The Truth About Cars » Mercury http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 16 Apr 2014 18:26:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Mercury http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Piston Slap: You’ve Got to be All Mine…Foxy Lady! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/piston-slap-youve-got-to-be-all-mine-foxy-lady/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/piston-slap-youve-got-to-be-all-mine-foxy-lady/#comments Mon, 31 Mar 2014 11:50:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=784545  

Mark VII

TTAC Commentator Thunderjet writes:

Hello Sajeev,

Last year I picked up a ’91 Lincoln Mark VII LSC for $800. It’s in decent shape for being a Chicago area car and having 153K on the clock. The body has no major rust issues except for the front fenders, which have rust holes due to the sunroof drains, so the car will eventually need new fenders. The under body and frame are rust free and very clean. The car sat for several years before I purchased it and over the last year I have put about $500 into the car replacing various wear/tune up items (water pump, hoses, belt, cap, rotor, plug wires, spark plugs, and the starter). The car runs well and I’ve always wanted one, being that I have been a Fox Body nut since I started driving.

I would like to keep the car as I enjoy driving it. My daily driver is a 2011 Ford Focus SE bought new. It currently has about 28K on it and I’m hoping to keep it another 10 years or more. The Mark VII needs several things to make it more presentable including a paint job and the replacement of some of the leather panels on the front seats. In addition I would like to replace some wear items on the car such as the air springs so I won’t have to worry about failure in the future. I can do the repairs as time/budget allow and probably get a pretty nice car in the end.

??????????

The issue I’m having a problem with is that I already have a fun car that I tinker with: a 1988 Ford Thunderbird LX. It’s a factory 5.0 car with Edelbrock aluminum heads, a GT40 intake, .533 lift Comp roller cam, AOD with 2800 stall converter, and a 3:73 Traction-Lok differential. It’s a fun car and it’s the first car I ever bought. It’s not going away as the improvements I’ve made to the Thunderbird in the last 12 years I’ve owned the car make it too fun to part with. Also being my first car the Thunderbird is special to me.

I’m wondering if it makes sense for me to have two project/fun cars or if it’s overkill? A little background on me: I’m in my late 20’s and I’ll be getting married later this year. My fiancé doesn’t mind cars and in fact likes them as her daily driver is a 2012 Mustang V6 in Grabber Blue. I own my own house outright and I only have two sources of debt: about $15K I’m paying off in student loans for my master’s degree and the other two years on the loan for my Focus. I bought a new car as a daily driver as the dealer offered me 0% for 60 months. Who am I to say no to free money from Ford Credit? I am saving for retirement and put 15% of my yearly salary towards that. I make in the mid to upper five figures so I’m not poor but I’m not rich. As of right now having the Mark VII is only costing me about $300 a year in insurance. Does it make sense for a late 20 something to have two fun cars or should I ditch the Mark VII and just keep the Thunderbird?

Sajeev answers:

Before I go completely bonkers over a Fox Body question, a question back: do you have adequate parking for everyone’s cars???

Thunderjet writes:

The parking situation is good with the extra fox. The Thunderbird and my fiance’s Mustang reside in the garage while the Focus sits in the driveway. I usually keep the Mark in the driveway as well but if weather is bad my parents have let me drop it off at their house. They have space in their garage they are not using.

I should also note that I purchased the AOD floor shifter from your 1988 Cougar XR-7 on foxtbirdcougarforums several years ago. I think you sold it to me for ten bucks. I still have it if I ever get the desire to remove the column shifter from my Thunderbird. And yes the graphic EQ in my Thunderbird still works. It’s wired through a JVC head unit and the factory amp.

Sajeev answers:

Since normal people won’t understand this graphic EQ hack, a photo from my Cougar to clarify:

Not only is the Fox one of the most customizable vehicles on the planet, the truly insane among us convert the Ford EQ’s wiring into RCA connections; making it work with any aftermarket stereo. And it sounds kinda great, too!

What a small world it is: you knew me back when I was a Fox UBB forum fiend!  Times change, but multiple housebound projects are doable for these reasons:

  1. Your intelligent and enviable debt-to-equity ratio.
  2. Ownership of a new vehicle as a daily driver.
  3. Enough space at your residence for cars, without pissing off your significant other.
  4. Intimate knowledge of the vehicles in question, with a great track record for success.
  5. Readily available parts and low-cost of ownership inherent in Fox Body (resto?) modification.
  6. A strong internet community to help you when needed. And a sympathetic resto-mod Cougar owning schmuck on TTAC too, if that helps.

You are one lucky duck. How do I know? This is kinda how I co-exist with my old Fords. BAM SON!

A final note: since you showed me yours, here’s mine. Getting rid of my shifter opened up room in the Cougar for a manual gearbox. Thanks for that. And best of luck with the LSC, I am jealous.

photo

I really, really want an cherry 88-89 LSC, just not with Porno Red leather. One of these Foxes is enough.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice. 

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Piston Slap: A Tribute to the Mariner’s idle Escape? (PART II) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/piston-slap-a-tribute-to-the-mariners-idle-escape-part-ii/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/piston-slap-a-tribute-to-the-mariners-idle-escape-part-ii/#comments Mon, 24 Mar 2014 12:28:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=778665 Capture

We had two updates to a previous Piston Slap this weekend, surprisingly within two hours of each other.  Let’s hear from the OP first:

TTAC Commentator sundvl76 writes:

Sajeev, reporting back:

You may be interested in this, if for no other reason than to add to your diagnostic toolbox; my experience certainly can’t be unique: Several comments below your post also suggested the motor mount(s) as the problem. I more recently discussed this with a professional wrench acquaintance, who also said that the mounts can be expected to go south after ~80K miles; he suggested using a padded floor jack to lift slightly on the engine during a time when I detected the “rough” idle (the oil pan on this vehicle, and maybe all Duratec engines, is waffled cast aluminum). Bingo! The vibration ceased when I did that.

I have now changed the large mount on the passenger side of the engine compartment, and can report that the vibration is no longer present. But, there is a bonus prize to this story: for the last 25 – 30K miles, I’ve been also chasing a creaking noise which occurred – again more prominently during cold weather than hot – at any acceleration from a stop sign/light. I would have bet serious money that it was coming from the rear suspension, and in fact went so far as to replace 3 of the 4 control arms in the rear (they’re fairly cheap and easy to replace), with no success. Replaced the motor mount::creaking noise vanished like magic!

This vehicle is nothing great by any means – wife drives it 80% of the time and it suits her needs – and I don’t care that much for it, but these nagging issues really made me start to think about dumping it. Whole new attitude now – it will stay around for a while yet! Thanks for your help and thanks for reading this. I enjoy your posts greatly.

Sajeev answers:

Excellent!  Nice to see my initial armchair diagnosis was on the money. All it takes is a fractional difference in mount height from new to cause this problem. Maybe a millimeter, maybe less! No way can you eyeball this and know for sure.

