred to as the “Mercury Eight”) were done by E.T. ‘Bob’ Gregorie.

Early years

1947 Mercury Town Sedan

 Mercury Town Sedan 1947

The 1939 Mercury Eight began production in 1938, with a 239 cu. in. 95 horsepower (71 kW; 96 PS) flathead V8 engine. Over 65,800 were sold the first year, at a price of $916 (approximately $14,000 in 2010 dollars). It was an all new car, sharing no body panels with either Ford or Lincoln. Its body was six inches wider than Ford and rode on a 116.0 inches (2,950 mm) wheelbase, four inches longer than Ford.

Mercury logo

1938-1951 Mercury Eight

For the space mission, see Mercury 8.
Not to be confused with Chevrolet Mercury.
Mercury Eight
1939 Ford Mercury Green
Overview
Manufacturer Mercury
Production 1938–1951
Assembly Long Beach, California, USA
Maywood, California (starting 1948)
Dearborn, Michigan USA
Wayne, Michigan USA
St. Louis Missouri USA
Edison, New Jersey USA
Body and chassis
Class Full-size
Layout FR layout
Chronology
Successor Mercury Monterey

The Mercury Eight was the first model of the Ford Motor Company‘s Mercury marque and was produced from the 1939 through the 1951 model years. It was the only model offered by Mercury until the marque starting producing multiple series in the 1952 model year, at which point it was dropped as a model designation.

1939 Mercury Eight billboard Phoenix Cardealer

 1939 Mercury Eight billboard

1939–1940

1939 Mercury Sedan Coupé

 1939 Mercury 8 Sedan Coupe
1939 Mercury and a B-17
1939 Mercury and a B-17
First generation
1939 Mercury Series 99A Convertible Coupé

1939 Mercury 8 Sport Convertible
Overview
Model years 1939–1940
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
2-door convertible
2-door sedan
4-door sedan
4-door convertible
Powertrain
Engine 239 cu in (3.9 L) Flathead V8
Dimensions
Wheelbase 116.0 in (2,946 mm)
Length 196.0 in (4,978 mm)
1939 Mercury 8 Town-Sedan

 1939 Mercury 8 Town-Sedan

The advertisements for this car declared it to be “The car that truly dares to ask ‘Why?'”, referring to the idea that a big car couldn’t also be economical. The Mercury was priced in the thousand dollar range, several hundred dollars more than the Ford V-8, several hundred less than the Lincoln-Zephyr and about the same as the upper range Oldsmobile and Dodges and the lower-range Buicks and Chryslers, sales from all of which, it was hoped, the new Mercury would usurp. Its engine was a 95 hp version of the Ford flathead V8 engine, its styling was inspired by the Zephyr, and it had hydraulic brakes from the beginning. With a wheelbase of 116.0 in (2,946 mm) and an overall length of 196.0 in (4,978 mm), it was a good sized car, which the Ford company advertised extensively, together with its up-to-20 mpg performance-“few cars of any size can equal such economy.” Double sun visors became standard in 1940. Braking was via 12 inch drums.

Although “Eight” script would not appear on the front of the hood until the 1941 model year, sales literature prominently referred to the car as the “Mercury Eight” from the very beginning. This is no doubt because the actual series names, 99A in 1939 and 09A in 1940, were somewhat less enticing. A 1940 09A model has the words “Mercury Eight” in an emblem that runs from front to rear alongside the top hood lines on both sides. It appears as chrome wording on top of a double red bar.

By the end of 1940 Mercury could run with the headline “It’s made 150,000 owners change cars!”

1941–1948

1941 Mercury Eight station wagon - stuck in the mud with race car designer John Crosthwaite (standing)

 1941 Mercury Eight station wagon – stuck in the mud with race car designer John Crosthwaite (standing)
Second generation
1941 Mercury Series 19A Club Convertible Coupé
Overview
Model years 1941–1948
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
2-door convertible
4-door sedan
4-door station wagon
2-door Sportsman convertible
Powertrain
Engine 239 cu in (3.9 L) Flathead V8
Dimensions
Wheelbase 118.0 in (2,997 mm)
Length 1941-46: 201.6 in (5,121 mm)
1947-48: 201.8 in (5,126 mm)
Curb weight 3,400–3,800 lb (1,500–1,700 kg)
1946 Mercury Eight sedan

 1946 Mercury Eight sedan
1947 Mercury Eight

 1947 Mercury Eight
1948 Mercury Eight convertible rear

 1948 Mercury Eight convertible rear

The 1941 Mercury Eight got all-new styling and some engineering improvements. The Mercury now shared its bodyshell with Ford, probably to lower Mercury production costs. Mercury’s wheelbase was expanded by 2.0 in (51 mm) to 118.0 in (2,997 mm). There were many chassis refinements, including improved spring lengths, rates, and deflections, plus changes in shackling, shocks, and an improved stabilizer bar, but the old fashioned transverse springs were still used. The new body featured door bottoms that flared out over the running boards, allowing for wider seats and interiors. The car had 2.0 in (51 mm) more headroom, two-piece front fenders (three-piece at first), and more glass area. The front pillars were made slimmer and the windshield was widened, deepened, and angled more steeply. Parking lights were separate and set atop the fenders for greater visibility. Headlight bezels were redesigned. In all closed Mercurys the rear-quarter windows opened out. Front vent wings were now crank-operated, and in closed cars the ventilation wing support bars rolled down with the windows. The 4-door convertible, offered in 1940, was gone, but a station wagon was added. The woodie wagon’s body behind the engine cowl was identical to Ford’s, and produced at the company’s Iron Mountain plant in Michigan‘s Upper Peninsula. The “Eight” script was moved to the rear of the hood. 90,556 Mercury Eights were sold in the 1941 model year.

In 1942 the Mercury Eight’s slender bullet parking lights were replaced with rectangular units placed high on the fenders inboard of the headlights. Running boards were now completely concealed under flared door bottoms. The instrument panel now features two identical circles for speedometer and clock with gauges to the left of the speedometer, a glove compartment to the right of the clock, and a large radio speaker cover in the center. The grille looked more like that of the Lincoln-Zephyr and Continental. The “Eight” script was gone but an “8” appeared at the top of the grille center. Horsepower was increased to 100. Mercury’s biggest engineering news for 1942 was “Liquamatic,” Ford’s first semiautomatic transmission. It wasn’t much of a success and Mercury wouldn’t have another automatic transmission until Merc-O-Matic appeared in 1951, which was of course a true automatic. Mercury production for the short 1942 model year totaled only 1,902. Output was halted in February 1942 as American auto plants were converted to the exclusive production of war material.

Although Mercury’s prewar history was short, the Mercury Eight had already earned for itself the image of being a fine performer in mph as well as mpg, this “hot car” image quite in keeping with its name, chosen by Edsel Ford, that of the fleet-footed messenger of the gods of Roman mythology. The Mercury Eight was strongly identified as an upmarket Ford during this period. In 1945 the Lincoln-Mercury division would be established to change that.

A new grille was the most noticeable difference between the 1942 and 1946 Mercurys. It had thin vertical bars surrounded by a trim piece painted the same color as the car. An “Eight” script now appeared down its center. The Liquimatic automatic transmission option was eliminated. The most distinctive new Mercury was the Sportsman convertible. It featured wood body panels. Only 205 examples of it were produced and it was discontinued the following model year. Mercury Eight sales totaled 86,603.

Styling changes were slight in 1947. The Mercury name was placed on the side of the hood. Different hubcaps were used. The border around the grille was chrome plated. The “Eight” script still ran down its center. There was also new trunk trim. More chrome was used on the interior and the dash dial faces were redesigned. The convertible and station wagon came with leather upholstery. The other body styles used fabric. The wood paneled Sportsman convertible was gone. 86,363 Mercury Eights were sold.

For all practical purposes the 1948 Mercury Eights were identical to the 1947s. The major changes consisted of different dial faces and no steering column lock. 50,268 Mercury Eights were sold.

1949–1951

1950 Mercury Eight station wagon

 1950 Mercury Eight station wagon
Third generation
1950 Mercury 8 Convertible 130PS
Overview
Model years 1949–1951
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
2-door Monterey coupe
2-door convertible
4-door sedan
2-door station wagon
Related Lincoln EL-series
Powertrain
Engine 255 cu in (4.2 L) Flathead V8
Dimensions
Wheelbase 118.0 in (2,997 mm)
Length 206.8 in (5,253 mm)
Curb weight 3,500–4,000 lb (1,600–1,800 kg)
1951 Mercury Eight coupe

 1951 Mercury Eight coupe
1951 Mercury Eight with suicide doors

 1951 Mercury Eight with suicide doors

The first postwar Mercury was introduced in the 1949 model year. The engine was a flathead V8 that produced slightly more power than the then also newly designed 1949 Ford. A new overdrive system was optional, activated by a handle under the dash. The styling of the Mercury Eight, when it was released in 1949, adopted the “ponton” appearance, and was successful in both ending the monotony of warmed-over pre-war style, and differentiating Mercury from its comparable Ford cousin, a trick that spelled sales success. Sales figures for both Ford and Mercury broke records in 1949. The new approach to styling was also evident on the completely redesigned Lincoln and the all new Lincoln Cosmopolitan. The Mercury Eight used full instrumentation. An 8 tube radio as an option. The 4-door station wagon was replaced with a 2-door model. Although the wagon now featured an all-metal roof, its sides still consisted of wood panels.

Within its era and beyond, the Mercury Eight was popular with customizers. In 1949, Sam Barris built the first lead sled from a 1949 Mercury Eight; the Eight became the definitive lead sled, much as the Ford V-8 (as the “deuce”) was becoming the definitive hot rod. The Eights were among the first models to receive an aftermarket OHV engine swap, since Oldsmobile and Cadillac developed the first high-compression OHV V8 engines in 1949, whereas Ford was still using a sidevalve engine. Sam and George Barris also used the 1949 body style to build “the most famous custom car ever”, the Hirohata Merc

1951 Bob Hirohata's '51 Merc on display at the NHRA Museum in 2007

1951 Bob Hirohata’s ’51 Merc on display at the NHRA Museum in 2007

 for customer Bob Hirohata in 1953. Setting a style and an attitude, it had a “momentous effect” on custom car builders, appeared in several magazines at the time, and reappeared numerous times since, earning an honorable mention on Rod & Custom ’​s “Twenty Best of All Time” list in 1991. The Eight remains a very popular subject for car modellers.

Fiberglass replicas of the Eight, inspired by Sam Barris’s car, are still in production and are popular with custom and rod enthusiasts.

In 1950, a high-end two-door Monterey coupe was introduced in the same vein as the Ford Crestliner, the Lincoln Lido coupe and the Lincoln Cosmopolitan Capri coupe in order to compete with the hardtop coupes General Motors had introduced the previous model year. The front suspension was independent with stabilizer bars. In 1952 the Monterey would become its own series.

In 1990, Mattel Hot Wheels created a model of 1949 Mercury with a chopped top. It is called Purple Passion. Purple Passion is one of most desirable and priciest Hot Wheels to ever be cast.

Appearances in popular culture

The car makes notable appearances in a number of films: Rebel Without a Cause (1955), American Graffiti (1973), Badlands (1973), Grease (1978) and Cobra (1986). Cobrawould use one of the first all-fiberglass copies.

A customized 1949 Mercury was also used to play the Batmobile in the Batman and Robin serial.

The character Sheriff from Cars was a 1949 Mercury Police Cruiser.

The car also appears in the video game Hitman: Absolution as the main character’s, Agent 47, vehicle.

See also

Owner: James Whitesal, Oxford, PA
 The 1949 Merc has been rodded since the 1950s

For 1941, the Mercury would share its bodyshell with the 1941 Ford. Prior to World War II, Mercury Eights had a Lincoln-style split grille, while postwar models received a single opening grille.

Prior to 1945, Mercury operated as a division within Ford. After World War II, Ford combined Mercury and Lincoln into the Lincoln-Mercury division. Although maintaining the same position in the brand hierarchy, Mercury was positioned closer to Lincoln in order to gain exposure for the brand. As Ford introduced its first “integrated” post-war designs for 1949, the Mercury Eight and the Lincoln shared much of their body (aside from headlights and the grille); however, the Mercury and the Lincoln wore different levels of interior trim. The postwar Mercury Eight would develop a following as a street rod, making an appearance in several films.

1950s

1954 Mercury Monterey Sun Valley Hardtop Coupe

 1954 Mercury Monterey Sun Valley Hardtop Coupe
1956 Mercury Montclair 4-door Hardtop

 1956 Mercury Montclair 4-door Hardtop

Since its 1939 introduction, Mercury had consisted of a single-vehicle model line; many of its medium-price competitors had begun to expand their model ranges. As a response, for 1952, the Mercury lineup would double in size. Borrowing a name introduced on a sub-model of a Mercury Eight coupe in 1950, the Monterey

Mercury logo (1)

1952-1974 Mercury Monterey

For the Monterey minivan produced from 2004 to 2007, see Ford Freestar#Mercury Monterey.
Mercury Monterey
1971 Mercury MONTEREYFRONT
Overview
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production 1952–1974
Assembly St. Louis, Missouri
Maywood, California
Pico Rivera, California
Atlanta, Georgia
Mahwah, New Jersey
Body and chassis
Class Full-size
Body style 4-door sedan
2-door coupe
Layout FR layout
Chronology
Predecessor Mercury Eight
Successor Mercury Marquis

The Mercury Monterey is a full-size car model introduced by the Mercury division of the Ford Motor Company in 1952. It would later share the same body style with the slightly more upscale Marquis,

Mercury logo

1967-1986 Mercury Marquis

Mercury Marquis
1969 mercury marquis in australia

Overview
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production 1967–1986
Body and chassis
Class Full-size (1967-1982)
Mid-size (1983-1986)
Chronology
Predecessor Mercury Montclair
Mercury Park Lane

Successor Full-size: Mercury Grand Marquis
Mid-size: Mercury Sable

The Mercury Marquis is a vehicle sold that was by the Mercury brand of Ford Motor Company from 1967 to 1986. It was produced for several generations as the Mercury counterpart of the full-size Ford (its direct equivalent was the Ford LTD); in 1983, the Marquis became Mercury’s mid-size car. The highest trim level of the Marquis, the Grand Marquis, continued in production as the full-size Mercury product line.

As Ford Motor Company adopted front-wheel drive cars during the 1980s, the Marquis was phased out after the 1986 model year; it was replaced by the Mercury Sable, the twin of the Ford Taurus.

The word “Marquis” is a French spelling of the English word marquess, which was a nobility title prior to the Middle Ages.

1967–1968

1967-1968
1968 Mercury Marquis.jpg.
Overview
Production 1967–1968
Assembly Hazelwood, Missouri (St. Louis Assembly Plant)
Pico Rivera, California (Los Angeles Assembly)
Hapeville, Georgia (Atlanta Assembly)
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door hardtop
Related
Powertrain
Engine 410 cu in (6.7 L) FE V8
390 cu in (6.4 L) 330 hp (246 kW)FE V8
428 cu in (7.0 L) Super MarauderV8
Transmission 3-speed C6 automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 123 in (3,124 mm) (1967)
Length 218.5 in (5,550 mm)
1967 Mercury Marquis front

 1967 Mercury Marquis

The Mercury Marquis was introduced for the 1967 model year as part of the full-size Mercury lineup. Slotted above the Mercury Monterey and filling in for the discontinued Montclair, the Marquis was positioned alongside the Park Lane in the lineup. Roughly the division’s counterpart to the Ford LTD introduced in 1965, the Marquis differed from the LTD with plusher interior trim and a higher level of standard equipment. Unlike the Ford, the Marquis was produced in a single two-door hardtop body style; convertibles and Marauder fastbacks remained part of the Park Lane lineup. All four-door hardtop models were Park Lane Broughams .

1958-1968 Mercury Park Lane

Mercury Park Lane
1964 Mercury Park Lane 02
Overview
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production 1958–1960
1964–1968
Body and chassis
Class Full-size
Layout FR layout

The Mercury Park Lane was a fullsize automobile produced by the Mercury division of the Ford Motor Company from 1958 to 1960 and by the Lincoln-Mercury Division from 1964 to 1968. During this time, the Park Lane resembled the Monterey, but with a higher trim level.

First generation

First generation
1959 Mercury Park Lane 2
Overview
Model years 1958–1960
Assembly Metuchen, New Jersey
Pico Rivera, California
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
2-door convertible
4-door hardtop
Powertrain
Engine 430 cu in (7.0 l) V8

The Park Lane was introduced in 1958 and was applied to Mercury’s premium automobile line. The Park Lane name had first been used for a 1956 Ford two door station wagon model that was supposed to compete with the Chevrolet Nomad. 1958 Park Lane’s wheelbase was 125 inches, 3 inches longer than other Mercury models, length was 220.2 inches and other models 213.2 inches. For the 1959 model year the Park Lane’s wheelbase was increased to 128 inches (3,300 mm), two inches longer than the rest of the Mercury line. In 1960, its wheelbase was reduced to 126 inches (3,200 mm), matching the rest of the Mercury line, overall length was 219.2 inches for all full size Mercurys. 1960 Park Lanes were available as a two door hardtop, four door hardtop or convertible. 1960 Park Lane standard features were a 430 cubic inch 310 horsepower V8 with 460 foot pounds of torque, Multi-Drive Merc-O-Matic automatic transmission, power steering and brakes, fender skirts, wide rocker panel moldings, 5 chrome accent bars ahead of the rear wheel openings, rear backup lights, padded dash and windshield washers. The Park Lane name was dropped in the 1961 model year as Mercury focused its production efforts on the lower-end Monterey and Meteor 800 models.

1959 Mercury Park Lane Convertible Coupe

 1959 Mercury Park Lane convertible
1959 Mercury Park Lane coupe
1959 Mercury Park Lane coupe

Second generation

Second generation
Mercury Park Lane photographed in Montreal
Overview
Model years 1964–1968
Assembly Hazelwood, Missouri (St. Louis Assembly Plant)
Pico Rivera, California (Los Angeles Assembly)
Hapeville, Georgia (Atlanta Assembly)
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door Hardtop
4-door Hardtop
4-door station wagon
Powertrain
Engine 410 cu in (6.7 l) V8
428 cu in (7.0 l) V8
Dimensions
Wheelbase 123 in (3,124 mm)

The name was reinstated in 1964 as Mercury again attempted to retrench its models in the price gap between Ford and Lincoln. Most Park Lanes had a “Breezeway” window, a powered reverse slanted rear window that could be lowered into the body, first used on the Mercury Turnpike Cruiser and the 1958-60 Lincoln Continental. Park Lanes were available with the Marauder package (as were all full-size ’64 Mercurys) which featured the “fastback” roof design in place of the Breezeway, and which were also used on the popular full-size Ford line.

For 1967 and 1968, the Park Lane was offered with an even more luxurious trim level called the Brougham, a.k.a. the Park Lane Brougham. These were Mercury’s flagship products during these years.

1958 Mercury Park Lane Phaeton Sedan 4-Door Hardtop

Mercury completely redesigned its full-size offerings for 1969, and the Park Lane name was retired at the end of the 1968 model year, to be replaced by the Marquis. However, the Park Lane name was brought back in the 1990s as a trim package on the Grand Marquis offered by Lincoln-Mercury dealerships in select markets. The package typically included a carriage, landau, or vinyl roof, chrome wheels, and “Park Lane” badging.

1964 Mercury Park Lane 4-door Hardtop with Maurader package

 1964 Mercury Park Lane 4-door Hardtop with “Maurader” package

1966 Mercury Park Lane 2-Door Hardtop1966 Mercury Park Lane 2-Door Hardtop

1990's Mercury Grand Marquis-Park Lane

Mercury Park Lane revived as a Grand Marquis package in the 1990s

.

Mercury Park Lane Brougham


1968 Mercury Park Lane Brougham 4-door hardtop

Mercury Park Lane Brougham
1968 Mercury Park Lane Brougham
Overview
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production 1967–1968
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan
4-door hardtop
2-door fastback (1968 only)

Triple-black 1968 Mercury Park Lane Brougham 4-door hardtop

1968 Mercury Park Lane Brougham 4-door hardtop 3

The Park Lane Brougham was the Ford Motor Company’s flagship Mercury model during its two year run from 1967-1968. Powerful and luxurious, it was offered as a four-door sedan, a four-door hardtop and, quite rarely, as a two-door hardtop (1968 only). The Brougham differentiated itself from the standard Park Lane by featuring 50-50 split bench seats with deep foam and thick box pleating, upscale door panels with higher trim levels and pull straps, and unique ornamentation. Viewers of the 1968-1980 CBS crime drama Hawaii Five-O may recall Jack Lord‘s character frequently squealing tires throughout Honolulu in a triple-black 1968 Mercury Park Lane Brougham 4-door hardtop.

Mechanical Details

The 1967 Marquis came with the Mercury-exclusive 330 hp (246 kW) 410 cubic-inch big-block V8 as standard equipment, which was actually an FE 390 block with 390 pistons and a 428 crankshaft changing the cubic inch displacement of the 390 to 410. Ford did this to save money and still offer a different engine displacement on the Mercury. For 1968, the 410 was replaced by the 315 hp (235 kW) 390 big-block with a two-barrel carburetor. For both years, an optional 345 hp (257 kW) 428 cubic-inch “Super Marauder”engine with a four-barrel carburetor was also available.

Mercury logo

Mercury Meteor

For the model by the same name offered in Canada from 1949 to 1976, see Meteor (automobile).
Mercury Meteor
1961 Mercury Meteor 800 four-door hardtop in Tawny Beige.
Overview
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production 1961–1963
Body and chassis
Class Full-Size (1961)
Mid-size (1962–1963)
Body style 2-door hardtop
2-door sedan
4-door sedan
4-door hardtop
4-door station wagon
Layout FR layout

The Mercury Meteor was an automobile model produced by the Lincoln Mercury division of the Ford Motor Company from 1961 to 1963. For 1961, the name was applied to low-end full-sized vehicles; for 1962 and 1963, the name was applied to Mercury’s mid-sized sedans, in a marketing attempt to appeal to the excitement surrounding the Space Race, before being discontinued. Introduced while Mercury as a marque was in flux, and never a solid marketplace performer in consumer sales, the Meteor remains more an “asterisk” than as a well known Mercury product.

Canadian Meteor

Initially, Ford used the Meteor nameplate in 1949 when it created a stand alone brand of vehicles that used Ford bodies trimmed using Mercury parts for sale specifically in the Canadian marketplace. Meteors were produced and sold in Canada until 1961, and then reintroduced again from 1964 to 1976, after the US model using the name was discontinued.

Factors affecting the creation of the Mercury Meteor

In the mid 1950s, Ford Executives were convinced by Ernest Breech that in order to compete with General Motors, the automaker had to meet each sales segment with unique product. The plan impacted Mercury by calling for the marques completely new platform and body design since World War II in order to differentiate it from the Ford beginning with the 1957 model year.

Historically, Mercury was usually considered a “lower-medium-priced” car, most often compared to Pontiac and Dodge. Under Breech’s plan Mercury would move upmarket and compete more directly with Buick, Oldsmobile, Chrysler and DeSoto and the Edselwould take over Mercury’s previous role as the “lower-medium-priced” car and compete more directly with Pontiac and Dodge.

While Breech’s plan could have succeeded in the early 1950s, by the late 1950s the bottom was beginning to drop out of the middle price car market; the 1958 recession effectively rendered Breech’s plan obsolete. Sales of Ford’s Edsel marque were a complete disaster.

Sales of Mercury products failed to reach expected sale levels, leading to cost cutting decisions beginning in the 1961 model year. Had Robert S. McNamara, then head of the Ford division, had his way, Lincoln, Edsel and Mercury would have been relegated to the dustbin of history. Instead, a compromise decision was made, and beginning in 1961 Ford and Mercury would use the basic Ford body shells, and rely upon unique trim elements to differentiate the marques one from another. Edsel, meanwhile, was discontinued after a short run of 1960 models; what emerged as the 1961 Mercury Meteor was really initially intended as the 1961 Edsel.

1961 Mercury Meteor

First Generation
1961 Meteor open
Overview
Production 1960–1961
Assembly Pico Rivera, California
Mahwah, New Jersey
St. Louis, Missouri
Wayne, Michigan
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door sedan
2-door hardtop
4-door hardtop
4-door sedan
Related Ford Fairlane
Ford Galaxie
Mercury Monterey
Powertrain
Engine 223 in3 OHV Straight-6
292 in3 Y-block V8
352 in3 FE V8
390 in3 FE V8
Transmission 2-speed automatic
3-speed automatic
2-speed manual
Dimensions
Wheelbase 3,047 mm (120.0 in)

The first step taken to make Mercury cost effective within Ford, Mercury shed its higher priced Montclair and Park Lane models. The Monterey, previously the entry-level full-sized Mercury offering and priced slightly higher for the 1961 model year than comparable 1960 models, would become the new top-of-the-line model. It was joined by the new, lower-priced Meteor 600 and Meteor 800. The Meteor 600 and Meteor 800 were, respectively, the spiritual descendants of the Medalist and Custom models last offered in 1956, as well as replacements for the discontinued Edsel. All full-sized 1961 Mercurys rode on a 120” wheelbase.

For 1961 the Meteor was a full-sized model, differentiated from the Monterey through its trim and taillights. Meteor 600 taillights were oblong while the Meteor 800 and upmarket Monterey used six circular tail lights, three on each side. Meteor 600s, available only as two- and four-door sedans featured chrome spears from the taillights to the front wheels. Meteor 800s, available in two- and four-door sedan and hardtop body styles, featured the spear and three chrome bars on the front fenders, chrome fender fin trim, rocker panel trim and back-up lights.

The Commuter 4-door station wagon was trimmed comparably to the Meteors, while the Colony Park with simulated woodgrain trim on the side-panels was trimmed comparably to the Monterey.

350px-Logo_della_Mercury_(auto).svg

Mercury Colony Park

Mercury Colony Park
1984 Mercury Grand Marquis Colony Park

1984 Mercury Grand Marquis Colony Park
Overview
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production 1957–1991
Body and chassis
Class Full-size
Body style 4-door station wagon
Layout FR layout
Chronology
Predecessor Mercury Monterey station wagon (1952-1956)

The Mercury Colony Park was the top-of-the-line full-size station wagon offered by the Mercury division of Ford Motor Company between 1957 and 1991. Following the demise of Edsel, the Colony Park became the Mercury equivalent of the Ford Country Squire and the station wagon version of the Marquis in 1969.

It was distinguished by woodgrain paneling on the body sides and tailgate, a feature also associated with competitive station wagons such as the Chrysler Town & Country and the Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser.

1957–1958

First generation
1957 Mercury Colony Park
Overview
Model years 1957–1958
Body and chassis
Related Mercury Turnpike Cruiser
Mercury Park Lane
Mercury Montclair
Mercury Monterey
Mercury Voyager
Mercury Commuter
Edsel Citation
Edsel Corsair
Powertrain
Engine 368 cu in (6.0 L) Lincoln Y-BlockV8
383 cu in (6.3 L) Marauder V8
430 cu in (7.0 L) Super MarauderV8
Transmission 3-speed manual
3-speed Merc-O-Matic automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 122.0 in (3,099 mm)
Length 1957: 211.1 in (5,362 mm)
1958: 214.2 in (5,441 mm)
Width 79.1 in (2,009 mm)
Height 58.3 in (1,481 mm)
Curb weight 4,400–4,800 lb (2,000–2,200 kg)

For 1957, Mercury followed Ford in creating a separate model series for its station wagons; the Colony Park served as the top model above the Voyager

Mercury logo

Mercury Voyager

Mercury Voyager
1957 Two Door Mercury Hardtop Station Wagon.
Overview
Manufacturer Mercury
Production 1957–1958
Body and chassis
Class Full-size
Layout FR layout
Powertrain
Engine 368 cu in (6.0 L) Lincoln Y-Block V8

The Mercury Voyager was Mercury’s mid-priced full-size station wagon from 1957 through 1958. When introduced for the 1957 model year it was priced between Mercury’s other two new full size wagons, the Mercury Commuter and the Colony Park. It was available as both a 2-door (of which 2283 units were produced in 1957) and a 4-door.

Examples in today’s market typically feature the combination of the optional 368 cu in (6.0 L) Lincoln Y-Block V8 with a push-button transmission and power steering.

and the Commuter. Rather than sharing a body and chassis with the 1957 Ford, the Mercury line, including the station wagons, shared their chassis and body with two models from the upcoming Edsel division.

