Modern-Day Classic: Mercury Marauder
In 2003, the Mercury Marauder was once again Mercury's only muscle car. That time around, the Marauder gained a couple of extra doors but kept the potent V8 that the 1960s version was known for. The 2003-2004 Mercury Marauder was based on the popular Grand Marquis, given several aggressive styling cues and released in limited numbers.
In its inaugural year, the Marauder was available in Dark Blue Pearl, Silver Birch and Black. For 2004, Dark Toreador Red became available, replacing the Dark Blue Pearl. A walk-around reveals a car bathed in stealthy styling cues, such as smoked taillights, turn signals and backup lights. A body-colored grille, side moldings and mirrors add subtle, yet audacious, styling to this performance sedan. In contrast, a dual exhaust with polished stainless steel tips and 18-inch chrome wheels adds a little bright work to the otherwise sleek, monotone exterior.
Since Marauder badging is limited to the middle of the rear bumper, first sightings of this performance sedan will probably cause chaos in the minds of those trying to figure out what they're looking at. It isn't until this car has passed you by that you realize what it is. Something that rolls up quickly, takes you by surprise and leaves you wondering what you've just witnessed: Come to think of it, that's something that a Marauder is good at. Mercury decked out this street fighter so well that the only exterior option was a dealer-installed rear decklid spoiler.
All Dressed Up and Ready to Hit the Streets
Mercury decked out the interior of the Marauder in true muscle-car form but also added luxurious amenities that you would expect in a modern-day performance sedan. Inside, the driver is welcomed by bolstered 8-way power leather seats with contrasting French-seam stitching. Take hold of the leather-wrapped steering wheel, and you have stereo, climate and cruise controls at your fingertips. Fire up the engine, and the white-faced tachometer and console-mounted oil pressure and voltage gauges spring to life. Tunes are provided by a 4-speaker stereo powered by a 100-watt amp and subwoofer. Mercury also provided creature comforts such as power-adjustable pedals, remote keyless entry and automatic temperature control.
In order for this 4,200-lb sedan to rule the streets, Mercury packed a 4.6-liter dual-overhead-camshaft V8 under the hood of this crafty prowler. This engine spits out 302 horsepower and 318 lb-ft of torque through a 3-speed automatic transmission. In 2004, an electronically controlled 4-speed automatic overdrive with a high-speed torque converter was used. On the track, the Marauder could sprint to 60 miles per hour from a standstill in 7.5 seconds and run the quarter mile in 15.5 seconds while running 91 mph. For those wanting more power and performance, there are several aftermarket upgrades available.
Low-mileage Marauders range in price from $12,000 all the way up to $25,000. If this price falls outside your budget, consider a 2003-2004 Ford Crown Victoria with the Street appearance package. With this package, you get features similar to the Marauder -- body-color side moldings, color-keyed mirrors and a chrome grille. No matter which car you choose, you get a vehicle with V8 power and room for up to four of your best cruising buddies.