I am totally diggin’ the padded floor jack on the oil pan trick.  Perhaps the pan needs reinforcement to work here, not just the old school sheet metal affairs. But perhaps all it takes is a little lift at one corner (i.e. not the big flat part of the pan) to prove the bad idle is indeed an engine mount vibration. Or put a long board on the jack so the weight is spread across the entire pan, from corner to corner.

No matter, glad to see you are now enjoying your ride much more.  It’s hard not to love it after getting your hands, arms, legs and even your mind “dirty” in a successful diagnosis of a seemingly impossible problem!

Then Rene writes:

Sajeev:

Greetings! I enjoy your fine column and blog very much. Keep up the fine work! With regard to the poor idle that your reader was looking for help with on his 2005 Mariner, I thought I would chime in after much experience with the Ford/Mazda Duratec family of V-6’s, particularly the 2001-2007 Tributes and Escapes. In addition, a 2003 Tribute with 199,000 miles is my daily driver. I have found that the V-6 idle issue, after all the usual culprits have been considered and/or remedied without result, could be these two things—a failed DPFE sensor, or the intake seals are cooked.

These V6 engines have a manifold on top which is bolted to a plenum riser, which in turn is bolted to the engine. There are six seals where each component meets the other, and as one might expect, after 100K the six seals between the plenum and the engine have grown crispy from age and heat (in far worse condition than the six plenum to manifold seals, which might still appear pliable). The lower seals harden and begin to suck air in, and this condition reveals itself the most noticeably by a poor idle and a drop in fuel mileage. I have had excellent results by replacing all the intake seals (a complete intake gasket set is required) as well as all of the smaller vacuum hoses, cleaning the MAF sensor (using MAF sensor cleaner, not carb cleaner) and air flow meter; in most cases, showroom floor idle is restored.

These engines also seem to favor Motorcraft platinum spark plugs; I’ve tried other plugs in a pinch or on sale, but the Motorcrafts produce the smoothest idle and best fuel mileage for me. Of course, if the DPFE sensor hasn’t ever been changed, it’s a good idea. This component is also exposed to a great deal of operating heat. Mine clocked 140,000 miles before it failed, but I’ve seen them go earlier….and later. You never know with those. Finally, my last fleeting thought on the subject: two half inch vacuum tubes tee from the large air intake hose (just after the MAF sensor housing) and each one plugs into a grommet in the rear of each valve cover. These grommets deteriorate from heat and contact with oil and fail with time, resulting in a vacuum leak that starts slowly but soon gets worse. These should also be checked and replaced if they are soft and gummy.

I hope that this info helps someone.

Sajeev concludes:

Thank you for writing! I thought a failed DPFE throw a check engine light (CEL)…as that’s my expereince in my ’95 Mark VIII. And boy, was that a fun sensor to replace on the MN-12 chassis! But I digress…

Rene’s great assessment of the Duratec V6s is something every long-term car owner must consider:  dried up gaskets and rubber vacuum lines that either go brittle or gummy.  And not just the usual suspects you see with a quick look under the hood, there could be gaskets you wouldn’t even consider unless you have the proper service manual and/or information from your model specific forum.  And if you own one of the millions of DOHC V6s shoehorned in a wrong wheel drive platform, well, I promise you that your eyeballs can’t find all the hidden gaskets and rubber bits.

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Piston Slap: A Tribute to the Mariner’s idle Escape? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/piston-slap-a-tribute-to-the-mariners-idle-escape/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/piston-slap-a-tribute-to-the-mariners-idle-escape/#comments Wed, 05 Mar 2014 13:16:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=761745

TTAC Commentator sundvl76 writes:

Sajeev,

Your post of 2 Mar 2011 was a great explanation regarding the cause of the “T” joint oil leak I’ve been experiencing. No one on any of the normal Ford sites has been able to pinpoint the problem, so I thank you for the information. (I’d discovered the source, but didn’t know the cause/fix until your post.) TTAC is now on my Favorites list!

So, I am hoping you might also be able to shed some light on the reason for the poor-quality idle I’m experiencing with the same engine. This does not seem to be a mis-fire, but more of a resonant vibration typical of an engine slightly out of time, and/or at the incorrect idle speed. It occurs primarily in colder weather (below 50F) and does improve once the engine is warmed – IF the ambient temp is above about 40F. When ambient is below that point, the strong vibrations do not disappear. Of course it is most pronounced in Drive/Reverse but noticeable in Park/Neutral as well. Manually increasing the idle speed slightly using the throttle does help. In warm weather the idle may be rough upon first start but improves pretty quickly.

I’ve investigated thoroughly (w/ propane) for a vacuum leak, cleaned the Mass Air Sensor and TB, and have replaced the IAC valve and spark plugs, with no improvement. There are no codes in storage to guide me to the solution, and I’m now thinking the MAS itself may be faulty but am not sure how to test it.

Have you seen this problem with other vehicles?

The vehicle in question is a 2005 Mariner with 114K miles.

Sajeev answers:

Thank you for your note, and Behold The Power of The Internet!!!

I often suspect the hydraulic filled engine mounts in these cases. A similar question was posted recently, and our commentators had suggestions you should consider. So have a read there, too.

sundvl76 replies:

Sajeev,

Thanks for the link; read it all.

To add info to my question:

Engine mounts was one suggestion I’d found on another forum, and I’ve visually inspected them for leakage and also verified the engine does not move (power applied/brake on). Not saying it is impossible, but the symptoms are not the same as the Audi owner’s in the post.

Chevron or Exxon used 90% of the time, Shell occasionally. I also recall that when this first started (2 winters ago), I did an injector cleaning with the BBK kit, but no change in behavior was detected.

A small vacuum leak was also suggested – one which seals up when the engine is warm. Possible, but not sure how that matches up with my experience of the poor idle being dependent on ambient temps; the engine block should still eventually reach the same temp regardless of ambient. Incidentally, I’m in TX, so “cold ambient” is relative. . .

Thanks, I’ll keep watch on Piston Slap for further info.

Sajeev concludes:

If the engine mounts look that fantastic when running or not, consider the totally not impossible chance of clogged EGR passages.  I worked on a 1996 Sable LS (Duratec) that was EGR code free, but the uber-plenty EGR coking was a possible cause to its bad idle.  And while your Duratec V6 is significantly different from a UR-Duratec Sable, my EGR de-coking, fresh vacuum lines, a tune up (which you did) certainly cured the Sable.

And if those fail, perhaps you still need new mounts: perfection to your eyeballs doesn’t mean they are just out of spec enough to cause the funny idle.

Off to you, Best and Brightest.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Piston Slap: Escort Wagon Spelunking? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/piston-slap-escort-wagon-spelunking/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/piston-slap-escort-wagon-spelunking/#comments Tue, 04 Mar 2014 12:46:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=761673

TTAC Commentator Modestholdings writes:

Best from the West, young man,

The Boss has a pretty nice ’94 Escort LX wagon sourced by yours truly, and it happens to have found the sweet spot betwixt my picking it and her loving it. A grand for this one-owner handshaker and she’s managed to put about 23K on it in the last year — points of interest are far and few between here in Wyoming.

