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2003–2004 Mercury Marauder
|Body and chassis|
The Mercury Marauder is an automobile nameplate that was used by three distinct full-size cars produced by the Mercury division of Ford Motor Company. Deriving its name from the most powerful engines available to the Mercury line, the Marauder was marketed as the highest-performance version of the full-size product range.
During its first production run, the Mercury Marauder was a trim option on standard Mercury coupes; the equivalent of the Ford Galaxie 500 and 500/XL, the Marauder was given a "fastback" rear roofline. For 1966, the Marauder was replaced by the similar Mercury S-55; remaining the counterpart of the 500XL, the S-55 transitioned the Marauder from a trim option to a distinct model.
For its second production run, the Mercury Marauder returned for 1969 as a fastback version of the Mercury Marquis. Designed to bridge the gap between the Mercury Cougar and Continental Mark III, the Mercury Marauder was repackaged as a personal luxury car. After the 1970 model year, the Mercury Marauder was discontinued.
For the 2003 model year, the Mercury 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. As it was the final nameplate introduced on the Panther platform architecture, the Mercury Marauder remains the final rear-wheel drive sedan introduced by Ford Motor Company in North America (as of the 2018 model year).
Origin of name
The Marauder name made its first appearance in 1958 as Ford introduced a new family of V8 engines for its Mercury, Edsel, and Lincoln brands. Exclusive to Mercury was a 383 cu in (6.3 L) V8 engine. Dubbed Marauder, it produced 330 hp (246 kW; 335 PS) with an optional 4-barrel carburetor. In that tune, the engine was available in the Montclair and Colony Park. Shared with Lincoln, a 360 hp (268 kW; 365 PS) 430 cu in (7.0 L) V8 was available as an option. Exclusive to Mercury, a Super Marauder triple two-barrel carburetor became the first mass-produced engine sold in the United States with an advertised 400 hp (298 kW; 406 PS) output; the option was available on all Mercury vehicles.
For 1959, the Super Marauder option was discontinued; the 430 remained, although retuned with slightly lower engine output. For 1960, 383 Marauders became optional in all Mercury vehicles, including the Monterey, Park Lane, and Commuter.
For the 1961 model year, the 383 and 430 big-block engines were phased out of the Mercury division, as the product cycle of Edsel-based vehicles ended and Ford sought to bring Mercury closer to the Ford brand. In response, Mercury shifted the use of the Marauder name on smaller Ford FE V8 engines.
First generation (1963–1965)
1964 Mercury Marauder 2-door hardtop
|Body and chassis|
Mercury Park Lane
390 cu in (6.4 L) V8|
406 cu in (6.7 L) V8
427 cu in (7.0 L) V8
The Mercury Marauder nameplate made its debut as a trim package of each of the four Mercury full-size series, including the Monterey, Montclair, S-55 (1963 only), and Park Lane in the Spring of 1963. For the first time for a mid-year introduction, the Marauder was introduced as a "1963½" model (as was an entire line of new, "sports" models from Ford in many of the existing series). All 1963½ Marauders were two-door hardtops.
In sharp contrast to the distinctive reverse-slant "Breezeway" roofline option, the Marauder hardtop coupe was styled with a sloping notchback rear roofline; matching the same roofline that was introduced at the same time on the contemporary Galaxies. This roofline was optimized to make the large sedan more competitive for stock car racing. Along with the "sportier" roofline, the Marauder trim package included bucket seats and central console, similar to its Ford counterpart.
For 1964, the availability of Mercury Marauder expanded to four-door hardtops; along with two-doors, four-door hardtops also included a fastback roofline. The blocky "Breezeway" models continued as before.
Shared with the rest of the Mercury sedan line, the Mercury Marauder was powered by Ford "FE-Series" V8 engines, shared with the big Fords and the Thunderbird. A 390 cubic-inch Marauder V8 was standard, with a 427 cubic-inch Super Marauder V8 replacing a 406 V8 in 1964. Along with 3-speed and 4-speed manual transmissions, a 3-speed "Multi-Drive Merc-O-Matic" automatic transmission was offered.
For 1965, Mercury advertising emphasized the car's luxury and close relationship with Lincoln. This meant deemphasizing performance and sporty styling. This followed a general trend toward more luxury with the introduction of the Ford Galaxie 500 LTD, Chevrolet Impala Caprice, and Plymouth Fury VIP. Nevertheless Mercury continued to offer the Marauder option in all three series (Park Lane, Montclair, and Monterey) for both the hardtop coupe and hardtop sedan; however it wasn't heavily advertised (and not even mentioned in dealer brochures). Marauders got a tiny emblem (with flag) on the "C" pillar to distinguish them from other models. All full size Mercury hardtop coupes got the same "slantback" roofline as in the big Ford, which was basically a more sharply-angled version of the 1964 Marauder roofline. Four-door hardtops got a new formal "limousine" styled notchback roofline that was shared with Ford's Galaxie hardtop sedans. Mercury continued to advertise the big-block FE-series V8s as "Marauder" engines.