To differentiate itself from lesser Mercury wagons, the Colony Park was fitted with simulated woodgrain siding as standard equipment. Unlike Ford or Edsel wagons, Mercury wagons were all configured in a hardtop (pillarless) bodystyle unique .

Just as on the Mercury Turnpike Cruiser, the 368 cu in (6.0 L) Lincoln Y-Block V8 was standard equipment in 1957. In 1958, Mercury introduced 383 and 430 cubic-inch Marauder and Super Marauder V8s as options. Inside, an electric clock was also standard. A padded dash was optional.

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further with the mercury colony park

1959–1960

Second generation
1960 Mercury Colony Park, one of 7411 built that year
Overview
Model years 1959–1960
Body and chassis
Related Mercury Park Lane
Mercury Montclair
Mercury Monterey
Mercury Commuter
Powertrain
Engine 383 cu in (6.3 L) Marauder V8
430 cu in (7.0 L) Super MarauderV8
Transmission 3-speed Merc-O-Matic automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 126.0 in (3,200 mm)
Length 1959: 218.2 in (5,542 mm)
1960: 219.2 in (5,568 mm)
Width 1959: 80.7 in (2,050 mm)
1960: 81.5 in (2,070 mm)
Height 57.8 in (1,468 mm)
Curb weight 4,800–4,900 lb (2,200–2,200 kg)

Along with the rest of the Mercury product line, the station wagons were updated for the 1959 model year; the mid-price Voyager was discontinued, trimming the station wagon line down to the Colony Park and the base-model Commuter.

With the demise of the premium-model Edsels, the Mercury division now had a body and chassis to itself. The 1959 redesign gave the Colony Park a 4-inch wheelbase stretch, to 126 inches. With a curb weight of nearly 5000 pounds, Mercury specified the 315-hp 430 cubic-inch MEL engine shared with Lincoln and the Ford Thunderbird.

Mercury station wagons of this vintage had the longest wheelbase, the widest bodies and the most cargo space of any station wagon ever built by this make.

1960 to 1970 comparison 1960 Colony Park 1970 Colony Park
Wheelbase 126.0 in (3,200 mm) 121.0 in (3,073 mm)
Track Width (front/rear) 60.0 in (1,524 mm) 64.1 in (1,628 mm)/64.3 in (1,633 mm)
Overall Length 219.2 in (5,568 mm) 220.5 in (5,601 mm)
Width 81.5 in (2,070 mm) 79.8 in (2,027 mm)
Top Front Seat to Top Tailgate (closed) 83.4 in (2,118 mm) 84.0 in (2,134 mm)
Top Second Seat to Top Tailgate (closed) 49.5 in (1,257 mm) 51.0 in (1,295 mm)
Width at Second Seat 60.8 in (1,544 mm) 62.0 in (1,575 mm)
Floor to Roof (over rear axle) 34.4 in (874 mm) 32.0 in (813 mm)
Total Cargo Capacity (behind front seat) 101.7 cu ft (2,880 L) 96.2 cu ft (2,724 L)
Total Cargo Capacity (behind rear seat) 60.4 cu ft (1,710 L) 58.4 cu ft (1,654 L)

1959 Mercury Colony Park frame off restoration and info.

1961–1964

Third generation
1963 Mercury Colony Park station wagon
Overview
Also called Mercury Monterey Colony Park
Model years 1961–1964
Body and chassis
Related Mercury Park Lane
Mercury Montclair
Mercury Monterey
Mercury Meteor
Mercury Commuter
Ford Galaxie
Ford Fairlane
Ford 300
Ford Custom
Ford Country Squire
Dimensions
Wheelbase 120.0 in (3,048 mm)

The 1961-64 Mercury station wagons were the first since 1956 to share a body and chassis with Ford. This move was made because of declining Mercury sales from 1957 to 1960, and despite the obvious Ford origins of this generation of Mercurys, buyers began to return to the make. Indeed, the Mercury division’s best sales years came during the early years when the cars were seen as little more than “gussied-up Fords.”

Although Mercury station wagons remained a stand-alone series, the Colony Park was the wagon counterpart to the Monterey, which in 1962 and 1963 was the sole full-size sedan in the lineup (excluding the high-performance S-55).

1965–1968

Fourth generation
1965 Mercury Colony Park
Overview
Production 1965–1968
Body and chassis
Related Mercury Commuter
Ford LTD
Ford Country Squire
Ford Galaxie
Mercury Marquis
Mercury Monterey
Powertrain
Engine 390 cu in (6.4 L) FE V8
410 cu in (6.7 L) Marauder V8
Dimensions
Wheelbase 119.0 in (3,023 mm)

In 1965, Colony Park was promoted to “the Lincoln Continental of station wagons”, when it was given the Lincoln Continental’s suspension package (along with its cushy, floaterboat ride). It continued to enjoy this distinction through its final year.

The 1966 Colony Park was fitted with Ford’s two-way “Magic Doorgate”, which was designed to fold down like a conventional tailgate and also swing sideways like a door. Ford’s dual-facing rear seats became available on the 1967 Colony Park. Mercury also introduced a feature where windflow was directed across the rear window through channels integrated and covered with the “D” pillar. This also allowed fresh air to enter into the rear of the vehicle if the rear window was retracted into the tailgate.

On third-generation Colony Parks, the standard engine was a 390 cu in (6.4 L) FE V8 with 270 horsepower (200 kW). From 1966 to 1967, the 410 cu in (6.7 L) FE “Marauder” V8 with 330 horsepower (250 kW) was an option.

1966 Colony Park

 1966 Colony Park
1966 Mercury Colony Park with 2-way tailgate with side-swing door handle
1966 2-way tailgate with side-swing door handle

1969–1978

Fifth generation
1974 Mercury Marquis Colony Park station wagon

1974 Mercury Marquis Colony Park
Overview
Also called Mercury Marquis Colony Park
Production 1969–1978
Assembly Hazelwood, Missouri (St. Louis Assembly Plant)
Pico Rivera, California (Los Angeles Assembly)
Hapeville, Georgia (Atlanta Assembly)
Body and chassis
Related Ford LTD
Ford Country Squire
Ford Galaxie
Mercury Grand Marquis
Mercury Marquis
Powertrain
Engine 351 cu in (5.8 L) Windsor V8
400 cu in (6.6 L) Cleveland V8
460 cu in (7.5 L) 385 V8
Dimensions
Wheelbase 121.0 in (3,073 mm)

When the full-size Mercury wagons were restyled for 1969, they were no longer a separate series, and the Colony Park became a member of the Marquis series. In contrast to the Marquis sedan, the Colony Park was based on the same 121-inch wheelbase as the Ford LTD. Also in 1969, the Magic Doorgate was reworked to that it could swing sideways without having to roll the window down.

This generation introduced covered headlights, which were deployed using a vacuum canister system that kept the doors down when a vacuum condition existed in the lines, provided by the engine when it was running. If a loss of vacuum occurred, the doors would retract up so that the headlights were visible if the system should fail.

Although narrower than the 1959–1960 generation, this generation of the Colony Park was the longest and heaviest of any before or after. Because of the car’s sheer heft, Mercury equipped this generation with a 400-cubic-inch (6.6 liter) V-8 as standard, with the Lima series 429-cubic-inch and 460-cubic-inch (7.5 liter) optional. For the final model year of this generation, 1978, the 351-cubic-inch V-8 became standard except in California and ‘High Altitude’ areas where the 400 was required, although the 400-2V and 460 remained available as options (except that the 460 was not available in California after Model Year 1976 in any FoMoCo car line), although it was less than desirable. Most surviving examples carry either of the two larger engines, as they were far more popular—not to mention more capable of powering such a heavy vehicle.

Approximately 7,850,000 full-size Fords and Mercurys were sold over 1969-78. This makes it the second best selling Ford automobile platform after the Ford Model T.

1972 Mercury Marquis Colony Park wagon

 1972 Colony Park
1976 Mercury Colony Park
1976 Colony Park

1979–1991

Sixth generation
1979–1987 Mercury Colony Park front
Overview
Also called Mercury Grand Marquis Colony Park
Production 1979–1991
124,027 produced
Assembly Hazelwood, Missouri (St. Louis Assembly)
Talbotville, Ontario, (St. Thomas Assembly)
Body and chassis
Platform Ford Panther platform
Related Ford LTD
Ford Country Squire
Ford LTD Crown Victoria
Mercury Grand Marquis
Mercury Marquis
Powertrain
Engine 302 cu in (4.9 L) 5.0 Windsor V8
351 cu in (5.8 L) Windsor V8
Transmission 3-speed C4 automatic
3-speed FMX automatic
4-speed AOD automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 114.3 in (2,903 mm)
Length 219 in (5,563 mm)
Width 79.3 in (2,014 mm)
Height 56.5 in (1,435 mm)
Curb weight 4,032 lb (1,829 kg)

As part of a redesign for the 1979 model year, the Colony Park was moved from the Marquis line into the Grand Marquis line. In an ironic move, the redesign was part of extensive physical downsizing to the Mercury full-size product line. Joining its rivals from GM and Chrysler, the Colony Park had lost over 11 inches in length, 6.6 inches in wheelbase, 0.4 inches in width, and had shed slightly over 1,000 lbs in weight (in comparison to its 1978 predecessor). As before, woodgrain siding remained standard equipment, along with 8-passenger seating.

The Colony Park was powered by two engines: a 4.9 L Windsor V8 (identified as a 5.0 L by Ford) with a carbureted 5.8 L Windsor V8. The former 400- and 460-cubic-inch engines were discontinued, and the 5.8L was dropped after 1982, as most customers deemed the 302 Windsor engine sufficiently powerful. To further enhance fuel economy, in 1981, both engines were paired with the 4-speed AOD overdrive transmission, and the 4.9L V8 was given fuel injection.

This generation of Colony Park would see few substantial changes during its thirteen-year lifespan. For 1983, it became the sole full-size Mercury wagon as the previous year’s ‘base’ Marquis wagon was no longer offered as a full-size model. In 1986, the 5.8L engine made its return as an (rarely specified) option. Starting in 1987, the Colony Park wagon was offered in GS and LS trim.

After nine years with only detail changes to the body and trim, the Colony Park received a major update alongside the Grand Marquis for 1988. From the windshield forward, a more aerodynamic front end better integrated the fenders, grille, headlights, and bumpers. Inside, the front seats were modernized. For 1990, as part of an addition of a drivers’ side airbag, the entire instrument panel and dashboard received a redesign; all outboard seats received 3-point seatbelts.

1988-1991 Mercury Grand Marquis Colony Park
1979–1987 Mercury Colony Park front
1984 Mercury Colony Park rear
1984 Mercury Colony Park rear

Discontinuation

When the Grand Marquis was redesigned with aero-styling for 1992, the Colony Park station wagon was dropped from Mercury’s lineup. By that time, full-size station wagons were no longer popular due to the increasing popularity of minivans and SUVs. The last full-size station wagons, the Chevrolet Caprice, the Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser and the Buick Roadmaster Estate ended production in 1996. In 2005, Daimler Chrysler briefly reintroduced the Dodge Magnum name on a full-size wagon, based on the LX platform Chrysler 300, but it was dropped in 2008.

The standard engine in the Meteor and Commuter was a 223 cubic inch displacement inline six-cylinder with a 1-barrel carburetor that generated 135 horsepower (101 kW) @ 4000 rpm. Optional engines included a 292 cubic inch displacement V-8 with 2-barrel carburetor generating 175 horsepower (130 kW) @ 4200 rpm (standard on the Monterey on Colony Park), as well as a 352 cubic inch Marauder V-8 with 2-barrel carburetor generating 220 horsepower (160 kW), a 390 cubic inch Marauder V-8 with 4-barrel carburetor generating 300 horsepower (220 kW), and a 390 cubic inch Marauder V-8 with 4-barrel carburetor generating 330 horsepower (250 kW).

The standard transmission was a 3-speed manual with overdrive available as an option. Merc-O-Matic and Multi-Drive automatic transmissions were available as options.

Mercury logo (1)

The Edsel Comet

1960 Edsel Comet Prototype

EdsellogoE.svg

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA 1960 edsel comet 1960 Edsel 1961 Comet Prototype from November 11th 1959

The plans for 1961 was starting with the new Edsel, the Comet, but Ford dicided to close Edsel and brought the new car as the:

Mercury Comet

Mercury Comet
1960 Comet 2-door sedan
Overview
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production 1960–1977
Assembly Oakville, Ontario, Canada
Claycomo, Missouri, United States
Lorain, Ohio, United States
Milpitas, California, United States
Wayne, Michigan, United States
Body and chassis
Class muscle (1960–1965, 1971–1977)
Mid-size (1966–1969)
Layout FR layout
Related Ford Falcon, Ford Maverick
Chronology
Successor Mercury Zephyr
Mercury Monarch

The Mercury Comet was an automobile produced by the Mercury division of the Ford Motor Company from 1960–1969 and 1971-1977 — variously as either a compact or an intermediate car.

The Comet was based on the compact Ford Falcon and later the Ford Maverick. As a Mercury, early Comets received better grade interior trim than concurrent Falcons, and a slightly longer wheelbase.

Relationship to the Edsel

The Comet was originally planned as an Edsel model. It was reassigned to Mercury dealerships after the demise of the Edsel marque, where it was marketed as a standalone product for 1960 and 1961 as the Comet.

Developed concurrently with the Ford Falcon, early pre-production photographs of the sedan show a car remarkably close to the Comet that emerged, but with a split grille following the pattern established by Edsel models. Early Ford styling mules for the station wagon model carried the Edsel name as well.

At their debut, the split grille was replaced by one more in keeping with Mercury’s design themes. However, the canted elliptical taillights, first seen on the Edsel prototype, were used and carried the “E” (Edsel) part number on them. While the short lived 1960 Edsels used elliptical shaped taillights, the lenses used on both cars differed in length and width. Certain other parts from the 1959 Edsel parts bin, including the parking lights and dashboard knobs, were used on the first-year Comet. Keys for the 1960 and 1961 Comets were shaped like Edsel keys, with the center bar of the “E” removed to form a “C”.

1960–1965

Overview

From 1960-1965, the Comet was based on the Ford Falcon platform (stretched 5 in (130 mm) for sedans, but not for wagons). The 1960-1963 Comets share a similar basic shape. These are sometimes referred to as the “round body” Comets. For 1962 and 1963, the Comet shared a considerable number of body and mechanical parts with the short-lived Mercury Meteor intermediate.

1960–1963

First generation
1960-1963 Mercury Comet 2 door Coupe.
Overview
Production 1960–1963
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
4-door sedan
4-door station wagon
2-door station wagon
Related Mercury Meteor
Powertrain
Engine 144 cu in (2.4 L) I6
170 cu in (2.8 L) I6
260 cu in (4.3 L) V8
Transmission 3-speed manual
2-speed automatic
4-speed manual
Dimensions
Wheelbase 114 in (2,896 mm)
Length 194.5 in (4,940 mm)
1961-Mercury-Comet-08
 1961 Comet 2-door wagon

Due to the demise of Edsel, the Comet was initially released without any divisional badging, only “Comet” badges. It was sold through Mercury dealers, but would not be branded as such for two more years.

Introduced in March 1960, initial body styles were 2-door coupes, 4-door sedans and 2- and 4-door station wagons. Two trim levels were available, standard and “Custom”, with the custom package including badging, additional chrome trim and all-vinyl interiors. In 1960, the only engine available was the 144 cid Thriftpower straight six with a single-barrel Holley carburetor which produced 90 hp (67 kW) at 4200 rpm. (Some sources list it as producing 85 hp (63 kW) at 4200 rpm.) Transmission options were a column-shifted 3-speed manual and a 2-speed Merc-O-Matic automatic transmission (unique to the Comet, despite sharing a name with the Merc-O-Matic installed in other Mercurys).

Ford had purchased the name “Comet” from Comet Coach Company, a professional car manufacturer in which the term belonged to a line of funeral coaches, mainly Oldsmobiles. The coach company then was renamed Cotner-Bevington.

In Canada, for the 1960 model year, Mercury-Meteor dealers sold a compact car called the “Frontenac”. The Frontenac was considered a model in its own right and was badge-engineered version of the Ford Falcon with only minor trim differences to distinguish it from the Falcon. The Frontenac was produced for only one year. The Comet was introduced to the Canadian market for the 1961 model year and replaced the Frontenac as the compact offering by Mercury-Meteor dealers.

In response to complaints about the low performance of the 144 cid engine, a 170 cid straight-6 with a single-barrel Holley carburetor producing 101 hp (75 kW) at 4400 rpm was released for the 1961 model year. A new 4-speed manual transmission was also an option (a Dagenham without 1st gear synchromesh).

1963 Mercury Comet S-22 convertible

 1963 Mercury Comet S-22 convertible

The optional S-22 package was released. Available only on the 2-door sedan, it was billed as a “sport” package, although it shared the same mechanicals as regular Comets, with the only changes being S-22 badging, bucket seats and a center console.

Comet was officially made a Mercury model for the 1962 model year, and it received some minor restyling, mainly a redesign of the trunk and taillight area to bring the car more in line with the Mercury look. This is the first year the car carried Mercury badging.

The S-22 had six bullet shaped tail lights, while regular Comets had four oval with 2 flat reverse lights. A Comet Villager station wagon, basically a Comet Custom 4-door station wagon with simulated woodgrain side panels, was added to the lineup. (The Villager name had previously been used to denote the 4-door steel-sided station wagon in the Edsel Ranger series.)

While the 1963 model looked almost identical to the earlier models, the chassis and suspension were redesigned to accommodate an optional 260 cid V8 engine using a 2-barrel carburetor and producing 164 hp (122 kW). Convertible and hardtop (pillarless) coupe models were added to the Comet Custom and Comet S-22 lines this year.

1964–1965

Second generation
1964 Mercury Comet
Overview
Production 1964–1965
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
2-door convertible
4-door sedan
4-door station wagon
Powertrain
Engine 170 cu in (2.8 L) I6
200 cu in (3.3 L) I6
260 cu in (4.3 L) V8
289 cu in (4.7 L) V8
427 cu in (7.0 L)V8
Transmission 3-speed automatic
4-speed manual
1964 Mercury Comet Cyclone Caliente

 1964 Mercury Comet Cyclone

The 1964 Comet was redesigned with a much more square shape, though it was still built on the same unibody as the 1963 model. The front grille used styling similar to that of the Lincoln Continental. Along with the redesign, the model designations were changed. The performance version was known as the Cyclone, replacing the previous S-22. Then in descending order of trim levels were the Caliente, 404 and 202, replacing the previous Custom and base models. The 2-door station wagon bodystyle was discontinued. The top-of-the-line station wagon continued to be known as the Villager. The base 144 cid six engine was dropped and the 170 cid six became the new base engine. The 260 V8 was available at the beginning of the production run, with the new 289 being available mid-year.

For 1964, Ford produced about 50 ultra-high performance lightweight Comet Cyclones, equipped with their racing two-carburetor 427 engine, similar to their cousin, the Ford Thunderbolt. To avoid competing with each other, the Thunderbolts ran in Super Stock on 7-inch (180 mm) tires, but the Cyclones were modified to run in A/FX on 10-inch (250 mm) tires, where they were as dominant as the Thunderbolts were in Super Stock. Drivers included Ronnie Sox, Don Nicholson and Wild Bill Shrewsberry in conjunction with Jack Chrisman. Shrewsberry still owns his original 427 Comet in Caliente trim.

1965 Mercury Comet

 1965 Mercury Comet

For 1965, the Comet received updated styling front and rear (including stacked headlights). The base 6-cylinder engine was increased from 170 cid to 200 cid. Still using a single-barrel carburetor, it produced 120 hp (89 kW) at 4400 rpm. The base 8-cylinder engine was increased from 260 to 289 cid and, using a 2-barrel carburetor, it produced 200 hp (150 kW) at 4400 rpm. The standard transmission continued as a column-shifted 3-speed manual transmission. The optional automatic was changed to a “Merc-O-Matic” 3-speed automatic transmission (essentially a Ford C4 transmission). The 289 V8 was available in three horsepower ratings, base 2-barrel 200 hp, 4-barrel 225 hp (168 kW) and the premier driveline option was the 289 cubic inch, 271 hp (202 kW) high-performance engine and four-speed manual transmission found on the Ford Mustang.

1966–1969

1966–1967

Third generation
1966 Mercury Comet Cyclone
Overview
Production 1966–1967
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
4-door sedan
4-door station wagon
2-door station wagon
Powertrain
Engine 390 cu in (6.4 L) V8

Beginning in 1966, the Comet grew from a compact to become a mid-sized car. It was now based on the same chassis as the Ford Fairlane intermediate (and the previous Mercury Meteor intermediate which was only offered in 1962-1963). These intermediate-sized cars used the same basic chassis as the original Ford Falcon and Mercury Comet compacts, but were stretched with longer wheelbases. The previous generation Comet shared its platform with the all-new Ford Mustang in 1964, and when the Comet graduated to the intermediate platform, the Mercury Cougar became the platform shared with the Mustang.

350px-Logo_della_Mercury_(auto).svg

Mercury Cougar

1967 Classic Mercury Cougar logo

Mercury Cougar
1994-97 Mercury Cougar

1997 Mercury Cougar XR-7
Overview
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
3,078,388 produced
Model years 1967–1997
1999–2002
Body and chassis
Class Pony car (1967–1973)
Personal luxury car (1974–1997)
Sport compact (1999–2002)

Mercury Cougar is a nameplate that was applied to a diverse series of automobiles sold by the Mercury division of Ford Motor Company from 1967 to 2002. While most examples were produced as two-door coupes, at various times throughout its production life, the Cougar was also sold as a convertible, four-door sedan, station wagon, and hatchback.

As was the common practice within the Mercury division, the Cougar shared its basic underpinnings with a Ford counterpart. At the time of its introduction, it was based upon the Ford Mustang. While briefly based upon the Ford Elite during the mid-1970s, the Cougar would subsequently become the Mercury counterpart of the Ford Thunderbird for the rest of the 1970s into the late 1990s. After its initial discontinuation, the Cougar emerged as a sports coupe counterpart of the Ford Contour “world car”; as such, it was sold outside of North America as the Ford Cougar.

For many years, the Cougar was important to the image of the Mercury division; advertising often identified its dealers as being “at the sign of the cat.” Female models holding big cats on leashes were used as part of Cougar advertising in the early 1970s. In production for 34 years, the Cougar is second only to the Grand Marquis in longevity.

The car was assembled at the Dearborn Assembly Plant (DAP)—one of six plants within the Ford Rouge Center—in Dearborn, Michigan from 1967 to 1973, at the San Jose Assembly Plant in Milpitas, California from 1968 into early 1969, at the Lorain Assembly Plant (LAP) in Lorain, Ohio from 1974 to 1997, and at the Flat Rock, Michigan Assembly Plant from 1999 to 2002.

First generation (1967–1970)

First generation
1967 Mercury Cougar

1967 Mercury Cougar
Overview
Model years 1967–1970 (1969–70 are the second body shape)
Assembly United States: Dearborn, Michigan
Edison, New Jersey
Milpitas, California
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door hardtop coupe
2-door convertible
Layout FR layout
Related Ford Mustang
Powertrain
Engine 289 cu in (4.7 L) Windsor V8
390 cu in (6.4 L) FE V8
302 cu in (4.9 L) Windsor V8
351 cu in (5.8 L) Windsor V8
351 cu in (5.8 L) Cleveland V8
428 cu in (7.0 L) FE V8
427 cu in (7.0 L) FE V8
Dimensions
Wheelbase 111 in (2819 mm)

The introduction of the Cougar finally gave Mercury its own “pony car“. Slotted between the Ford Mustang and the Ford Thunderbird, the Cougar would be the performance icon and eventually the icon for the Mercury name for several decades. The Cougar was available in two models (base and XR-7) and only came in one body style (a two-door hardtop). Engine choices ranged from the 200 hp (149 kW) 289 in3 two-barrel V8 to the 335 hp (250 kW) 390 in3 four-barrel V8. A notable performance package called the GT was available on both the base and XR-7 Cougars. This included the 390 in3 V8, as well as a performance handling package and other performance enhancements.

The 1967 Cougar, with the internal code T-7, went on sale September 30, 1966. It was based on the 1967 refaced first-generation Mustang, but with a 3-inch-longer (76 mm) wheelbase and new sheet metal. A full-width divided grille with hidden headlamps and vertical bars defined the front fascia—it was sometimes called the electric shaver grille. At the rear, a similar treatment saw the license plate surrounded on both sides with vertically slatted grillework concealing taillights (with sequential turn signals), a styling touch taken from the Thunderbird.

A deliberate effort was made to give the car a more “European” flavor than the Mustang, at least to American buyers’ eyes. Aside from the base model and the luxurious XR-7, only one performance package was available for either model: the sporty GT. The XR-7 model brought a simulated wood-grained dashboard with a full set of black-faced competition instruments and toggle switches, an overhead console, a T-type center automatic transmission shifter (if equipped with the optional Merc-O-Matic transmission), and leather/vinyl upholstery.

This was the only generation with covered headlights, which were deployed using a vacuum canister system that kept the doors down when a vacuum condition existed in the lines, provided by the engine when it was running. If a loss of vacuum occurred, the doors would retract up so that the headlights were visible if the system should fail.

The GT package, meanwhile, supplied a much larger engine, Ford’s 390-in3 (6.4 L) FE-series big block to replace the small-block 289-in3 (4.7 L) standard powerplant. Along with this came an upgraded suspension to handle the extra weight of the big engine and give better handling, more powerful brakes, better tires and a low-restriction exhaust system. Introduced with the music of Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass’ The Work Song, the Cougar was a sales success from its introduction and helped the Lincoln-Mercury Division’s 1967 sales figures substantially. The Cougar was Motor Trend magazine’s Car of the Year for 1967.

The Cougar continued to be a Mustang twin for seven years, and could be optioned as a genuine muscle car. Nevertheless, it gradually tended to shift away from performance and toward luxury, evolving into something new in the market — a plush pony car. The signs were becoming clear as early as 1970, when special options styled by fashion designer Pauline Trigère appeared, a houndstooth pattern vinyl roof and matching upholstery, available together or separately. A reskinning in 1971 saw the hidden headlights vanish for good, although hidden wipers were adopted. Between 1969 and 1973, Cougar convertibles were offered.

Not much changed for the Cougar in its second year. The addition of federally mandated side marker lights and front outboard shoulder belts were among the minor changes, but the biggest changes were under the hood and in performance for the XR-7 model. A 210 hp (157 kW) 302-in3, two-barrel V8 was the base engine on all XR-7s and early standard Cougars. Three new engines were added to the option list this year: the 230 hp (172 kW) 302-in3, four-barrel V8; the 335 hp (250 kW) 428-in3, four-barrel V8; and the 390 hp (291 kW) 427-in3, four-barrel V8. In addition, the 289-in3 engine was made standard on base cars without the interior decor group midway through the model year.

There were many comfort and performance options available for the Cougar. For 1967-69, a unique a “Tilt-Away” steering wheel that swung up and out of the way when the driver’s door was opened (and the ignition was off)was offered, and from 1971, a power driver’s seat. The most unique option of all appeared in 1968: Ford’s first factory installed electric sunroof. It was available on any hardtop Cougar, but rarely ordered on early cars.

Mercury was serious about the Cougar being the performance icon for the company. The XR7-G, named for Mercury road racer Dan Gurney, came with all sorts of performance add-ons, including a hood scoop, Lucas fog lamps, and hood pins. Engine selection was limited only to the 302, 390, and 428 V8. A total of 619 XR7-Gs were produced, and only 14 Gs were produced with the 428 CJ. The 7.0-L GT-E package was available on both the standard and XR-7 Cougars and came with the 427 V8. The 428 Cobra Jet Ram Air was available in limited numbers on the GT-E beginning 1 April 1968. Conservatively rated at 335 hp (250 kW), the 428 Cobra Jet could produce much more (306 kW (410 hp)) from the factory. A total of 394 GT-Es were produced, 357 with the 427 and 37 with the 428. The GT-E came with power front disc brakes as standard.