At 140,000 I figured it would be good prophylaxis to go ahead and do that timing belt (1.9 four-potter) after what was eventually determined to be the tensioner began yapping.

New clutch at buy, pretty new shoes and a windshield are our investments beyond regular upkeep. (When it rains, it hails.) Some forum s̶k̶u̶l̶d̶u̶g̶g̶e̶r̶y̶ ̶ spelunking has turned up the possibility of new valve seats as the next major preventative maintenance. My question for you, the B&B, et al, is whether that makes sense, or drive it until it pops (er, drops) and then plop a junkyard mill in? The current motivator is pretty tight for being good to vote and everything, and I’d like to keep the Green Machine rolling at least until she’s old enough to buy me beer.

Sajeev answers:

Yes, new valve seats could be in your future.  Or her future.  Or the Escort’s future.  Whatever…

The questions presented here are when and how to replace it: wait until it drops and sell the Escort?  Wait and replace with a junkyard motor?  Replace the valve seats now, either by yourself (if you are that awesome) or with a rebuilt head swap?

As I get earn more gray hair on my dome and less flexibility in my joints in cold weather, my answer goes to the path of least resistance:  the somewhat stress free and kinda cheap path.  So don’t wait for the entire motor to grenade, as that (probably) ruins both the cylinder head and the block.  Junkyard motors are 3-4 times more than a rebuilt head, and do you believe the valve “fix” was applied to whatever you buy? Or will it fail again, probably after the junkyard warranty expires?

Ignorance isn’t bliss, nor is an in-n-out motor swap.  Time to find the answer in the shades of gray.

The smarter move is a few hundred spent at a place like this, or something similar on eBay. In the 1.9L Escort’s case, a rebuilt cylinder head fixes the bad component and a fresh set of gaskets/fluids with someone smart enough to swap it all around is needed.  And if you must pay for the labor, it’s still a smarter long-term position than replacing the entire motor.

A possible final question: is it stupid to want to fix the problem before it actually is a problem?

When the problem can hurt the entire engine and replacement engines may be no better, the answer is absolutely yes.

Off to you, Best and Brightest.

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Crapwagon Outtake: Propane And Propane Accessories http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/crapwagon-outtake-propane-and-propane-accessories/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/crapwagon-outtake-propane-and-propane-accessories/#comments Sat, 29 Jun 2013 12:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=493604 $T2eC16h,!)8E9s4l90QlBRyqw3vG3w~~48_20

One of the consequences of Canada’s high gas prices is the prevalence of propane conversions. In the Greater Toronto Area, a fair number of vehicles, typically in fleet use as taxi cabs, airport limos or construction vehicles, get converter to run on propane gas. The conversions are expensive, running approximately $5,000, and if you want to see any return on your investment, you better run the car well into the six-figure range of the odometer.

On the other hand, these cars make some great used car buys. With the conversion already done, you get all of the benefit of filling up for approximately $2.50 per gallon, and the vehicles are typically robust, hard wearing cars like Ford Panthers, full-size pickups and W-Body GM cars.

Amid the million kilometer Town Cars and Caravans (ex airport taxis, no doubt) there is a diamond in the rough. A beige one. For $1,800, there’s a 2000 Grand Marquis with 487,000 km. I’m one of the few dissenters when it comes to Panther Love on this site, but the price is right – both for the car, and for the sub-$50 fillups. Not that I’m considering it or anything. It’s for a friend…

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The Encyclopedia of Obscure Concept and Show Cars: Part Three – Honda to Mercury http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/the-encyclopedia-of-obscure-concept-and-show-cars-part-three-honda-to-mercury/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/the-encyclopedia-of-obscure-concept-and-show-cars-part-three-honda-to-mercury/#comments Wed, 17 Apr 2013 12:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=484783

Continuing with our look at long forgotten (and some not so long forgotten, but forgotten just the same) concept and show cars from the major automobile manufacturers. Part One, Acura to Chevrolet, is herePart two, Chrysler to Ford, is here.

Sure, once you see it, the Honda SSM (Sports Study Model), first shown at the Tokyo show in 1995 and styled by Pininfarina, was obviously the concept for what became the S2000 roadster. The question is do S2000 fans even remember the SSM?

InfinitiTriantConcept@2003Web22Try and see if you can recall the Infiniti Triant from 2003.

JeepJeepsterConcept@1998Web22Chrysler recycled the Jeepster name for this 1998 concept, which you may actually remember.

JeepsterToysQuite a number of die cast model companies and brands, including MaistoHot WheelsMatchbox,  and Tonka have produced toys and models of the Jeepster. If you’re a member of Generation Y, you may just remember the Jeepster.

JeepVarsityConcept@2000Web33Along with the Jeepster, the Varsity concept from 2000 made Hooniverse’s list of Jeep’s top 25 concept vehicles (not included on the list were the very cool Mighty FC cabover “forward control” truck and the JC-12 pickup concepts from last year). Jeep does indeed have a history of cool concepts, but I wouldn’t call the Varsity as memorable as the twin Hemi powered Hurricane that could turn on its own axis.

41914-500-0I don’t know if the 1969 Jeep XJ-001 concept is what convinced American Motors to buy Jeep from Kaiser the following year, or not. Jeep had been buying AMC engines for a while and when they decided to build their own version of a muscle car, with a custom fiberglass body on a CJ-5 chassis, they dropped in an AMC 360 cubic inch V8.

jeep_concepts_1969_wallpapers_1The XJ-001 is actually notable in Jeep history as it introduced one of the earliest full-time four wheel drive systems, which they called ”Quadritrac”. That would morph into Quadra Trac when the system was first offered for sale in 1973.

KaiserSafari@1951CASI can’t imagine where ever Kaiser got the idea to name this 1951 concept the “Safari”. Seriously though, I’m pretty sure they got the idea to use fur and zebra skins from the Cadillac Debutante the year before. The car companies were lucky there was no PETA then.

Lincoln_MacheteWhen I saw this photo of this Lincoln concept from 1988, I said, “what a cool car”. Lincoln has a history of making concept cars that, years later, enthusiasts say, “now that’s a car that Lincoln should have made”.

LincolnMachete@1988Web22Then I saw what they named it. In what alternate universe is the brand Lincoln associated with the word machete? If it had gone into production, would they have gotten Danny Trejo to do their ads?

MercedesBenz_F300LifeJet@1998Web22Now that Morgan has brought back the Three Wheeler, with the blessings of Baruth, and Polaris is about to introduce the Slingshot reverse trike, perhaps Mercedes-Benz should put the F300 Life Jet leanable trike concept from 1998 into production. I wonder if they paid any royalties to Fritz Fend‘s family.

