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Video | I Bought the Cheapest Mercury Marauder in the USA By Mistake

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author photo by Tyler Hoover April 2018

Normally, I'm really excited when I buy a new car -- especially one that's rare and unusual, like my latest purchase, a 2003 Mercury Marauder. The feeling of shame and guilt usually starts some time afterward, like when I look at my bank account -- or after I pay the first major repair bill. Unfortunately, this Marauder was the exception, as I felt ashamed of myself immediately after purchasing it.

I had zero plans of purchasing another car when this Marauder followed me home. I was actually trying to sell one, a basket-case 2004 Bentley Continental GT -- and I wanted to see what Carmax would offer before dealing with the hassle of selling this nightmare project. While I was waiting, another person was also getting an appraisal for his 2003 Mercury Marauder. We struck up a conversation, mostly talking about each other's cars, and compared our offers afterwards. While I came out with a hilariously low offer of only $4,000 on the Bentley, the appraisers at Carmax thought the Marauder was worth more, offering $4,500. This was still a low offer for this rare Mercury, so I struck a deal with the seller right there in the parking lot -- and I shamelessly poached Carmax out of a deal.

My soft spot for land yachts has always drawn me to Ford's Panther platform, which included the Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Car, as the Panther was last of the real body-on-frame land yachts ever built. Before its discontinuation in 2011, the Panther cars were always my first choice for a rental car, as nothing else offered at rental desk could beat the comfort level of these old dinosaurs. The Marauder was also built on this platform from 2003 to 2004 -- and many consider it he best car to come out of the Panther's 30-year production span. Its biggest claim to fame was the engine -- a 32-valve all-aluminum V8, sourced from the Mustang Mach 1 -- but the Marauder had other neat bits to make it the perfect parts-bin special.

The front suspension and steering setup was sourced from the tighter-handling police interceptor Crown Victoria -- but it also received the plush-riding rear air springs from the Lincoln Town Car. The steering wheel also came from the Town Car, while the nose was from the Grand Marquis, and the taillights were out of a Crown Victoria. Fitted to the interior from the factory are some very aftermarket-looking Auto Meter gauges, along with a weird grey-dotted dash trim that I imagine was supposed to look sporty. Despite all the shared bits from several models, Ford certainly didn't want anyone to mistake this car for anything else, as "Marauder" badging is everywhere throughout the car. When the Marauder was offered new, Mercury was proud enough to also sell matching apparel, including a special Marauder leather jacket. I managed to locate and buy one of these jackets used online -- and while it does seem like nice quality, it smells a little bit like cheap aftershave.

Now, I should be thrilled to own a rare car like this -- but given my current state of affairs, buying one more car that I didn't really want is just absurd. Over the last few months, I've purchased more than 12 cars for my still untitled TV show project -- but I can't tell you about those cars yet, as it will ruin the surprise. I will say this marathon car-buying spree has me worn out, and it has my mechanic booked until the year 2020. And since I already have six other luxury sedans, I can't think of any justifiable reason to have one more. Still, at only $5,000, there's some profit potential after a few minor repairs -- but my lack of spare time and my hoarding issue means this will probably never happen. One thing's for sure: I'm definitely going to stay away from Carmax parking lots for a while.

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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.
Video | I Bought the Cheapest Mercury Marauder in the USA By Mistake - Autotrader