The third year of production, 1969, brought several new additions to the Cougar lineup. A convertible model was now available in either standard and XR-7 trim. These highly anticipated soft tops proved quite popular and today are considered, by many, among the most desirable of the ’67-’70 production run. On the exterior, the grille switched from vertical bars to horizontal bars. Taillights still spanned the entire rear of the car and retained vertical chrome dividers, but were now concave rather than convex. Body sides now featured a prominent line that swept downward from the nose to just ahead of the rear wheel wells. A new performance package appeared and several disappeared. The GT, XR-7G and the 7.0-L GT-E disappeared, but the 390 and 428 V8s remained. 302 engines were dropped, except for the “Boss” version, available only with the Eliminator package. The new standard Cougar engine was a 250 horsepower 351 Windsor. A 290 hp (216 kW) 351 Windsor V8 was also added to the engine lineup. The Eliminator performance package appeared for the first time. A 351-in3 four-barrel Windsor V8 was standard under the hood, with the 390 four-barrel V8, the 428CJ and the Boss 302 available as options. The Eliminator also featured a blacked-out grille, special side stripes, front and rear spoilers, an optional Ram Air induction system, a full gauge package including tachometer, upgraded “Decor” interior trim, special high-back bucket seats, rally wheels, raised white letter tires and a performance-tuned suspension and handling package. It also came in a variety of vibrant colors, such as White, Bright Blue Metallic, Competition Orange, and Bright Yellow. Only two Cougars were produced with the Boss 429 V8, making them the rarest Cougars ever built. Both were factory drag cars, built for “Fast Eddie” Schartman and “Dyno” Don Nicholson. A little known 1969-only model was the Cougar Sports Special. The Sports Special package included unique pin striping, “turbine” style wheel covers and rocker panel moldings with simulated side scoops. Décor interior and performance suspension were available for the Sports Special, as were any of the optional Cougar engines, other than the Boss 302. Somewhat oddly, no badges or decals denoted the Sports Special option on either the interior or exterior.

For 1970, the Cougar appearance was similar to the 1969 model, but numerous changes were made inside and out. It now sported a new front end which featured a pronounced center hood extension and electric shaver grille similar to the 1967 and 1968 Cougars. Federally mandated locking steering columns appeared inside, and high-back bucket seats, similar to those included in the ’69 Eliminator package, became standard across the board. The aforementioned new nose along with revised taillight bezels, new front bumper and front fender extensions, and larger, recessed side markers updated the look on the outside. The 300 hp (224 kW) 351 “Cleveland” V8 was now available for the first time, though both the Cleveland and Windsor engines were available, if the buyer selected the base model two-barrel motor. The 390 FE engine was now dropped, and the Boss 302 and 428CJ soldiered on. The Eliminator continued with new striping, revised colors, and the four-barrel 351 Cleveland replacing the four-barrel 351 Windsor as the standard Eliminator engine. The upgraded “Décor” interior and styled steel wheels, standard ’69 Eliminator equipment, were moved to the options list for the 1970 Eliminator. No Eliminator convertibles were factory produced in either 1969 or 1970. Unusual options for the 1970 Cougar were interior upholstery and vinyl top in bold houndstooth check patterns.

Total production: 1967: 150,893 1968: 113,720 1969: 100,069 1970: 72,343

Second generation (1971–1973)

Second generation
1971 Mercury Cougar

1971 Mercury Cougar
Overview
Model years 1971–1973
Assembly United States: Dearborn, Michigan
Edison, New Jersey
Pico Rivera, California
Body and chassis
Body style Two-door coupe
Two-door convertible
Layout FR layout
Related Ford Mustang
Powertrain
Engine 351 cu in (5.8 L) Windsor V8
351 cu in (5.8 L) Cleveland V8
429 cu in (7.0 L) Super Cobra Jet V8.
Dimensions
Wheelbase 112.0 in (2,845 mm)

For 1971, the Cougar was restyled, weighed less, and had only a one-inch-longer wheelbase than its predecessors (112 vs. 111 – which was similar to GM’s intermediate-sized two-door models, such as the Olds Cutlass). The front end now featured four exposed headlights; the disappearing headlights were eliminated. The center grille piece was now larger, sharing its appearance with the 1971 Mercury Cyclone. The rear featured a semifastback with a “flying buttress” sail-panel. The convertible returned, as did the XR-7 and the GT package. The Eliminator package was dropped, but the Ram Air option remained. The engine lineup was revised for 1971, as well. Now only three engines were offered—the standard 240 hp (179 kW) 351 Windsor two-barrel V8, the 285 hp (213 kW) 351 Cleveland four-barrel V8, and the 370 hp (276 kW) 429 Cobra Jet four-barrel V8.

1971-1973 Mercury Cougar XR7

 1971-1973 Mercury Cougar XR7

By 1972, the climate had begun to change as the muscle car era ended. No longer able to use gross power numbers, the manufacturers had to use net power figures, which dropped the once-mighty figures down substantially. Engines were shuffled around a bit with the 429 engine option no longer available. They were now the standard 163 hp (122 kW) 351 Cleveland two-barrel V8, or the 266 hp (198 kW) 351C four-barrel Cobra Jet V8. Other than that, the Cougar remained a carryover from 1971. Only minor trim details were changed in 1972. The big-block engines were gone for 1972 and 1973. The days of performance-oriented muscle cars were coming to an end.

Aside from minor grille and taillight changes, 1973 would be largely a carryover year for the Cougar, but it would mark the last year of the Mustang-based Cougar, and the end of Cougar convertibles. (A light blue/white Cougar XR-7 convertible was actually the “last” convertible built by Ford Motor Company.) Many changes were scheduled for the 1974 models. Power figures continued to change, as new federal/EPA regulations began their stranglehold on the V8 engines. The new figures continued to fluctuate, but engine options remained unchanged from 1972. The standard engine continued to be the 168 hp (125 kW) 351 Cleveland two-barrel V8. Optional was the 264 hp (197 kW) 351 Cobra Jet V8. The following years changed to the Thunderbird/Torino chassis.

Total Production: 1971: 62,864 1972: 53,702 1973: 60,628

Third generation (1974–1976)

Third generation
1975-76 Mercury Cougar XR-7 2-Door Hardtop.

1975-76 Mercury Cougar XR-7 2-Door Hardtop
Overview
Model years 1974–1976
Assembly United States: Lorain, Ohio
Pico Rivera, California
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
Layout FR layout
Related Ford Torino
Ford Elite
Mercury Montego
Powertrain
Engine 351 cu in (5.8 L) Windsor V8
400 cu in (6.6 L) Cleveland V8
460 cu in (7.5 L) 385/Lima V8
Dimensions
Wheelbase 114.0 in (2,896 mm)

For 1974, the Cougar was shifted from its Mustang, ponycar origins onto a new platform and into a new market as a personal luxury car. It now shared a chassis with the larger Mercury Montego/Ford Torino intermediates and was twinned with the new Ford Torino Elite. The wheelbase grew to 114 inches (2,896 mm) and became practically the only car to be upsized during the downsizing decade of the 1970s. These years marked the end of the “luxurious Mustang”, and the beginning of the Cougar’s move towards becoming a “junior Thunderbird” and eventually a sibling of the Thunderbird. TV commercials compared the Cougar to the Lincoln Continental Mark IV, the most notable featuring Farrah Fawcett in a 1975 TV ad.

The Cougar was being marketed as an intermediate-sized personal-luxury car to compete against GM’s Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, and Buick Regal, in addition to the Chrysler Cordoba while the Elite competed against the Chevrolet Monte Carlo and Pontiac Grand Prix and the Dodge Charger. Almost every GM division had an entry in this market by 1974, and the market was too large to ignore. The new Cougar paid homage to its smaller predecessor with a three-piece grille up front, topped by a new hood ornament which featured the Jaguar-like silhouette of a creeping Cougar. The car’s Montego heritage was fairly evident from the back, however. In between, it had acquired the sine qua non of the personal luxury car in the 1970s: opera windows. This body ran unchanged for three years, and during this period all Cougars were XR-7s.

The Cougar was also restyled inside due to the switch to the larger intermediate body, but maintained the front fascia look from 1973 with a new styling feature including a rectangular opera window in the rear C-pillars. The Cougar also began to share the look of the Thunderbird and Continental Mark IV as the years progressed. The base model and convertible were dropped this year, but the XR-7 moniker soldiered on as the only model in the Cougar lineup.

Engine offerings from 1974 to 1976 included a standard 351 in3 V8 and optional power plants included the very rare Q-code 351 “Cobra Jet” V8 (1974), plus 400 and 460-in3 V8s. The manual transmission was dropped in favor of the automatic.

Interior offerings during these three years included a standard bench seat with cloth or vinyl upholstery, an optional Twin-Comfort Lounge 60/40 bench seat with center armrest and cloth, vinyl or optional leather trim; or all-vinyl bucket seats with center console.

In 1975, the Cougar XR-7 continued to add more luxury features as it moved upmarket. But with more features, the Cougar was gaining in weight, as well. Compared to the 1967 version, the 1975 version weighed a full 1,000 lb (450 kg) more. Despite the added weight, the buying public wanted the Cougar, and sales figures reflected that fact. For the performance fans, however, a high-performance rear axle and ‘Traction-Lok’ differential continued to be on the option sheet. The standard engine continued to be the 148 hp (110 kW) 351 Windsor two-barrel V8 with the 158 hp (118 kW) 400 two-barrel V8 and 216 hp (161 kW) 460 four-barrel V8 optional. Visually, the only change from 1974 was the addition of two rectangular openings in the center section of the front bumper.

The 1976 Cougar entered its last year largely unchanged from 1975. A new body for the Cougar was coming in 1977, so nothing else major was done to the Cougar. Only some minor trim pieces served to differentiate this year from last. Engines continued unchanged, as well. The high-performance axle and Traction-Lok differential were dropped this year. Twin Comfort Lounge reclining seats, with or without velour cloth trim, were the only major change for the interior.

In spite of the Cougar shifting market segments from performance coupe to personal luxury car, the sheetmetal of this generation remained in use in stock car racing during the mid-1970s. In use by Wood Brothers Racing, a Mercury Cougar was the winner of the 1976 Daytona 500. Other teams, such as Bud Moore Engineering, would continue to race this generation of Cougar in Winston Cup through the 1980 season.

Total production: 1974: 91,670 1975: 62,987 1976: 83,765

Fourth generation (1977–1979)

Fourth generation
Mercury Cougar white

1977–79 Mercury Cougar
Overview
Model years 1977–1979
Assembly United States: Lorain, Ohio
Pico Rivera, California
Body and chassis
Body style Four-door sedan
Four-door station wagon
Two-door coupe
Layout FR layout
Related Ford LTD II
Ford Thunderbird
Powertrain
Engine 302 cu in (4.9 L) V8
351 cu in (5.8 L) V8
400 cu in (6.6 L) V8
Transmission C4 automatic
FMX automatic
C6 automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 114.0 in (2,896 mm)

In 1977, radical marketing changes came to Ford’s intermediate lineup, although under the skin, mechanical changes were few. The Montego name was discontinued, and all the intermediate Mercury vehicles became Cougars (Ford renamed its Torino line the LTD II). There were now Cougar sedans, complete with opera windows, a lower-line base coupe, and even a station wagon (standard steel-sided version or the “woody” Cougar Villager), which lasted only one year (1977). The top-of-the-line XR-7 continued as a separate model, with unusual simulated louvers applied in front of its opera windows and a new rear style that was meant to evoke the larger Lincoln Mark coupe. This year, the Elite name vanished from the Ford lineup and the Thunderbird was downsized onto its chassis to become the XR-7’s corporate twin. This association between the two cars would continue for two decades. In keeping with the general trend of the times, the old Torino chassis was discontinued after 1979 and all Ford and Mercury intermediates went over to the smaller, lighter Ford Fox platform for 1980.

1977 Mercury Cougar Villager Wagon

 1977 Mercury Cougar Villager Wagon

Customers to Lincoln-Mercury showrooms were surprised by the all-new Cougar this year. New sharper and straighter styling that mimicked the Ford Thunderbird and Lincoln Continental Mark V replaced the “fuselage look” of earlier Cougars. The Cougar now shared its body with the Thunderbird, which was downsized to the intermediate bodyshell this year from that of the Continental Mark IV and shared the Cougar’s 114-inch (2,896 mm) wheelbase, putting the T-Bird squarely in the intermediate personal-luxury car market as opposed to its previous higher-priced segment of that market shared with the Buick Riviera and Oldsmobile Toronado. This move would join the Thunderbird and Cougar together and would last until their demise in 1997. The lineup was also expanded to include a sedan and station wagon. This was because the Mercury Montego had been discontinued and its models were absorbed into the Cougar lineup as a result while Ford Division renamed the Torino as LTD II. The base Cougar returned, as well, for all three models, but the XR-7 came only as a coupe. The Cougar Brougham was available as a coupe or sedan, and the Cougar Villager was available as a station wagon only. The engine lineup changed for this year, as well. The base engine was the 134 hp (100 kW) 302 two-barrel V8 on all coupes and sedans. The station wagons had the 161 hp (120 kW) 351 two-barrel V8 standard. The 149 hp (111 kW) 351 two-barrel V8 and 173 hp (129 kW) 400 two-barrel V8 were optional on all models.

For 1978, the base model two-door (Model #91 and Body Style 65D) and four-door (Model #92 and Body Style 53D) sedan stayed the same. The Brougham was discontinued as a separate model and became an option package on the base Cougar. The base model started at $5,009.

XR-7 (sport-luxury package) sales continued to skyrocket. This package (Model #93 and Body Style 65L) was only available in a two-door hard top coupe. This model included power brakes and steering, 15-inch wheels, rear stabilizer bar, walnut woodtone instrument panel, “XR-7” trunk key-hole door, “COUGAR” decklid script, large hood ornament, and sport-styled roofline with back-half vinyl and rear opera side windows and louvers. Some XR-7s had the Rally Sport Tach and Gauge package (only 25% of all Cougars came with this option). XR-7 models started at $5,603.

Two new decor packages became available, the XR-7 Decor Option and the Midnight/Chamois Decor Option. This latter package came with a half-vinyl roof, padded “Continental” type rear deck, and Midnight Blue and Chamois interior with Tiffany carpeting. This was Mercury’s take on the special designer decor options used in the Lincoln Continental Mark VI. Engines continued unchanged, as well. The Cougar XR-7 would set an all-time sales record this year.

Few changes were made in 1979, as Mercury prepared to downsize the car. A new electronic voltage regulator and a plastic battery tray would be the biggest mechanical changes for the Cougar. The standard engine continued to be the 302 V8 with the 351 the only optional engine available, as the 400 was discontinued. A redesigned grille with body color inserts and a revised taillight assembly were the only exterior body changes.

Total Production: 1977: 194,823 (XR-7 124,799) 1978:213,270 (XR-7 166,508) 1979: 172,152 (XR-7 163,716)

Fifth generation (1980–1982)

Fifth generation
Red Mercury Cougar Side

1980–82 Mercury Cougar XR-7
Overview
Model years 1980–1982
Assembly United States: Lorain, Ohio
Body and chassis
Body style Two-door coupe
Four-door sedan
Four-door station wagon
Layout FR layout
Platform Ford Fox platform
Related Ford Thunderbird
Ford Fairmont
Ford Granada
Mercury Zephyr
Powertrain
Engine 255 cu in (4.2 L) Windsor V8
302 cu in (4.9 L) Windsor V8
140 cu in (2.3 L) Lima I4
232 cu in (3.8 L) Essex V6
Transmission Five-speed Tremec T-5 manual
Three-speed C5 automatic
Four-speed AOD automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 104 in (254 cm)
105.5 in
108.4 in
1981 Mercury Cougar 2-door

 1981 Mercury Cougar 2-door

For 1980, the Cougar was radically downsized and the model lineup was reduced solely to the XR7 coupe. Sharing its body and 108-inch wheelbase with the Ford Thunderbird, both vehicles adopted the Fox platform; the Cougar now shared its underpinnings with the Zephyr and Capri. In a move that would prove disastrous, many styling elements of the 1977-1979 Cougar were re-used in the smaller car; the XR7 was available with a faux-Lincoln style trunk, louvred opera windows; the Cougar XR7 was largely distinguished from the Thunderbird only by its grille, exposed headlamps, and trunklid. The interior relied heavily on electronics with digital instrumentation and trip computer functions available; the electronics were common with the Thunderbird and Lincoln models. The XR7 had two available engines, both shared with the full-sized Mercury line: a 119-hp 4.2L V8 and a 134-hp 4.9L V8; both engines were paired with an all-new 4-speed overdrive automatic transmission.

1982 Mercury Cougar GS wagon (Ford Mustang wheels)

 1982 Mercury Cougar GS wagon (Ford Mustang wheels)
Mercury Cougar 4-door

 Mercury Cougar 4-door

For 1981, the Cougar lineup expanded to three models, largely to fill in for the discontinuation of the Monarch. The Mercury counterpart of the redesigned Ford Granada, the two and four-door Cougar were built on a 105.5-inch wheelbase. Unlike the XR7, the regular Cougar coupe did not have opera windows. Alongside the XR7, the Cougar was offered in two trim lines—GS and LS, which started a longrunning tradition within the Mercury brand. Both packages were largely similar, but the LS was exclusive to four-doors. The GS package focused on appearance, while the LS package offered luxury touches such as power windows, keyless entry external number pad, and other luxury trim touches.

For standard Cougars, a 2.3L 4-cylinder engine was the base engine with the option of a 94-hp 3.3L inline-6, which became the base engine of the XR7. For the first time, a Cougar had both an available 4-cylinder engine and a V8 engine was now optional in the XR7; with the 4-cylinder engine, a 5-speed manual transmission was available, a first for the Thunderbird-based Cougar.

For 1982, the model line expanded further, marking the return of the Cougar station wagon for the first time since 1977. Replacing the Zephyr station wagon, it was available inGS trim along with woodgrained Villager trim. Alongside the station wagon, the Cougar was offered in two-door, four-door, and XR7 coupe models. The engine lineup was updated, as the inline-6 was replaced by a 112-hp V6; however, the 4.9L V8 was dropped from the XR7 line.

Total Production: 1980: 58,028 1981: 90,928 1982: 73,817

Sixth generation (1983–1988)

Sixth generation
1987-88 Mercury Cougar photographed in USA.

1987–88 Cougar LS
Overview
Model years 1983–1988
Assembly United States: Lorain, Ohio
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
Layout FR layout
Platform Ford Fox platform
Related Lincoln Continental
Ford LTD
Ford Thunderbird
Ford Fairmont
Mercury Marquis
Ford Granada
Mercury Zephyr
Powertrain
Engine 2.3 L (140 cu in) Lima turbo I4
3.8 L (232 cu in) Essex V6
4.9 L (302 cu in) Windsor 5.0 V8
Transmission Five-speed Tremec T-5 manual
Three-speed C5 automatic
Four-speed AOD automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 104 in (2540 mm) (1980–86)
104.2 in (2650 mm) (1987–88)
Length 197.6 in (5020 mm) (1983–86)
200.8 in (5100 mm) (1987–88)
Width 71.1 in (1810 mm) (1983–86)
70.1 (1780 mm) (1987–88)
Height 53.4 in (1360 mm) (1983–86)
53.8 in (1370 mm) (1987–88)
Curb weight 3050–3500 lb (1400–1600 kg)

An all-new Cougar greeted buyers in the fall of 1982; gone were the sedan and station wagon models which were facelifted and moved under the Marquis nameplate. The Cougar sported a completely new aerodynamic body, but retained the same chassis. This restyle was shared with its sister car, the Thunderbird, with the two becoming the first examples of the new “aero-look” design, which would eventually spread throughout the Ford line and ultimately the entire industry. The major difference between the two was the side window treatments; the Cougar had a more formal notchback with a nearly vertical rear window and upswept quarter windows. This made the Cougar look more aerodynamic, as well as more exciting, when compared to the previous generation of Cougars. The new look was such a hit, it outsold the Thunderbird for 1983. Because of the money spent in restyling both models, the interiors were left mostly unchanged from 1982. The GS (but not badged as such) and LS models carried over from the previous year; however, the XR-7 did not, as there was not yet a performance version ready. The engine lineup changed, as the only two engines offered were the 232-in3 (3.8-L) V6 and the 302-in3 (5.0-L) V8. The 390-mm (15.3-in) TRX wheels were an option.

1986 Mercury Cougar pre-facelift

 First facelift version (1986)

After its redesign for 1983, the Cougar remained mostly unchanged for 1984. The XR-7 returned and for the first time, its standard engine was not a V8 or V6, but a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Similar to the Thunderbird Turbo Coupe, the XR-7 came only with the 145 hp (108 kW) 140-in3 turbocharged I4. The XR-7 also featured blacked-out window trim, wide body side mouldings and two-tone paint in silver with charcoal grey lower (or the reverse combination) with tri-band striping to separate it from the base Cougars. A performance suspension was also standard. A three-speed automatic or a five-speed manual were offered on the XR-7. Also for 1984, the 3.8-L V6 switched from a carburetor to throttle-body fuel injection.

Subtle exterior changes, such as a new Mercedes-Benz-esque grille and new taillights were just a few of the many changes, as a whole new interior greeted buyers for 1985. This new interior featured an optional full digital instrument cluster which lent a futuristic touch to the Cougar, but it was only available on base and GS Cougars. The XR-7 received a performance analog gauge cluster, including a tachometer. The standard gauge panel in non-XR-7s was an unusual mix of digital speedometer, analog gauges, and warning lights.

The 1986 Cougar was a carryover year; it was supposed to be redesigned this year, but with sales continuing to be strong, Ford decided to push it ahead to 1987. The biggest changes were under the hood, as the 302 V8 received new sequential electronic fuel injection (SEFI), which boosted power to 150 hp (112 kW); a 20 hp (15 kW) improvement over the previous year. The Cougar XR-7 continued to offer only the turbocharged I4, but it got a power increase to 155 hp (116 kW).

Total Production 1983: 75,743 1984: 131,190 1985: 117,274 1986: 135,904

1987–1988

1988 Mercury Cougar

 1987–88 Cougar, rear view

The Cougar received a complete restyle for its 20th anniversary. Much smoother than the previous Cougar, it featured flush-mounted headlights and grille. The side quarter glass retained its upswept design, but it was stretched more to the rear of the car. The interior remained mostly unchanged. The GS was dropped, leaving the LS and XR-7 models. The XR-7 changed by dropping the turbocharged I4, and the 302 V8 became the standard engine. The manual transmission was also dropped this year. The digital instrument cluster, previously optional on the GS/LS models, became standard with exception to the limited edition XR-7, which became analog only. The special lower tri-stripes and blacked-out window trim continued to set apart the XR-7 from the LS. The Cougar’s 20th anniversary was highlighted by a limited-edition Cougar.

Total Production: 1987: 105,847 1988: 113,801

20th Anniversary Cougar

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, a limited-edition Cougar was produced. The car went on sale in February 1987. The Cougar LS was the starting point for this special model. These special Cougars featured these standard items to set them apart from the regular production Cougars:

  • Cabernet Red exterior w/Midnight Smoke moldings
  • All exterior badging (front bumper, grille trim, trunk lid nomenclature and moulding trim) was finished in 24 karat gold. C-pillar emblems were finished in a gold cloisonné.
  • Nonfunctional luggage rack
  • Mustang GT wheels painted gold with a Cougar center cap
  • Special “20th Anniversary Edition” dash emblem
  • Light Sand Beige interior with unique part-leather, part-suede (Ultrasuede) seats with heating and three-user memory profile. The seats also featured a special Cabernet Red piping.
  • Special embroidered 20th Anniversary floor mats
  • Traveler’s convenience kit
  • A hardcover book – “Mercury Cougar 1967–1987”, which detailed the history of the Cougar
  • 150 hp (112 kW) SEFI 302 V8
  • Sport handling suspension package (XR-7)

The only options were power moonroof, power antenna, illuminated entry, keyless entry, automatic climate control, engine block heater, and a Traction-Lok axle with a 3.08 gear ratio. Total Production of 20th anniversary Cougar was 5,002, with at least 800 destined for Canada.

With the new MN-12 chassis and new body style coming in 1989, the 1988 Cougar changed little from the previous year. Outside, the biggest change was the XR-7 now came in a new monochromatic color scheme. It was available in three colors (black, red, and white) with body-colored or optional argent-colored wheels. The base 232-in3 (3.8-L) V6 was revamped to include multiport fuel injection and an internal balance shaft that increased power to 140 hp (104 kW). The 302 V8 received a dual exhaust option, which added 5 hp (4 kW). The analog gauge cluster returned as standard on the XR-7, but the digital cluster remained as an option on both the LS and XR-7.

Seventh generation (1989–1997)

Seventh generation
1989-90 Mercury Cougar

1989–90 Mercury Cougar LS
Overview
Model years 1989–1997
Assembly United States: Lorain, Ohio
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
Layout FR layout
Platform Ford MN12 platform
Related Ford Thunderbird
Lincoln Mark VIII
Powertrain
Engine 3.8 L Essex V6 (1989–1997)
5.0 L Windsor V8 (1991–93)
4.6 L Modular V8 (1994–97)
Transmission Four-speed AOD or 4R70Wautomatic
Five-speed manual M5R2(1989–90)
Dimensions
Wheelbase 113.0 in (2,870 mm)
Length 1989–1991: 198.7 in (5,047 mm)
1992–94: 199.9 in (5,077 mm)
1995–97: 200.3 in (5,088 mm)
Width 1989–1994: 72.7 in (1,847 mm)
1995–97: 73.1 in (1,857 mm)
Height 1989–1991: 52.7 in (1,339 mm)
1992–97: 52.5 in (1,334 mm)
Curb weight 3528 lb (1600 kg) with V6
3666 lb (1663 kg) with V8

The Cougar entered its seventh generation with a completely new body and chassis. Nothing carried over from the previous Cougar except for badging and the engine. In fact, only six parts were carried over from 1988. The biggest change was the switch to the larger MN12 chassis, which was shared with the Ford Thunderbird. The chassis featured a fully independent rear suspension, a first for the Cougar. The wheelbase grew nine inches (229 mm) longer (104.2 vs. 113 inches) for better rear leg room. The flowing lines and extreme notchback roofline were still there, but this generation integrated the two much more successfully. To the surprise of fans, the car had no V8 engine available when introduced. Instead, the base LS had a naturally aspirated 140 hp (104 kW) 3.8-L V6, backed by a four-speed automatic transmission, which had a hard time moving the nearly 3,800 lb (1,700 kg) Cougar.

1991–93 Mercury Cougar

 1991–1993 Mercury Cougar

The XR-7 had a 210 hp (157 kW) supercharged version of the same engine; the car could be equipped with a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic with overdrive. Mercury spared no expense in equipping its XR-7 performance model. Standard features included four-wheel antilock disc brakes, an electronically adjustable, sport-tuned suspension, monochromatic paint scheme in red, white, or black, and 16-inch alloy wheels. The base LS’s more luxury-oriented features included a fully digital instrument cluster and exterior chrome trim.

The Cougar saw a minor facelift for 1991, with a smaller grille and slight changes to the headlights, taillights, and side trim. Sales of the supercharged XR7 in 1989 and 1990 were slow, and as a result the 3.8-L SC engine was replaced by the 200 hp (149 kW) 5.0-L V8 in 1991 and became an option for the LS models. A special edition was built in 1992 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Cougar.

In 1993, as part of a consolidation of the model lineup, the LS nameplate was dropped completely and the XR-7, now badged XR7, became the only model available. It was equipped much like the LS except for the leather-wrapped wheel/shifter and full analog gauge cluster.

1995 Mercury Cougar XR7

 1995 Mercury Cougar XR7

As part of Ford’s 1994 facelift for the MN12 platform, the 1994 Cougar received an all new interior, updated tail and head lights, grille, and body side molding. Ford’s new OHC205 hp (153 kW) 4.6-L V8 replaced the pushrod 5.0-L V8, and all models came standard with the 4R70W four-speed automatic transmission.

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 1996–1997 Mercury Cougar

For the 1996 model year, the exterior was given a significant facelift, similar to its MN12 cousin Ford Thunderbird. The front and rear bumper covers, headlights, grille, and moulding were updated, giving the car a more modern look. The 4.6-L engine received an updated composite intake manifold, giving the car 15 lb·ft (20 N·m) of additional torque over the 1995 model and the transmission was improved for increased reliability. The interior was given a minor update, which included a revised instrument cluster, much like that of the Ford Taurus/Mercury Sable of the time and a center console with cup holders. The ashtray and cigarette lighter were relocated to the space previously occupied by the information center, now integrated in the instrument cluster. Another anniversary edition car was built to commemorate 30 years.