Concept Cars - Mercury MC4The Mercury brand had some exciting show cars. Perhaps if some of them had gone into production, the brand might still be here with us today. The MC4 concept was based on a 1996 Thunderbird (Sajeev take note). The car’s designer, the late John Hartnell, gave it both suicide doors and de Tomaso Mangusta style rear center-opening hatches (with integral taillights). That combination alone should have made it a memorable concept car but memory can be fickle.

srill_sw_s16_1130353456_97mercury_mc4_2When Ford sold off some of their corporate collection of concept cars in 2002 to raise money for charity and celebrate FoMoCo’s centennial, the pre-sale estimate on the MC4 was $60,000-$120,000 with no reserve. It was hammered off at $645,500, the second highest sale price at that auction You may not remember it, but someone sure did. I bet his wife remembers the auction too.

MercuryMessenger@2003Web33The Mercury Messenger wowed the critics in 2003, so it’s not really that obscure, but does anyone think that Mercury dealers would have known what to do with a sporty two seater? It was supposed to be Mercury’s new brand look, which lasted until the Messenger was retired from the show circuit.

A great looking car but is there anything about it that says “Mercury”? Part of the problem is the name. Who calls a two seat sports coupe with a V8 engine the Messenger? For gosh sakes, this was a company that made cars called the Eliminator and the Marauder. Lincoln shows a Machete and Mercury shows a Messenger? Boy, Ford really got its brands messed up before Mulally turned things around. Besides, the Messenger was based on the Mustang, they should have called it the Cougar.

MercuryMystiqueConcept@91Web22Less memorable was the Mercury Mystique, another suppository shaped minivan.

MercuryOneConcept done with mazda@1989Web223Before there was Ford One, there was the Mercury One, a joint project of Mazda and Mercury.

MercuryPalomarRear@62Web22Somehow the name Mercury Palomar isn’t quite right. I know there’s an observatory on Mount Palomar and Mercury is indeed an astronomical body, but the car brand is named after the god, not the planet, so you end up with a car that’s actually named after a god and a mountain, not a planet and and observatory as the marketers guessed. The inspiration for the Palomar’s name was obviously the retractable roof, just like an observatory has. The inspiration for the roof itself was possibly from South Bend, not outer space. Well, sort of. In 1959, Brooks Stevens, who would later design the similarly featured Wagonaire and other Studebakers, designed three concepts cars called the Scimitar for the Olin Matheson Chemical Corp. to demonstrate the functional and decorative use of aluminum. One of the Scimitars was a station wagon with a retractable roof that let you carry tall items. The retractable roofed wagon is one of those ideas that pops up from time to time on concept and production vehicles most recently with the 2004 GMC Envoy XUV.

Continued in part 4 tomorrow, Mitsubishi to Plymouth.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can dig deeper at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks – RJS

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Monday Mileage Midget: Vecchio Combustible Paradisio! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/monday-mileage-midget-vecchio-combustible-paradisio/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/monday-mileage-midget-vecchio-combustible-paradisio/#comments Mon, 25 Feb 2013 13:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=478880

Today’s edition of Monday Mileage Midget is brought to you by the state of Florida.

Palm trees. Retirement communities. Traffic signals and double yellow lines that are treated as mere suggestions. Florida has become an economic juggernaut thanks in large part to cheap housing, plenty of sunshine, and legal loopholes that allow well deserving retirees and unethical douchebags to live on the cheap.

There is one other unusual reality benefit of living in Florida… low mileage cars.

 

Here we have a 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis GS with only 3,289 miles.

I love the interior on this one. It just screams out, “Road trip!” with those large cupholders and the virtually untouched seats.

And here we have a 2001 Mercury Grand Marquis GS with only 10,702 miles. Pardon the sun glint but I’m not the one taking these pictures.

Finally, if you are willing to go a bit beyond the usual automotive blue plate specials, there is…

A 2005 Honda Pilot EX with AWD and 15k miles.

A loaded up for 1994, Ford Ranger STX. ABS, Cruise, 5-Speed, Ice Cold Air, AM/FM Radio with the all too essential cassette deck and alloy wheels. A ride that may have cost less out the door in 2009 than it did back in 1994. This one has 22,375 original miles.

Finally, if you find yourself owning a lifetime supply of Grey Poupon and houndstooth sportcoats, you can buy yourself one of these.

A 1997 Bentley Brooklands. Gorgeous. 30,021 miles. Need I say more?

Well, if I must. This may have been one of the last old school designs that you could get before bulbous bling started to take over. The difference between the Bentley Brooklands of 1997…

and the Bentley Brooklands of 2008

is a classic representation of how elegance in automotive design gave way to gaudiness. The most recent generations of the Grand Marquis and the Pilot represent much of the same. Well earned prestige, that ended up completely subverted by those who thought the protruding plasticidity of Escalades and fingernail thin chrome treatments would be the way of the future.

Mark my words. The 1997 Brooklands will be a classic for all the right reasons. The 2008 model won’t be nearly as well received when it comes time for tomorrow’s classic car shows. It may be a hot auction commodity by then. But only because they sold so few of them.

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Junkyard Find: 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis LS Safety Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/junkyard-find-1997-mercury-grand-marquis-ls-safety-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/junkyard-find-1997-mercury-grand-marquis-ls-safety-edition/#comments Thu, 03 Jan 2013 14:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=472236 By the time the last few years of the Mercury-ized version of the Ford Crown Victoria rolled around, every single Grand Marquis sold was an Ultimate Edition. Back in the late 1990s, however, Mercury shoppers had more choices. Including, apparently, a Safety Edition. Here is an example I found in a Denver self-service yard last week.
A close look at the badges on the fenders makes me think that we’re dealing with some sort of dealer-installed or coachbuilder option, not a factory trim level.
The vinyl landau roof is a good indicator that some (no doubt Florida-based) company created its own line of Safety Edition Grand Marquis de Sades, perhaps in a shop just down the street from the one that made the faux-vertible ’97 Cougar XR7.
The cylinder heads are in the trunk, which offers a solid clue about the reason for this car’s current parking place.
I couldn’t find any signs of safety features beyond what all Panthers got in 1997. Perhaps this car got the police-grade stab-proof seats to protect the driver from unruly back-seaters.

01 - 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]>
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Super Piston Slap: Holiday Purchase = Holiday Project? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/super-piston-slap-holiday-purchase-holiday-project/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/super-piston-slap-holiday-purchase-holiday-project/#comments Sat, 29 Dec 2012 15:08:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=471881 Sajeev writes:

The holidays, no matter your religion (or lack thereof), is a time when many a car freak has the downtime to think of something they’d really want.  Another car?  Maybe.  More cars?  Possibly.  But I suspect many a Piston Slap reader is all about doing something to their car over the break. Here’s one of my projects: the Talking Lincoln Mark VIII, or MK-T for short. 

