Total Production: 575,567 1975 - 1980
Making its grand debut in 1975, the Mercury Monarch was a compact sedan produced by the Ford Motor Company. Sold by the Lincoln-Mercury division, the Monarch was introduced beside the Ford Granada. The cars were badge-engineered and were nearly identical except for the grille, taillights and some outside and inside trim.
The Monarch featured the modern Mercury body with only distinct grilles, taillights and other trim to distinguish them apart. The Monarch model names included Lucerne, Richeliue and Sceptre. In the five-year production run a total of 575,567 Monarchs were produced. The Granada was replaced with a smaller version in 1981 that was based on the Ford Fox platform, while the Mercury version took the Cougar name.
A brand of automobile that was produced by Ford of Canada from 1946 until 1957, and once again from 1959 until 1961, Monarch was introduced to fill the gap in the medium price range. This was very normal in the Canadian market where small towns might only feature one single dealer with the expectation to offer a full range of products in a variety of price ranges. In 1958 the Monarch was dropped once the Edsel arrived on the scene. Unfortunately for Edsel it wasn't met with much interest so the Monarch was re-introduced by Ford for 1959. Medium-priced car sales dropped during the early 1960s and along with the similarly priced Ford Galaxie being introduced, the Monarch was dropped once again after the 1961 model year.
The Monarch was meant to be the replacement for the elderly Comet, but events outside Ford compelled the Mercury division to maintain both models during the 1970s. The Monarch used the same platform as the Comet, which had been developed from the first-generation Ford Falcon. Heavily influenced by Mercedes-Benz styling, the Monarch featured an all-new body in an attempt to contend with Japanese and European competitors. The back and front styling did take numerous styling cues from larger Fords and Mercury models though.
Originally Ford's plan had been to replace the Maverick and Comet with new lines for 1974, but the energy crisis threw a wrench in those plans as it invigorated the market. Ford decided to continue building them and began a new model program geared towards developing two similar-sized, improved lines. This brought about a duo of lux compacts for the 1975 model year; the Ford Granada and Mercury Monarch.
The desire for sporty cars disappeared at the height of the energy crisis, while luxury vehicles became a demand, even more so for smaller models. The Monarch didn't have much competition from domestic automakers, especially at a time when lavish vehicles were based on full-sized models, which hadn't gone through downsizing. Alongside the larger Chrysler Cordoba and Cadillac Seville, the Monarch was responsible for breaking the time-honored traditions in the Big Three that size equated luxury.
The Monarch's base engine was Ford's 200 cid inline six-cylinder engine, with a 250 cid inline six optional. The V8 power came from two different engines, the 302 cid and 351 cid Windsor.
An exclusive version of the Monarch, the Grand Monarch Ghia was introduced in 1975 and ran for one year. Featuring four-wheel disc brakes with a modern central hydraulic power system as standard equipment, the Ghia also featured numerous luxury characteristics as standard. They included leather trim, vinyl roof, power steering, leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual map lights, and illuminated passenger-side visor vanity mirror, and 14-inch, cast-aluminum spoke wheels. Other standard features included whitewall steel-belted radial tired, solid-state ignition, bucket seats that reclined with matching map pockets and plush carpet and soundproofing.
Three out of five of Ford's leading men used the Mercury Grand Monarch Ghia as their personal car, according to the May 1976 edition of Car and Driver.
Lincoln debuted the Versailles in early 1977. Based on the Granada/Monarch platform, the Versailles featured many of the same lavish features as the Mercury Grand Monarch Ghia. Priced at almost twice the amount of the Monarch, despite the high content and lack of styling differentiation, the Versailles was not a popular sell.
The Lincoln brand didn't do well after they began to sell a clone of the Granada instead of a product obviously differentiated from other Ford products. After around 50,000 were sold it was discontinued after 1980. The Versailles, along with the Cadillac Cimarron are known as the worst examples of badge engineering.
By Jessica Donaldson