The Mercury Marquis is a vehicle produced by the Ford Motor Company under its Mercury brand from 1967 to 1986. It was produced for several generations as the Mercury counterpart of the full-size Ford (its direct equivalent was the Ford LTD); in 1983, the Marquis became Mercury's mid-size car. The highest trim level of the Marquis, the Grand Marquis, continued in production as the full-size Mercury product line.
As Ford Motor Company adopted front-wheel drive cars during the 1980s, the Marquis was phased out after the 1986 model year; it was replaced by the Mercury Sable, the twin of the Ford Taurus.
The Mercury Marquis was introduced in 1967 as Mercury's top-line two-door formal hardtop, the only body style available in 1967 and 1968. The Marquis was similar to the newly introduced Ford LTD, but was longer and more luxuriously equipped. During these same years, the top-line four-door sedan and four-door hardtop models were called Mercury Brougham, while the equivalent two-door fastback and convertible remained the Mercury Park Lane.
The 1967 Marquis came with the Mercury-exclusive 330 hp (246 kW) 410 cubic-inch big-block V8 as standard equipment. For 1968, the 410 was replaced by a 315 hp (235 kW) 390 big-block. For both years, an optional 345 hp (257 kW) 428 cubic-inch "Super Marauder" engine was also available; this was shared with the high-performance Mercury S-55.
These were known as the "Continental Styling" years, as Mercury was trying to market itself as an affordable Lincoln, rather than a more expensive Ford. A 1969 advertisement for the Colony Park wagon bills the car as "If Lincoln Continental made a station wagon, this would be it." All full-sized Mercury sedans and coupes were built on a wheelbase that was 124 inches long, but the station wagons were on the same 121 inch wheelbase as their Ford counterparts. While built on a Ford chassis, wagons wore the same front clip as sedans along with the same interior trim.
This generation of Marquis was available as a full line of cars, with two- and four-door hardtops, a four-door pillared sedan, a convertible, and a station wagon. The new 1969 Mercury Marauder shared its 121-inch wheelbase with Ford; however, its front clip was shared with Marquis. The standard engine was a 429 cubic-inch V8 equipped with a two-barrel carburetor. The four-barrel 429 from the Marauder was optional. The sole transmission for the Marquis (and all full-size Lincolns and Mercurys) was the Ford C6 3-speed automatic. Power front disc brakes were optional.
This generation introduced the hidden headlights that were a Lincoln-Mercury trademark in the 1970s. Metallic gold examples of the 1969 and 1970 model Marquis convertibles (very low production) were used for the final two seasons of the Green Acres TV series. These replaced the 1965-1967 Continental convertibles that were used earlier in the run of the CBS comedy series.
1971 brought a major restyling for the full-size Mercurys: More rounded and flowing styling, wider C-Pillars, rear fender skirts, the elimination of vent-windows for all models, frameless windows and wraparound taillamps on all sedans. Both the Marauder and convertibles were discontinued for 1971; the rare and costly sunroof option became available on all full-size Mercurys (as long as the vinyl roof option was selected).
1972 brought minor changes such as egg-crate grilles, revised taillamps and seatbelt warning buzzers.
For 1973, the Marquis received a minor restyling with a boxier look, giving it new protruding energy-absorbing "5-mph" bumpers and a new roofline. Two- and four-door hardtops (the four-doors had frameless door glass and slim fixed center pillars) were available as the Marquis or Marquis Brougham. The 1975 models were slightly revised to look longer than the boxier 1973-1974 range. The Grand Marquis was introduced as a luxury trim line in 1975 when the Monterey series was dropped and all full-size Mercurys took the Marquis name. Unlike the related Crown Victoria, which was an option package on the LTD Landau, the Grand Marquis was a trim level in its own right. Base-trim and upscale Colony Park station wagons were available. The 360 hp (268 kW) 460 big-block V8 became available on this generation, and the 400 Cleveland replaced the 429 as the base engine in 1974. The 460 was standard on the Brougham and Grand Marquis through 1977. The 351M small-block V8 entered the lineup in 1978 to increase the fuel economy of the Marquis; for that year, the 460 was reserved only for the Grand Marquis and Colony Park wagon. Emissions regulations had taken their toll and by 1978, the 460 generated a mundane 202 horsepower (151 kW).
Advertising billed these cars the best full-size cars in America. A 1976 consumer survey showed the Marquis Brougham far superior to the competing Olds 98 LS and Buick Electra 225. The next year, the Grand Marquis went up against Cadillac's Sedan de Ville and was again the preferred choice.
Approximately 7,850,000 full-size Fords and Mercurys were sold over 1969-78. This makes it the second best selling Ford automobile platform after the Ford Model T.
After trailing General Motors by two years and Chrysler by one, the Marquis was downsized to the all-new Panther platform in 1979. After losing some 800 pounds and over a foot in length, for 1979, the Marquis was left shorter and lighter than the "mid-size" Cougar. Broader expanses of glass and a lower hood line provided more visibility. Interior space increased with redesigned seats and door panels. The new styling also produced better aerodynamics. Gone were the hidden headlights and fender skirts that had graced earlier models, leaving a more contemporary look. The interior gained Lincolnesque white-face instruments with square gauges. Pillared hardtop styling was replaced with two- and four-door post models. The 400 and 460 cid V8s were discontinued; the standard engine was now the 302 cubic inch Windsor V8. The 351 Windsor engine was a rare option and is highly desirable today.
The switch to the Panther platform marked the first time that the entire full-size Mercury lineup shared its wheelbase and bodyshell with Ford models. As before, wagons were available in standard trim and woodgrained Colony Park trim. The Marquis received a minor update for 1982, losing the vents in the front fenders and the small grilles in the front bumper.
In 1983, Ford updated the styling of mid-size Fox platform sedans and station wagons; additionally, a number of product lines were shifted. Mercury reverted the Cougar back to its traditional role of a two-door personal-luxury coupe, discontinuing its unpopular 4-door and wagon models. To fill the gap, the Marquis name was taken from the full-size Mercury line; Ford had done the same thing as the LTD had replaced the Granada.
After 1983, the Panther-based Grand Marquis continued in production. The 1979-1982 version was produced nearly unchanged until the end of 1991, when it was redesigned for the 1992 model year. With minor evolutionary changes, the design of the 1992 Grand Marquis remained in production for 19 model years, when Mercury ceased all production in January 2011.
The midsize Marquis was produced in Hapeville, Georgia until 1985 and Chicago, Illinois until 1986, when it was replaced by the front-wheel drive Mercury Sable.
The mid-size Marquis sedans had the 2.3 L SOHC four-cylinder as the base engine. Wagons came with a six-cylinder standard. 1983 models could have the 3.3 L "Mileage Maker" inline six, otherwise, the 3.8 L Essex V6 was available in all models and was the most common. After 1984, the inline-6 engine (dating to 1963) was discontinued. The high-output 4.9 L 5.0L Windsor V8 was available in the rare Marquis LTS, sold only in Canada. Four-cylinder engines were paired with the C3 3-speed automatic along with the 3.8 L V6 models; the rare V8 models received the AOD 4-speed automatic overdrive from the Grand Marquis.