As a somewhat newly-minted homeowner I’m doing less house chores, getting back to my brand of idiotic brilliantly obscure modifications.  My Cougar is full of them, one is here, now it’s time to do the same to my Mark VIII: replace the outdated/bricked HomeLink receiver in my sun visor with something newer (rolling code) and cooler. I knew of the newer part (voice recorder, from a 1999 Mercury Mountaineer) for years, but didn’t know they came in charcoal…OMG SON…until last week.

And there’s the rub: the charcoal Homelink hasn’t arrived yet because I found it on eBay the Friday before Christmas.  Lesson Learned: if you want to tackle a project, don’t fart around with the presents to yourself.  Make sure they arrive well before the holiday. 

Yes, I’m so pumped that I actually printed out the eBay photo to help mock-up the visor. Now let’s wrap up the lonesome rant with the abbreviated procedure to make this happen:

  • Remove sun visor from car.
  • Watch YouTube video, grab screwdrivers and hope for the best.
  • Crack open visor like a clam.
  • Disconnect, remove pointless HomeLink module.
  • Verify factory module’s casing is similar to the one printed out from eBay. Sure enough, it is. Even the new one’s speaker isn’t obstructed inside the visor!
  • Verify wiring harness is the same. It certainly looks that way…PLUG & PLAY, son!
  • Turn into a 4 year old boy, get excited because you are a moron.
  • Hit “Buy It Now.”
  • WAIT FOR SHIPPING!!!  Grrr…
  • Get new one, pop off charcoal trim and separate it from the rubber buttons. Paint it black.  Be okay with half the buttons being charcoal, the alternative (factory tan, factory gray or black paint of dubious durability) isn’t worth it.
  • Consider re-using the bottom of the original’s casing, as it has a provision for a mounting screw. Or not, depending on what happens when it’s installed.
  • Cut visor’s headlining material to allow for the extra buttons of the new part.
  • Install into sun visor and plug-in factory wiring.
  • Connect visor to in-car wiring and see if it works.  Fingers crossed. If it’s bricked, oh well…so was the factory part. And this looks cooler, right?
  • Re-tuck visor’s headlining material, pulled back and messed up by my brilliant actions. Snap the visor “clam” shut again.
  • Reinstall into car and program to the new garage door opener.
  • In His Master’s Voice, consider what mean things to program in the recorder.

And with that, I hope you all will consider tackling an automotive project next Holiday. And share it with us, below.

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Junkyard Find: 1977 Mercury Cougar http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/10/junkyard-find-1977-mercury-cougar/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/10/junkyard-find-1977-mercury-cougar/#comments Wed, 17 Oct 2012 13:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=463944 We make fun of the personal luxury coupe now, just as we make fun of leisure suits, WIN buttons, and Freakies cereal. Still, the rest of the world (except perhaps Australia) never experienced the glory of the huge, inefficient, vaguely sporty coupe with floaty ride and deep-tufted velour interior, and this is their loss.
You’re not going to see this no-apologies shade of green on any car interior made after about 1983, and that’s everybody’s loss.
You don’t want to know the horsepower output of this 351M engine . It will just make all of us feel vaguely depressed (hint: it’s less— a lot less— than the base four-cylinder in the 2013 Camry). The good news is that it churned out sufficient torque to get this 3,800-pound brute moving pretty well.
Ride-Engineered!
This car or the Cordoba?


Chrysler had Ricardo Montalban. Mercury had Cheryl Tiegs.

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Junkyard Find: 1982 Mercury Zephyr http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/junkyard-find-1982-mercury-zephyr/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/junkyard-find-1982-mercury-zephyr/#comments Mon, 24 Sep 2012 13:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=460996 The super-Malaise-y Granada/Monarch was replaced by the Fox platform-based Fairmont/Zephyr in a process that lasted through the late 1970s and early 1980s (a Fox-based Granada lingered on until 1982). The Fox was like science fiction next to the well-seasoned early-60s chassis that came before, and car buyers who wanted a sporty two-tone coupe went right to their Lincoln-Mercury dealers to buy Zephyrs like this one.
You’d never know the 1970s had been over for a while after a glance at this tan-and-gold disco cruiser.
The good old Ford 250 inline-six engine— which I just learned came with the official name of “Thriftpower Six”— was a straight early-60s flashback for the purchaser of this Zephyr.
Ford certainly got its money’s worth out of the Fox platform; depending on the strictness of your definition of new-versus-upgraded chassis designs, it was built until either 1994 or 2003.

I couldn’t find any ’82 Zephyr ads, so here’s one for its Fairmont sibling.

15 - 1982 Mercury Zephyr Down On The Junkyard 02 - 1982 Mercury Zephyr Down On The Junkyard 03 - 1982 Mercury Zephyr Down On The Junkyard 04 - 1982 Mercury Zephyr Down On The Junkyard 05 - 1982 Mercury Zephyr Down On The Junkyard 06 - 1982 Mercury Zephyr Down On The Junkyard 07 - 1982 Mercury Zephyr Down On The Junkyard 08 - 1982 Mercury Zephyr Down On The Junkyard 09 - 1982 Mercury Zephyr Down On The Junkyard 10 - 1982 Mercury Zephyr Down On The Junkyard 11 - 1982 Mercury Zephyr Down On The Junkyard 12 - 1982 Mercury Zephyr Down On The Junkyard 13 - 1982 Mercury Zephyr Down On The Junkyard 14 - 1982 Mercury Zephyr Down On The Junkyard Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]>
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Junkyard Find: 1976 Capri II aka Mercury Capri aka Ford Capri http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/junkyard-find-1976-capri-ii-aka-mercury-capri-aka-ford-capri/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/junkyard-find-1976-capri-ii-aka-mercury-capri-aka-ford-capri/#comments Fri, 21 Sep 2012 13:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=460943 Until about the mid-1980s, the German-built Ford Capri was a fairly common site on the American street (well, at least it was a common sight in California, where I grew up). Available in the United States through 1978, the Capri was sold as, simply, “the Capri.” Because Mercury dealers sold the things, the car became known as the Mercury Capri, and the identification became more confused when the Fox-based Mustang-sibling Mercury Capri came out with Mercury badging. Since that time, really tedious anoraks have jumped down the throats of those who made the mistake of referring to the European Capri as a Mercury, and the rest of us don’t care. The Capri has mostly disappeared, but every once in a while I see a completely thrashed one in a junkyard. Here’s a ’75 that I found a few weeks ago in California.
The ’73 energy crisis had Detroit scrambling to import fuel-sipping machines from their overseas divisions. The West German-built Capri was much more successful for Ford USA than was the “Buick/Opel” was for GM.
The 2.8 liter “Cologne” V6 in this car made 90 horsepower. That doesn’t sound like much for a 2,500-pound car— and it wasn’t much— but standards during the Malaise Era were low.
When I get around to doing Patina Wallpapers to go with the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™ Junkyard and Thrown Rod Wallpapers, I’ll use this shot for sure.

