By on May 23, 2012

Brougham. To (increasingly elderly) car shoppers nearly to the dawn of the 21st century, that word meant class. Luxury. Success. A brougham was a type of horse-drawn carriage… or it was an option package applied to a car made by GM, Chrysler, or Ford; even Nissan jumped aboard the Brougham bandwagon. Mercury might have been the most broughamic marques of them all, which makes today’s Junkyard Find the zenith of broughamhood!
You really can’t experience the joys of broughamism without a big chrome-plated heraldic crest on the C pillar, and the ’72 Marquis delivers in a big way.
There’s the silhouette head of the Roman god Mercury in the shield; the Mercury Division had been moving away from images of the Messenger of the Gods for a decade or two, so it’s interesting to see one in vestigial form here. The really disturbing part of this emblem, however, is the crown-wearing lions— or are those hyenas?— with tormented monkey skulls for faces. LSD in Dearborn’s water supply?
Up front, we’ve got a 208-horsepower 429 engine (due to Communist infiltration of American institutions in the early 1970s, Detroit was forced to list horsepower ratings using net horsepower figures instead of ludicrously inflated —except when they were ludicrously deflated to fool insurance companies— gross figures; also under notorious nanny-state liberal Richard M. Nixon’s watch, compression ratios dropped in ’72), down from the 320 horses the same engine made in ’71. The intake manifold on this engine weighs more than your Commie vehicle of choice, by the way.
Right. So there’s no point in calling it a Brougham if you don’t have the kind of interior that, say, Superfly would feel comfortable with.
The interior of this car is still in pretty good shape, but scrap-metal prices mean that most less-than-perfect 5,000-pound Detroit barges are worth more in steel than they are as cars.
These maddening separate shoulder belts appeared in a lot of cars during the late 1960s and early 1970s, before the manufacturers figured out a way to make three-point belts that retracted as one unit with the lap belt. Blame Nixon!

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61 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1972 Mercury Marquis Brougham...”


  • avatar
    tonyola

    Dad had a ’72 Marquis Brougham pillared sedan that was dark metallic blue with a white vinyl top. I put a fair amount of wheel time in it during high school. Something of a pig to drive, but decently fast with a 429 and extremely comfortable. Even though these shared a lot with the Ford LTD underneath, the Merc was a big step up in luxury and quality.

    • 0 avatar
      Shawnski

      My old man (and then my mom) had a ’71. The hp rating between the 429 was net (’72) and gross (’71). The ’71 motor did have more compression (preferred premium fuel). An unremarkable car, other then it having great acceleration. Faster than any other fullsize Ford big blocks we had, and any of my Dads Cadillacs. That ’71 429 car influenced my life long pursuit of hotrodding Fords. RIP Dad.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    Putrid color combo, had it been another more acceptable configuration (dark blue on blue was popular on these when I was a kid), it would have been a crime to see this car end up at the junkyard in this kind of shape. But in this color combo, no great loss…

    • 0 avatar
      salhany

      See, I think this color combo is PERFECT for this car. Nothing epitomizes 70′s land yachts than that gold/green/yellow metallic color. All the big American companies had something like this color in their palette.

      • 0 avatar
        Roberto Esponja

        You do have a point. I still remember abominations like pistachio green Cadillacs, yellow with tan vinyl top and red interior Caprices, Castillian cloth upholstered Chryslers, etc. Ugh…

      • 0 avatar
        tonyola

        It wasn’t just cars either – Browns, greens, and oranges were big for appliances, furniture, and carpeting in the 1970s. I remember looking at an apartment kitchen around ten years ago that still had avocado refrigerator and range, burnt orange cabinets, and brown plaid wallpaper. I’m sure it was quite styling in 1972 but it looked horrible 30 years later.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I have to admit Ford did the brougham-thing better than anyone else, as their cars were styled correctly for the application.

    To me, a “brougham” is/was the modern-day equivalent to the proverbrial “Surrey with the fringe on top”, isinglass curtains superseded by fixed-glass!

