New & Used Mercury Marauder: In Depth
2003 Mercury MarauderEnlarge Photo
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While Ford’s Mercury division used the Marauder name three times, the most recent—the only one not from the 1960s, in fact—-might be the most memorable.
Starting with the Mercury Grand Marquis, which was itself a variant of the Panther platform that underpinned the Ford Crown Victoria and Lincoln Town Car of the day, the 2003-2004 Mercury Marauder was a limited run of unique proportions.
For our contemporary take on the Mercury Marauder, visit our brief overview from mid-2002.
A high-performance spirit and a menacing look were the core concepts behind the Marauder’s last incarnation. A potent 302-horsepower 4.6-liter dual overhead cam V-8 (also used in the 2003-2004 Mustang Mach 1) provided the motivation; upgrades to the chassis and suspension improved handling without giving the car a truly sharp edge, or significantly compromising the ride. A four-speed automatic transmission was fitted to all models.
Like all of its Panter-platform mates, the Marauder looks rather like, well, a taxi or a cop car, because that’s where many of these vehicles ended up. The Marauder’s blacked-out look enhances the cop car resemblance, and in practice, the Marauder largely amounted to a more luxurious version of a Police Interceptor. Other unique upgrades for the Mercury Marauder included: relocated rear dampers, placed outboard of the frame rails (a feature later expanded to the Grand Marquis and Crown Victoria); a dual exhaust system; front bucket seats; a floor shifter; 140-mph speedometer from the Ford Police Interceptor; and relocated oil-pressure and volt gauges.
Unfortunately for Mercury, the Marauder didn’t meet commercial success, selling just over 11,000 examples before going out of production in 2004. Contrary to popular belief, however, not all Marauders were black—-just the vast majority were. Other available Marauder colors include Silver Birch, Dark Pearl Blue, and Dark Toreador Red.
Part of the Marauder's lack of commercial success might have related to its general lack of a plundering, pillaging nature; the Marauder was an upgrade from the rather stodgy Grand Marquis, but it still left a lot to be desired as a genuine performance sedan, by almost everyone's metrics.
A concept version of the Marauder was shown as a two-door, supercharged V-8--a version which might truly have deserved the Marauder's menacing moniker--but was never built.
Like the Marauder, Mercury also eventually fell out of favor and was discontinued. Perhaps fittingly, the basis for the impressive but un-loved Mercury Marauder, the Grand Marquis, was the last Mercury to ever roll off the line.