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Look What I Found! One Family Numbers Matching 1964 Mercury Park Lane Convertible From Ford’s NY World’s Fair Magic Skyway http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/look-what-i-found-one-family-numbers-matching-1964-mercury-park-lane-convertible-from-fords-ny-worlds-fair-magic-skyway/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/look-what-i-found-one-family-numbers-matching-1964-mercury-park-lane-convertible-from-fords-ny-worlds-fair-magic-skyway/#comments Thu, 06 Sep 2012 14:28:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=456579

When I saw this 1964 Mercury Park Lane convertible at the Ford and Mercury Restorers Club meet a few weeks ago, I immediately knew what it was. Actually that’s a fib. I didn’t actually realize exactly what car this was until I saw the informational panel laid out in front of the Merc. Then I knew immediately what it was. Earlier this year TTAC ran a post of mine about the car companies’ pavilions at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair. The Detroit automakers went all out and Ford, working with Walt Disney’s team, came up with a novel way of exposing fair visitors to Ford and Mercury cars.

The Disney crew came up with what was branded the Magic Skyway. It was a continuous conveyor that carried 134 Ford and Mercury convertibles, plus a dozen of the earliest Mustang convertibles made (the Mustang was first introduced to the public on the day the fair opened, April 17, 1964). Families would hop into a Ford or Mercury and it would carry them past a series of dioramas that showed the ascent of man from the earth’s earliest history to highways in the sky. This ’64 Park Lane was one of those cars. While those early Mustangs are holy grailish for Mustang enthusiasts, this Mercury’s history also makes it a very unique car. Unique as in singular because it’s a “one of one” car in so many ways.

To begin with, it was ordered and built specifically for the ride at the World’s Fair. According to one account, it was the very first of the World’s Fair cars made. It was the only one of the NYWF Mercurys painted in “palamino”. 1964 was also Mercury’s 25th anniversary year so this was a special 25th Anniversary Edition. In addition to being equipped with a 380 CI V8 and an automatic transmission, it was built with every power, luxury and convenience option that Mercury offered on the car.

Click here to view the embedded video.

This exact car was photographed with Henry Ford II, Walt Disney and Robert Moses, the legendary NY politician who ran the fair. I believe that you can see it in this video at ~4:51 (the video’s color is not very good, that might be a red car).

This Park Lane also has unbroken provenance and it’s been owned by one family car new. Well, “new” is open to question because of the tens of thousands of people who rode in it at the Ford pavilion. After it was retired from service on the Magic Skyway when the fair closed, like many cars used for promotional purposes, the Park Lane ended up in Ford’s “B lot”, where employees could buy them as used cars. Adolph “AJ” Jedryczka worked for Ford engineering and bought the car for $2,500. His co-workers thought he was foolish. They joked about him driving a car that had been sat in by thousands of people’s behinds. Jedryczka paid them no heed, he and his wife loved the car. So did their daughter Virginia.

You can see the bracket used to attach the car to the Magic Skyway welded to the rear axle just inboard of the spring shackles.

AJ drove the car to work every day at Building 5 in Ford’s Dearborn engineering center until it was taken out of service in 1970. Six years sounds about right for the usable life of typical car back then. Still, the Jedryczka family knew it was a special car because instead of selling or scrapping it, they parked it in their garage. It still has the original engine, transmission and rear end so it’s a number’s matching car. Actually the rear end is important to establishing the car’s authenticity as it still has the special brackets that were welded to the World’s Fair cars so they could be anchored to the Magic Skyway.

After it was parked, it sat for 40 years. Virginia grew up and got married and two years ago she and her husband started to restore the Park Lane. The restored car had its debut at the Detroit Autorama earlier this year and, as you can see, the family is now displaying it at regional car shows, in one case taking the car back to its old haunts. A few weeks after the Ford & Mercury restorers’ meet, the Park Lane was the hit of a Ford employees’ car show held adjacent to Building 5 in Ford’s Dearborn engineering complex. It looks like there’s a large car show held every fall there in Queens so perhaps the Jedryczkas’ Park Lane will yet again ride in the mean streets of Flushing Meadows.

For more pics, visit Cars In Depth.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can dig deeper at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

 

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Piston Slap: Putting the HO in your Colony’s 5.0! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/piston-slap-putting-the-ho-in-your-colonys-5-0/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/piston-slap-putting-the-ho-in-your-colonys-5-0/#comments Thu, 06 Sep 2012 12:01:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=458966

 

Joe writes:

Dear Sajeev,

It was a mild winter here in Minnesota, so it promises to be an early spring. And with spring comes the promise of new automotive projects. Right now we are in the pre-spring thinking and planning stages. Attached is a photo of my possible project. Some background would be helpful.

The car is a 1991 Mercury Colony Park. I purchased it in February of 2002 for the bargain price of $4,500. At the time it had 51,000 pampered miles. It had been rustproofed when new, and sat in a garage during every Minnesota winter. Not a hint of rust anywhere when I bought, and almost none at this time. It was purchased to pull a folding camper trailer. A $4,500 panther was a bargain compared to the cost of an SUV or other “modern” vehicle, and far more eye catching and unique. It ended up doing more than pulling a camper. It has been to Disney World 3 times, was displayed at Ford’s 2003 centennial celebration in Detroit, and has moved 2 kids off to college, along with countless camping trips and miscellaneous chores. As such, it has become a family heirloom and my wife and three daughters will not allow me to sell it.

It has 105,000 miles and remains quite stock except for the Keystone Klassics, some Bilstein shocks, and an aftermarket rear sway bar. Given its unique nature, and the fact that so few remain on the road in this type of exceptional condition, I want to keep the car looking and behaving as stock as possible, with the exception of the wheels and some more power. It needs some help under the hood. The stock 5.0 is what it is. The same basic engine could be found in a Mustang GT producing loads more fun. What would be your suggestion for extracting maximum fun from the basic platform that is here, while preserving the character of this final model year station wagon without spending boat loads of dollars and doing the work as a DIY project?

Despite my day job, I have very good mechanical skills. I have replaced head gaskets on a 3.8 litre 1993 Thunderbird, intakes on a 1996 Thunderbird, have completely refurbished the suspension, exhaust and external mechanicals on a 1979 Mazda RX-7 among many other projects.

It seems to me that a starting point would be cylinder heads and exhaust manifolds. What Mustang GT 5.0 litre bits will bolt onto the base 5.0? What about the engine control modules, something I have zero experience with, and what about transmission shift patterns.

Ultimately, I am looking for something that will never be raced, is not out to impress anyone but myself, but when I slide behind the wheel and put my foot into the throttle, it produces a kick in the backside like a 5.0 has the potential to provide.

Any thoughts on where to begin would be most helpful so that the spring planning session can get off the ground.

Regards,

Joe

Sajeev answers:

Thanks for your entertaining letter, Joe. And sorry for the delay in writing back, such is the way this Piston Slap thing works. But I love the Keystones on the Colony Park!

On the plus side, your query is very quick to answer.  On the minus side, you’re making me feel very, very old.  Because I (patting myself on the back) wrote one of the best 5.0HO (i.e. High Output) swap articles for Panthers.  It didn’t feel like this article is 8 years old until I googled it…and formally present it to you all right here.