    Just give me my old 1964 Chevy back…more REAL style and honesty than these…things…

    As to this example’s color – looks like a giant Grey Poupon mustard bottle fallen over!

  • avatar
    rpol35

    Brougham. To (increasingly elderly) car shoppers nearly to the dawn of the 21st century, that word meant class. Luxury.

    At first reading, I thought you wrote, “that word meant crass. Luxury.”

  • avatar
    Tomifobia

    Okay, Murilee. Picture 19. Next row, to the right of the maroon Panther Grand Marquis. There’s a green vehicle with a white roof. Mid-60′s F Series?

  • avatar
    jgcaulder

    Man, I would love to have one of these. Beautiful car. It’s a shame this didn’t make it into someone’s hands that would take it on as a restoration/weekend driver. How much money would this beast pull in for scrap?

  • avatar
    Dan R

    Sinful but enjoyable. Without the Oil Crisis, where would this have led? I know, full size SUVs!

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Car and Driver famously compared best selling vehicles in 1972 to best selling vehicles in the mid 90s.

      Best sellers in 1972, giant land barges like this Mercury. All V8s with heavy fuel consumption.

      Best sellers in the 1990s, giant SUVs with heavy fuel consumption. Americans didn’t ultimately change their driving habits, they simply switched from cars to SUVs in response to CAFE.

      • 0 avatar
        chicagoland

        Not right away, smaller cars sold well in the 1980′s, but then four door mid size SUV’s came out [Explorer] and sold like mad, and ‘fashionable people’ promoted them as ‘cool’.

  • avatar
    nikita

    I’m always entertained by your Nixon references.

  • avatar

    There’s the silhouette head of the Roman god Mercury in the shield; the Mercury Division had been moving away from images of the Messenger of the Gods for a decade or two, so it’s interesting to see one in vestigial form here. The really disturbing part of this emblem, however, is the crown-wearing lions— or are those hyenas?— with tormented monkey skulls for faces. LSD in Dearborn’s water supply

    very funny Murilee! great catch

  • avatar
    GS650G

    I know Murilee grabbed the clock, it was too tempting.

    • 0 avatar
      roger628

      Grab the radio too, it’s actually worth something to period Ford collectors restorers.

    • 0 avatar

      I never buy Detroit car clocks without testing them first, and I didn’t have my clock-testing battery pack with me. About 98% of Detroit analog car clocks in the junkyard are dead, and Fords are the worst.

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        Agreed; auto clocks from the 60′s and 70′s just never seem to work. Just about every car I have driven or owned from that era had a non-functioning or barely working clock though my dad’s 72 Celica’s clock worked fine until it’s tinwormed body went to the junkyard.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Looking at those pictures there seems something almost — wrong — that this is going to the crusher. It appears to be all original and a very easy restore for a 40 year old car.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      +1. Pity.

    • 0 avatar
      r0ckf0rd

      Something strange about this car… Anyone notice the odometer? By the looks of this thing, I find it hard to believe its taken a spin around to the 100,000 mark! Looks complete, looks in great shape and could pull off being a 72 with 3400 miles on it owned by grandma then thrown in a garage for who knows how many decades… it’s funky, but it would be a great resto project for someone!!

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      Agreed. There are may cars on the road in worse shape; this one doesn’t look too bad.

  • avatar
    roger628

    That’s a 4 barrel 429, so the gross rating would have been 360. The 320 number was for the 2-barrel version, which got dropped for ’72.
    This bad boy appears to be loaded, Temp Air, AM-FM, tilt, cruise,split seats, likely power both sides.(the power windows were standard) . Somebody got a big promotion!
    This is a post Jan 1-72 produced car as indicated by the seatbelt warning light planted squarely in middle of the dash. This was accompanied by a shrill buzzer which never went off until the front lap belts were fastened, either around you or behind you. Retractors for the rear outboard belts completed the package, a sign of the times, the nascent nanny state.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      Yes, that car seemed to have it all.