Due to slowing sales and the imminent cancellation of the MN12 program, in 1997, Ford began cost-cutting measures and discontinued many convenience items, such as the elimination of the courtesy lamps, underhood light and glove box light. This was the last year for the MN12 Cougar, as Ford ultimately decided to discontinue its trio of personal luxury cars: the Mark VIII, the Cougar, and the Thunderbird to concentrate on production of high-profit SUVs.

The last Lorain, Ohio-built Mercury Cougar rolled off the assembly line on September 4, 1997.

Total Production: 1989: 97,246 1990: 76,467 1991: 60,564 1992: 46,982 1993: 79,700 1994: 71,026 1995: 60,201 1996: 38,929 1997: 35,267

Eighth generation (1999–2002)

Eighth generation
2001-02 Mercury Cougar

2001–2002 Mercury Cougar
Overview
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Also called Ford Cougar
Model years 1999–2002
Assembly United States: Flat Rock, Michigan(AAI)
Body and chassis
Class Sport compact
Body style Two-door coupe
Layout Transverse front-engine, front-wheel drive
Platform Ford CDW27 platform
Related

1995–1997 Mercury Mystique

1995-97-mercury-mystique.

1998–00 Mercury Mystique

 

1998-00-mercury-mystique

Powertrain
Engine
Transmission
Dimensions
Wheelbase 106.4 in (2,700 mm)
Length 185.0 in (4,700 mm)
Width 69.6 in (1,770 mm)
Height 52.2 in (1,330 mm)
Curb weight 2,892 lb (1,312 kg)
1999–00 Mercury Cougar

 1999–2000 Mercury Cougar

In 1998, Ford began a redesign on the recently discontinued Probe, planning to add it back to the lineup in 1999. Due to marketing reasons, Ford decided to drop the Probe name and bring back the Cougar name for the redesigned car. Of the three names that had constituted Ford’s personal luxury lineup, Mark, Thunderbird, and Cougar, the Cougar returned first and was based on the Ford Contour sedan. Launched in the UK at the British Grand Prix at the Silverstone Circuit in 1998, this Cougar became Mercury’s first sport compact since the 1983 Mercury LN7.

Mercury LN7 Sport Coupe

Mercury LN7 Sport Coupe

This generation of Cougar had a far more contemporary package, with modern DOHC 24-valve six-cylinder Duratec engines, a fully independent multilink suspension, and front-wheel drive. This was also the first hatchback Cougar, and the first to have its own body, unshared by any Ford (except its European twin Ford Cougar). The body design used a philosophy Ford dubbed “New Edge” design: a combination of organic upper body lines with sharp, concave creases in the lower areas. The Cougar’s body, and the New Edge idea in general, was introduced as a concept called the Mercury MC2 in 1997, and was considered a bigger version of the European Ford Puma.

The 1999–2002 Cougars were available with two engine options, the 2.0-L Zetec 4-cylinder engine with 125 hp (93 kW; 127 PS), and the 2.5-L Duratec V6 with 170 hp (127 kW; 172 PS). Also, two transaxle options were available: the manual Ford MTX-75 transmission or the automatic Ford CD4E transmission (available in the US with either engine, although the I4/automatic combination was extremely rare; supposedly only 500 Cougars were built with the I4/auto).

“Sport Package” models of the V6 featured four-wheel vented disc brakes (from the Contour SVT), 16-inch alloy wheels, and the speed governor removed. With the electronic speed limiter removed, the top speed of the car was limited by drag and engine power in top gear at redline, around 135 mph (217 km/h). While this was considered attainable given enough road, the automatic transmission version could not reach this speed without significant engine modification. However the manual transmission version of the car, when given enough road, was capable of reaching speeds of around 145. Without the sport package, the speed governor was set at 115 mph (185 km/h) due to the H-rated tires with which the car was equipped.

Ford also prepared two high-performance concept-only versions; one dubbed the “Eliminator”, which was a supercharged version built with aftermarket available parts, and the other the “Cougar S”, which featured new body work, all-wheel drive and a 3.0-L Duratec engine.

Ford also sold this generation of Cougar in Europe and Australia as the Ford Cougar, and it was such a popular sales success.

This new generation was aimed at younger buyers, but was sold alongside Sables and Grand Marquis, which were marketed toward middle-aged buyers. Also, Mercury salesmen did not know how to properly market the car, as they were used to interacting with older customers.

A high-performance Cougar S (not to be confused with the concept) was discussed in the press, which was essentially a Cougar with a Contour SVT engine; however, this version never made it into production. The Cougar S was so close to production, though, many of its parts are still available to order from the dealership and it is listed in many parts catalogs and insurance databases. It was also to be sold in Europe as the Ford Cougar ST200.

To help create excitement for the Cougar, Mercury created several paint and trim packages:

  • Special Edition (2000 model year) available in Zinc Yellow, leather interior with yellow stitching on the seats
  • C2 (2001–2002 model years) available in either French Blue, Silver Frost, or Vibrant White, along with special blue interior accents
  • Zn (2001 model year) available with special Zinc Yellow, special Visteon hood scoop and spoiler
  • XR (2002 model year) available in either Black or XR Racing Red, with special black and red seats and interior trim, also came with 17-inch silver wheels with black accents on the inner spokes
  • 35th Anniversary (2002 model year) versions were available in Laser Red, French Blue, Satin Silver, and Black; most came with leather interiors with silver center sections on the seats. They also came with 17-inch machined wheels, the same as the XRs without the black paint on the center spokes.
  • Roush Edition (1999–2000 model year) Available mostly in white and silver color choices, this car was built under the Roush name with body work done to the front bumper, back, side skirts and more. It is considered the rarest of all Cougars, since only 112 were ever made during its two-year production.

For the 2001 model year, the Cougar was “updated” as the Cougar2 with new headlights, front and rear fascias, and updated interior trim.

Ford announced a restructuring plan in 2002, and the Cougar was cancelled for good (along with the Ford Escort, Lincoln Continental and Mercury Villager

Mercury Villager

This article is about the minivan. For other Mercury and Edsel vehicles using the “Villager” submarque, see Other uses of the name below.
Mercury Villager
1996-1998 Mercury Villager
Overview
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Also called Nissan Quest
Production 1992–2002
Assembly Avon Lake, Ohio, U.S.
Body and chassis
Class Minivan
Layout FF layout
Platform Ford VX54 platform
Powertrain
Transmission 4-speed automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 112.2 in (2,850 mm)
Chronology
Successor Mercury Monterey

The Mercury Villager is a minivan manufactured and marketed by the Mercury division of Ford Motor Company for model years 1993–2002, in a single generation. Internally designated as model VX54, the Villager was a rebadged variant of the Nissan Quest—a product of a joint venture between Ford and Nissan, manufactured at Ford’s Ohio Assembly plant in Avon Lake, Ohio.

Noted for its innovative seating configurations, the Villager featured a folding, removable, middle seat (or two buckets) along with a non-removable, fold-and-slide track-mounted rear seat. The arrangement enabled the rear seat to slide forward to the middle position for five-passenger seating, or completely forward against the front seats to make a larger cargo space.

Etymology

“Villager” first appeared at Ford as the name of the Edsel station wagon, the Edsel Villager, in 1958. The Villager name resurfaced at Mercury on a woodgrained Comet station wagon from 1962 to 1967, and subsequently on similarly trimmed wagons in other Mercury series, including the Montego (1970–1976), Bobcat (1975–1980), Cougar (1977 and 1982), Zephyr (1978–1981) and Lynx (1981–1984). On Mercuries, the Villager name almost always denotes a top trim, wood grained wagon. Villager was the equal of the Ford designation “Squire”. The Mercury equivalent of the more well known Country Squire full-size station wagon was the Colony Park.

First generation

First generation
1993-1995 Mercury Villager
Overview
Also called Nissan Quest
Production 1992–1998
Assembly Avon Lake, Ohio, U.S.
Guangzhou, China
Body and chassis
Body style 3-door minivan
Powertrain
Engine 3.0 L 151 hp (113 kW) VG30E V6
Dimensions
Length 189.9 in (4,823 mm) (1993–95)
190.2 in (4,831 mm) (1995–98)
Width 73.7 in (1,872 mm) (1993–95)
73.8 in (1,875 mm) (1995–98)
Height 67.6 in (1,717 mm) (1993–95)
67.5 in (1,714 mm) (1995–98 GS Cargo)
65.9 in (1,674 mm) (1995–98 GS)
65.6 in (1,666 mm) (1995-98 Nautica & LS)
Curb weight 3,815 lb (1,730 kg)

In 1987, Ford and Nissan entered a joint agreement to develop an all-new vehicle to compete in the minivan segment scheduled for 1991. Ford’s version of the vehicle, however, was to be a Mercury rather than a Ford due to the simultaneous development of the Ford Windstar. Development officially began later that year under the codename VX54, with the final designs being chosen in 1989. Prototypes went into initial testing in 1990 at Ford and Nissan test tracks, later real-world testing throughout 1991, with development concluding at the end of that year. The first-generation Villager was introduced in 1992 as a 1993 model.

The first Villagers were available in three trim levels: GS, LS, and the luxury Nautica Special Edition. All Nautica models came with a two-toned blue and white, paint scheme, an elegant yellow pinstripe, second row captain’s chairs, and blue and white, or grey leather upholstery. Lincoln-Mercury dealers gave Villager Nautica customers complimentary carrying bags, which were custom-designed by Nautica and were basically large yellow camping bags. Borrowing a styling influence from the Mercury Sable, the illuminated grille was installed on the Villager.

The first Villagers had seating for seven passengers (including the driver). The 2-seater bench seat in the second row was removable (although it weighed almost 60 lbs), allowing the third row bench of 3 seats to slide up (either folded up for more room or down for passengers) behind the front for more rear cargo room. Up to 1998, Villagers had three passenger doors, meaning that on the left side of the second-row seat was a small audio and climate control deck for the second-row passenger to use. The first generation Villagers had Dolby sound systems which were divided into “Premium Sound” and “Super Sound” categories. Dolby Super Sound systems were only available on Villagers equipped with a CD player, which was usually equipped on higher-end models.

A 1994 Mercury Villager Nautica was tested going from 0-60 miles per hour in 11.7 seconds. The 1993-98 Villager had a turning radius of 38.7 feet. While all Villagers from 1993 to 1998 featured the same VG30E-type 3.0 liter 151-horsepower V6 used in the Nissan Quest from the same model years, Ford had actually required that Nissan make some design changes to the VG30E used in the first Quest prototypes before they would agree to use it in the Villager. Changes included the addition of an oil level sensor and relocating the oil filter assembly for better access.

Villager’s chassis was sophisticated compared to minivans from the early 1990s; its modern all-coil suspension gave it more carlike ride and handling than its competitors. This modified VG30E engine with a 4-speed automatic transmission from the Nissan Maxima. In the 1994 model year, the steering wheel was altered by moving the steering wheel-mounted control deck buttons to the outside of the steering wheel core. The Villager received a minor freshening in the 1995 model year that included a new front fascia without the front light bar, redesigned taillights, and a freshened control deck in the interior.

Villager’s first safety features included a driver’s air bag, anti-lock brakes, and front-and rear bumpers which could withstand impacts up to 5 miles per hour without any damage. The front automatic seatbelts on first-generation Villagers were mounted on ceiling-tracks, on which the seatbelts would automatically slide over the occupant’s torso upon ignition start-up. This feature was later phased out from the 1999 model year, but it was one of the many unique innovations of the first-generation Villager.

The 1993-1998 Mercury Villager’s engine seems to have a serious flaw in the crankshaft, as they break at the front stub. Nissan increased the diameter from 25 to 27 mm around 1995.

Second generation

Second generation
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Overview
Production 1998–2002
Designer Moray Callum (1996)
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door minivan
Powertrain
Engine 3.3L 180 hp (134 kW) VG33E V6SOHC
Dimensions
Length 194.7 in (1999–2000)
194.9 in (2001–02)
Width 74.9 in (1,902 mm)
Height 70.1 in (1,781 mm)
Curb weight 3,944 lb (1,789 kg)
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 1999–2000 Mercury Villager

The Villager was redesigned alongside the Quest for 1999, and facelifted for 2001, but sales remained slow. Designer Moray Callum was responsible for the Villager’s distinctive exterior cues such as the waterfall-style grille. The second-generation Villager was available in three trim levels: Base, Sport, and the luxury Estate. From 1999 to 2002, Villagers used the same 3.3 liter V6 with 170 horsepower and 200 ft-lbs of torque used in the 1999-2002 Nissan Quest. Villager Estate models were the first Mercury automobiles to offer a rear-seat entertainment system option for $1,295, which was an Autovision 6.4-inch LCD flip-down screen connected to a VCR located under the control deck by the driver’s seat. In 2001, the Villager received a minor freshening which included the introduction of a new grille and instrument gauges. The 2001-2002 Villagers had a MSRP price range from $22,510 to $27,210. 2002 was the last model year, concluding the Ford and Nissan joint venture. The last Mercury Villager rolled off the assembly line on June 27, 2002. The 1999-2003 Villager shared the same generation Nissan Quest‘s distributor, which was notorious for its defects. The 1999-2002 Quest and Villager used optical distributors whose cam sensors were especially prone to failure. Ford and Nissan went separate ways after the Villager-Quest project, with Nissan pursuing the development of the 2004 Nissan Quest while Mercury anticipated a version of the Ford Freestar called the Monterey.

Sales

Calendar Year American sales
1999[6] 45,315
2000 30,443
2001[7] 22,046
2002[8] 16,442

 

and its British cousin the Ford Cougar as the MkIII Mondeo was ready to take the production lines but not in Australia as it was still sold with Ford badges until 2004 because its cousin the MkII Mondeo was removed from the Australian line up in 2000). The discontinuation of the Cougar left no four-cylinder vehicles in the Mercury lineup until the 2005 Mariner SUV arrived.

The last Mercury Cougar rolled off the assembly line on August 9, 2002.

US production numbers

Calendar Year Units
1999 88,288
2000 44,935
2001 25,044
2002 18,321

Ford Cougar (Europe)

Ford Cougar

European Ford Cougar

Main article: Ford Cougar (Europe)

The Ford Cougar is a mid-sized coupé sold in the European market between 1999 and 2002. The car was named after the Mercury vehicle. It was originally intended to be the third-generation Probe, but after a rationalisation of the three coupés available in the USA, the Probe name was dropped in favour of the Cougar. It is identical to the US Mercury version, except for badging and right-hand-drive in the UK and Australia only.

Racing

In 1967, renowned NASCAR race car builder Bud Moore campaigned Mercury Cougars in the Trans-Am Series with Ford Motor Company factory support. The team featured superstar-caliber drivers, such as Captain Dan Gurney, Parnelli Jones, Peter Revson,David Pearson, and Ed Leslie. Factory support dried up towards the end of the season and the Cougars began to show their wear. Ultimately, Mercury lost the championship to Ford by two points.

In 1968, Bud Moore took his Cougars NASCAR racing in the newly formed Grand American series. Star driver Tiny Lund dominated the series and took the championship.

After the Cougar changed to the Thunderbird platform in 1974, the bodystyle was raced in NASCAR. The Wood Brothers Racing team with David Pearson and later Neil Bonnett was very successful with the car and scored a number of victories until the bodystyle became ineligible following the 1980 season. The next year (1981) saw the previous Cougar teams switch to the Thunderbird when NASCAR mandated the smaller (110-inch-wheelbased) cars, though oddly the Thunderbirds had to have their wheel bases stretched 6 inches, as the production cars wheelbase was only 104 inches.

From 1989 to 1990, Lincoln-Mercury Motorsport fielded Cougars of the new body style in the GTO class of the IMSA GT Championship. The cars collected the championship both years, and continued the teams’ streak to seven manufacturer‘s championships.

The Comet wagon would introduce a Dual-Action tailgate, able to both fold down or swing aside, an idea soon copied by all the major U.S. manufacturers.

1966 Mercury Cyclone GT

 1966 Mercury Cyclone GT

The 1966 Comet received distinct outer body panels. The Comet Capri would replace the previous Comet 404 and the Comet Voyager 4-door station wagon would replace the previous Comet 404 station wagon. (The Voyager name had previously been used to designate a full-sized Mercury station wagon that was positioned between the baseCommuter and the top-of-the-line Colony Park station wagon models.) The Comet 202 4-door station wagon would be discontinued. The new top-of-the-line series was the Comet Cyclone GT.

New engines available in the Comet for 1966 included a 390 cid V8 engine with a 2-barrel carburetor producing 265 hp (198 kW) at 4400 rpm, a 390 cid V8 engine with a 4-barrel carburetor producing 275 hp (205 kW), and 390 cid V8 engine that produced 335 hp (250 kW). The 335 hp 390 cid V8 engine was standard on the Cyclone GT and optional on other models. The Cyclone GT when equipped with an automatic transmission was referred to as the Cyclone GTA.

A Cyclone GT convertible was the pace car for the 1966 Indianapolis 500.

Beginning with the 1967 model year, the Comet name was used only on the base Comet 202 model, available only in 2 or 4-door sedan body styles. Other models were now referred to by what had previously been their subseries names. Mercury’s mid-size line-up ranged from the basic Comet 202, through the Capri, Caliente, Cyclone, and Cyclone GT models, as well as steel-sidedVoyager and simulated wood paneled Villager station wagon models, which were comparable to the Capri.

1968–1969

Fourth generation
1968 Mercury Comet Sport Coupe
Overview
Production 1968–1969
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
4-door sedan
4-door station wagon
Powertrain
Engine 250 cu in (4.1 L) I6
289 cu in (4.7 L) V8
302 cu in (4.9 L) V8
351 cu in (5.8 L) V8
428 cu in (7.0 L) V8

In 1968, Mercury’s mid-sized models again received new sheet metal and handsome styling that resembled the full-sized Mercury models and shared their chassis and many parts with Ford’s mid-sized Fairlane and Torino models. The mid-sized base model was the Comet (Mercury dropped the 202 suffix) available only as a 2-door coupe. The Capri was replaced by the Montego, and the Caliente by the Montego MX. There was also a more luxurious Montego MX Brougham, basically an option package for the Montego MX. Top-of-the-line mid-sized models continued to use the Cyclone and Cyclone GT names.

A 302 cid V8 engine using a 2-barrel carburetor and generating 210 hp (160 kW) at 4600 rpm would replace the previous 289 cid V8 midway in the 1968 model year. For the 1969 model year, the grille was modified and the headlight surrounds were removed. The taillights were also slightly re-styled. There would be few changes to Mercury’s mid-sized lineup for the 1969 model year, the last year that the Comet name would grace a mid-sized model. A Comet 4-door sedan for 1969 was supposedly planned, but never offered. New top-of-the-line Cyclone Spoiler and Cyclone CJ models would join the lineup.

A 250 cid inline-6 using a single-barrel carburetor and generating 155 hp (116 kW) at 4000 rpm would replace the previous 200 cid 6 as standard. New engine options included a 302 cid V-8 engine using a 4-barrel carburetor and generating 220 hp (160 kW) at 4400 rpm (standard on the Cyclone), a 351 cid V-8 using a 4-barrel carburetor generating 290 hp (220 kW) at 5200 rpm (standard on the Cyclone Spoiler), and a 428 cid V-8 using a 4-barrel carburetor generating 335 hp (250 kW) at 5200 rpm (standard on the Cyclone CJ). These new V-8s replaced the previous 390 cid V-8s.

Still using the same basic chassis, 1970 models would receive dramatic new styling, but the base model would now be the Montego. Comet was no longer the base level intermediate. The Cyclone (Comet) name would continue to be used through the 1971 model year.

1971–1977

Fifth generation
Mercury Comet 5.0 Coupe (Orange Julep)
Overview
Production 1971–1977
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door sedan
4-door sedan
Powertrain
Engine 170 cu in (2.8 L) I6
200 cu in (3.3 L) I6
302 cu in (4.9 L) V8
Transmission 3-speed automatic
3-speed manual

For 1971, the Comet name was revived on Mercury’s version of the Ford Maverick compact. Sharing most of its sheet-metal with the Maverick, it used a different grille, taillights, and hood, as well as different badging. The taillight pods were shared with the 1970 and 1971 Montego and Cyclone models. Underneath it all was the same basic chassis that had originally been used for the Ford Falcon, the original Comet, and for the mid-sized Ford Fairlane, Mercury Meteor, and later Mercury Comets.

The base engine was the 170 cid inline-6 with a single-barrel carburetor producing 100 hp (75 kW) at 4200 rpm. Optional engines were the 200 cid inline-6 with a single-barrel carburetor producing 115 hp (86 kW) and a 302 cid V8 with a 2-barrel carburetor producing 210 hp (160 kW). Transmissions were either a 3-speed manual or 3-speed automatic with either column or floor-mounted shifters.

The Comet was available as 2- and 4-door sedans and in base (1971–1977), and “muscle carComet GT series (2-door sedan-only 1971-1975). The GT featured a blacked-out grille, dual body-side tape stripes, high-back bucket seats, wheel trim rings, dual racing mirrors, bright window frames, black instrument panel, deluxe door trim panels, and a simulated hood scoop.

In 1972 models, the base 170 cid six was rated at 82 hp (61 kW) at 4400 rpm, the 200 cid six at 91 hp (68 kW), and the 302 cid V8 at 138 hp (103 kW). A new engine option for 1972 was the 250 cid six with a single-barrel carburetor rated at 98 hp (73 kW).

For 1973 models, the base 170 cid six was dropped and the 200 cid six became the base engine. Horsepower ratings would fluctuate slightly up or down through the years the Comet would remain in production, but not by very much. A new, larger front bumper to meet federal standards was added to all models in 1973. A new Custom decor package featuring vinyl roof, body-colored wheel covers, wide vinyl-insert body-side moldings, vinyl bucket seats, luxury carpeting, and extra sound insulation was a popular option.

Changes for 1974 included even larger front bumpers and new larger rear bumpers to match. They added 2.5 in (64 mm) to the length of the 2-door model and 4 in (100 mm) to the length of the 4-door model.

Ford had originally planned to the replace the Comet and its Ford Maverick counterpart for the 1975 model year with updated and extensively redesigned models that would continue to use the Comet and Maverick names. Fairly late, though, they decided that the updated versions would be built alongside the original Maverick and the Comet that had originally been introduced for 1971. These would-be replacements, also using the same basic chassis as the Comet and Maverick, became the Mercury Monarch and the American Ford Granada, came with more standard and optional equipment than the Comet and Maverick, and were considered to be “luxury compacts,” a step up from the Comet and Maverick.

Although 1975 was the last year for the Mercury Comet GT, the GT features remained available in 1976 and 1977 with the “Sports Accent” option group.

The model was offered with comparatively few changes through the 1977 model year, and was then discontinued to make room for the new Mercury Zephyr for the 1978 model year.

Mercury logo

Mercury Zephyr

Mercury Zephyr 2-door sedan

 Mercury Zephyr 2-door sedan
1979 Mercury Zephyr station wagon

 Mercury Zephyr station wagon

Introduced as the replacement as the Mercury Comet, the Mercury Zephyr shared most of its design with the Ford Fairmont. As with its Ford counterpart, the Zephyr was available in two door coupe, two-door sedan, four-door sedan, and station wagon body styles; both cars shared four, six, or eight-cylinder engines. Before 1981, the Zephyr was easily distinguished from the Fairmont with its vertical slatted grille and four headlights; the taillights were also a separate design. After 1981, both Fairmonts and Zephyrs wore four headilights. As with the Marquis/Grand Marquis, the Zephyr was fitted with (non-functional) front fender vents; for the suspension, all models came with the Ford ‘Ride Engineered’ suspension package.

In 1980, Mercury introduced the Cougar XR7 based on the Fox platform shared by the Zephyr. For 1981, as the Mercury counterparts to the Ford Granada, the Cougar line was expanded to a standard coupe and four-door (to replace the Monarch); the expanded Cougar line closed in on the price range occupied by the Zephyr. For 1982, the Zephyr line began to become de-contented as Mercury was preparing the design for the Topaz. Additionally, the station wagon was given to the Cougar line. For 1983, both the 4.2L and 5.0L V8 engines were discontinued.

Zephyr Z7

Mercury Zephyr Z7, showing rear roofline

 Mercury Zephyr Z7, showing rear roofline

Alongside with the standard two-door notchback sedan introduced in 1978, Mercury also released a limited production, uniquely styled 2-door Zephyr coupe named the Z-7. Its Ford counterpart was the Ford Fairmont Futura coupe.

A two-door coupe featuring a roofline inspired by the 1977-1979 Ford Thunderbird (and somewhat by the original 1955 Crown Victoria), the Z-7 also was distinguished from standard Zephyrs by its angled rear deck and wraparound taillights. Many Z-7 models included a two-tone paint job; under the hood, the powertrain usually featured either the inline-six (I6) or one of the V8 engines (very few Z-7s had the four-cylinder engine).

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In July 2010, USA Today reported on a 91-year-old Florida woman, Rachel Veitch, who still drives her 1964 Comet Caliente daily. The car was purchased new in 1964, and Veitch had recently set a record by accumulating over 562,000 documented miles. Veitch said all her car needed was “TLC” (tender loving care) for it to last that long. She claimed she drove it once at 120 mph “just for a mile,” and had to have cruise control installed because she kept getting speeding tickets. On March 9, 2012, Rachel Veitch, then 93, applied the brakes on her beloved car for good, after she realized her eyesight was too weak to continue driving. The Caliente had 576,000 that day.

Mercury Cyclone

Main article: Mercury Cyclone

The Cyclone was a performance model of the Comet. It was built from 1964-1971.

1971 Mercury Cyclone

1971 Mercury Cyclone

1962–1963 Mercury Meteor

Second Generation
1963 Mercury Meteor S33-2
Overview
Production 1962–1963
Assembly Dearborn, Michigan
Kansas City, Missouri
Milpitas, California
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door sedan
2-door hardtop
4-door sedan
4-door Station Wagon
Related Ford Fairlane
Powertrain
Engine 170 in3 OHV Straight-6
221 in3 Windsor V8
260 in3 Windsor V8
Transmission 2-speed automatic
3-speed automatic
3-speed manual
4-speed manual
Dimensions
Wheelbase 2,934 mm (115.5 in)

For 1962, Mercury marketing decided that the Monterey nameplate had better consumer recognition than the Meteor moniker as far as full-sized vehicles were concerned (despite the fact that Meteor outsold Monterey), and instead assigned the Meteor name to a new line of mid-sized cars based on the Ford Fairlane which, in turn, was based on a long-wheelbase version of the Ford Falcon chassis. This smaller, mid-sized Meteor filled the product gap between the full-sized Monterey and the compact, Ford Falcon-based Mercury Comet.

Riding the Fairlane’s 116.5 wheelbase, the 1962 Meteors wore unique rear quarter panels that mimicked the Monterey’s jet-pod tail lights. The base Meteor and better-trimmed Meteor Custom were available in two- and four-door sedans. The Meteor S-33 was a specially trimmed two-door sedan featuring premium exterior trim and interior appointments including bucket seats, and a center console. Its styling and features were similar to the Fairlane 500 Sports Coupe.

For 1963 Meteors received an annual trim update and the addition of two body styles, a four-door station wagon and a two-door hardtop coupe. The four-door station wagon was added to both the Meteor series and the Meteor Custom series. In the Meteor Custom series the station wagon was referred to as the Mercury Country Cruiser and featured simulated wood-grain trim on the exterior. The hardtop coupe was added to the Meteor Custom and Meteor S-33 series. The hardtop coupe replaced the 2-door sedan in the Meteor S-33 series, as had the Fairlane Sports Coupe.

The base Meteor engine was a 170 cubic inch displacement inline 6-cylinder engine with a 1-barrel carburetor 101 horsepower (75 kW) @ 4000 rpm. Optional engines included a 221 cubic inch V-8 with 2-barrel carburetor that generated 145 horsepower (108 kW) and a 260 cubic inch V-8 with 2-barrel carburetor that generated 164 horsepower (122 kW). A three-speed manual transmission was standard. Overdrive and Merc-O-Matic automatic transmissions were options. A 4-speed manual transmission became an option for 1963.

Sales of the mid-sized Mercury Meteor were disappointing and the model was discontinued at the end of the 1963 model year.

A name without a purpose

Mercury product planning underwent another shift with the departure of fiscal conservative Robert McNamara from Ford. What had been McNamara’s attempts to remake Mercury as a senior Ford were discarded, and instead for 1965 Mercury would be marketed as being “built in the Lincoln tradition.”

