The goal in creating the Marauder was to deliver a 1960's American muscle car experience, ‘combined with contemporary driving dynamics, comfort, safety and low emissions'. What was accomplished was an impressive blend of size, performance, comfort and serious good looks. A ‘hot' looking car, the Marauder is also ‘hot performing'.
Founded in 1939 by Edsel Ford, son of Henry Ford, Mercury is an automobile marque of the Ford Motor Company to market entry-level-luxury cars slotted between Ford-branded regular models and Lincoln-branded luxury vehicles. The name Mercury was derived from ‘messenger of the gods' of Roman Mythology, and the Mercury brand was known for performance. This was briefly revived in '03 with the Mercury Maraurder. The name Marauder was used for different automobiles made by the Mercury division of the Ford Motor Company. The first generation of the Marauder was debuted from 1963 until 1965. This early Marauder was a V8-engined large automobile that debuted as a 1963 ½ model as a two-door 'fastback' hardtop version of the full-size Mercury.
For 1964 the Marauder name was used to designate both two and four models of Mercury Montclair, Monterey and Park Lane utilizing a fastback roofline instead of the reverse-slant breezeway roof that had been introduced in 1963. This roofline was developed for both the Mercury Marauder and the Ford Galaxie for NASCAR competition. This may have helped with the many 1963-64 Ford Mercury victories.
The choices of engine and transmission choices for these cars were identical to the big Ford which included 390 and 427 cubic-inch Thunderbird V8s, along with a choice of 3-speed or 4-speed manual or 3-speed automatic transmissions. Much like items found in the Ford Galaxie 500/XL, Marauders also featured bucket seats, central consoles and other trim items.
After 1965 the Marauder name was dropped. The engine designation of the Marauder did continue in 1966 and 1967 and could be found in other full-size Mercurys including the Mercury S-55. The second generation of the Marauder was debuted in 1969, and the Marauder became a distinct model. This second generation lasted for only a year and it competed in the personal luxury market. The base Marauder came with a 390 in³ engine while the Marauder X-100 usually came with a larger 360 hp 429 in³ engine. The more luxurious versions came with bucket seats with a floor console that housed a U-shaped automatic transmission shift handle, sporty Kelsey-Hayes stylized road wheels and finished with rear fender skirts.
The Marauder was unique and carried its own look, with distinctive non-functional louvered side air intakes in the quarter panels and a tunneled rear window. The Marauder shared its front end and interior components with the Marquis, but the back end was all Marauder and not shared with anyone. Unfortunately the market for sporty full-size vehicles was disappearing and production was limited to around 15,000 cars for 1969 and barely a third of that for 1970.
The third generation of the Marauder was introduced in 2003 until 2004. The name 'Marauder' was also used as the name of Mercury's 390, 410, and 428 in³ engines in the 1960s. The third generation had a wheelbase of 114.7 inches, a length of 212 inches, a width of 78.2 inches and a height of 56.8 inches. The Marauder was produced as a high-performance version of the Mercury Grand Marquis sedan from 2003 until 2004. The Marauder of '03 and '04 targeted the 1994-1996 Chevrolet Impala SS though the Mercury division is most directly a competitor to Buick in being a contemporary full-size 'muscle sedan.'
Based on an updated version of the Ford Panther platform, the Mercury Marauder had a naturally aspirated 4.6 L DOHC Modular V8 that produced 302 hp and 318 ft/lb foot of torque. This engine had a variety of parts; including heads, cams, block and rotating assembly in common with the 2003-2004 Mustang Mach 1 Automatic and the 2003-2005 Lincoln Aviators SUV. Featuring a dual exhaust system with unique tailpipe tips, custom designed chassis and suspension modifications, like moving the rear shocks outboard of the frame-rails which later was made available for the Crown Victoria and Grand Marquis.
In 2003 the Marauder was fitted with the 4R70W 4-speed automatic and received upgraded 4R75W 4-speed automatic for the following year. Borrowed from the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor was the limited slip differential with a 3.55 rear axle ratio along with the aluminum drive shaft.
The Marauder borrowed trim parts from its Mercury and Ford friends. The headlights and corner lights were borrowed from the Grand Marquis and have all non-reflector surfaces blacked out and its grille was painted body-color rather than chrome. The side trim and B-pillars were painted body-color like the Crown Victoria, and the trunk panel was also borrowed from here, and tail lights which are tinted to just within DOT standards. Unique to the vehicle was the Marauder's front and rear bumper cover and the front featured Cibié fog lamps. The car's name was sported and embossed on the rear bumper.
Mercury's classis 'god-head' or Mercury's silhouette emblem on its center caps were placed on the car's five spoke, eighteen inch wheels. The Marauder featured front bucket seats and a floor shifter with a center console, unlike the standard Grand Marquis. Unique and specific to the Marauder was the instrument cluster with the satin aluminum gauges and pressed electrical board. This, along with the tachometer is specific only to the Marauder. Borrowed from the Police Interceptor was the 140 mph speedometer head unit, but it came with a Marauder unique gauge face. The Mercury Marauder is the only Panther after 1997 that came with a specific pin on the PMC for a tachometer.
Unfortunately the 2003-2004 Marauder sales fell short of the corporate forecasts, and after a production of just 11,052 cars, the Marauder was discontinued at the end of 2004. A total of 7,839 models were sold in 2003 and 3,213 sold in 2004. The Ford Crown Victoria LX Sport remained though, and it wore a monochrome appearance very similar to the Marauder, but powered by the lesser 239 hp 4.6 L 2-valve SOHC V8. The LX Sport also came with smaller 17' wheels, taller 3.27 rear axle ratio, softer suspension among a variety of other mechanicals and cosmetic details unique to the Marauder. In 2008 the LX Sport would also be discontinued following a very short production run of 2008 model year cars. Also this year the Ford Performance Group began officially recognizing the Mercury Marauder.By Jessica Donaldson