Welcome to "What Happened To:" a series where we take a look at cars that seemed to have the potential, either in design or on paper, to be a great success. Whether it be uninspiring driving characteristic, price, or the badge on the hood we investigate "What Happened To: Mercury Marauder".
I must make a confession: I completely forgot about the '69-'70 generation of the Mercury Marauder. I recalled the Galaxie "based" Marauder from '63-'65 and the beloved Panther Platform based '03-'04 Marauder that is the feature for this WHT: but the second generation distracted me from writing this piece for longer than intended.
Go ahead, take a moment... I had to.
A 4-Door Muscle Car?
The third generation Marauder was not a 2-door muscle car with an aggressively raked roof. It wore four doors and could easily be mistaken for undercover law enforcement but make no mistake, it was still a muscle car. Back when the V-6 Mustang longed for 200 ponies, the 302 horsepower/318 pound-feet of torque 4.6L V-8 that came in the Marauder made an impression. Today those horsepower numbers are being pushed by factory turbo 2.0L, 10 years sure does make a difference.
Is That A Police Burnout?
I know most Jalops know the Panther platform. I know most know what the Crown Vic and Grand Marquis is. But this Jalop knows what it is like to sit behind a modern day landyacht and see the long hood but hear the yeti roar that is the song of the Marauder. The growl it puts out will turn looks of confusion much like a dress donned Dennis Rodman. Sadly the only transmission available was a 4-speed slush-box but thankfully the limited slip differential was graced with a 3.55 in the rear. The black accents added to the Marauder reached the grill, headlights, interior and even taillights. The first time I ever saw a Marauder I was going 5mph over the speed limit, I then slowed to 2 under and kept it there for the next 15 miles thinking Vincent and Jules were on their way to ask what Marsellus Wallace looks like. This thing is menacing in person when you are not aware it came from the factory with 18' rims. The white-face gauges are a little much by today's standards and the Auto Meter gauges slapped in the center stack could have been executed better than to look like an afterthought.
The Death Of A Panther
Sadly just like ultimate 90's landyacht muscle car the Chevrolet Impala SS, the reception was less than impressive. Although the Marauder's upgraded suspension kept it flat and poised in the turns, complaints of it being too bloated (laughable when you see today's Taurus). Others, myself included, may have just passed it off as a modified police cruiser. Now I truly think this was a car stuck between a new age muscle car era and high-performance passenger hauler. I look back at those who failed to succeed but then succeeded in being a sought after rarity: '96 Impala SS, '95 Taurus SHO, 3000GT VR-4 (price). I'll leave it to the comments to decide because just like the finale of LOST, it sometimes makes sense not to answer your own question - What Happened To: Mercury Marauder.