The first step towards this goal was the elimination of the compact-bodied Comet. Although Mercury had no mid-sized car for the 1964 and 1965 model years, the compact Comet continued to sell well during this time. Because the Comet name had better recognition than Meteor, the Comet name was transferred to Mercury’s mid-sized car based on the Ford Fairlane beginning with the 1966 model year, in effect finally replacing the Meteor model and name that had last been built and used in 1963. For 1964, the Meteor name returned on a series of full-size models in the Canadian market, much as had been the case until 1961.

Mercury logo

Mercury Monarch

Mercury Monarch
1978 Mercury Monarch

1978 Mercury Monarch
Overview
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production 1975–1980
575,567 produced
Assembly Mahwah, New Jersey
Wayne, Michigan
Body and chassis
Class Compact near-luxury car
Body style 4-door sedan
2-door sedan
Layout FR layout
Related Ford Granada (North America)
Lincoln Versailles
Powertrain
Engine 200 cu in (3.3 L) I6
250 cu in (4.1 L) I6
302 cu in (4.9 L) Windsor V8
351 cu in (5.8 L) Windsor V8
Chronology
Successor Mercury Cougar (1980)

The Mercury Monarch is a compact sedan manufactured by the Ford Motor Company; it was sold by the Lincoln-Mercury division from 1975 to 1980. Released in model year 1975 alongside the Ford Granada; the cars, which were badge-engineered, were identical save for the grille, taillights and some interior and exterior trim. A total of 575,567 Monarchs were produced during this time period. For 1981, the Granada was replaced with a smaller version based on Ford’s Fox platform, and the Mercury version took the Cougar name.

Monarch (Ford of Canada brand)

1956 Mercury Monarch Richelieu

 1956 Monarch Richelieu
1961 Mercury Monarch

 1961 Monarch

Monarch was first used by Ford of Canada from 1946 to 1957 and from 1959 to 1961. As such it was used as a standalone brand name, that used Mercury automobiles, trimmed specifically for the Canadian markets. This was done to give Ford dealers a product to sell in the medium-price field. This was typical practice in the Canadian market, where smaller towns might have only a single dealer who was expected to offer a full range of products in various price classes. The Monarch was dropped for 1958 when the Edsel was introduced, but the poor acceptance of the Edsel led Ford to reintroduce Monarch for 1959. With a drop in medium-priced vehicle sales in the early 1960s, and the introduction of the similarly priced Ford Galaxie, the Monarch was dropped after the 1961 model year.

Monarch used the contemporary Mercury body with only unique grilles, taillights and other trim to distinguish them. Model names included Richelieu, Lucerne and Sceptre.

Development

Mercury Monarch coupe 500 BO

 Mercury Monarch coupe

Although developed as the replacement for the aging Comet, external circumstances outside Ford forced the Mercury division to keep both models as the 1970s progressed. The Monarch shared the same platform as its predecessor (developed from the first-generation Ford Falcon). To compete against European and Japanese competitors, the Monarch was given an all-new body; while heavily influenced by Mercedes-Benz, the front and rear styling still carried many styling cues from larger Fords and Mercury models.

“The Ford Motor Company’s planners had originally intended to replace the Maverick and Comet with all-new, but comparable, lines for 1974. However, the energy crisis which revived the market for these cars forced a change in strategy and it was decided to continue building them. A further decision was to redirect the new model program toward developing two similar-sized, but upgraded, lines. Thus, a pair or more-luxurious-than-customary compacts arrived as 1975 models: the Ford Granada and Mercury Monarch.”

As the energy crisis killed off demand for sporty cars, luxury cars came into demand, even more so for smaller models. After introducing the Monarch, the division found relatively little competition from domestic automakers; at the time, personal luxury cars were based on full-sized models, which had not undergone downsizing. Along with the somewhat larger Chrysler Cordoba and Cadillac Seville, the Monarch helped to break the long-standing traditions in the Big Three that size went hand-in-hand with luxury.

The base engine was Ford’s 200 cid inline six-cylinder engine, with a 250 cid inline six optional. V8 power came from two engines: the 302 cid and 351 cid Windsor.

Grand Monarch Ghia

1975 Mercury Grand Monarch Ghia

 1975 Mercury Grand Monarch Ghia

The Mercury Grand Monarch Ghia was an upscale version of the Monarch built in 1975 and 1976. Grand Monarch Ghia had four-wheel disc brakes with a sophisticated central hydraulic power system as standard equipment. Other standard luxury features included:

According to the May 1976 edition of Car and Driver, three out of five of Ford’s top executives, including Henry Ford II, used the Mercury Grand Monarch Ghia as their personal car.

Mercury logo

Mercury Montego

There is also a British car called the Austin Montego.
Mercury Montego
2005 Mercury Montego
Overview
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production 1968–1976
2005–2007
Assembly Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Milpitas, California, United States
Lorain, Ohio, United States
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Oakville, Ontario, Canada

The Mercury Montego was a mid-size vehicle in the Mercury line of Ford Motor Company from 1968 to 1976. The nameplate first appeared in 1967 in Canada as part of the Mercury-derived Meteor line. After 1976, the basic design of the Montego was updated and the nameplate disappeared as the Cougar expanded its lineup. During the mid-2000s, the Montego name was revived for a full-size car; it was rebranded the Sable for 2008.

It was named for the Jamaican city of Montego Bay.

First generation (1968–1971)

1968–1971
1969 Mercury Montego

1969 Mercury Montego 2-door hardtop
Overview
Production 1968–1971
Body and chassis
Class Intermediate
Body style 4-door sedan
4-door wagon
2-door hardtop coupe
2-door convertible
Layout FR layout
Related Ford Torino
Powertrain
Engine 250 cu in (4.1 L) I6
302 cu in (4.9 L) V8
351 cu in (5.8 L) V8
390 cu in (6.4 L) V8
400 cu in (6.6 L) V8
429 cu in (7.0 L) V8
Transmission 3-speed automatic
3-speed manual
4-speed manual
Dimensions
Wheelbase 116.0 in (2,946 mm)
113.0 in (2,870 mm) (wagon)
Length 206.0 in (5,232 mm)
204.0 in (5,182 mm) (wagon)
Chronology
Predecessor Mercury Comet
Successor Mercury Cougar (coupe)
Mercury Monarch (sedan & wagon)

The Montego was introduced for 1968 as an upscale version of the intermediate Mercury Comet, which it eventually supplanted after 1969. It was essentially a twin of the Ford Torino. The Cyclone was a high performance variant of the Montego through 1971.

The 1968 models were available in four body styles: four-door sedan, two-door hardtop, station wagon and convertible, in base and fancier MX trim.

For 1970, the convertible was dropped, but new four-door hardtops and woodgrained MX Villager station wagon were added to the model selection. The 1970 and 1971 Montegos (and Cyclones) were notable for their striking forward-thrusting hood and grille centers. Concealed headlamps provided extra distinction for 1970 Broughams and Villagers.

1969 Mercury Montego MX Villager station wagon

 1969 Mercury Montego MX Villager station wagon
1969 Mercury Montego MX convertible
1969 Mercury Montego MX convertible

Second generation (1972-1976)

1972–1976
1974 Mercury Montego MX Brougham two-door hardtop.

1974 Mercury Montego MX Brougham
Overview
Production 1972–1976
Body and chassis
Class Intermediate
Body style 4-door sedan
4-door station wagon
2-door hardtop coupe
2-door fastback coupe
Layout FR layout
Related Ford Torino
Mercury Cougar
Powertrain
Engine 250 cu in (4.1 L) I6
302 cu in (4.9 L) V8
351 cu in (5.8 L) V8
390 cu in (6.4 L) V8
400 cu in (6.6 L) V8
460 cu in (7.5 L) V8
Transmission 3-speed automatic
3-speed manual
Dimensions
Wheelbase 118.0 in (2,997 mm) (sedan, wagon)
114.0 in (2,896 mm) (coupe, convert.
Length 223.1 in (5,667 mm) (sedan, wagon)
215.5 in (5,474 mm) (coupe, convert.)
Chronology
Predecessor Mercury Comet
Mercury Cyclone
Successor Mercury Cougar (sedan & wagon)
Mercury Monarch (coupe)

The 1972 Montego (and Torino, which the Montego very closely resembled)[3] was fully restyled. Whereas previous Montegos (except wagons) had been produced on a single wheelbase with unitized construction, the 1972-1976 models were built body-on-frame and used a 114-inch (2,900 mm) span for coupe models, 118 inches for sedans and wagons. Although Ford called the four-door sedans “pillared hardtops”, they used a thin “B” pillar with frameless door glass, and true four-door hardtops were not offered in this generation. In 1972 and 1973, a sporty fastback coupe called Montego GT (mirroring Ford’s Gran Torino SportsRoof) was offered, replacing the Cyclone. 1972 sales were up 136% over the previous year, with the MX Brougham showing enormous increases, almost 897% in the 2-door and nearly 1,021% in the 4-door.

1974 Mercury Montego MX Brougham hardtop interiour

 Interior view, 1974 Mercury Montego MX Brougham hardtop

Montego sales through 1973 remained good, but were subsequently depressed by gas mileage concerns, and in-house competition from a restyled 1974 Cougar cast in the personal luxury mold and built on the Montego’s platform with similar styling, and the more efficient Monarch introduced for 1975. For 1977, the Montego name was dropped, with Mercury’s restyled intermediates all taking the Cougar name.

Six-cylinder engines were offered in Montegos through 1973. V8 power—up to a massive 460 cubic inches from 1974 forward—was available throughout the entire run.

1974 Mercury Montego MX Villager station wagon

 1974 Mercury Montego MX Villager station wagon
Mercury Montego GT
Mercury Montego GT

Third generation (2005–2007)

Main article: Ford Five Hundred
2005–2007 (D333)
2004-2006_Mercury_Montego

2005 Mercury Montego Premier
Overview
Also called Ford Five Hundred
Production 2005–2007
Assembly Chicago, Illinois, United States
Body and chassis
Class Full-size
Body style 4-door sedan
Layout Front engine, front-wheel drive /four-wheel drive
Platform Ford D3 platform
Related Ford Taurus
Ford Freestyle
Volvo S60
Volvo S80
Powertrain
Engine 3.0 L Duratec 30 V6 203 hp
Transmission Ford/ZF CVT
6-speed Aisin automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 112.9 in (2,868 mm)
Length 200.4 in (5,090 mm)
Width 74.5 in (1,892 mm)
Height 61.5 in (1,562 mm)
Chronology
Predecessor Mercury Sable
Successor Mercury Sable

After a twenty-nine year hiatus, the Mercury division revived the Montego name for the 2005 model year. Along with the smaller Mercury Milan, the Montego was slotted in the Mercury lineup as the replacement for the Sable. A twin of the Ford Five Hundred, it was classified as a large car, making it the first new full-size Mercury since 1992.

Starting at an MSRP of $25,000, the Montego openly differed from the Grand Marquis. Compared to its counterpart, it was a foot shorter, six inches narrower, five inches taller, and had five seats instead of six. Instead of rear-wheel drive powered by a V8 engine, the Montego came standard with a 3.0L Duratec V6; an all-wheel drive system was an option. Front-wheel drive versions were equipped with a 6-speed Aisin AW F21++ automatic while AWD versions were equipped with a ZF CVT.

In contrast to the Five Hundred, the Montego was produced in two trim levels: Luxury (standard) and Premier (deluxe).

The Montego was built in Chicago, alongside its former cousins, the Ford Five Hundred and Ford Freestyle crossover. This plant formerly built both the Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable. The Montego was marketed in the US and Mexico as well as Canada. The car was praised by owners and received generally positive reviews. But to an ever greater degree than the Ford Five-Hundred, the Montego experienced lackluster sales through the 2005 and 2006 model years, attributed mainly to a lack of customer recognition.

Sales

Calendar Year American sales
2004 2,974
2005 27,007
2006 22,332
2007 10,755

Discontinuation

Along with a minor redesign, the 2008 Five Hundred was renamed the Taurus, and the Montego was renamed the Sable as it was felt that these long-standing nameplates had better consumer recognition. The new Sable went on sale in Summer 2007 and featured a new 3.5L V6 already available in the smaller Lincoln MKZ.

Use in competition

Mercury Montego fielded by Wood Brothers Racing.

 A Mercury Montego fielded by Wood Brothers Racing.

In the 1968 NASCAR Grand National stock car season, the fastback Fairlane body style proved much slicker than other makes, but the nose of the Mercury Cyclone Fastback was the main reason pointed to it being even slightly faster than its Ford counterpart. Cale Yarborough drove a Wood Brothers Cyclone to victory in the Daytona 500, and the Mercury bodies would remain a major force in NASCAR through 2 generations of bodies. The battle over

1969–1978

1969-1978
1973 Marquis Brougham 4-door sedan

1973 Mercury Marquis Brougham 4-door hardtop
Overview
Also called Mercury Marquis Meteor (Canada; 1977–1978)
Model years 1969–1978
Assembly Hazelwood, Missouri (St. Louis Assembly Plant)
Pico Rivera, California (Los Angeles Assembly)
Hapeville, Georgia (Atlanta Assembly)
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door hardtop
4-door hardtop
4-door pillared hardtop
2-door convertible
5-door station wagon
Related
Powertrain
Engine 351 cu in (5.8 L) 351M V8
400 cu in (6.6 L) Cleveland V8
429 cu in (7.0 L) 385 V8
460 cu in (7.5 L) 385 V8
Transmission 3-speed C6 automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 121.0 in (3,073 mm) (wagon)
124.0 in (3,150 mm) (2-door, 4-door)
Length 229.0 in (5,817 mm)
Width 79.8 in (2,027 mm)
79.6 in (2,022 mm)
Curb weight 4470 lb (2-door)
4508 lb (4-door)
1970 Marquis convertible

 1970 Marquis convertible

1969-1972

For 1969, the full-size cars of both Ford and Mercury were completely redesigned, with the Lincoln Continental following suit in 1970. In a model shift, the Park Lane was discontinued, with the Marquis gaining a full range of body styles. Alongside the previous two-door hardtop were a four-door hardtop, four-door pillared sedan, and a two-door convertible; Mercury also consolidated the Mercury Colony Park station wagon series into the Marquis lineup. All full-sized Mercury sedans and coupes were built on a 124-inch wheelbase, but Colony Park station wagons shared the 121-inch wheelbase as the Ford wagons and sedans. While built on a Ford chassis, Colony Parks shared the front bodywork and interior trim as Marquis Brougham sedans.

This generation introduced covered headlights, which were deployed using a vacuum canister system that kept the doors down when a vacuum condition existed in the lines, provided by the engine when it was running. If a loss of vacuum occurred, the doors would retract up so that the headlights were visible if the system should fail.

For 1969 and 1970, the Mercury Marauder

Mercury logo

Mercury Marauder

Mercury Marauder
2003-2004 Mercury Maruader

A Mercury Marauder in 2007
Overview
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production 1963–1965
1969–1970
2003–2004
Body and chassis
Class Full-size
Layout FR layout

The Mercury Marauder was the name of three different automobiles made by the Mercury division of Ford Motor Company. During the 1960s, the Marauder was introduced as the high-performance model of the full-size Mercury line; its Ford equivalent was the Galaxie. From 2003, the Marauder nameplate was revived as a high-performance variant of the full-size Grand Marquis. After lower than expected sales, the Marauder was discontinued at the end of the 2004 model year.

First generation (1963–1965)

First generation
1964 Mercury Marauder photographed in Washington, D.C., USA.

1964 Mercury Marauder 2-door hardtop
Overview
Production 1963½–1965
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door hardtop
4-door sedan
Platform Full-size Ford
Related Mercury Monterey
Mercury Montclair
Mercury Park Lane
Powertrain
Engine 390 cu in (6.4 L) V8
406 cu in (6.7 L) V8
427 cu in (7.0 L) V8
Transmission 3-speed manual
4-speed manual
3-speed automatic
1964 Mercury Marauder Sedan

 1964 Mercury Marauder Sedan

The Marauder name first appeared in 1958. The 383 Marauder engine was an Option from 1958- 1960. The MEL 383 Marauder was rated at 330 hp @4800 RPM, 425 ft lb @3000 RPM. It was available in the Montclair and Colony Park models in 1958 and the Montclair only in 1959. In 1960 it was a special option for any Mercury. The 1963½ model in the full-size Mercury lineup was available as a 2-door hardtop with a forward-slanted “fastback” roofline; this was the reverse of the Breezeway roof introduced on other full-size Mercurys. This fastback roofline was developed for both the Mercury Marauder and the Ford Galaxie for NASCAR competition, and may have helped with the many 1963–64 Ford Mercury victories. In 1964, the Marauder became available in a four-door sedan, also with a fastback roofline. It was an option on the Monterey, Montclair, andPark Lane. Marauders also featured bucket seats, central consoles, and other trim items similar to those in the Ford Galaxie 500/XL.

As it was common practice during that time to share components between Ford and Mercury, powertrain choices for the Marauder were identical to the big Ford, including 390, 406, and 427 cubic-inch Thunderbird V8s, (which Mercury labeled Marauder and Super Marauder V-8s) and a choice of 3-speed or 4-speed manual, or 3-speed automatic transmissions.

After 1965, the Marauder name was discontinued. The nameplate lived on as the branding of the most powerful engine available in Mercurys in 1966 and 1967 and could be found in other full-size Mercurys including the Mercury S-55.

Second generation (1969–1970)

Second generation
1969 Mercury Marauder X100 2-door coupe

1969 Mercury Marauder X-100
Overview
Production 1969–1970
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door hardtop
Related Mercury Marquis
Powertrain
Engine 390 cu in (6.4 L) FE V8
429 cu in (7.0 L) 385 V8
Transmission 3-speed FMX/SelectShift automatic
3-speed C6/SelectShift automatic
3-speed manual
Dimensions
Wheelbase 121.0 in (3,073 mm)
Length 219.1 in (5,565 mm)
Width 79.6 in (2,022 mm)
Height 53.5 in (1,359 mm)
Curb weight 4,328 lb (1,963 kg)
Mercury Marauder X-100 rear roofline detail

 Mercury Marauder X-100 rear roofline detail

In 1969, the Marauder was reintroduced into the Mercury lineup, largely as a replacement for the S-55. As a part of a shift from a performance model to a full-size personal luxury coupe, it was based upon the recently introduced Marquis, sharing its front clip and much of its interior.

From the windshield rearward, the Marauder wore a separate body from the Marquis. In a design similar to the Ford XL and Ford Galaxie 500 SportsRoof, it wore a “fastback” roofline with a tunneled rear window. To distinguish it from its Ford counterparts, the Marauder wore non-functional louvered side air intakes in the quarter panels. A performance trim level of the Marauder was sold as the Marauder X-100. Largely for appearance purposes, the X-100 wore bucket seats with a floor console housing a U-shaped automatic transmission shift handle. On the outside, X-100s were fitted with sporty Kelsey-Hayes stylized road wheels complete with rear fender skirts.

The market for sporty full-size cars had disappeared, though, and production was limited to about 15,000 cars for 1969 and barely a third of that for 1970. While the market for personal luxury cars was expanding, the Marauder found itself competing against the Ford Thunderbird and Lincoln Continental Mark III; it was outsold by the Lincoln by nearly four to one.

Mechanical details

Standard versions of the Marauder were equipped with a 390 cubic inch engine; the Marauder X-100 was normally equipped with a larger 360 hp (268 kW) 429 cubic inch engine. With the 390, a 3-speed manual transmission was technically standard, with a 3-speed FMX automatic as an option. The sole transmissions for the 429 was the C6 automatic.

Revival (2003–2004)

Third generation
2003-2004 Mercury Marauder

2003–2004 Mercury Marauder
Overview
Production 2003–2004
11,052 produced
Assembly St. Thomas Assembly Plant, St. Thomas, Canada
Body and chassis
Platform Ford Panther platform
Related Mercury Grand Marquis
Ford Crown Victoria
Lincoln Town Car
Powertrain
Engine 4.6 L Modular DOHC V8
Transmission 4-speed 4R70W automatic (2003)
4-speed 4R75W automatic (2004)
Dimensions
Wheelbase 114.7 in (2,913 mm).
Length 212.0 in (5,385 mm).
Width 78.2 in (1,986 mm).
Height 56.8 in (1,443 mm).

At the 2002 Chicago Auto Show, Ford introduced the Mercury Marauder as a concept car. The first full-size convertible produced by Ford since the 1971 Mercury Marquis and Ford LTD, the Mercury Marauder was also the first two-door full-size car since 1987. Largely intended as a preview of the Marauder sedan going into production for the 2003 model year, the convertible was powered by the 4.6L Modular V8; an Eaton supercharger increased output to 335hp. Based on a 1999 Ford Crown Victoria LX, the Marauder concept car had its body changed to a two-door layout with five-passenger seating with a floor shifter for the automatic transmission.

In 2000, Ford chose to approve the production of the Marauder as a sedan for the 2003 model year. After a 33 year absence, Ford resurrected the Mercury Marauder name as a high-performance companion model for the Mercury Grand Marquis. Although the Mercury division was most directly a competitor to Buick (and before that, Oldsmobile), the design of this Marauder drew many parallels to the 1994–1996 Chevrolet Impala SS in being a contemporary full-size “muscle sedan”, and both being derived from a police vehicle (the Marauder from the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, and the Impala SS from the Chevrolet Caprice).

To differentiate itself from the Grand Marquis and the Crown Victoria, the Marauder borrowed and customized trim parts from both its Ford and Mercury stablemates while creating its own, monochromomatic design image. The headlights and corner lights, from the Grand Marquis, had its non-reflective surfaces blacked out and the grille was painted black with a body-color surround. Side trim was shared with the Crown Victoria (B-pillars painted body color), along with the trunklid and taillights (tinted to just within DOT standards). Unique body parts include a front bumper with its own air intake and Cibié fog lamps and a rear bumper embossed with Marauder (in a fashion similar to the Ford Mustang). While the grille and trunk wear standard Mercury “waterfall” emblems, the car’s five-spoke 18″ wheels feature Mercury’s classic “god-head” (Mercury’s silhouette) emblem on its center caps. Aside from the lights, only the Mercury emblems, wheel rims, and window trim are reflective.

In contrast to the Grand Marquis, the interior of the Marauder featured front bucket seats and a floor shifter with a center console; leather seats were standard. Instead of the simulated wood trim seen in the Grand Marquis, the Marauder substituted simulated satin aluminum trim in its place. The instrument cluster was Marauder-specific, with satin aluminum gauges (with a 140-mph speedometer borrowed from the Ford Police Interceptor) and the pressed electrical board to control them are model-exclusive. To make room for the tachometer, the oil-pressure gauges and voltmeter were moved to the center console. The Marauder is also the only Panther car after 1997 with a specific pin on the PCM for a tachometer.

Mechanical details

2003-04 Mercury Marauder, rear ¾ view

2003-2004 Mercury Marauder, rear¾ view

The Mercury Marauder was based on an updated version of the Ford Panther platform that was introduced for 2003. The Marauder had a naturally aspirated 4.6 L V8 DOHC Ford Modular engine producing 302 hp (225 kW) and 318 ft·lbf (431 N·m) of torque; this engine had many parts — including heads, cams, block and rotating assembly — in common with the 2003–2004 Mustang Mach 1 and the 2003–2005 Lincoln Aviator. The Marauder featured a dual exhaust system with MEGS tailpipe tips, with newly developed chassis and suspension modifications – such as moving the rear shocks outboard of the frame rails, which were later made available for the Crown Victoria and Grand Marquis. The Marauder was fitted with the 4R70W 4-speed automatic in 2003 and received the upgraded 4R75W 4-speed automatic for 2004. Both years featured the aluminum drive shaft from the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor. The limited slip differential with a 3.55 rear axle ratio was standard fitment on all Marauders.

Reaction

2007 Ford Crown Victoria LX Sport, the Ford Crown Victoria version of the Marauder sold from 2003-2007

 Ford Crown Victoria LX Sport, the Ford Crown Victoria version of the Marauder sold from 2003-2007

The 2003–2004 Marauder sales fell short of corporate forecasts, and after a production run of 11,052 vehicles, the Marauder was discontinued at the end of 2004. For comparison, Mercury produced 179,723 examples of its Grand Marquis counterpart during the same time. The number of Marauders produced per year in each color breaks down as follows:

2003 – Total: 7838 (328 Dark Pearl Blue, 417 Silver Birch, 7093 Black)

2004 – Total: 3214 (980 Dark Toreador Red, 997 Silver Birch, 1237 Black)

made its return as a stand-alone model; a sportier two-door fastback on the shorter Ford wheelbase it shared its front bodywork with the Marquis.

This generation introduced the hidden headlights that were a Lincoln-Mercury trademark in the 1970s. Metallic gold examples of the 1969 and 1970 model Marquis convertibles (very low production) were used for the final two seasons of the Green Acres TV series; these replaced the 1965-1967 Continental convertibles that were used earlier in the run of the CBS comedy series.

1971 brought a major restyling for the full-size Mercurys. The body wore more rounded, flowing styling with wider C-pillars and wraparound tail-lamps (on sedans). Other changes included fender skirts and the elimination of vent windows; all models now wore frameless window glass. A new option for all models a sunroof (which also mandated the selection of a vinyl roof). While slow sales led to the cancellation of the Marauder fastback and the convertible, Mercury revived the Brougham name as part of the Marquis and Colony Park lineup.

1972 Mercury Marquis coupe

 1972 Mercury Marquis coupe

1972 brought minor changes such as egg-crate grilles, revised taillamps and seatbelt warning buzzers.

Mechanical Details

The standard engine was a 429 cubic-inch V8 equipped with a two-barrel carburetor. The four-barrel 429 from the Marauder was optional. The sole transmission for the Marquis (and all full-size Lincolns and Mercurys of the period) was the Ford C6 3-speed automatic. Power front disc brakes were optional.

1973 revision

1978 Mercury Marquis 2-door

 1978 Mercury Marquis 2-door

For 1973, the Marquis received a minor restyling with a boxier look, giving it new protruding energy-absorbing “5-mph” bumpers and a new roofline. Two- and four-door hardtops (as well as four-door pillared hardtops that had frameless door glass and slim fixed center pillars) were available as the Marquis or Marquis Brougham. The 1975 models were slightly revised to look longer than the boxier 1973-1974 range. The Grand Marquis was introduced as a luxury trim line in 1975 when the Monterey series was dropped and all full-size Mercurys took the Marquis name. Unlike the related Crown Victoria, which was an option package on the LTD Landau, the Grand Marquis was a trim level in its own right. Base-trim and upscale Colony Park station wagons were available.

Approximately 7,850,000 full-size Fords and Mercurys were sold over 1969-78. This makes it the second best selling Ford automobile platform after the Ford Model T.

Mechanical Details

The 360 hp (268 kW) 460 big-block V8 became available on this generation and the 400 Cleveland replaced the 429 as the top engine in 1974. The 460 was standard on the Brougham and Grand Marquis through 1977. The 351M small-block V8 entered the lineup in 1978 to increase the fuel economy of the Marquis; for that year, the 351 became the standard engine on all models. In California and in ‘High Altitude’ areas, the 400 was still fitted as standard equipment. Regardless of location, the 460 remained an option in all Marquis models to the end of this generation.

The impact of emissions regulations and tuning made horsepower vary a little from year to year. By 1978 the single-exhaust 460 generated 210 horsepower (160 kW) (but dual exhaust remained an option). Paired with the 400 and 460 V8s was the 3-speed C6 “Select-Shift” automatic.

1979–1982

1979-1982 (Panther-body)
1980 Mercury Marquis 4-door sedan

1980 Mercury Marquis 4-door sedan
Overview
Model years 1979–1982
Assembly Hazelwood, Missouri (St. Louis Assembly)
Hapeville, Georgia (Atlanta Assembly)
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door sedan
4-door sedan
4-door station wagon
Platform Ford Panther platform
Related
Powertrain
Engine 302 cu in (4.9 L) 5.0L Windsor V8
351 cu in (5.8 L) Windsor V8
Transmission 3-speed C4/SelectShift automatic
4-speed AOD automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 114.3 in (2,903 mm)
Length 212.3 in (5,392 mm) (sedan)
217.7 in (5,530 mm) (wagon)
Width
  • 77.5 in (1,968 mm) (sedan)
  • 79.3 in (2,014 mm) (wagon)
Height
  • 54.7 in (1,389 mm) (sedan)
  • 56.8 in (1,443 mm) (wagon)
Curb weight 3,635–3,918 lb (1,649–1,777 kg)
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 1979 Mercury Marquis two-door sedan

Trailing General Motors by two years and Chrysler by one, Ford downsized its full-size cars for the 1979 model year. Based upon the all-new Panther platform, the full-size Marquis was left shorter and lighter than the intermediate Cougar line. In comparison to the 1978 model, Mercury pared 17 inches in length, and in sedan models, over 1,000 pounds of weight from the Marquis; for the first time since 1955, a full-size Mercury station wagon weighed in at under 4,000 pounds. Broader expanses of glass and a lower hood line provided more visibility. Redesigned seats and door panels led to an increase in interior space.