      I can remember my father looking at these back in the day, but he was on a weird downsizing kick, we got a Montego instead. Not a four door one either, but a two door. He was still hauling around my two brothers and I at the time and why a two door, I’ll never know…

      • 0 avatar
        chicagoland

        Good example why coupes are dead, adults today have bad memories of being force fed into the back seats. Just so the driver could feel like he has a ‘sporty car’.

      • 0 avatar
        Robert.Walter

        Same reason soccer moms didn’t want to drive mini vans a generation later.

      • 0 avatar
        MadHungarian

        My grandmom had a ’72 Montego MX Brougham coupe. All of the same broughaminess, in fact an even more pimptastic brocade fabric, but in an incredibly space-inefficient package. The back seat was a joke. The other thing I remember about that car was that it was the first car anyone in the family had with an FM radio, and the stereo kept cutting in and out, making for very choppy sound.

      • 0 avatar
        dtremit

        In the days before child safety interlocks, two doors were sold as a safer choice for families — the kids couldn’t break themselves free at speed.

  • avatar
    Omnifan

    I always liked the “juice can” vacuum reservoir on the driver’s side fender. A real high tech piece of FoMoCo engineering.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      Yup! “Hi-C” was the juice I drank as a kid from that sized can.

      Our 1971 LTD had that exact same can, and I suspect that this Mercury actually had two of them – one was for the vacuum reservoir for the HVAC controls, and the second for the vacuum headlight door motors (to keep the car from “waking up” overnight).

      This car also has the high-backed, split bench front seat with individual armrests (with probably 6-way power on both driver’s and passenger seats). I got a set of those for my 1971 LTD but never got around to installing them.

      • 0 avatar
        Robert.Walter

        The 69 cougar had a vacuum reservoir under the left fender fwd of the wheel that was about 4 or 5 times the size of the can pictured. There was also a peach can reservoir under the right fender aft of the wheel for the a/c system and the servo which cut off hot water to the heater core, and finally, there would be a 2nd peach can mounted fwd of the rt wheel, which was the reservoir for the tilt/swing away steering column option.

        My guess is that the big can shown may have been for the vacuum door locks, or as an accumulator/damper for the cruise control system.

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        My 70 Mustang had the vacuum reservoir under the right fender aft of the wheel for the a/c system Once I had trouble with the settings. A/C was blowing through the defrost and a hissing sound. I changed the rotting vacuum reservoir aka coffee can (dealer only)and all was well.

  • avatar

    Meh, no big loss.
    IIRC someone on TTAC referenced some youtube vids showing these cars being tested when new.
    Four wheel lock-up while fishtailing, wallowing in the corners, the works.
    Can’t remembers the guys name but his mild response to such poorly engineered crap is a reminder on how bad cars were back then.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    Broughamtastic. Those monkey-skull lions are going to give me nightmares.

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    That emblem is incredible.

    I must have it on a t-shirt.

  • avatar
    redmondjp

    This car’s air conditioning system has a wonderful feature which was value-engineered out a year or two later and has never come back since: 3-way valves on the compressor head.

    In their normal position (fully counterclockwise), they sealed off the service ports (so no schrader valves to worry about leaking slowly and you could take your time connecting the gauge set w/o any leakage or oil spraying everywhere). Metal dust caps (both missing on this car) were also typically fitted to keep crud from building up in the ports.

    In their center position, the service ports were open (during which time it was normal to have the dual gauge set connected and the system could be topped off as well). Just make sure to open the LOW-side valve on the gauge set when filling from the freon can!

    In their fully clockwise position, they isolated the compressor from the rest of the system, so you could remove and replace the compressor without losing your refrigerant charge – neato!

    This feature made servicing the A/C system very easy w/o having an expensive vacuum/store/refill machine. Another victim of the bean counters . . . oh well!

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Plenty of room in the back seat, even enough for a diamond cutter, if you catch my drift…

    That car’s in awfully nice shape for 40 years old…look at that paint. It’s a shame someone didn’t take it home and give it some love. What a great piece of automotive history.

    • 0 avatar
      ciddyguy

      If you look at the trunk, the paint isn’t perfect, it’s top layer has peeled in a couple of large places on the trunk lid.