For the 1966 model year, as Mercury shifted away from full-size performance vehicles, the Marauder was replaced by a repackaged S-55; the move also consolidated the options of three model lines into a distinct nameplate.
Second generation (1969–1970)
1969 Mercury Marauder X-100
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||2-door hardtop|
390 cu in (6.4 L) FE V8|
429 cu in (7.0 L) 385 V8
3-speed FMX/SelectShift automatic|
3-speed C6/SelectShift automatic
|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)|
For the 1969 model year, Mercury returned the Marauder nameplate to its product line. In addition to replacing the S-55, the Marauder was repackaged as a personal luxury car, effectively giving Mercury a competitor against the General Motors E-Body coupes (Buick Riviera and Oldsmobile Toronado). Sharing the roofline of the Ford XL and Ford Galaxie 500 SportsRoof, the Marauder shared its front sheetmetal and its interior trim with the Mercury Marquis. The Marauder was based on the 121-inch wheelbase chassis used by full-size Ford vehicles (and the Mercury Colony Park station wagon).
Similar to other 1960s vehicles with fastback rooflines, its rear window was "tunneled", with large rear C-pillars. In the rear quarter panels, non-functional louvered side air intakes were added as a styling element.
By the end of the 1960s, demand for high-performance full-size cars had largely disappeared. In total, Mercury would sell about 15,000 examples for 1969, and barely a third of that for 1970; in comparison to the Marauder, Mercury would sell nearly 173,000 Cougars at the same time. Within the Lincoln-Mercury Division, the far more expensive Continental Mark III outsold the Marauder more than two-to-one from 1969 to 1970.
Standard versions of the Marauder were equipped with the 390 cu in (6.4 L) Ford FE engine and a manual 3-speed transmission. The Marauder X-100 was only equipped with the 360 hp (268 kW; 365 PS) 429 cu in (7.0 L) engine with a 3-speed FMX automatic as an option. The only transmission available with the 429 was the 3-speed Ford C6 automatic.
Mercury Marauder X-100
To offer a higher-performance version of the Marauder, Mercury introduced the Marauder X-100. While nearly all features of the X-100 were cosmetic, the Marauder X-100 offered a choice of twin comfort lounge seats, bench seat or bucket seats with a floor console housing a U-shaped automatic transmission shift handle. The X-100 also featured Kelsey-Hayes road wheels along with rear fender skirts.
2003–2004 Mercury Marauder
|Production||May 2002 – June 25, 2004|
|Assembly||St. Thomas Assembly Plant, St. Thomas, Canada|
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||4-door sedan|
|Platform||Ford Panther platform|
Mercury Grand Marquis|
Ford Crown Victoria
Lincoln Town Car
|Engine||302 hp 4.6 L Modular DOHC V8|
4-speed 4R70W automatic (2003)|
4-speed 4R75W automatic (2004)
|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).|
After a 33-year hiatus, Mercury revived the Marauder name in 2002 for the 2003 model year. A full-size four-door sedan, the return of the Marauder marked the first time since the discontinuation of the Monterey after 1974 that the division sold two distinct full-size model lines and the first time since 1960 that a Mercury full-size model was sold without a Ford equivalent.
At the 2002 Chicago Auto Show, Ford introduced a concept version of a Mercury Marauder. The vehicle displayed was a two-door convertible (using the platform of a 1999 Ford Crown Victoria LX) that was powered by a 335 hp (250 kW; 340 PS) supercharged 4.6 L V8 and featuring a five-passenger interior similar to the Grand Marquis LSE with a center console mounted shifter for the transmission. The 2002 Marauder concept was the first full-size Ford Motor Company convertible since the 1971 Mercury Marquis and Ford LTD and the first two-door full-size car since 1987.
The actual production version introduced for the 2003 model year was a four-door sedan. The Marauder was similar in concept to the 1994-1996 Chevrolet Impala SS to "appeal to the same type of performance enthusiast."
The 2003-04 Marauder utilized the Panther platform. Its brakes and many suspension components were derived from the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor. In a modification of the suspension design, the rear shock absorbers were moved outboard of the frame rails (a design later adopted across the Panther platform). As part of the chassis upgrades, the Marauder was fitted with rack-and-pinion steering, over the long-running recirculating ball design used by the Grand Marquis.