Although Ford had begun moving towards increased parts commonality in its full-size models with the introduction of the previous-generation Marquis, the Panther platform reinforced this further. For the first time, not only would Ford and Mercury full-size cars be build upon a common wheelbase, but nearly the entire bodyshell of the Marquis and the Ford LTD was shared; much was also shared with the Lincoln Continental/Mark VI. In a move from the previous pillared hardtop sedans, all 4-doors and station wagons wore fully framed door glass. Two-doors retained frameless glass; a common roofline shared between Ford and Mercury wore a B-pillar with a fixed side window. Gone were the hidden headlights and fender skirts that had graced earlier models, leaving a more contemporary look. The interior gained Lincoln-style white-face instruments with square gauges.

Two-door and four-door versions were sold as standard trim, Marquis Brougham, and Grand Marquis; in Canada, a base-level Meteor trim was available until 1981. While the majority of station wagon sales consisted of wood-grained Colony Park models, the station wagon was also available as a Marquis model without woodgrain trim.

The Marquis received a minor update for 1982, losing the vents in the front fenders and the small grilles in the front bumper.

Mechanical Details

As part of the change to the Panther platform, the engine lineup underwent its own downsizing as well. In place of the 400 and 460 seen in 1978, the standard engine was now the 302 cubic-inch V8 shared with the Monarch and Cougar. In a sign of the times, it was now referenced by its 4.9-liter metric displacement (rounded up to 5.0 liters). The optional engine was a 351 Windsor V8 shared with the Cougar; it is a rare option and is highly desirable today. The 4.2L V8 added to the Ford LTD for 1980 became available in the Mercury lineup.

When introduced for 1979, both engines were paired with a 3-speed SelectShift automatic. For 1980, the Marquis (and all Panther-platform vehicles) received the 4-speed AOD overdrive automatic transmission as an option. Initially an option for the 351 V8, the AOD became the sole transmission for 1981.

1983–1986

1983-1986 (Fox-body)
1983 Mercury Marquis midsize
Overview
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Model years 1983–1986
Assembly Chicago, Illinois (Chicago Assembly)
Hapeville, Georgia (Atlanta Assembly)
Body and chassis
Class Mid-size
Body style 4-door sedan
4-door station wagon
Platform Ford Fox platform
Related Ford LTD
Lincoln Continental
Mercury Cougar (1980-1982)
Powertrain
Engine 2.3 L (140 cu in) Lima I4
3.3 L (200 cu in) Mileage Maker I6
3.8 L (232 cu in) Essex V6
4.9 L (302 cu in) 5.0L Windsor V8
Transmission 3-speed C3 automatic
4-speed AOD automatic
Chronology
Predecessor Mercury Cougar
Successor Mercury Sable

In 1983, Ford updated the styling of mid-size Fox platform sedans and station wagons; additionally, a number of product lines were shifted. Mercury reverted the Cougar back to its traditional role of a two-door personal-luxury coupe, discontinuing its unpopular 4-door and wagon models. To fill the gap, the Marquis name was taken from the full-size Mercury line; Ford had done the same thing as the LTD had replaced the Granada.

After 1983, the Panther-based Grand Marquis continued in production. The 1979-1982 version was produced nearly unchanged until the end of 1991, when it was redesigned for the 1992 model year. With minor evolutionary changes, the design of the 1992 Grand Marquis remained in production for 19 model years, when Mercury ceased all production in January 2011.

The midsize Marquis was produced in Hapeville, Georgia until December 13, 1985 and Chicago, Illinois until January 3, 1986, when it was replaced by the front-wheel drive Mercury Sable.

Mechanical Details

The mid-size Marquis sedans had the 2.3 L SOHC four-cylinder as the base engine. Wagons came with a six-cylinder standard. 1983 models could have the 3.3 L “Mileage Maker” inline six, otherwise, the 3.8 L Essex V6 was available in all models and was the most common. After 1984, the inline-6 engine (dating to 1963) was discontinued. The high-output 4.9 L 5.0L Windsor V8 was available in the rare Marquis LTS, sold only in Canada. Four-cylinder engines were paired with the C3 3-speed automatic along with the 3.8 L V6 models; the rare V8 models received the AOD 4-speed automatic overdrive from the Grand Marquis.

Mercury logo

Mercury Commuter

1957 Mercury 2-door Commuter hardtop station wagon

 1957 Mercury 2-door Commuter hardtop station wagon
Mercury Commuter
MERCURY COMMUTER dutch licence registration AM-75-80
Overview
Manufacturer Mercury
Production 1957–1968
Body and chassis
Class Full-size
Body style 4-door station wagon
Layout FR layout
Powertrain
Engine 368 cu in (6.0 L) Lincoln Y-Block V8
1957 Mercury 4-door Commuter hardtop station wagon rear

 1957 Mercury 4-door Commuter hardtop station wagon rear

The Mercury Commuter was Mercury‘s lowest-priced full-size station wagon from 1957 to 1968. When introduced for the 1957 model year it was priced below Mercury’s other two new full size wagons, the Voyager and the Colony Park. In 1957 the same 368 cu in (6.0 L) Lincoln Y-Block V8 that was standard equipment on the Mercury Turnpike Cruiser was optional equipment on the Commuter.

It was initially available as a two-door wagon and as a four-door wagon with the former discontinued after the 1959 model year. The Commuter was temporarily absent in 1963, in concession to the new Meteor station wagons, but was reinstated for 1964, when the Meteor was dropped. The Commuter was phased out for good, like the full-size Mercury Montclair and Park Lane, after the 1968 model year. On a collectible scale model note, a 1968 Commuter wagon was rendered in the form of a Matchbox scale die cast car, however, along with a companion Matchbox 1968 Park Lane sedan.

References

  • Standard Catalogue of American Cars, 1946–1975 (Revised 4th Edition)

and the Park Lane and Montclair until the latter two were extinguished after the 1968 model year. The Marquis-Monterey body was built on a longer wheelbase and had a longer body than the Ford LTD, Ford Galaxie, and Ford Custom. During its production the car served as the high-end, mid-range, and entry-level fullsize Mercury at various times throughout its run. It was the only Mercury to be in continuous production throughout the 1960s. The Monterey was discontinued after 1974.

In 2004, Mercury resurrected the Monterey nameplate for a minivan, essentially a re-badged Ford Freestar with added features and modified cosmetic details.

Early History

The Monterey (model 72C) was introduced in 1950 as a high-end two-door coupe as part of the Mercury Eight series in the same vein as the Ford Crestliner, the Lincoln Lido coupe and the Lincoln Cosmopolitan Capri coupe in order to compete with the hardtop coupes General Motors had introduced the previous model year. Montereys had either a canvas covered top for $2146 or vinyl for $2157. Standard features included leather faced seats, simulated leather headliner, wool carpets, chrome-plated interior garnish moldings, two-toned dashboard, special black steering wheel, fender skirts, dual outside rearview mirrors, full wheelcovers & gold winged hood ornament. For $10 more all leather seats were an option. Two special colors were offered, Turquoise Blue with dark blue top and Cortaro Red metallic with black top. Black with yellow top was also available. Few Montereys were sold.

1952–1954

1953 Mercury Monterey coupe
 1953 Mercury Monterey coupe
First generation
1953 Mercury Monterey Convertible
Overview
Model years 1952–1954
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan
2-door hardtop
2-door convertible
4-door station wagon
Related Mercury Custom
Powertrain
Engine 255 cu in (4.2 L) Flathead V8
256 cu in (4.2 L) Ford Y-block V8
Transmission 3-speed manual
3-speed Merc-O-Matic automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 118.0 in (2,997 mm)
Length 202.2 in (5,136 mm) (1952)
1953 Mercury Monterey station wagon 8 pass.

 1953 Mercury Monterey station wagon
1954 Mercury Monterey Sun Valley Hardtop Coupe

 1954 Mercury Monterey Sun Valley

Mercury got a styling and engineering redesign for 1952, such as 18% more window area. Monterey became a separate series and Mercury’s top model line, a convertible and four-door sedan were included in the new series lineup. The heater and vent controls were changed to levers and placed on a plane set perpendicular to the dash behind the steering wheel, inspired by flight controls in large aircraft. A station wagon bowed for 1953, the same year a Siren Red Monterey Convertible became Ford’s forty-millionth car produced. 1954 saw the introduction of the new 161 hp (120 kW) overhead valve Ford Y-block V8, as well as the bubble-top Monterey Sun Valley, which had a Plexiglasfront half roof which was similar to that of the Ford Crestline Skyliner. The 1954 Montereys also received other alterations, such as new, lower taillights.

1955–1956

1956 Mercury Monterey 4-door hardtop

 1956 Mercury Monterey 4-door

hardtop

Second generation
1956 Mercury Monterey coupé
Overview
Model years 1955–1956
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan
4-door hardtop
2-door hardtop
2-door convertible
4-door station wagon
Related Mercury Custom
Mercury Medalist
Mercury Montclair
Powertrain
Engine 292 cu in (4.8 L) Ford Y-block V8
312 cu in (5.1 L) Ford Y-block V8
Transmission 3-speed manual
3-speed Merc-O-Matic automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 118.0 in (2,997 mm)
Length 206.3 in (5,240 mm)

For 1955 the car lost its status as Mercury’s top model, replaced by the Montclair. The same year, it gained the 292 cu in (4.8 L) Y-block from the Thunderbird, producing 188 hp (140 kW) with the standard transmission or 198 with the Merc-O-Matic. It used independent ball-joint front suspension. Brake size was increased.

1956 brought another new engine, the 235 hp (175 kW) 312 cu. in. This year, along with the rest of Ford, Mercury cars started to sport the Lifeguard safety equipment. The deep-dish steering wheel and safety door locks were standard.

1957–1958

1957 Mercury Monterey coupe

 1957 Mercury Monterey coupe
Third generation
1957 Mercury Monterey cabriolet
Overview
Model years 1957–1958
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan
4-door hardtop
2-door hardtop
2-door convertible
Related Mercury Turnpike Cruiser
Mercury Montclair
Mercury Colony Park
Mercury Voyager
Mercury Commuter
Powertrain
Engine 312 cu in (5.1 L) Ford Y-block V8
368 cu in (6.0 L) Lincoln Y-BlockV8
383 cu in (6.3 L) MEL V8
430 cu in (7.0 L) MEL V8
Transmission 3-speed manual
3-speed Merc-O-Matic automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 122.0 in (3,099 mm)
Length 211.1 in (5,362 mm)
1958 mercury Monterey

 1958 mercury Monterey

The fullsize Mercury was redesigned for 1957 and grew considerably larger as well, riding on an exclusive 122 in (3,099 mm) wheelbase. A new frame design allowed a lower floor which made the car look lower and longer. The station wagons were divested from the Monterey series, with the Commuter, Voyager, and Colony Park lines. The 312 Ford Y-block gained 20 horsepower to go with the added weight, and the 290 hp (220 kW) 368 cu in (6.0 L) Lincoln Y-block V8 became an option.

1958 brought quad headlamps, as well as an all-new engine: the 383 cu in (6.3 L) MEL V8. With the new engine came the Multi-Drive three-speed automatic transmission.

1959–1960

1959 Mercury Monterey a

 1959 Mercury Monterey
Fourth generation
1960 Mercury Monterey cabriolet
Overview
Model years 1959–1960
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan
4-door hardtop
2-door hardtop
2-door convertible
Related Mercury Park Lane
Mercury Montclair
Mercury Colony Park
Mercury Commuter
Mercury Voyager
Powertrain
Engine 312 cu in (5.1 L) Ford Y-block V8
383 cu in (6.3 L) MEL V8
430 cu in (7.0 L) MEL V8
Transmission 3-speed manual
3-speed Merc-O-Matic automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 126.0 in (3,200 mm)
Length 1959: 217.8 in (5,532 mm)
1960: 219.2 in (5,568 mm)
1960 Mercury Monterey convertible rear

 1960 Mercury Monterey convertible rear

With the discontinuation of the low-price Medalist after the 1956 model year and a trend towards fuel economy, the 1959 Monterey returned to the 312, with 210 hp (160 kW).

1961–1964

1963 Mercury Monterey

 1963 Mercury Monterey
Fifth generation
1962 Mercury Monterey berlina
Overview
Model years 1961–1964
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan
4-door hardtop
2-door hardtop
2-door convertible
4-door station wagon
Related Mercury Meteor
Mercury Colony Park
Mercury Commuter
Ford Galaxie
Ford Country Squire
Powertrain
Engine 223 cu in (3.7 L) Mileage Maker I6
292 cu in (4.8 L) Ford Y-block V8
352 cu in (5.8 L) FE V8
390 cu in (6.4 L) FE V8
406 cu in (6.7 L) FE V8
Transmission 3-speed manual
4-speed manual
3-speed Merc-O-Maticautomatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 120.0 in (3,050 mm)
1962 Mercury Monterey Convertible 6400 ccm V8 300 PS 170 Kmh

 1962 Mercury Monterey convertible interior

Mercury’s full-size offerings were completely revamped for 1961. Bodies, interiors, and chassis were basically the same as the big Ford’s, although trim was different in order to distinguish the marques. The Montclair and Park Lane were discontinued and the Meteor was added at the bottom of the range, making Monterey once again the top of Mercury’s lineup. The 292 cu in (4.8 L) Ford Y-block was standard, with 352 cu in (5.8 L) and 390 cu in (6.4 L) versions of the FE V8 available.

The Meteor nameplate was moved to a new intermediate line for 1962, so the Monterey 6 with a 135 hp (101 kW) 223 cu in (3.7 L) Mileage Maker straight-six was added to fill the gap, but only for this year.

1963 brought the return of the “Breezeway” window, a powered reverse slanted rear window that was borrowed from Ford’s station wagons, and was first used on the Mercury Turnpike Cruiser and the 1958–60 Lincoln Continental. It also brought a 406 cu in (6.7 L) FE engine. The six-cylinder, and 292 and 352 V8s were dropped and the 390 V8 became the standard engine with 250 horsepower and two-barrel carburetor with a 300-horsepower four-barrel version optional. At mid-year, the fastback Marauder was introduced. Mid-1963 saw the introduction of the “Marauder,” basically the 1963 1/2 Ford Sports Hardtop “fastback” roofline adapted to the Mercury body. A performance “S-55” package included a big-block 300-bhp 390 V8 and a sporty interior that was similar to the Ford Galaxie 500/XL.

Monterey became the entry-level full-size Mercury again for 1964, with the return of the Montclair and Park Lane. Grilles and taillights were restyled and toned down a bit, making this model especially attractive, a big car but not bulky-looking. The 406 was replaced by the 427 cu in (7.0 L) version, producing 410 hp (310 kW) standard with an option for 425 hp (317 kW). The Marauder fastback hardtop continued to be offered in all three Mercury series.

1965–1968

1966 Mercury Monterey convertible

 1966 Mercury Monterey convertible
Sixth generation
Mercury Monterey cabriolet
Overview
Model years 1965–1968
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan
4-door hardtop
2-door hardtop
2-door convertible
Related Mercury Park Lane
Mercury Montclair
Mercury Colony Park
Mercury Commuter
Ford Galaxie
Ford LTD
Ford Country Squire
Powertrain
Engine 390 cu in (6.4 L) FE V8
410 cu in (6.7 L) FE V8
427 cu in (7.0 L) FE V8
428 cu in (7.0 L) FE V8
Transmission 3-speed manual
4-speed manual
3-speed Merc-O-Matic automatic
3-speed C6 automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 123.0 in (3,120 mm)
1966 Mercury Monterey convertible rear

1966 Mercury Monterey convertible rear

The full-size Mercurys were redesigned for 1965 with a new torque-box frame and a more slab-sided look. The Breezeway window was now only available on pillared sedans, with all two door hardtops being fastbacks.

The Mercury-exclusive 410 cu in (6.7 L) and the 428 cu in (7.0 L) FE engines were added for 1966.

1967 brought a refresh, and the vertical Breezeway roofline disappeared although they could still be had with a drop-down rear window. The 410 was dropped for 1968.

The 1966 model two door Mercury Monterey hardtop, was built in two half-year variants. The first half of the 1966 year was built with a “Notch-back” rear window version,(which looked more like the four door version) while the second half of the 1966 model year was redesigned with the “fast-back” rear window.

1969–1974

1971 Mercury Monterey

 1971 Mercury Monterey rear
Seventh generation
1972-74 Mercury Monterey Berlina
Overview
Model years 1969–1974
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan
4-door hardtop
2-door hardtop
2-door convertible
4-door station wagon
Related Mercury Marquis
Mercury Colony Park
Ford LTD
Ford Galaxie
Ford Country Squire
Powertrain
Engine 390 cu in (6.4 L) FE V8
400 cu in (6.6 L) Cleveland V8
429 cu in (7.0 L) 385-series V8
460 cu in (7.5 L) 385-series V8
Transmission 3-speed manual
4-speed manual
3-speed C6 automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 124.0 in (3,150 mm)

For 1969, the Monterey’s wheelbase grew to 124 inches (315 cm) inches with the exception of the station wagon which was on the 122 inches (309.9 cm) Ford wheelbase – it was essentially a Ford wagon with a Mercury front clip and trimwork. The redesigned Mercurys were intended to emulate the Lincoln Continental. Minor changes differentiated the 1970 models, but a restyle for 1971 resulted in rounded and more flowing bodywork, beaked grilles, flipper exterior doorhandles, frameless windows on all sedans, wider c-pillars and fender skirts on all but the base Monterey and wagons. The convertible bodystyle for both the Monterey and the Marquis was eliminated and replaced by the new, costly and very rare optional power moonroof which was first made available on a Mercury with the 1968 Cougar. 1972 brought minor changes to Monterey and Marquis, such as eggcrate grilles and a front seatbelt warning buzzer. Also, SelectShift Cruise-O-Matic transmission, power steering and power front disc brakes became standard equipment on all Monterey models for 1972.

The 351 Windsor and 400 cu in (6.6 L) Cleveland V8s were added for 1971, the final year for the 390. The 429 V8, which was standard on the Marquis beginning in 1969, was available as an extra cost option on all Monterey models each year including a two-barrel 320-horsepower version and a four-barrel 360-horsepower option from 1969 to 1971. Both of those 429s were replaced by single 209 net horsepower 429 four-barrel for 1972, which was designed to run on regular, low lead or unleaded gasoline as was the case with all Ford Motor Company engines starting with the 1972 model year.

The 1973 redesign brought boxier styling and the federally mandated 5 mph bumpers. The Monterey and Monterey Custom were discontinued in 1975, as the Grand Marquis had been introduced as the new top-line Mercury, shifting the lesser Marquis models down to take the Monterey’s place.

Engine offerings for 1973–74 included the 351 Windsor two-barrel standard on base Montereys and the 400 Cleveland two-barrel standard on Monterey Custom and optional on base models. The 429 V8 was discontinued after 1973 and Lincoln’s 460 V8 became the top option on all models for 1974.

Approximately 7,850,000 full-size Fords and Mercurys were sold over 1969–78. This makes it the second best selling Ford automobile platform after the Ford Model T.

The Monterey in Canada

After 1963, the Monterey was not sold in Canada, but was supplanted by the resurrected Meteor. Meteor competed in the low-priced field, but its upper trim series (Montcalm and LeMoyne) was typically very similar to the U.S. Monterey both in styling and appointments. Meteor continued as a separate marque through 1976 (1975–76 models continued the 1974 Monterey’s front end styling) after which the name was applied to a base trim version of the Marquis, as the “Mercury Marquis Meteor” through 1981.

and Custom were all-new vehicles. While still sharing a body with Lincoln, the Mercury Custom and Monterey were powered by a higher-output Ford engine. For 1954, the long-running Flathead V8 (from 1932) was replaced by an overhead-valve Y-Block V8.

In 1955, the Mercury lineup was expanded to three, adding the Montclair to the top of the lineup. As before, the body shared much of its styling with the standard Lincoln. For 1956, the Custom was replaced by the Medalist as the lowest-trim model. In following with Ford, Mercury split its station wagon line into a distinct model line for 1957, with the introduction of the base model Commuter, mid-price Voyager, and woodgrain Colony Park.

Mercury-Edsel-Lincoln Division (1957-1960)

1959 Mercury Park Lane Convertible Coupe

 1959 Mercury Park Lane Convertible Coupe

The end of the 1950s marked a split of Lincoln and Mercury. For 1957, Mercury was given a redesigned model lineup; for the first time since 1948, the division did not share a common body with Lincoln. While the lower-end Medalist was discontinued, Mercury gained a distinctive flagship in the Turnpike Cruiser.

Mercury logo

1957-1958 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser

Mercury Turnpike Cruiser
1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser NL

1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser
Overview
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Also called Mercury Convertible Cruiser
Model years 1957–1958
Body and chassis
Class Full-size car
Body style 2-door hardtop coupe
4-door hardtop sedan
2-door convertible
Layout FR layout, body-on-frame
Related Mercury Montclair
Powertrain
Engine 368 cu in (6.0 L) Y-Block V8
383 cu in (6.3 L) Marauder V8
430 cu in (7.0 L) Marauder V8
430 cu in (7.0 L) Super MarauderV8
Transmission 3-speed Merc-O-Matic automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 122 in (3,099 mm)
Length 211 in (5,359 mm)
Width 79.1 in (2,009 mm)
Height 56.5 in (1,435 mm)
Chronology
Successor Mercury Park Lane

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” (that would tell your average speed at any point along a trip). A convertible version served as the pace car of the 1957 Indianapolis 500.

1957

1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser rear showing Breezaway window

 rear view showing “Breezeway” window

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. Motor Trend gave high marks for fuel economy (14.6mpg at 60mph) and comfort, low for handling.

Convertible Cruiser

1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser cabriolet

 1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser convertible
1957 Convertible Cruiser with Continental Kit spare tire Indy Pace car

 1957 Convertible Cruiser with “Continental Kit” spare tire

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.

1958

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. Self-adjusting brakes were added.

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

The pace car of that year’s Indianapolis 500, the Turnpike Cruiser stood out in a crowd with its gold-colored fin trim and its reverse-slant retractable rear window. Alongside their Ford counterparts, Mercury station wagons became a distinct model line (Commuter, Voyager, and wood-grain Colony Park).

In 1958, the Lincoln-Mercury division underwent major changes as Lincoln moved upmarket with its much larger unibody-design cars along with the addition of the Edsel brand to the division. A five-vehicle division, Edsel shared its wagons with Ford and (depending on trim) its sedans with Ford and Mercury. In one move that proved fatal to the division, nearly the entire Edsel line overlapped Mercury in price.

In 1958, the division became the first automaker to sell production automobiles with an advertised 400-horsepower engine output; the Super Marauder V8 was an option in all Mercury vehicles.

In 1959, the rest of the Mercury line would adopt the body introduced by the Park Lane; the Turnpike Cruiser was discontinued. As all Edsels became Ford-based after 1958, the 1959 and 1960 Mercury lineup share bodies/platforms with no other Ford division.

1960s

1963 Mercury Monterey 2-door Hardtop (with breezeway rear window)
 1963 Mercury Monterey 2-door Hardtop (with “breezeway” rear window)

As the 1950s transitioned into the 1960s, the economic recession of the time significantly affected the mid-priced car lines of all American car manufacturers. The failure of Edsel and declining Lincoln-Mercury sales led Ford executives, led by company president Robert McNamara, to propose streamlining Ford Motor Company down to its namesake division. However, the Lincoln-Mercury division was given a second chance, but the 1960s would transition its identity.

In order to broaden its appeal, the division entered the compact car segment for the 1960 model year (one year before General Motors). Originally developed for the Edsel division, the Comet was a long-wheelbase variant of the Ford Falcon; powered by 90-hp inline-six, the 1960 Comet was the first Mercury vehicle ever sold without a V8 engine. As it was intended to be the entry-level Edsel, the Comet would not have any divisional badging for its first two model years (much like the Valiant from Plymouth).

1961 marked a major change to the full-size cars of the Mercury line. Due to slowing sales, the sedan lineup was trimmed down primarily to the Monterey. Bridging the price gap between the Ford line and the Monterey was the Mercury Meteor. As with the Comet, the Meteor was stillborn Edsel model that was put in production as a Mercury. In a major departure from their predecessors, the 1961 Monterey and Meteor were the first full-size Mercurys since 1948 to share a chassis with a Ford model (though with a longer wheelbase); to save costs, Ford switched the Mercury body away from a Lincoln-based chassis. As Ford expanded into the intermediate segment with the 1962 Ford Fairlane, the Meteor became its counterpart.

To further expand its model range and set itself apart from Ford, the division began to market an image of high performance, introducing “S” models of its three model lines for 1962. The S-22 (Comet), S-33 (Meteor), and S-55 (Monterey) all featured high-performance powertrains along with full-length consoles and bucket seats. For buyers seeking high-end luxury features, the Turnpike Cruiser made its return, in spirit, as its reverse slant “breezeway” rear window became an option on the 1963 Monterey. In addition, a fastback “Marauder” roofline became an option on both two door and four-door hardtops; while also shared with Ford, it helped the division gain ground in racing.

By the middle of the decade, the division had secured its future. No longer entangled with the failure of the Edsel brand, Mercury competed closely against Buick, Oldsmobile, the middle of the Chrysler range, and the top of American Motors range. While its 1965 full-size models were “built in the Lincoln tradition”, the obvious inspiration of their square-edged styling, they again would derive their underpinnings from the Ford Galaxie range. To distance itself from the Ford Falcon, the Comet supeseded the Fairlane-based Meteor in 1966, thus growing into the intermediate segment.

1967 saw the introduction of two of the most successful nameplates of the brand. A slightly more luxurious clone of the Ford Mustang pony car, the Cougar was also meant to bridge the gap between the Mustang and the much larger Ford Thunderbird. To streamline its full-size line, the Marquis was introduced as the gradual replacement for both the Montclair and the Park Lane; it was the counterpart of the Ford LTD. Competing against the Chrysler New Yorker, the Oldsmobile Ninety Eight, and Buick Electra, the Marquis nameplate (in various forms) would survive until the final Mercury vehicle was produced in 2011.

Along with large luxury sedans, Mercury sought to keep high-performance cars in its lineup. For 1969, the Marauder became a stand-alone model replacing the S-55. While heavily based on the two-door Marquis, it wore its own bodywork from the windshield back. A personal-luxury coupe sized above the Ford Thunderbird, the Marauder was aimed at the Oldsmobile Toronado and Buick Riviera.

1970s

1976-78 Mercury Capri-front

 1976-1978 Capri II
1978 Mercury Marquis Brougham 2-door

 1978 Mercury Marquis Brougham 2-door
1979 Mercury Monarch 4-door in the Netherlands

 1979 Mercury Monarch 4-door in the Netherlands

For the Mercury division, the 1970s was not a gentle ride; in comparison to some competitors, it would fare better than some. Due to lower than expected sales, Mercury shifted its focus from performance/muscle cars back to luxury cars. The Marauder was discontinued and the Cougar began to be marketed as a competitor to cars such as the Oldsmobile Cutlass.

For the 1969 model year, the full-size Mercury line was given a redesign on an all-new chassis. Slimmed down to just base-trim Monterey and Marquis lines (with both the Marauder and Colony Park wagons based on the Marquis), the full-size Mercury line was the smallest since 1954. While openly based upon their Ford LTD counterparts, full-size Mercury sedans wore a longer wheelbase and Marquis-based models were distinguished by hidden headlights.

On the other end of size spectrum, Mercury introduced two new compact cars for the 1971 model year. A German-built captive import by Ford of Europe, the Mercury Capri was a compact sports coupe slightly larger than the Ford Pinto. After a two-year hiatus, the Mercury Comet nameplate made a return. Based upon the Ford Maverick, it returned the division to the compact segment marketed with the original 1960 Comet (with which both cars still shared chassis components).

