Mercury Marauder is First Produced
The Mercury Marauder was the name of different automobiles made by the Mercury division of Ford Motor Company.
The early Marauder was a V8-engined large automobile. It débuted as a 1963½ model as a two-door "fastback" hardtop version of the full-size Mercury. Marauders were offered from the 1963½ to 1965 model years, then again from 1969 to 1970.
In 1964, the Marauder name was used to designate both two and four door models of the Mercury Monterey, Montclair, and Park Lane using a fastback roofline, rather than the reverse-slant Breezeway roof that had been introduced in 1963.
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.
Engine and transmission choices for these cars were identical to the big Ford, including 390 and 427 cubic-inch Thunderbird V8s, and a choice of 3-speed or 4-speed manual, or 3-speed automatic transmissions.
Marauders also featured bucket seats, central consoles, and other trim items similar to those in the Ford Galaxie 500/XL.
The Marauder name was dropped after 1965. The Marauder engine designation did continue in 1966 and 1967 and could be found in other full-size Mercurys including the Mercury S-55.
n 1969, the Marauder became a distinct model. It competed in the personal luxury market. The base Marauder had a 390 in³ engine, while the Marauder X-100 normally came with a larger 360 hp (268 kW) 429 in³ engine. Well appointed versions had bucket seats with a floor console housing a U-shaped automatic transmission shift handle, and sporty Kelsey-Hayes stylized road wheels complete with rear fender skirts. The Marauder had its own look with distinctive non-functional louvered side air intakes in the quarter panels and a tunneled rear window. Its front end and interior components were shared with the Marquis, but the back end was unique.
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.
"Marauder" was also used as the name of Mercury's 390, 410 (66–67 only), and 428 in³ engines in the 1960s.
From 2003 to 2004, Ford produced the Marauder as a high-performance version of the Mercury Grand Marquis sedan. Although the Mercury division is most directly a competitor to Buick (and formerly Oldsmobile), the Marauder of 2003–2004 targeted the 1994–1996 Chevrolet Impala SS in being a contemporary full-size "muscle sedan."
The Mercury Marauder was based on an updated version of the Ford Panther platform. The Marauder had a naturally aspirated 4.6 L DOHC Modular V8 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 Automatic and the 2003–2005 Lincoln Aviator SUV. The Marauder featured a dual exhaust system with unique tailpipe tips, with custom designed 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. The limited slip differential with a 3.55 rear axle ratio was borrowed from the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, as well as the aluminum drive shaft.
Cosmetically, the Marauder borrowed trim parts from both its Ford and Mercury stablemates. The headlights and corner lights, from the Grand Marquis, have all non-reflector surfaces blacked out and its grille is painted body-color instead of chrome. Side trim and the B-pillars are painted body-color like the Crown Victoria, which also donates its trunk panel, and tail lights which are tinted to just within DOT standards. The Marauder's front and rear bumper cover are unique to the vehicle though, with the front featuring Cibié fog lamps, and sporting the car's name embossed on the rear bumper. The car's five spoke, eighteen inch wheels feature Mercury's classic "god-head" (Mercury's silhouette) emblem on its center caps. And unlike the standard Grand Marquis, the Marauder featured front bucket seats and a floor shifter with a center console. The instrument cluster was specific to the Marauder, with the satin aluminum gauges and the pressed electrical board to control them are specific to the Marauder, as is the tachometer. The 140mph (220 km/h) speedometer head unit was borrowed from the Police Interceptor, but with a Marauder unique gauge face. The Marauder is also the only Panther after 1997 with a specific pin on the PCM for a tachometer.
The 2003–2004 Marauder sales fell short of corporate forecasts, and after a production run of just 11,052 vehicles, the Marauder was discontinued at the end of 2004. However the Ford Crown Victoria LX Sport remained, bearing a monochrome appearance similar to the Marauder but powered by the lesser 239 hp (178 kW) 4.6 L 2-valve SOHC V8. The LX Sport also included smaller 17" wheels, softer suspension, a taller 3.27 rear axle ratio, along with numerous other mechanical and cosmetic details that remain unique to the Marauder. The LX Sport too would be discontinued in 2008 after a very short production run of 2008 model year cars.