The “regular” 5.0 in the Panthers (and my favorite Fox bodies) are pretty sluggish by today’s standards.  Plenty of off-the-line bump, and fuel economy better than most carb’d machines to boot. But converting to a 5.0HO from a 1987-93 Ford Mustang makes these 5.0s somewhat more appealing with no real downside. And, to your point, the HO swap is a period correct upgrade that anyone will appreciate.  So just do it.

When the stock 5.0HO’s 225 horsepower isn’t cutting it, slap on a set of aftermarket aluminum heads (watch for piston to valve clearance) and the biggest 5.0 Whipplecharger kit you can find. It will make your Panther fast enough for damn near anyone.

For the record, I did the 5.0HO swap over ten years ago to the vehicle that’s currently my TTAC avatar: a 1988 Cougar XR-7. It’s still running strong. Ish. But everyone (and I mean everyone) loves the sound of this 5.0HO coming up the street. It will do…until I find a deal on those aforementioned heads and supercharger.  Evil. Grin. ON!

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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Junkyard Find: 1993 Mercury Capri http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/junkyard-find-1993-mercury-capri/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/junkyard-find-1993-mercury-capri/#comments Fri, 03 Aug 2012 13:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=455354 After the Miata (introduced in the United States as a 1990 model) turned out to be an instant hit for Mazda, the marketing wizards at Ford decided to put Mercury badges on the Australian Ford Capri, a four-seat sporty convertible, and beat Mazda at its own game. Sure, the ’91-94 Capri was a Mazda under the skin (it was based on the 323), and it had front-wheel-drive, but so what?
The Capri was powered by a Mazda B engine, just like the Miata, and it had a convertible top, but the similarities ended there. While the Miata was a perfect expression of everything that the Alfa Romeo Spider and MBG had tried— but failed— to be in the past, the Capri was just a funny-looking 323 with a soft top.
I still see the occasional Capri of this generation on the street, for the same reason I see Geo Metro convertibles on the street: driving with the top down is fun!
The 24 Hours of LeMons has several teams campaigning these things (all turbocharged models), and they’re about as quick around a road course as, say, a Ford Ranger pickup or Kia Sephia. In other words, pretty slow.
This one only managed to get 120,000 miles, which makes me suspect that it spent a few years parked with something expensive broken.

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Vellum Venom Vignette: Lincoln Mariner (Hecho en Mexico) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/vellum-venom-vignette-lincoln-mariner-hecho-en-mexico/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/vellum-venom-vignette-lincoln-mariner-hecho-en-mexico/#comments Tue, 31 Jul 2012 18:29:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=454915

Francisco writes:

Dear Sajeev,

Regular reader here. To the matter at hand:

On a recent visit to Mexico, this Mariner was in front of me begging for a bad cellphone pic. Don’t get me wrong, after-market badge-upgraded cars are pretty common there, but this already badge-engineered Ford Explorer (Mercury Mariner – SM) badge-engineered once more to a “Lincoln Mariner 4wd V6″ was too ironic to let go. Please note the extra Lincoln badge thrown in for good measure on the dealer license plate cover. Make no mistake, it is a Lincoln.

I assumed that this would bring a smile and a chuckle to an ardent Ford guy like yourself. Hope you enjoy it and keep up the good work!

Best regards from Sweden,
Francisco

Sajeev answers:

Oh yes! How lovely it is to behold the splendiferousness that is Mexican Ford products. Even if this is a modification done by the owner. Obviously!

Now that Lincoln Mexico has more Lincoln-y products than the USA–dare I admit that I miss the Mark LT, since it was at least RWD with a V8–I’m glad the Lincoln line up expanded to older Mercury vehicles too.  It’s much like the South of the Border Ford’s rebranding of Mercury products like the Ford Grand Marquis…and of course the disturbingly cool Ford Cougar.

 

Click here to view the embedded video.

Now that’s how you sell a car!

Ford Cougar = RAWR!

Por favor, let this Lincoln-Mercury Fanboi enjoy this moment. POR FAVOR! It’s nice to see that the Lincoln brand is loved enough to be rebranded on large and stately vehicles outside of the US.  And yes, the Mariner is a big time Lincoln-like machine compared to what most people drive down there.  And about the Mexican Mark LT…well, it’s still cooler than spending $60,000 (or whatever) for a Harley Davidson F-150.

And with that, today’s Damning With Faint Praise session ends.

 

 

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Junkyard Find: 1973 Mercury Montego MX Brougham http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/junkyard-find-1973-mercury-montego-mx-brougham/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/junkyard-find-1973-mercury-montego-mx-brougham/#comments Sat, 21 Jul 2012 13:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=453366 We’re on a 1973 roll here in Junkyard Find land, with a ’73 Luxury LeMans yesterday and a ’73 Super Beetle the day before, so I’m going to keep it going with another car from the year everything went to hell. The Montego was the blinged-out, gingerbread-encrusted sibling of the Ford Torino during this era, so it made sense that Mercury would sell a Brougham edition.
As can be seen from this car’s surroundings, I shot these photos at the Brain Melting Colorado Yard.
This car was locked, so I couldn’t open the hood and take a look at the engine. This car could be purchased with a 92-horsepower 250 L6, a 137-horsepower 302 V8, and an assortment of 351C, 400M, and 429 V8s with distressingly low power ratings and OPEC-gratifying thirst.
Still, I think these things are cool. I’m sure Sajeev agrees.

09 - 1973 Mercury Montego Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 01 - 1973 Mercury Montego Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1973 Mercury Montego Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1973 Mercury Montego Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1973 Mercury Montego Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1973 Mercury Montego Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1973 Mercury Montego Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1973 Mercury Montego Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1973 Mercury Montego Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]>
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Vellum Venom: 2012 Lincoln MKZ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/vellum-venom-2012-lincoln-mkz/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/vellum-venom-2012-lincoln-mkz/#comments Mon, 28 May 2012 12:38:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=446381 “MR2turbo4evr”, today is your lucky day: you suggested that someone would appreciate my critiques on Lincoln products, and maybe you are right.  But this self-proclaimed Lincoln-Mercury fanboi was pissed when his favorite version of Ford’s CD3 platform, the Mercury Milan, bit the dust.  But I digress: what to do when you are a designer tasked with making every Lincoln look like the MKR concept, even if that ridiculous grille maybe (MAYBE) works on a sedan with Town Car levels of decadent proportioning, and no other Lincoln?

If you worked on the 2010-2012 MKZ, I suspect you bit your tongue, did your job, cashed your paycheck and told your family how much they meant to you. This applies to the MKZ more than the re-skin of the MKS, MKX and the all-new MKT.  Or maybe working on such a half-hearted design isn’t so bad for a car designer, because job satisfaction is a relative term. That’s where fanbois who’ve lost their way get lost in their own thoughts.