In 1972, the intermediate Montego line was redesigned with a body-on-frame chassis; as part of the redesign, its dimensions grew, creeping into full-size territory. In addition to the fuel crisis, 1973 saw major change to the Mercury line. In various forms, all Mercury cars were given 5-mph bumpers. The full-size line was given a major restyling; while Ford (and later Lincoln) 2-doors would be given B-pillars, all two-door Mercurys would remain true hardtops.

In the middle of the decade, the division made several changes that moved the division further into the “near-luxury” segment, a well-timed decision due to the collapse of the performance-car segment. 1974 brought a redesigned Cougar; unlike the Mustang, the Cougar was grown in size. Now based upon the Montego, the Cougar was largely a rebadged Ford Elite styled much like the Ford Thunderbird. In 1975, the compact line was expanded as the Monarch was introduced. Originally intended as the replacement for the Comet, the Monarch (with its Ford Granada counterpart) created a new market segment altogether: the luxury compact car. While essentially a reskinned Comet, the Monarch was met with success; high-trim versions were popular choices as personal cars among Ford executives, including Henry Ford II. The full-size Mercury line was shifted closer to Lincoln in market position, as the long-running Monterey was discontinued for 1975 and a new Grand Marquis was slotted between the Marquis and Lincoln Continental.

In a move to attract buyers attracted to fuel efficiency, Mercury introduced its version of the Ford Pinto, the Bobcat for 1975. The Capri was given a hatchback trunklid for 1976, and renamed Capri II. While the Bobcat was not met with success, due to its ties to the Ford Pinto, the Capri proved quite popular, trailing only the Volkswagen Beetle in imports.

After years of struggling against its competition, Mercury made a major change in the marketing of its intermediate cars for 1977. Although only given a minor facelift, the intermediate Mercury line dropped the Montego name in favor of Cougar. Previously a personal luxury coupe, the Cougar was now available in sedan and station wagon bodystyles (the latter for 1977 only). The move proved successful, as Cougar sales nearly tripled.

In 1978, Mercury sales peaked at an all-time high of 580,000; nearly four out of ten 1978 Mercurys were Cougars. It marked a beginning of a transition of the Mercury model lineup. The long-running Comet was discontinued and imports of the Capri II were ended. Replacing the Comet was the Zephyr, borrowing a name used by Lincoln in the 1930s. A counterpart of the Ford Fairmont, the Zephyr was based on the all-new Fox platform. A rear-wheel drive chassis using 4, 6, and 8-cylinder engines, the Fox platform would serve as the basis for a number of mid-size Ford and Lincoln-Mercury cars from the 1970s into the 2000s.

For 1979, the first variant of the Zephyr would enter production as the Capri made its return. A clone of the all-new Ford Mustang, it would be sold until 1986.

1980s

1982 Mercury Cougar GS wagon

 1982 Mercury Cougar GS wagon
1987 Mercury Topaz Sedan

 1987 Mercury Topaz
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 Mercury Tracer

At the end of the 1970s, the fuel crises that had led to the collapse of the American performance-car segment were poised to become a major threat to the luxury-car segment; the era of the landyacht was in its own decline. While Mercury would enter the 1980s trailing many of its competitors, its 1979 redesign of the Marquis/Colony Park would see significant success in the marketplace. While downsizing would leave the full-size line externally smaller than the Cougar, the new Marquis/Colony Park increased interior space and fuel economy; rear-wheel drive and a V8 engine remained standard. In a step backwards, the Marquis then only externally differed (significantly) from the LTD in the shape of its taillights.

For the mid-size Mercury lineup, however, downsizing would prove disastrous. To distance it from the new full-size line, the Cougar was redesigned for the 1980 model year on the Ford Fox platform; along with the Ford Thunderbird and Granada, the Cougar was a luxury model of the Zephyr/Fairmont. As cars grew smaller, the previously compact Zephyr/Fairmont had now entered the mid-size segment. The lack of differentiation and controversial styling coupled with a struggling economy hit Cougar sales hard; 1980 sales fell to barely one-third of 1979 levels.

At the bottom end of the size scale, the division began to carve out a new identity. In 1981, the Bobcat was quietly replaced by the Lynx, a clone of the Ford Escort. The first front-wheel drive Mercury, the Lynx, also offered the first diesel engine in a Mercury (as an option). The LN7 variant of the Lynx was the only two-seat Mercury ever built; it was sold from 1982 to 1983.

In the mid-1980s, a major update to the model line helped to streamline and update the identity of the model lines throughout all three Ford divisions. For Mercury, to combat falling sales, the Cougar was given an all-new aerodynamic body; more significantly, it reverted to its role of a two-door coupe (a clone of the Thunderbird). The Cougar four-door was updated and re-branded as the Marquis; the full-size Mercury model line was now the Grand Marquis. In 1984, front-wheel drive made its appearance in compact-size Mercurys as the Topaz

1992–94 Mercury Topaz GS sedan

1992–94 Mercury Topaz GS sedan

replaced the Zephyr; alongside its Ford Tempo clone, the Topaz was the first Mercury to offer a driver’s-side airbag. While first introduced in the 1983 Cougar, the Topaz further advanced the aerodynamic, streamlined body soon to become commonplace throughout Ford Motor Company.

In late 1985, Mercury introduced the Sable alongside the Ford Taurus for 1986. Replacing the Marquis as the division’s mid-size sedan and wagon, the design of the Sable sedan led it to be one of the most aerodynamic cars in the world at the time. Originally intended to be replaced by the Sable, stability in gas prices and demand for full-size car sales led to the continuation of the Grand Marquis and Colony Park. With the introduction of the Sable, Mercury began to introduce a styling feature that spread across many of its models for the next decade. The signature feature would be the (non-functional) lightbar grille; on all models, serif or script lettering would be replaced by chrome block lettering not seen on Fords.

For 1988, the Lynx was replaced by the Tracer,

Mercury Tracer

Mercury Tracer
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1993-1996 Mercury Tracer 4-door

Overview Manufacturer Mazda (1987-1989)
Ford Motor Company (1991-1999)Production1987–1989, 1991-1999 Layout FF layout Chronology Predecessor Mercury Lynx Successor Ford Focus (Mexico)

The Mercury Tracer is a compact car that was sold by the Mercury division of Ford Motor Company from 1987 to 1999. The replacement for the Mercury Lynx derived from the Ford Escort, the first generation of the Tracer is a modified version of the Asian-market Ford Laser. After 1991, the Tracer became the Mercury counterpart of the Ford Escort in North America. All three generations of the Tracer are based on variations of the Mazda 323/Protegé.

The 2000 Ford Focus would serve as a common replacement for both the Ford Escort and the Mercury Tracer.

First generation (1987–1989)

First generation
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Overview
Production 1987–1989
Assembly Hermosillo, Mexico
Taoyuan City, Taiwan
Hiroshima, Japan
Body and chassis
Class Subcompact
Body style 3-door hatchback
5-door station wagon
5-door hatchback
Related Ford Laser
Mazda 323
Powertrain
Engine 1.6 L Mazda B6 I4
Transmission 5-speed manual
3-speed Mazda F3A automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 94.7 in (2,410 mm)
Length Hatchback: 162.0 in (4,110 mm)
Wagon: 169.7 in (4,310 mm)
Width 65.2 in (1,660 mm)
Height Hatchback: 53.0 in (1,350 mm)
Wagon: 53.7 in (1,364 mm)
Mercury Tracer 5-door

 Mercury Tracer 5-door
Mercury Tracer wagon

 Mercury Tracer wagon

The Tracer was introduced in 1987 for the 1988 model year. It was a rebadged version of the Ford Laser model already sold in Asia and Australia, which was itself a restyledMazda 323. The five-door hatchbacks for the US market were built in Hermosillo, Mexico, while those for the Canadian market were built in Taiwan by Ford Lio Ho, and the three-door hatchbacks were assembled (along with the Mazda 323) in Hiroshima, Japan. The Tracer hatchback shared its bodyshell with its Laser counterpart, but the wagon was a distinct design based on the Laser hatchback, rather than the sedan, as was the case with the Meteor wagon.

Engine

  • 1.6 L B6 I4, 82 horsepower (61 kW)/92 ft·lbf (125 N·m)

Second generation (1991–1996)

Second generation
1991-95 Mercury Tracer photographed in USA.
Overview
Production 1991–1996
Assembly Hermosillo, Mexico
Body and chassis
Class Compact
Body style 4-door sedan
5-door station wagon
Related Ford Escort
Mazda 323
Mazda Protegé
Powertrain
Engine 1.9 L CVH I4
1.8 L Mazda BP I4
Transmission 5-speed M5 manual
4-speed F-4EAT automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 98.4 in (2500 mm)
Length Wagon: 171.3 in (4,351 mm)
Sedan: 170.9 in (4,341 mm)
Width 66.7 in (1,690 mm)
Height Wagon: 52.7 in (1,340 mm)
Wagon: 53.6 in (1,361 mm)
Curb weight 2498 lb (1133 kg)

Ford replaced the Tracer in 1991 with a twin of the Ford Escort, based on the Mazda 323‘s B platform. The Tracer LTS (which used the more powerful 1.8L Mazda engine) was on Car and Driver magazine’s Ten Best list for 1991.

Engines

  • 1.9 L (1,859 cc) CVH I4, 88 hp (66 kW) 108 ft·lbf (146 N·m)
  • 1.8 L (1,839 cc) BP I4, 127 hp (95 kW) 114 ft·lbf (154 N·m) LTS

Trim levels

Sedan

  • base • 1991–1996
  • LTS • 1991–1994

Wagon

  • base • 1991–1996

Third generation (1997–1999)

Third generation
1997-99 Mercury Tracer
Overview
Production 1997–1999
Assembly Wayne, Michigan
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan
5-door station wagon
Related Ford Escort
Mazda Protegé
Powertrain
Engine 2.0 L SPI 2000 I4
Transmission 5-speed IB5 manual
4-speed F-4EAT automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 98.4 in (2,500 mm)
Length Wagon: 172.7 in (4,387 mm)
Sedan: 174.7 in (4,440 mm)
Width 67.0 in (1,700 mm)
Height Sedan: 53.3 in (1,350 mm)
Wagon: 53.9 in (1,369 mm)
Mercury Tracer wagon a

 Mercury Tracer wagon

The Tracer and Escort were updated in 1997 with a redesigned exterior and interior, and a new engine. The platform remained the same as before.

The Tracer wagon largely retained the same body style, gaining only the new interior, front end & fascia, side-view mirrors, door handles, badging, and slightly restyled taillamps and reflectors.

In addition to GS and LS trims, there was also a Trio appearance package offered in 1998 and 1999 on the GS. The LS trim featured tachometers and alloy wheels along with optional leather interior, key-less entry and power windows and door locks.

All Tracer models were discontinued in 1999 along with the Escort wagon. Mercury sold 23,146 Tracers in its last model year. The final Mercury Tracer rolled off the assembly line on July 2, 1999.

Trim levels

Sedan

  • GS • 1997–1999
  • LS • 1997–1999

Wagon

  • LS • 1997–1999

Engines

Proposed 2011 revival

Early in 2010, the Tracer nameplate nearly made its return for the 2012 model year. As Ford confirmed its 2012 model line with dealers, Mercury gained the revived Tracer as an all-new compact sedan slotted below the Milan. Based on the redesigned 2012 Ford Focus, the Tracer would have been the first Mercury version of the Focus. However, the nameplate revival was shelved following the discontinuation of the Mercury brand in the summer of 2010.

a version of the Ford Laser designed by Mazda, with US models being imported from Mexico and Japan, and Canadian models being imported from Taiwan. Available as three- and five-door hatchbacks and a five-door station wagon, the Tracer was the first Mercury since the 1978 Capri II with no US-market Ford equivalent.

Merkur

Main article: Merkur

Beginning in 1985, Ford experimented with importing two European Fords under the Merkur (the German word for Mercury, pronounced mare-coor) nameplate. The Merkur lineup consisted of two cars: the XR4Ti (a federalized version of the Ford Sierra) and the Scorpio (a rebadged version of Ford’s European flagship sedan). Merkurs were sold in participating Lincoln-Mercury dealerships throughout the United States and Canada. This approach was meant to revisit the success Ford had importing a European Ford to North America with the Capri during the 1970s.

After 1989, the brand was discontinued due to a combination of low sales and impending passive restraint regulations. Another key factor behind the demise of Merkur was an unfavorable exchange rate between the United States and West Germany; at US$ 27,000 (nearly $47,000 in 2010 dollars), the Scorpio had a higher base price than a Grand Marquis yet bore a strong resemblance to the Sable.

1990s

1994 Mercury Capri

 1994 Mercury Capri
1996-1998 Mercury Villager

 1996-1998 Mercury Villager
1998-00 Mercury Mystique

 Mercury Mystique
1997 Mercury-Mountaineer

 Mercury Mountaineer

As Ford ended the Merkur division in 1989, the Mercury division itself began a major transition during the 1990s. As distinguishing itself from counterpart Ford (and Lincoln) models was a key factor, renewing the model line was imperative. In 1989, the first completely new Cougar since 1980 was introduced. While again a personal-luxury coupe based upon the Ford Thunderbird, the all-new platform allowed for major improvements to interior room and handling.

In 1991, Mercury gained a model unique to the division as it revived the Capri name for a second time as an import from Ford of Australia. Envisioned as a competitor to the Mazda MX-5 Miata, the Capri was a four-seat convertible with a front-wheel drive layout. Although neither car was related to each other, both the Capri and the MX-5 used a number of Mazda 323 components. After a two-year hiatus, the Tracer made its return to the Mercury line. Now a clone of the Ford Escort, both cars were near-twins of the Mazda Protegé; unlike the Escort, only a 4-door sedan and station wagon were available. With only detail changes since 1979, the Colony Park station wagon was discontinued at the end of the model year; only 3,104 1991 models were produced as buyers had shifted towards minivans, full-size vans, and large SUVs to use as family vehicles.

For 1992, the best-selling (and oldest) models of the model lineup saw major updates. The Sable was given an exterior and interior facelift; while its aerodynamic shape remained familiar, only the doors and roof were carried over from the 1991 model. The Grand Marquis, nearly unchanged since 1979, was given an extensive redesign inside and out. While still sharing its basic chassis from before, no sheetmetal was carried over; an all-new overhead cam V8 engine was the first of its kind in an American full-size car. While still far more aerodynamic than its predecessor, the more conservative styling of the Grand Marquis helped win buyers over the more radical Chevrolet Caprice (and Ford’s own Crown Victoria); sales doubled from 1991 to 1992 to become the division’s best-selling model through much of the 1990s.

Mercury sales rebounded in 1993 to over 480,000, their highest level since the 1978 all-time high. In the mid-1990s the brand received some free advertising when country music star Alan Jackson scored a hit with a 1993 cover of K. C. Douglas‘ “Mercury Blues“, a song which heaped praise on their vehicles. Ford later used a different version of the song in its truck advertising. In 1993, the division would make up for the loss of the slow-selling Colony Park station wagon by the introduction of the Villager. A nameplate originally seen on many Mercury station wagons during the 1960s and 1970s, the Villager was jointly developed with Nissan (whose version was called the Quest). A front-wheel drive minivan assembled in the United States, the Villager was chosen over a version of the Aerostar, which Ford marketed as part of its light-truck line. In terms of size, the Villager was sized in between both sizes of the Chrysler minivans and marketed as a competitor to the luxury Chrysler Town & Country.

The middle of the decade saw some controversial moves from the division. For 1995, the dated Topaz was replaced by the Mystique. While the Ford Mondeo “world car” it was based upon was considered a mid-size car outside of North America, in the United States and Canada, the Mystique/Ford Contour were criticized for being some of the least roomy cars compared to their competition. In 1996, the Sable was given a controversial redesign. While the sedan was largely differentiated from its Taurus counterpart, it was not well received by buyers; sales of the Sable fell by nearly one-third from 1996 to 2000. In a less radical redesign than the Sable, the sedan version of the Tracer was redesigned alongside the Escort for 1997; unlike the Sable, the Tracer only differed from the Escort in its grille design.

As the 1990s progressed, the division further explored the use of family vehicles. While it would follow both the Oldsmobile Bravada and the Acura SLX, the 1997 introduction of the Mercury Mountaineer would begin to popularize the mid-size luxury SUV segment. Based on the Ford Explorer, the Mountaineer differed from its Ford counterpart in the fitment of all-wheel drive in place of four-wheel drive and a V8 engine was standard (initially). The Mountaineer is also notable for introducing the silver “waterfall grille”, which became a common styling theme on virtually all succeeding Mercurys. In 1999, the Villager underwent a redesign alongside the Nissan Quest; a drivers’-side sliding door was added, as the lack of one had become a major sales obstacle following the 1996 redesign of the Chrysler minivans which included one.

By the end of the decade, the division began to slim its model lineup. After the 1997 model year, the Cougar was discontinued as the personal-luxury coupe market began to decline in demand. After 1999, the Tracer was discontinued; the Mystique was removed from production early in the 2000 model year.

2000-2011

2000-2002 Mercury Cougar

 2000-2002 Mercury Cougar

By the end of the 1990s, the Grand Marquis had remained a sales success, becoming the top-selling Mercury product line. Although highly profitable, it posed a problem for Mercury dealers, as the mid-60s average age of a Grand Marquis buyer was far higher than what Lincoln-Mercury dealers were trying to attract into showrooms. Over the next decade, a number of product changes were made in efforts to attract younger buyers towards the Mercury brand, but nonetheless, Mercury still struggled to appeal its brand identity to younger buyers. Although the division’s full-size and mid-size sedans performed well in the marketplace, Mercury phased out smaller cars completely in favor of minivans and SUVs. The Tracer was discontinued in 1999 (three years before the Escort) and the Mystique was dropped in mid-2000.

For 1999, the Cougar was re-introduced after a year’s hiatus. In a major shift from its personal-luxury predecessor, the 1999 Cougar was a front-wheel drive sports coupe based on the Mystique; it was largely intended as the successor to the Ford Probe. For the first time since the 1991 Capri, Mercury was given a product line with no direct Ford equivalent (in North America). After finding only moderate success with buyers, the Cougar ended production in 2002. 2003 would lead to the revival of the Marauder nameplate. Not unlike its 1969-1970 predecessor, the 2003 Marauder was a higher-performance variant of the Grand Marquis that was also similar in many ways to the 1994-1996 Chevrolet Impala SS. Due to lack of marketing, the Marauder was discontinued after 2004.

In 2004, the Monterey would replace the Villager. A clone of the Ford Freestar, the Monterey gave Mercury its first direct competition against the Chrysler Town and Country and other luxury minivans. As the minivan segment was in decline, neither Ford nor Mercury was able to gain any ground; Ford ended minivan production in 2007.

Last revival

2008 Mercury Mariner Hybrid

 2008 Mercury Mariner Hybrid

During the mid-2000s, after relative stagnation, the Mercury range was targeted for major updates to attract new (primarily, younger) buyers. Coinciding with Ford’s planned replacement of the Taurus, the Sable was discontinued in 2005. Coinciding with the new Ford “F” model scheme, Mercury began the exclusive use of “M” model names with new products. Reaction to the Mercury naming scheme is less extreme, as it used several previously-used nameplates. In 2005, the division re-introduced the Montego as one of the two models to replace the Sable. A clone of the Ford Five Hundred, the Montego also was the first new full-size Mercury since 1992; the Grand Marquis remained in production. The Mariner was introduced as the clone of the Ford Escape and Mazda Tribute. For 2006, the mid-size replacement for the Sable was introduced; the Milan was a clone of the Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ/Zephyr. Alongside its Ford counterpart, the Mercury Mariner became the first production gasoline-electric hybrid SUV in 2006.

In 2008, after sales had fallen to one-third of 2000 levels, the division began to make major changes to its full-size cars. In contrast to the Dodge Charger selling nearly as well as its Chrysler 300 counterpart, the Montego sold only a fraction in comparison to its Ford Five Hundred counterpart and was also outsold by the Grand Marquis as well. In a move along with Ford, the Five Hundred and Montego were given an update and re-branded as Taurus and Sable to capitalize on the familiarity of the latter two nameplates; although nearly unchanged since 2003, the Grand Marquis remained in production as well. The Monterey was discontinued, as Mercury focused on the Mariner and the Mountaineer. Also in 2008, Ford started an ad campaign that focused exclusively on attracting female drivers to the brand in hopes of making it more profitable.(strangely, this was just the opposite of the marque’s 1960’s image, when Mercury was branded as “The Man’s Car”). Yet ironically, this only narrowed Mercury’s brand image and buyer appeal even deeper, and sales continued to fall.

Discontinuation

2008-2009 Mercury product lineup

 2008-2009 Mercury product lineup
2010 Mercury Mountaineer Premier
2010 Mercury Mountaineer Premier

On June 2, 2010, Ford announced the closure of the Mercury line by the end of the year. In terms of sales, Mercury represented only 1 percent of North America’s automobile market compared to the 16 percent share of Ford. Ford Motor Company has stated that additional Lincoln models will be introduced to help replace any shortfall from the discontinued Mercury brand. At the time of the announcement of Mercury’s closure, Mercury was selling fewer than 95,000 units a year, which is less than both Plymouth and Oldsmobile right before they were phased out. The Mercury Mountaineer was discontinued in the 2010 model year, with the remaining Mercurys following suit after an abbreviated 2011 model year. Mercury’s U.S. sales in 2010, its final full year, were 93,195. After the Mercury brand was discontinued in 2011, Ford stripped all Mercury branding from its Lincoln-Mercury dealers.

Mercury in Canada

During the middle of the 20th century, Ford Motor Company’s smaller dealership network in Canada necessitated some branding changes to attract buyers into showrooms. This was especially the case in smaller, rural communities, as many were located close by either a Ford or a Lincoln-Mercury dealer, but rarely both of them.

Monarch

Main article: Monarch (automobile)

From 1946 to 1957, Ford of Canada marketed the Monarch brand in their own showrooms to attract mid-price customers. The Monarch line used much of the body and trim of the Mercury line in a three-car lineup (Richelieu, Lucerne and Sceptre). The Monarch brand was dropped for 1958 and replaced by the Edsel; poor Canadian sales of the Edsel led to the revival of Monarch for 1959. The introduction of the Ford Galaxie led to brand overlap, leading for Monarch to be discontinued for good in 1961.

In 1975, the Monarch nameplate would return as part of the Mercury lineup (in both the United States and Canada) as the clone of the Ford Granada.

Meteor

Main article: Meteor (automobile)

In 1949, Mercury of Canada introduced the Meteor brand in an effort to expand into lower-price markets (most closely against Pontiac). As the Mercury of the time was largely a Lincoln body with a Ford powertrain, the Meteor offered a lower price by combining the Ford Custom body with Mercury grille and trim. During the 1950s, this arrangement continued, expanding into a multiple-model line (Niagara, Rideau, and Montcalm). For 1962 and 1963, the brand was dropped, as Mercury adopted the name for its new intermediate-size line. For 1964, the brand was revived, taking the place of the Mercury Monterey in Canada. Again a line of Mercury-trimmed Fords, Meteor was gradually phased into the Mercury lineup starting in 1968. After 1976, the Rideau and Montcalm were discontinued; replaced by a Meteor trim level at the base of the Canadian Mercury Marquis line. Marquis Meteors were dropped after the 1981 model year.

Trucks

1947 Canadian Mercury M-Series truck

 1947 Canadian Mercury M-Seriestruck

In an effort to increase the availability of its truck lineup, Ford offered rebadged trucks in its Mercury dealerships starting in 1946. While initially applied to the Ford F-Series light trucks (becoming the M-Series), Mercury offered many counterparts of the Ford truck line. Other products included medium-duty conventional trucks, MB-Series school bus chassis, and its own versions of the Econoline van/pickup and the C-Series COE truck.

Early versions of the M-Series often came with a higher output (CM-1 designated) Mercury/Ford Flathead V8 engine over and above the unique Mercury-specific grille, badging and trim that adorned every Mercury M-Series truck.

After 1968, Ford discontinued production of Mercury trucks; the Mercury version of the C-Series cabover ended production in 1972. With the discontinuation of the M-Series and Mercury Econoline, Mercury would not again sell a light truck until the 1993 Villager minivan.

Brand identity

1965 the original  God's Head logo seen on a 1965 Mercury Comet Caliente

 the original “God’s Head” logo seen on a 1965 Mercury Comet Caliente

The lack of a distinct personality showed through in the cars, although there were some unique twists to 1980s Mercurys. Some examples include the roofline of the 1983 Cougar (influenced somewhat by the AMC Gremlin), the 1986 Sable (which had a lightbar in place of a conventional grille),

Mercury logo

Mercury Sable

Mercury Sable
2008 Mercury Sable photographed in Waldorf, Maryland, USA
Overview
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production December 1985–April 29, 2005
June 2007–May 21, 2009
Model years 1986-2005
2008-2009
Body and chassis
Class Mid-size (1985–2005)
Full-size (2007–2009)
Chronology
Predecessor Mercury Marquis (1986)
Mercury Montego (2008)
Successor 1986-2005: Mercury Milan (2005)
2008-2009: none

The Mercury Sable is a four-door sedan and station wagon that was sold by the Mercury division of the Ford Motor Company. Introduced as a 1986 model, the Sable was produced until 2005 in its original production run. For the 2008 model year, the Sable name was revived as Mercury re-branded its Montego. Previously a mid-size car, the 2008-2009 Sable was a full-size car. During its combined 21-year production run, the Sable was a badge-engineered variant of the contemporary Ford Taurus with several cosmetic changes.

The Sable was a milestone design for both Mercury and the entire American automotive industry, as well as a very influential vehicle in the marketplace, with Mercury assembling a total of 2,112,374 Sables from 1985-2005. It was produced in four distinct generations introduced in 1986, 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2008.

Background

Ford had lagged in introducing mid-size front-wheel-drive cars to compete against General MotorsChevrolet Citation and its best-selling Chevrolet Celebrity/Pontiac 6000/Oldsmobile Cutlass/Buick Century quartet as well as Chrysler‘s well-received K cars and Japanese offerings from Honda, Datsun/Nissan and Toyota. The Mercury brand suffered even more from this delay. In 1982, Ford launched the redesigned Mercury Cougar to start a reinvigoration of the Mercury brand with new aerodynamic designs, and started development of the Sable. Because of this design, the Sable was a resounding success and launched Mercury into a new design era, as well as influencing the other American automakers to follow suit and create more aerodynamic cars, thus ending the “boxy” cars of the 1970s and 1980s.

The Taurus and Sable siblings used flush aerodynamic composite headlights. Ford was the first to produce and sell vehicles with such headlights in the U.S., when it introduced the Lincoln Mark VII in 1983. To do so, Ford (among other automakers) had to lobby theNational Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to have them approved.[2] The Taurus and Sable were the first domestically produced, mainstream sedans to use the new lights. They also went beyond the Audi 5000, with which they were often compared, to adopt a grille-less “bottom breather” nose, first pioneered by the Citroën DS in the 1950s, and also used briefly on the Mustang.

The Sable was unveiled along with the Taurus in a resounding fashion. For its aerodynamic shape, the launch was held in MGM Studios Soundstage 85, where Gone with the Wind was filmed. Ford workers came into the room, which was decorated in space-age decor, holding cups shaped like flying saucers and the Taurus and Sable were sitting behind a curtain, their outlines silhouetting. Then, with the flashing of strobe lights and a drum-roll, the curtain was pulled back and the two cars were revealed to the public. The Sable’s design was considered so futuristic, that it was called by the press “The car that came from the moon”. This introduction approach was used previously during the late 1950s by Ford to introduce a new car during a live broadcast called The Edsel Show.

The bodyshell was smooth and aerodynamic. The Sable twin had a wraparound “lightbar” with two headlights and a low-wattage stretch in between. Aircraft-style doors were used to reduce wind noise, and the handles were recessed. The Sable also had large glass areas with slim pillars, and were flush with the body. The rear glass wrapped fully around, and the B-pillars were painted black to give the illusion that the front and rear glass were connected. The interior was available with bucket seats — very rare for most U.S. midsize sedans — and the dashboard wrapped around the driver and fed into the door panels to create more of a “cockpit” feel.