In 2008, the Ford Performance Group offically began recognizing the Mercury Marauder (along with the Motor City Marauders Car Club as the offical club for the vehicle). And as of Fall 2009, the Ford Performance Group also began offering certificates verifing the Mercury Marauder as a Limited Production Vehicle.
The 1969 Mercury Marauder X-100 was typical of the musical cars produced at the time. As the 1960s drew to a close, performance came in two basic forms: big engines in small packages and big engines in big packages. Typified by the Pontiac Grand Prix, Buick Riviera, and Ford Thunderbird, the latter were considered by the automakers to be prestige specialty cars. At Mercury, the full-size fire-breather for ’69 was the Marauder X-100.
The Marauder was a two-door hardtop based on a Marquis chopped in wheelbase by three inches and shortened in the body by about five. The result was a relatively roomy two-door hardtop with a long-hood/short-deck profile on a still-substantial 121-inch wheelbase. Curb weight started at two tons, escalating to 4500 pounds with a full option load. Marauder essentially was the same as Ford’s big Galaxie 500XL coupe and its flying buttress roofline and upright, tunneled backlight mimicked the SportsRoof Ford.
X-100 was the costlier of the two Marauders and came standard with rear fender skirts (optional on the base model), as well as “sports tone” matte-black paint on the tunneled rear deck area. The last could be deleted for credit or by ordering the extra-cost vinyl roof. The dash was Marquis to a T, so there really wasn’t much sporty about an X-100 inside, even if you ordered the optional buckets and console in place of the plushly padded front bench.
To move this considerable mass, Lincoln-Mercury specified the venerable 265-horsepower, two-barrel, 390-cubic-inch Ford V-8 as base power. Standard for the X-100 and optional on the base model was Dearborn’s new 429-cubic-inch V-8 in four-barrel form with 10.5:1 compression, a rated 360 horsepower at 4600 rpm, and 480 pounds/feet of torque at 2800.
A three-speed Select-Shift automatic was the only transmission and an Interstate-gulping 2.80:1 rear axle ratio was standard. With the optional 3.25:1 Traction-Lok gears, the X-100 could turn the quarter in the mid-15s at 86-92 mph.
“We realize that this level of performance is perfectly adequate, but adequate for whom?” queried Car and Driver. Certainly not muscle-car mavens, it concluded. Surprisingly, the X-100 was a pretty competent roadgoer. Though understeer was the rule and the power steering was unnervingly light, roadholding was better than the base Marauder, thanks in part to the X-100’s standard Goodyear Polyglas H70×15 bias-belted white sidewall tires on Kelsey-Hayes “MagStar” five-spoke aluminum wheels. Handling could be further improved by the stiffer springs and shocks offered with the $31.10 optional competition suspension.
As a bonus, the X-100’s ride was pleasingly firm and its optional $71.30 power-assisted front disc brakes helped produce short, sure stops. Overall, said Car and Driver, “it’s extremely controllable in a wide range of situations -- which is more than we can say for most of its competitors.”
With a base price of $4091, the X-100 listed for $700 more than the base Marauder. Toss in such options as air conditioning, power windows, tilt wheel, and remote trunk release, and the X-100 could run $4800 or more. That kind of price didn’t stop Mercury from building 14,666 Marauders in ’69, 5635 of which were X-100s. The car came back little changed for 1970, and production was down to 6043 Marauders, just 2646 of them X-100s.
That the car didn’t sell in huge numbers and wouldn’t run with the supercars of the day is not really the point. As a broad-shouldered heavyweight with the biggest engine in the stable, the Marauder X-100 was typical of one branch of the muscle car family.