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The Mercury Marauder Is the Greatest Panther of All Time

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author photo by Will Kinton October 2016

The Ford Panther platform is one of the most ubiquitous car platforms to ever grace American streets. For 33 years, the V8-powered, rear-wheel-drive, body-on-frame Panther platform provided the bones for the top cars driven by taxi companies, luxury car services, police departments and your grandparents. It was badge engineering at its finest, and it led to the greatest Panther of all time, the Mercury Marauder.

The Mercury Marauder was derived as an attempt to breathe a bit of life into the Mercury brand, which was in desperate need of a younger clientele. To create it, Mercury took the Grand Marquis and started digging around the Ford parts bin. The Marauder received the 302-horsepower dual-cam V8 from the Mustang Cobra and the Mustang's automatic transmission, along with the taillights, brakes and suspension components from the Crown Victoria Police Interceptor. The designers also gave the Marauder a mean-sounding exhaust, an improved limited-slip differential and an updated interior more befitting of a car called Marauder rather than Grand Marquis. The car also received black paint, blacked-out headlights and corner lights, tinted taillights and a blacked out-grill.

Unfortunately, the Marauder was handicapped by Ford from the get-go. Even though it had 335 hp, it wasn't actually that fast, with a 0-to-60 time over 7 seconds. This is partially due to the slow-responding automatic transmission, partially due to the car's weight and partially due to the lack of a supercharger, an idea supposedly proposed but rejected by the then-head of Mercury, Elena Ford.

Even though it wasn't exceptionally fast, the Maruader's coolness never came from its actual performance. Instead, it was all in the attitude. The Marauder managed to exude cool in an old-school way, without resorting to retro-inspired style. I wish Ford could bring the Marauder back in some way, even though the Mercury brand is dead, but unfortunately, it isn't likely.

The Marauder certainly has the potential to be a future classic, since it wasn't sold in great numbers and it was the ultimate Panther. Used examples seem to hold their value quite well, as the 34 currently for sale on Autotrader across the country have an average price of $15,028, which is a little less than half of their original manufacturer's suggested retail price in 2005. That's not bad for a 12-year-old car built on a 33-year-old platform.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
The Mercury Marauder Is the Greatest Panther of All Time - Autotrader