Mercury History

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Mercury History

Post by 59lincolnrag » Fri 2. Jul 2010, 15:43


Mercury is an automobile marque of the Ford Motor Company founded in 1939 by Edsel Ford, son of Henry Ford, to market entry-level-luxury cars slotted between Ford-branded regular models and Lincoln-branded luxury vehicles. Today all Mercury models are based on Ford platforms. The name "Mercury" is derived from the "messenger of the gods" of Roman mythology, and during its early years, the Mercury brand was known for performance, which was briefly revived in 2003 with the Mercury Marauder. The Mercury brand is used in the United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Middle East. In 1999 the Mercury brand was dropped in Canada, although the Grand Marquis was still marketed there wearing a Mercury badge through 2007.
Mercury was its own division at Ford until 1945 when it was combined with Lincoln into the Lincoln-Mercury Division, with Ford hoping the brand would be known as a "junior Lincoln", rather than an upmarket Ford. In 1949, Mercury introduced the first of its "new look", integrated bodies, at the same time that Ford and Lincoln also changed styling radically. Again in 1952, Mercury offered a further modernization in its look. In 1958, the Lincoln-Mercury Division and the ill-fated Edsel brand were joined into the Mercury-Edsel-Lincoln Division; with the demise of Edsel in 1960, it has been in the Lincoln-Mercury Division ever since.

Mercury, like the defunct Edsel, was created from scratch, rather than being a takeover of an existing company like Lincoln. Mercury's heyday was in the 1950s, when its formula of stretching and lowering existing Ford platforms was very successful. The marque has changed several times throughout its history. During the 1940s and 1950s, the make moved between as a "gussied up" Ford, to a "junior Lincoln" and even to having its own body designs. From the late 1950s, through the 1960s and early 1970s, Mercury began to distance itself from Ford and offered several different looking models such as the Turnpike Cruiser, Park Lane, Cougar and Marquis. During Ford Division's "Total Performance" era in the early 1960s, Mercury produced some equivalent models, such as the full-size S-55 Marauders, which shared the same body styles and mechanics as the Ford Galaxie 500/XL sports models. These big Mercurys were somewhat successful in racing. But in the late 1970s to the early 1980s the brand was joined at the hip with Ford again and its image suffered as a result.

Mercury sales peaked in 1978 at 580,000 and again in 1993 at over 480,000. Since then, sales have declined by more than half to roughly 200,000 annually. In the mid-1990s the Mercury car brand received some very good free PR when country music star Alan Jackson scored a hit with a cover of K. C. Douglas' "Mercury Blues", a song which heaps complimentary praise on their vehicle range.
Newer Mercury automobiles has had a few unique models not shared with domestic Fords, but usually related to other vehicles sold domestically or world wide. These include the Capri convertible, Mercury Tracer, Mercury Villager, Mercury Cougar, and the German built Mercury Capri in the '70s. In 1971, dealers also sold the De Tomaso Pantera, an exotic sports car, with a Ford V-8.

Worth Noting CNN Money:

De Tomaso Pantera sold through Ford / Lincoln Mercury (1971-75)
Value: $42,000 - $65,000
The hot-looking rear-engined Pantera was sold at Lincoln-Mercury dealers, a rather incongruous retailing channel for a car like this. With its Ford engine, the Pantera was supposed to be easier to maintain than something with a finicky Italian engine. Alas, keeping a Pantera running wasn't so easy after all. Despite impressive performance numbers, dependability problems and a generally poor early `70s market for performance cars -- including gas price spikes and rising insurance costs -- kept sales low.
de_tomaso_pantera.jpg (11.45 KiB) Viewed 9154 times
2002 Lincoln Blackwood
2007 Merc Gran Marquis
1959 Lincoln Continental Coupe blk on blk
430 Tri-Power Super Marauder
1959 Lincoln Continental Convertible wht on wht
1997 Lincoln Town Car

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Re: Mercury History

Post by jmassad » Fri 15. Oct 2010, 16:26

With demise of the Mercury brand, if you crystal ball the thing, do you all see the value and demand of Mercury's increasing over time? Will we see a nostalagia and increasing demand for Mercury classic cars, as the years pass, since they will never be produced again? Mind you, not that I intend to sell my '58 Mercury anytime soon. I am asking as an historian and one becoming increasingly interested in the classic car market. Just food for thought. Curious to hear the thinking of members of this board.

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