Saturday, January 8, 2011

Luxo Barges: 1970 Mercury Marauder and 1972 Montego GT

First a 1975 Torino, now a couple of full-size Mercs? Just when I think I have my taste buds figured out, I strangely crave broccoli and engage in luxo-barge fantasy.

These two Neo-Muscle offerings from Mercury are the most unlikely of performance vehicles. By 1970 Mercury was already the redheaded stepchild division of Ford-Lincoln-Mercury. Known mostly for providing full size cars to an aging and nostalgic demographic, they jumped on the Muscle Car bandwagon in the early 1970's with eclectic results.

The 1970 Marauder X-100 surely had the most imposing name of any car of that era. It was a pastiche of styling elements: faux rear quarter brake extractors (seemingly oxymoronic with the optional fender skirts), hidden headlights, recessed rear window, steel sport wheels and tuck-and-roll bucket seats. The X-100 option offered the 360hp 429 motor, but the ungainly weight of these full-size cars made them Turnpike cruisers at best. Less than 5000 units were produced in 1970.

                                        1970 Mercury Marauder X-100

By 1972, Muscle Cars were fully on their way out, but that didn't stop Merc from re-tooling their midsize Montego and giving it a completely new body. Twin snorkel hoodscoops (with functional fresh air induction)and sweeping rear sail panels gave a racy look, but none of this translated into performance as the car simultaneously gained weight and neutered horsepower from it's smog compliant V-8 line. The 400 c.i.d. motor in our feature car eeked out a factory rated 172 horsepower. Hemmings Magazine recently did a great write up on these cars which further delves into the details of these rare Mercs.

                                         1972 Mercury Montego GT

With that said, these cars represent an extravagant and excessive era of car manufacturing. They were among the last short run, individually conceived and marketed cars before badge engineering  and divisional homogenization took over. Sure, build quality is marginal, performance is disappointing, and fuel consumption borders on being criminal. But I like them for their quirky (if not desperate) styling, passionate owners clubs, and cheap buy-in point.

1 comment:

  1. Looking for some 72 mercury Montego GTs or cyclone Gts no rust buckets, no million dollar car, also has to be drivable. here is an email address to contact me