First generation (1986–1991)

First generation
1986 Mercury Sable 1st gen
Overview
Production December 1985–1991
Assembly Atlanta, Georgia
Chicago, Illinois
Designer Jack Telnack
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan
5-door station wagon
Layout FF layout
Platform Ford D186 platform
Related Ford Taurus
Lincoln Continental
Powertrain
Engine 2.5 L HSC I4
3.0 L Vulcan V6
3.8 L Essex V6
Transmission 3-speed ATX automatic
4-speed AXOD automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 106 in (2,700 mm)
Length 190.9 in (4,850 mm)
(1986–88 sedan)
192.2 in (4,880 mm)
(1989–1991 sedan)
193.2 in (4,910 mm)
(1989–1991 station wagon)
191.9 in (4,870 mm)
(1986–88 station wagon)
Width 70.8 in (1,800 mm)
Height 54.3 in (1,380 mm) (sedan)
55.1 in (1,400 mm) (station wagon)

1989-1991 Mercury Sable GS wagon

The Sable was introduced in December 1985 as a 1986 model. It was available in two models, base GS and high-end LS in sedan and station wagon body styles. Initial Sable sales were strong, and the Sable sold around 300,000 units its first year. Setting the Sable apart from the Taurus was its front “lightbar”, a low-wattage lamp between the front headlamps. This later became a signature for all Mercury models in the late 1980s (aside from the Grand Marquis and Cougar). In various forms, it was copied by many automakers’ vehicles launched in the early 1990s.

For the first year on the market, Sable buyers had the choice of a 90 hp (67 kW) HSC 4-cylinder mated to a three-speed automatic transaxle or a 140 hp (104 kW) Vulcan V6 with a four-speed automatic, with the latter having much higher sales. 4-cylinder Sable sales were so poor that the engine was dropped in 1987 (it remained an option for the Taurus until 1991). Ford’s 3.8 L Essex V6 was added to the line-up for 1988. Although the power output was rated at the same 140 hp (104 kW) as the 3.0 L engine, this large V6 produced 215 ft·lbf (291 N·m) of torque, a welcome addition, especially in the heavier station wagons. However, the 3.8 suffered from premature head gasket failure, which was primarily a fault with Ford’s supplier of gaskets, not with the engine itself. Some also attribute this to reduced under-hood cooling. Unlike the Taurus, no manual transmission was offered in the Sable.

The Sable had just received small changes over the years, mostly in terms of equipment and cosmetics. In 1991, sales dipped to just over 100,000 units, before a new generation of Sable was launched later that year.

Export

The first-generation Sable was not sold in Mexico, New Zealand, or Europe as a Mercury. Instead, it was sold as a Ford Taurus (although the lightbar grille still wore Mercury badging).

Models

Model Year Engine Power Torque Transmission
GS 1986 2.5 L CFI HSC I4 90 hp (67 kW) 130 ft·lbf (176 N·m) 3-speed ATX automatic
GS 1986–1991 3.0 L SFI Vulcan V6 140 hp (104 kW) 160 ft·lbf (217 N·m) 4-speed AXOD automatic (1986–90)
4-speed AXOD-E automatic (1991)
LS
GS 1988–1991 3.8 L SFI Essex V6 140 hp (104 kW) 215 ft·lbf (292 N·m)
LS

Second generation (1992–1995)

Second generation
1993 (2nd generation) Mercury Sable GS
Overview
Production 1991–1995
Assembly Atlanta, Georgia
Chicago, Illinois
Designer Jack Telnack
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan
5-door station wagon
Layout FF layout
Platform Ford D186 platform
Related Ford Taurus
Lincoln Continental
Ford Windstar
Powertrain
Engine 3.0 L Vulcan V6
3.8 L Essex V6
Transmission 4-speed AXOD-E/AX4S automatic
4-speed AX4N automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 106 in (2,700 mm)
Length 192.2 in (4,880 mm) (sedan)
193.2 in (4,910 mm) (wagon)
Width 71.2 in (1,810 mm)
Height 54.4 in (1,380 mm) (sedan)
55.5 in (1,410 mm) (wagon)
1994-95 Second-generation Mercury Sable LS wagon

Second-generation 1994-1995 Mercury Sable LS wagon

The Sable received its first significant cosmetic update in 1991, which modernized the interior and the front and rear fascias. The operation cost Ford $650 million at the time. With the older model facing slumping sales, this new model brought sales back up again, with 410,000 examples sold through 1992, a number unheard of even today. While the design was basically the same, every body panel on the sedan except for the doors was changed.; on the station wagon all the sheet metal to the rear of the cowl was the same as that of the 1986–1995 Ford Taurus wagon. The interior was also redesigned, and included an optional passenger-side airbag, a first in its class. The Taurus, sister car of the Sable, was the best-selling car in the United States for every year of this cosmetic update.

The base “GS” and luxury “LS” trim levels were carried over from the previous generation. A front cloth bench seat was standard on GS sedans and wagons; cloth bucket seats were available on GS sedans only. Higher-end cloth bucket seats were standard on LS sedans; a bench seat was a no-cost option. A front bench was standard on LS wagons, with bucket seats optional. Leather seating surfaces were available on all LS Sables.

For 1993, unpopular optional features such as the “InstaClear” heated windshield were eliminated. For 3.0 L V6 engines, the drive belt system became a single-belt setup for 1993 (previously, the 3.0 L alternator had used a separate belt). A passenger-side airbag became standard in 1992, and a redesigned drivers side airbag and steering wheel came in late 1993. Also for 1994, some 3.0 L models began receiving the new AX4N transmission.

Also for 1993, Ford Canada hand-built 40 Mercury Sables powered by SHO V6 engines as part of their AIV (Aluminum Intensive Vehicle) program and released 20 to the public. Using aluminum suspension elements and aluminum body panels, held together with a spot welding process and adhesive joining process developed specifically for this vehicle, the end result was a car that was 400 pounds lighter than a SHO Taurus. In 1995 one of these vehicles finished 15th in the 1995 One Lap of America event.

The wagon version was available with mostly the same options as the sedan versions. Wagons had a maximum of 81.1 cubic feet (2.30 m3) of cargo area with the 60/40 split rear seat folded down. They featured a 2-way liftgate (raise the entire liftgate or just the window), a roof rack with crossbar and tie-downs, an optional rear-facing third seat, a lockable under-floor compartment, and an optional fold-out picnic table. With both rear split seats in the upright position, standard cargo capacity was 45.7 cubic feet (1.29 m3). Wagons that were equipped with the front bench seat and rear folding seat could seat eight people.

The last year of this updated Sable generation was 1995. For the 1995 model year, the rare LTS trim level was added. It featured leather bucket seats, Taurus LX-style alloy wheels, special cladding, and many leather-wrapped interior trim parts. The LTS trim had either the standard 3.0 L Vulcan V6 or the optional 3.8 L Essex V6.

Models

Model Year Transmission Engine Power Torque
GS
LS
1992–1995 4-speed AXOD-E (AX4S) automatic
4-speed AX4N automatic (some 1994-95)
3.0 L SFI Vulcan V6 140 hp (104 kW) 160 ft·lbf (217 N·m)
LTS 1995
3.8 L Essex V6 140 hp (104 kW) 215 ft·lbf (292 N·m)

Third generation (1996–1999)

Third generation
1996-1997 Mercury Sable photographed in College Park, Maryland, USA.
Overview
Production June 19, 1995–1999
Assembly Atlanta, Georgia
Chicago, Illinois
Designer Doug Gaffka (1992)
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan
5-door station wagon
Layout FF layout
Platform Ford D186 platform
Related Ford Taurus
Lincoln Continental
Ford Windstar
Powertrain
Engine 3.0 L Vulcan V6
3.0 L Duratec V6
Transmission 4-speed AX4N automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 108.5 in (2,760 mm)
Length 199.7 in (5,070 mm) (sedan)
199.1 in (5,060 mm) (station wagon)
Width 73 in (1,900 mm)
Height 55.4 in (1,410 mm) (sedan)
57.6 in (1,460 mm) (station wagon)
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 1998-1999 Mercury Sable sedan
1996–1997 Mercury Sable LS wagon

 1996–1997 Mercury Sable LS wagon
1998-1999 Mercury Sable wagon

 1998-1999 Mercury Sable wagon

The 1996 model year saw the first complete redesign for the Sable. Ford hoped the radical redesign would lead to the same success it had had with the 1986 Sable. This generation shared the same dashbard as the Ford Taurus, unlike the previous two generations, which had completely different dashboards from the Taurus. The controversial oval theme was not well received by the press and the public, and is ultimately blamed as the reason for a substantial dip in sales. For this generation, the Sable tried to move slightly upmarket, and as a result, prices rose considerably, also driving away potential buyers. The 1996 Sable was the first model to share sheetmetal with the Taurus. Differences from the Taurus included different front and rear fascias, and the elimination of the rear quarter window. Although the Sable used a less oval based styling, sales still fell.

The 1996 model could be equipped with the 200 hp (149 kW) 3.0 L DOHC Duratec 30 V6 as an option. Trim lines stayed the same, with GS as the entry level model and LS as the most luxurious model. The LTS was eliminated. Although all 1998 models had the option of the DOHC Duratec engine, it was only available on the LS for 1999.

In an effort to reverse the declining sales of the Sable, Mercury did major cost cutting for the 1997 model. They carried this further for 1998, by giving it a front end facelift, and cutting the price up to $2,000 in 1999. Both the sedan and wagon taillights were changed from red and amber to all red. Mercury also continued to cut costs, eliminating some options for 1999. In late 1999, four-wheel disc brakes were eliminated on ABS equipped sedans; station wagons retained four-wheel disc brakes.

Models

Model Year Engine Power Torque Transmission
G 1996–1998 3.0 L SFI Vulcan V6 145 hp (108 kW) 170 ft·lbf (230 N·m) 4-speed AX4S automatic
4-speed AX4N automatic
3.0 L DOHC Duratec 30 V6 200 hp (149 kW) 200 ft·lbf (271 N·m)
LS 1996–1999
GS 1996–1999 3.0 L SFI Vulcan V6 145 hp (108 kW) 170 ft·lbf (230 N·m)
3.0 L DOHC Duratec 30 V6 200 hp (149 kW) 200 ft·lbf (271 N·m)

Fourth generation (2000–2005)

Fourth generation
2000-2003 Mercury Sable photographed in Bethesda, Maryland, USA.
Overview
Production 1999–2005
Assembly Atlanta, Georgia
Chicago, Illinois
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan
5-door station wagon
Layout FF layout
Platform Ford D186 platform
Related Ford Taurus
Lincoln Continental
Powertrain
Engine 3.0 L Vulcan V6
3.0 L Duratec V6
Transmission 4-speed AX4N automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 108.5 in (2,760 mm)
Length 199.8 in (5,070 mm) (sedan)
197.8 in (5,020 mm) (station wagon)
Width 73 in (1,900 mm)
Height 55.5 in (1,410 mm) (sedan)
57.8 in (1,470 mm) (station wagon)
2000–2003 Mercury Sable LS wagon

 2000–2003 Mercury Sable LS wagon

The Sable received another redesign in 1999, which minimized some of the oval design elements from the 1996 model, replacing them with more conventional styling. The redesign also featured a taller roof over the rear-passenger space, to increase passenger headroom that had been sacrificed by the tapered 1996 design. The taller and roomier trunk also served to make the vehicle more functional. The interior was completely changed for a much more conservative design. Certain elements of the interior were retained from the 1996 model, such as the integrated control console, which combined the sound system and climate controls into one panel; but the shape of that panel was changed from oval to trapezoid. A simulated wood-grain finish surrounds the center shifter area on LS models and the integrated control panel on both GS and LS models. Power adjustable foot pedals and driver’s seat were optional. A Gentex auto-dimming/compass rear-view mirror was also available starting in 2002. To quickly add all the extra options and accessories, Mercury developed an add-on to the LS model only, calling it the LS Premium. This added on, without extra cost, premium leather seating, a 6 CD changer in the trunk, and the power adjustable foot pedals. LS Premium Sable’s were only available as 5 passenger models, with the center mounted shifter eliminating the hidden seat underneath lower trim models’ cloth armrest.

The suspension was also softened to appeal to a broader, non-sporting audience. Side airbags and traction control were added as options on all models.

2004–2005 Mercury Sable GS sedan

 2004–2005 Mercury Sable GS sedan

The 2000-2001 Mercury Sable was either given a 3.0 Vulcan V6 or a higher output 3.0 Duratec V6. Despite being of similar size, the two engines were completely unrelated: the Vulcan was an iron pushrod-engine design, while the Duratec was an aluminum engine with DOHC. The Duratec engine produced nearly 50 more horsepower than the Vulcan. The Duratec 3.0 used in the higher trim level Mercury Sables were also used slightly-modified in Jaguar S-Type and Lincoln LSs of the time, and would later be used on early Ford Fusions and Five-Hundreds.

The 2002 Sable included extra equipment on every trim level, including a CD player and power driver’s seat on the GS, and a power moonroof or leather interior on the LS. For 2002 LS models, simulated wood-grain is continued onto the doors and around the window switches, instead of just surrounding the radio/HVAC area as before. Also for 2002, Mercury painted the housing beneath the instrument panel with white, instead of black as before. This was done to all Mercury models of that model year to unify the brands design motif.

For 2004, the Sable received minor cosmetic changes to the front and rear fascias, most noticeably the grille was made fully chrome. Inside were a new instrument cluster and steering wheel.

Due to the Mercury brand’s discontinuation in Canada, the fourth generation Sable was never available in the Canadian market. Thus it was unique to the US and Mexico (as Ford).

The 2005 Mercury Montego and 2006 Milan were launched as replacements for the Sable. Shortly after the Montego’s introduction the Sable was discontinued, along with the Taurus wagon; the Taurus sedan continued to be produced, but primarily for the fleet market. The last Sable left the Atlanta plant on April 29, 2005.

Models

Model Year Engine Power Torque Transmission
GS 2000-2005 3.0 L SFI Vulcan V6 155 hp (116 kW) 185 ft·lbf (251 N·m) 4-speed AX4N automatic
LS 2000-2003 3.0 L DOHC Duratec 30 V6 200 hp (149 kW) 195 ft·lbf (264 N·m)
2004-2005 201 hp (150 kW) 207 ft·lbf (281 N·m)

Fifth generation (2008–2009)

Fourth generation (D333)
2008 Mercury Sable photographed in Watertown, Massachusetts, USA.
Overview
Production 2008–2009
Assembly Chicago, Illinois
Designer J Mays
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan
Layout Front engine, front-wheel drive / all-wheel drive
Platform Ford D3 platform
Related Ford Taurus
Ford Taurus X
Volvo S80
Powertrain
Engine 3.5 L Cyclone V6
Transmission 6-speed 6F automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 112.9 in (2,870 mm)
Length 202.1 in (5,130 mm)
Width 74.5 in (1,890 mm)
Height 61.5 in (1,560 mm)
Curb weight 3643 lb (FWD)
3814 lb (AWD)
Chronology
Predecessor Mercury Montego
Successor Ford Taurus (sixth generation)

Ford CEO Alan Mulally said that Ford’s scheme to make all its cars names start with the letter F was a bad move (F for Ford models; M for Mercury models), as it made Ford’s new cars easily forgettable. Mulally wanted to revive some known and respected Ford nameplates for its new model line, the Sable being one of them. At the Chicago Auto Show on February 7, 2007, Ford CEO Alan Mulally unveiled a refreshed version of the Mercury Montego sedan and announced that the new name of the car would be “Sable,” due to customer recognition and dealer demand.

The new 2008 Sable went on sale in late July 2007. Mulally believed that with the new name, more customers would recognize the car, thus raising sales.

Changes to the new Sable from the existing Montego included a new front end with Milan-inspired headlamps, as well as exterior satin-aluminum mirror and door-handle accents, and new LED taillights. Also new was the addition of the 3.5 L Cyclone engine from the Ford Edge, as well as the replacement of the continuously variable transmission (CVT) with a conventional one to counter criticism of the Montego being underpowered. On Wednesday February 7, Ford confirmed the changes.

Models

Model Year Engine Power Torque Transmission
Base
Premier
2008–2009 3.5 L Cyclone V6 263 hp (196 kW) 249 ft·lbf (338 N·m) 6-speed 6F automatic

Discontinuation

However, sales never met expectations and the full-size Sable ended production (permanently, this time) on May 21, 2009. Its Taurus counterpart continued on and was redesigned. The Sable’s second counterpart, the Ford Taurus X, ended production on February 27, 2009.

When Ford redesigned the Taurus for the 2010 model year, the Sable was not continued; the additional engineering and advertising resources were concentrated on the Taurus. On May 21, 2009, the last Mercury Sable was produced.[21] After the 2011 model year, the Mercury brand was retired.

Special editions

A few special editions of the Sable were made, all consisting of first generation models.

For 1987, Mercury created a special edition of the Sable called the “LS Monochrome Edition”, which as an option would color the bumpers, side trim, and wheels white. It was only offered for 1987; the production quantity is not known and it is also unknown how many still exist.

For 1989, Mercury created a “50th Anniversary” edition of the Sable, to celebrate Mercury’s 50th Anniversary. Keeping with the name, only 50 were sold, combined between GS and LS models. This Sable was actually a test bed for creating a Luxury sports version of the Sable called the LTS, similar to that of the Ford Taurus SHO. It was meant to use the SHO’s chassis, interior, and suspension, but not the engine.[23] After the launch of the SHO, and all the publicity and praise it got, Ford shelved the Sable LTS to focus on the SHO, and because they were afraid it would take sales away from the SHO. The Sable LTS remained in a “development hell” until mid-1994 when it was introduced as a high-end version of the Sable, but by then, it was just a highly optioned LS. An unknown number of these Sables still exist, but a pristine condition GS in this trim was sold on eBay in 2007.

A special one-of-a-kind Sable convertible was created for the 1988 Detroit SAE auto show. It was built from a sedan chassis and featured a completely custom two-door body with a custom folding top. However, it was shelved; the only one sat in a warehouse for years until it was given a VIN, titled, and driven. It was sold on eBay in 2006.

In an article in Automotive News (c. 1990) an all-aluminum body in white was made for a Sable. In an accompanying photo it is shown being held up by two middle-aged women, leading to the belief it would weigh less than 600 lb (270 kg). Ford’s Aluminum Intensive Vehicle (AIV) program built 20 aluminum-bodied Sables with high-performance Taurus SHO V6 engines. This was an engineering exercise for constructing all-aluminum unit bodies, as Jaguar has now.

Awards

The Sable was named to Car and Driver magazine’s Ten Best list for 1986 and again in 1990 and 1991.

American sales

Calendar Year American sales
1986 95,635
1987 121,313
1988 121,285
1989 130,657
1990 103,749
1991 96,698
1992 127,530
1993 138,980
1994 112,783
1995 115,763
1996 140,465
1997 127,101
1998
1999 101,120
2000 103,030
2001 102,646
2002 98,998
2003 61,342
2004 42,737
2005 24,149
2006 0
2007 21,121
2008 16,187
2009 6,256
2010 37

and the 1988 Tracer (a clone of a Mazda-designed Australian Ford built in Mexico and

2010 Ford Taurus Limited photographed in La Plata, Maryland, USA.

2010-ford-taurus-limited-photographed-in-la-plata-maryland-usa

Japan). By 1990, the lone remnants of Mercury’s 1970s identity were the Grand Marquis luxury sedan and Colony Park station wagon; both had received only superficial updates since their 1979 downsizing.

The first logo of the Mercury brand was its namesake, the Roman god Mercury. The side profile of his head, complete with the signature bowl hat with wings was used during the early years, seen in the picture to the right.

In the 1950s, the logo became a simple “M” with horizontal bars extending outward from the bottom of its vertical elements in each direction. This was described in advertising as “The Big M”, and it was well known as the prime sponsor of The Ed Sullivan Show in the late 1950s.

During the late 1960s and up to the mid-1980s, the Mercury used the “Sign of the Cat” ad campaign based on its popular Cougar model. Many of the cars during this time carried cat related names such as the Lynx and Bobcat. On some of the upper-tier models, such as the Marquis and Grand Marquis, Mercury used a shield or cross, sometimes surrounded by a wreath, which was shared by some de luxe Ford models as well. Some models used the Lincoln brand’s logo.

During the mid-1980s, the logo changed from the Cougar to its final logo, seen in the logo at the top of the page. This logo was introduced on the all new 1984 Mercury Topaz. Since 1999, the word “Mercury” appeared on the top part of the logo.

Mercury Mountaineer

Mercury Mountaineer
2002-05 Mercury Mountaineer photographed in USA.
Overview
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production 1996–2010
Model years 1997-2010
Assembly Louisville, Kentucky
St. Louis, Missouri
Body and chassis
Class Mid-size sport utility vehicle
Body style 5-door SUV
Layout Front engine, rear-wheel drive /Four-wheel drive

The Mercury Mountaineer was a mid-size luxury sport utility vehicle (SUV) that was sold by the Mercury division of Ford Motor Company from 1997 until 2010. Sharing many of its features with the Ford Explorer, the vehicles were virtually identical, in terms of hardware. Externally, they were styled somewhat differently, and the Mountaineer was positioned with a more upscale interior, with the Mountaineer’s MSRP coming in at $1,000–$6,000 more than the Explorer. It was last redesigned for the 2006 model year with a new frame, looking very similar to its previous model.

Some controversy resulted after the media highlighted a number of rollovers involving Explorers and Mountaineers fitted with Firestone tires. The Mountaineer has been praised for its excellent handling and stability. The Mountaineer was never sold in Canada. As part of the discontinuation of the Mercury brand, production of the Mountaineer ended in late 2010.

First generation (1997–2001)

First generation
1997 Mercury Mountaineer
Overview
Production 1996–2001
Body and chassis
Related Ford Explorer
Ford Ranger
Mazda B-Series
Powertrain
Engine 4.0 L Cologne V6
5.0 L Windsor V8
Transmission 4-speed automatic
5-speed automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 1997: 111.5 in (2,832 mm)
1998–2001: 111.6 in (2,835 mm)
Length 1997: 188.5 in (4,788 mm)
1998–99: 190.1 in (4,829 mm)
2000–01: 190.7 in (4,844 mm)
Width 70.2 in (1,783 mm)
Height 1997 2WD: 66.8 in (1,697 mm)
1997 4WD: 66.7 in (1,694 mm)
1998–2001 2WD: 70.5 in (1,791 mm)
1998–2001 4WD: 70.3 in (1,786 mm)
1998–01 Mercury Mountaineer

 1998–2001 Mercury Mountaineer

Although the redesigned Explorer had already been out for two years, Mercury introduced an Explorer twin called the Mountaineer. The Mountaineer was only slightly different from the Explorer, offering the “premier” trim level. Although it did offer a few extra luxury features that the Explorer lacked, such as a standard 302 cu in (4.9 L) 215 hp (160 kW) Windsor V8. First year sales for the Mountaineer did not meet Mercury’s expectations. For 1998, so customers could differentiate the Mountaineer from the Explorer, the front fascia was flipped upside down, and the headlights were made smaller, while it got a new rear hatch and unique wheels. The new overhead-cam 4.0 L 205 hp (153 kW) Cologne V6 with a 5-speed 5R55E automatic was now the standard powerplant. Mountaineer sales sped up because of this, though they still lagged behind the Explorer.

Firestone Tire and Rollover Controversy[edit]

In 2000 the Firestone vs Ford Motor Company controversy arose after a large number of rollover accidents began to occur involving Explorers and Mountaineers. Ford blamed Firestone’s faulty tires, which had tread separation problems, while Firestone blamed Ford, claiming that the Explorer and Mountaineer were inherently unsafe. The case was settled.

Car and Driver proved that a large amount of the rollovers were caused by poor techniques of drivers overreacting to the tire blow out. Their test driver deemed the vehicle so inherently stable that he drove “no hands” during one of their 70 mph tread separation simulations.

Second generation (2002–2005)

Second generation
2002-2005 Mercury Mountaineer
Overview
Production 2001–2005
Body and chassis
Platform Ford U1 platform
Related Ford Explorer
Ford Explorer Sport Trac
Lincoln Aviator
Powertrain
Engine 4.0 L Cologne V6
4.6 L Modular V8
Transmission 5-speed automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 2002–03: 113.7 in (2,888 mm)
2004–05: 113.8 in (2,891 mm)
Length 2002–03: 190.7 in (4,844 mm)
2004–05: 190.9 in (4,849 mm)
Width 2002–03: 72.1 in (1,831 mm)
2004–05: 72.3 in (1,836 mm)
Height 2002–03 2WD: 69.6 in (1,768 mm)
2002–03 AWD: 71.5 in (1,816 mm)
2004–05: 72.5 in (1,842 mm)

For 2002, Ford redesigned the Explorer and Mountaineer. This Mountaineer was new from the ground up, offering even more luxury features than the last generation. Its exterior appearance was very similar to the Mountaineer concept vehicle first unveiled at the 2000 Los Angeles Auto Show. This Mountaineer offered features like faux brushed metal trim, rear radio deck, rear ceiling air vents, and a rear-seat TV/DVD player.

Sales sped up drastically with the introduction of this generation, and it was a look ahead at the entire revamp of the Mercury line, to offer more luxurious looks and features. Some design cues found on this Mountaineer, like the waterfall grille and barred taillights, would go on to form Mercury’s new signature look, which would appear on all its models.

The “Premier” trim level featured design upgrades such as, TV/DVD player, rear ceiling air vents, chrome exhaust tip and roof rack, and body color bumpers.

There is a major cosmetic flaw with the second generation Explorer and Mountaineer; the rear hatch cracks by the Ford and Mercury logos.

Third generation (2006–2010)

Third generation
2010 Mercury Mountaineer
Overview
Production 2005–2010
Body and chassis
Platform Ford U2 platform
Related Ford Explorer
Ford Explorer Sport Trac
Powertrain
Engine 4.0 L Cologne V6
4.6 L Modular V-8
Transmission 5-speed 5R55E automatic
6-speed 6R automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 113.7 in (2,888 mm)
Length 2006–07: 193.4 in (4,912 mm)
2008–2010: 193.5 in (4,915 mm)
Width 2006–07: 73.5 in (1,867 mm)
2008–2010: 73.7 in (1,872 mm)
Height 72.8 in (1,849 mm)

For 2006, the Mountaineer was redesigned on a new generation of Ford’s U2 platform. The exterior remained largely the same; this generation is distinguished primarily by its all-white taillamps, larger wheels, chrome sideview mirrors, and larger Mercury logos on the grille and tailgate. To bridge the gap between the Ford Explorer fourth generation and the now discontinued Lincoln Aviator, the Mountaineer now offered an upscaleinterior with a DVD-based navigation system with voice control, a feature not found on previous Mountaineers.

In 2008, side curtain airbags were added, while the “M-O-U-N-T-A-I-N-E-E-R” badging was officially dropped from the front doors. In 2009, trailer sway control became standard, and the navigation system got traffic flow monitoring and gas prices updates from nearby stations. In 2010, Ford’s MyKey was added as a standard feature on all trim levels.

This was the final generation of the Mountaineer. Production ended on October 1, 2010, as it was discontinued as part of the Ford Motor Company‘s plan to shelve the Mercury brand.[6]

Firestone tire controversy

In May 2000, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) contacted Ford and Firestone about the high incidence of tire failure on first generation Mercury Mountaineers, first and second generation Ford Explorers, and Mazda Navajo 3-doors fitted with Firestone tires. Ford investigated and found that several models of 15-inch (381 mm) Firestone tires (ATX, ATX II, and Wilderness AT) had very high failure rates, especially those made at Firestone’s Decatur, Illinois plant. To this day the Ford Motor Company refuses to equip any vehicle they sell with Firestones. Individuals can still opt to purchase tires aftermarket though.

Awards

  • Class Exclusive Roll Stability Control (RSC) System.
  • Consumers Digest Best Buy for 2006 and 2007.

Sales

Calendar Year American sales
1996 26,700
1997 45,363
1998 47,595
1999 49,281
2000 46,547
2001 45,574
2002 48,144
2003 49,692
2004 43,916
2005 32,491
2006 29,567
2007 23,850
2008 10,596
2009 5,169
2010 5,791

See also

350px-Logo_della_Mercury_(auto).svg 1939 Ford Mercury Green 1939 Mercury 8 Town-Sedan 1939 Mercury and a B-17 1939 Mercury Eight billboard Phoenix Cardealer 1939 Mercury Eight