      Otherwise, I would agree, that paint is in pretty nice shape, though the vinyl top isn’t and would need a fresh replacement.

  • avatar
    turtletop

    They called it a Brougham cuz that’s the sound that sweet 429 made when you’d goose it!

    Brougham! Brougham! (insert squealing tire sound here)

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    These cars are just so revoltingly tacky to me.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Rear seat legroom and interior width that is unheard of in today’s generic sedans.

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    If I lived in Denver, I would probably
    1) be living in Murilee’s garage behind a pile of greasy rags
    2)own WAY too many cars (I only own 5 now)
    3) would be stealing food from the u-pull-it yard dogs, and
    4) own this Grand Marquis Brougham.
    @TW- “Four wheel lock-up while fishtailing, wallowing in the corners, the works.”- you say it like it’s a BAD thing.

  • avatar
    luvmyv8

    Though I can appreciate the Mercury the Murilee posted… hell I even want it because of the 429, that and they sure as hell don’t make ‘em that way anymore…. but strangely I also want the Nissan “Brougham” that was also alluded to as well…. strange I know….

  • avatar
    Slab

    Yo, Murilee. I’m really happy for you. I’m gonna let you finish, but the Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham d’Elegance was the broughamiest of all times…Of all time.

    Did the Mercury have back seat footrests? I don’t think so.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Say what you will about the brown interior, but it is better then the awful maroon/burgundy ones that came out of this era.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    This ain’t the ‘zenith’ of Broughams, try a 1975-78 Grand Marquis Brougham.

    Also, shoulder belts were mandated by Congress, not Nixon, and they save lives. Get over that ancient thinking of ‘I don’t need no seat belt, Im safer to get thrown out of the car”

    And same with being against emission controls, you wouldn’t be enoying cleaner air and better performane from Fuel Injection, instead of pouring gas down the carbs. Get over that old grudge too. It’s over 40 years since the Net HP and lower compression, geez.

    • 0 avatar
      ciddyguy

      Here, this post at least, I don’t think anyone is saying 3 point shoulder belts and emissions controls are a bad thing per se, but remember, this WAS 1972 we’re talking about and the technology then (as also implemented) sucked hugely as motors like this 429 suddenly lost performance and went from a mean, lean, muscular dude to the proverbial 98# weakling by the mid 70′s.

      I’ve owned a pre 3 point belt car, a ’68 Chrysler Newport with these types of shoulder belts and let me tell you, these are more of an inconvenience than the later 3 point units that came along by 1973-74. It was like the motorized and door mounted shoulder belts that were used to hold off on installing airbags back in the early 90′s and many disliked those greatly as well.

      Very little have complained about the modern 3 point belts in an of themselves except to simply refuse to buckle up. Period, no matter how the belts were implemented.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Pssssssssssss Murilee is kidding us and induldging his Nixon obsession at the same time as well.

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        Hey, everybody knows Nixon is responsible for All Things Bad. Or is that Carter, Reagan, Bush 1, Clinton, Bush 2, or Obama?

        Wait, it must be Ford!

    • 0 avatar
      Moparman426W

      The 76-78 Chrysler New Yorker is the zenith of Broughams.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      “Im safer to get thrown out of the car”…

      Ok, but what if the car gets submerged or catches fire and the latching mechanism jams? What will you do, what will you do??

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Awhile ago there was a late 70′s Mercedes Junkyard Find that was, according to the poster, in great shape and a testament to how great they were. No doubt they were; we had one back in the day. However, this car, being even older, is in almost as good condition. Some interior cracking, but for 40 years old and just before the Malaise Era, not too shabby.

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    Murilee NEVER kids.

  • avatar
    mccall52

    From the look of that crest, I somehow get the impression it was never meant to be dissected into its most basic counterparts. Case in point, the ghoulish crowned monkey skulls on the “lions”.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that seat fabric is referred to as brocade. Brocade appears often in GM car brochures of the early 70′s, particularly Cadillac.


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