The Mercury Marauder featured a more powerful engine than the Grand Marquis. Both used the 4.6 L Modular V8, however the Marauder used the DOHC 4-valve version producing 302 hp (225 kW; 306 PS); This is the same engine used in the 2003–2004 Mustang Mach 1 and the 2003–2005 Lincoln Aviator. The Marauder included the 4R70W 4-speed automatic in 2003 and received the upgraded 4R75W 4-speed automatic for 2004. The limited slip differential with a 3.55 rear axle ratio was standard. The aluminum driveshaft from the Crown Victoria Police Interceptor was also standard equipment.
The 2003 Marauder used parts from both the Grand Marquis and the Crown Victoria. The appearance follows the monochromatic theme of the mid-1990s Chevrolet Impala SS and 2002-2006 Ford Crown Victoria LX Sport. The only chrome on the vehicle is the window trim, wheels, grille and trunk lid badges.
In the front, the Marauder shares most of its trim with the Grand Marquis; much of the rear and side trim is shared with the Crown Victoria LX Sport. Both bumpers are unique to the Marauder; the rear features the model name debossed on the bumper and is redesigned to accommodate the larger Megs chrome tailpipe tips. The front bumper was redesigned with a central air intake added to improve engine ventilation along with twin Cibié fog lamps. The headlight and corner light lenses (from the Grand Marquis) had their non-reflective surfaces blacked out and the grille was painted black with a body-color surround. The taillight and reverse light lenses (from the Crown Victoria LX Sport) were dark-tinted to the minimum of DOT standards. Unique to the Marauder, the center caps of wheels featured a revival of a 1960s Mercury logo (a silhouette of the Roman god Mercury).
The interior of the Marauder resembled the 2002 concept vehicle's approach with a center console transmission shifter, but the simulated wood trim was replaced by simulated satin aluminum trim. The center console mounted transmission shifter along with some other interior items were also shared with the Crown Victoria LX Sport. The instrument panel featured satin aluminum finished gauges along with a tachometer and a unique 140 mph speedometer with "Marauder" embossed on it; to accommodate the tachometer, the voltmeter and oil-pressure gauges were relocated forward of the transmission shifter.
The 2003–2004 Marauder sales fell short of corporate forecasts. After a production run of 11,052 vehicles, the Marauder was discontinued at the end of 2004. For comparison, a total of 179,723 Grand Marquis models were produced during the same time.
- Odin, L.C. (2016). A concise guide to the Ford and Mercury full-size automobile production 1969-1978. Belvedere Publishing. ASIN B01HE91Y4K.
- Sessler, Peter C. (2010). Ultimate American V-8 Engine Data Book (Second ed.). Motorbooks. p. 139. ISBN 9780760336816. Retrieved April 19, 2016.
- "Mercury Marauder X-100 (1970) full detailed specifications listing and photo gallery". Retrieved 25 January 2014.
- "Ford's St. Thomas Assembly Plant Is A World Beater". Autointell. 10 May 2002. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
- "Last Marauder Made tonight!". mercurymarauder.net.
- "Mercury Marauder returns to Chicago as a convertible concept" (Press release). Ford Media. February 6, 2002. Archived from the original on October 7, 2012. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
- Joslin, Tom (September 3, 2011). "Topless Mercury Marauder concept car on Ebay". Jalopnik.com. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
- Truett, Richard (5 November 2001). "Mercury follows Impala formula for Marauder". Automotive News. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
- Tracy, David (14 August 2017). "This Couple Is Selling A Mint-Condition 2003 Mercury Marauder With 62 Miles". Jalopnik. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
- George, Patrick (26 July 2013). "Why The Mercury Marauder Is A Future Classic". Jalopnik. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
- "Mercury Marauder sales fall short of goals". Automotive News. January 29, 2003. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
- Wilson, Amy (March 22, 2004). "Mercury kills Marauder". Automotive News. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
- Edmunds.com, 2003 Marauder Review
- AutomobileMag.com, 2003–2004 Mercury Marauder, Joe Lorio
- Car and Driver, July 2002, 2003 Mercury Marauder - Reviews / Road Tests, John Phillips
- Car and Driver, 2004 Mercury Marauder, User Road Tests[permanent dead link]
- Motor Trend, July 2002, Merc Meets Merc, Marauder and S500: Two cool, bad-ass powerbrokers on the run, Todd Lassa
- JD Power Quality Survey, 2003 Mercury Marauder
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mercury Marauder.|
- Mercury Marauder at the Internet Movie Cars Database
|Full-size||Marquis||Marauder||Montego / Sable|
|Grand Marquis||Grand Marquis||Grand Marquis||Grand Marquis|