When I was growing up on the hard streets of New Jersey during the 1970s, a lot of people liked to drive the “big boats” that were being produced by the Big Three American automakers. Of course there was the Cadillac, with the Fleetwood being the biggest of Caddy boats. The Lincoln Continental was also up there at the top of the food chain.
Then there was the next level of big boats. One of the models occupying this place was the Mercury Marquis.
Mercury was a division of Ford that was the brainchild of Henry Ford’s son, Edsel. The brand was established in 1938, and it stayed in business through 2011, but it is now defunct.
The Mercury Marquis was first introduced for the 1967 model year. When it was initially released, the Marquis was a full-size beauty that exuded class. The only body style available during the initial model year was a two-door hardtop.
It takes a big engine to power a big car, and the Marquis was loaded with a 410-cubic-inch V8 that was rated at 330 horsepower. This was the standard engine, but an upgrade was available in the form of the Super Marauder.
Now, really, if you have the chance to have an engine called the Super Marauder, you have to go for it, right? Especially when we’re talking about 345 horses coming from a 428-cubic-inch V8 with a four-barrel carburetor.
The first generation of the Mercury Marquis lasted for two years. The second generation was introduced for the 1969 model year, and there were significant expansions. In addition to the two-door hardtop, a four-door hardtop was added. There was also a two-door convertible, a station wagon, and a pillared hardtop.
One of the cool things about the 1969 Mercury Marquis was the hidden headlights. They were concealed behind panels on the grille, and the panels would rise when you turned the lights on.
The Mercury Marquis was a popular stalwart for a long time. There were four different generations in all, and the car was around for parts of three decades. The final year of production for the Marquis was 1986. By that time the car was no longer a big boat; it was a rather homely and unremarkable mid-size vehicle.
In its heyday the Mercury Marquis was a head turner, and a classic from the 1970s would look pretty cool in your driveway.