 

I admit the 2010 re-skin of the Mazda-Ford-Lincoln MKZ shows better attention to detail than the original, witnessed in the chrome headlight surrounds, lower valence chrome trimming and in a somewhat expensive looking grille texture.  But do I care? And should you?
The MKR concept’s grilles harken back to Edsel Ford’s original Lincoln Continental, which was a lovely machine by anyone’s metric. Problem is, the wavy grille has absolutely no business on a modern-day production car with integrated fenders and a boxy, blocky-nosed front fascia.  Absolutely none, because you cannot possibly create the surface tension and excitement without Pre-War hood and fenders.  It looks half-baked, and even worse from other angles.

 

I usually adore a harmonious theme with attention to detail, but this time I am wrong.  Do not make your grille teeth emulate the shape of your corporate logo’s four-pointed star.  This makes the Continental star (yes, Continental) appear lost in this monstrosity of a grille.  Which says a lot, since this emblem isn’t exactly small.

 

Even though these headlights are far from cutting edge, lacking LEDs or some cool plastic design feature to create a beam for the turn signals, I like their clean look. It’s organized and honest.  Ditto the chrome trimming, which is very Lincoln-y.  Too bad the grille is starting to get looney from this vantage point, and only gets worse the farther you step back.

 

Yup, it looks silly.  The grille is completely out of proportion.  How I long for the Mercury Milan! On the plus side, you might spot my daily driver in the background.

Lincoln-Mercury fanbois may be few and far between, but at least we can cry our pathetic hearts out on some respectable machines from yesteryear. My car was recently mistaken for a new Lincoln; the bystander remarked, “I didn’t know they still put the tire hump on new Lincolns!“  How disappointed she was when I said my 17-year-old Lincoln is just a footnote in history!

And footnotes are regularly overlooked, as history isn’t as important as brand synergies and sheet metal interchangeability. But you can’t put a 1940 Continental-style grille on a Mazda 6.  It’s a fool’s errand: the rest of the body’s hard-edged and blocky lines beg for a Milan waterfall grille or the razor blade treatment of the Fusion.

 

 

While this is a pretty design feature, the projector beam fog light looks outdated.  Certainly the 2013 replacement shall fare better. But this is proof that the MKZ is aging poorly, and that its replacement can’t come soon enough.

 

Thanks for telling me this is a “Lincoln”, I thought this was a Ford Fusion. Because I didn’t know what the emblem stood for.  Smart ass snark aside, this hub cap would look so much better without the lettering. Luxury cars don’t need to advertise…at least not here.

Nor should they advertise here.  Beginning with the Mark LT, Lincoln believes that the road to success is built on bricks of bling.  While the fender, door and A-pillar meet in a fairly elegant manner, this fake vent/over promoted ad campaign isn’t working. Thank goodness the 2013 model wisely avoided this cheap mistake.

 

The wonderful thing about black paint is that it makes everything looks better. The boring side view looks less like a Fusion and more like a nice blank canvas for the chrome bits. The subtle creases down at the rocker panels below are nice enough. The slight bit of tension near the door handles sweeps back to the tail lights in a somewhat elegant manner.  But the FWD proportions, high belt line and not-unique chassis hard points are a miserable failure. This is where I go on another rant about badge engineering, Panther Love and how badly this brand has lost its way.

Yeah, yeah, there’s a new 2013 model on its way. But has everyone moved on?  Conquest buyers have at least a decade’s worth of bitter taste from mundane and out-of-date Lincolns in their mouths. The ones that are still waiting for a truly good Lincoln…well, they are certainly more patient than yours truly.

 

Take the keyless entry keypad: originally introduced on the Panther (1980) and Fox body (1982) Lincolns, they were a stunning bit of engineering wrapped in an understated, flush mount aluminum panel against the window. The buttons were clear with black bottom…they were an infinity pool to today’s McMansion of a building on an MKZ’s door. Thank goodness the MKS/MKT kept the keypad dream alive, with a flush mount B-pillar design that pays homage to the 1980 original.

It’s bad enough that Lincoln threw a keypad on a Fusion door, but the chrome Fusion handle and silly round relief do not a luxury car make.

 

The chrome skullcap on a Fusion mirror is fine…I guess.  The big problem is the texture on the plastic base.  It looks cheap, which is reinforced if you are foolish enough to drag your fingernail across it. Cheap, cheap, cheap!

 

And the worst part: DLO FAIL.  Plastic triangles on a Lincoln are bad enough, but the chrome trimming on said triangle makes me long for a Lincoln Versailles. That was a horrible re-think of the Lincoln brand, but these days the flaws seem less egregious. A daylight opening is crucial to the image of a premium vehicle, and this is just, well…I don’t want drop any more profanities on TTAC.  This Lincoln-Mercury fanboi is just not in the mood, son.

Who in their right mind thought this DLO FAIL was acceptable? Does anyone wonder why Lexus gobbled up Lincoln’s market share?

 

 

I once thought that Continental Kits on the backs of Lincolns was more than a bit silly, even though I truly loved them.  But, now more than ever, Lincoln needs an authoritative brand statement.  Something that’s a brash, proud F.U. to the rest of the motoring world.  While Lincoln’s 2013 design language isn’t this shameful, it also lacks that Continental Kit soul. At least in the photos, I guess.

 

 

Tall, boxy and clumsy just like any other family sedan.  This isn’t a Lincoln, even if the 2010 redesign adds more upscale looking tail lights and a daring swoop between the bumper and the quarter panel.  The swoop complements the beginning of the tail light, and cuts down hard enough to make the entire decklid look like a Bangle Butt from the heyday of the infamous Chris Bangle designs at BMW. That bumper might be the most interesting, most appealing part in the MKZ’s portfolio of lines. And for that, kudos to the design team.

 

Except for the little black plastic triangle of DLO FAIL, this is quite an appealing angle.  Too bad the Mercury Milan was much cheaper, had no DLO FAIL and was never too big for its britches.  Simply put, FoMoCo killed the wrong vehicle: a $25,000 Lincoln Milan is a far more appealing proposition.

 

Notice how the Continental star isn’t lost in these tail lights, like it is in the grille.  And these lenses aren’t exactly small.

 

Last week’s Volkswagen CC had a clever trunk trick: that whip hid other design features under a flush-mount vee-dub emblem. The MKZ, on the other hand, places an afterthought camera against an afterthought emblem.  But perhaps that remark isn’t clear yet…

 

Note the thickness of the emblem.  Also note how the word “tacky” isn’t out of bounds.  Why isn’t this badge countersunk like the tail lights?  You already know the answer, and that’s why Lincoln is a brand on life support.

 

Yup, that’s an afterthought exposed trunk lock on a $35,000 luxury sedan that’s supposed to compete with the Lexus ES. The off-center location and chintzy grommet(?) surround is totally okay on a Ford or Mercury…you know where I’m going with this. One company did a good job up-rating their family sedan into a luxobarge, and another never figured it out. And the sales figures prove it.

 

On name alone, the MKZ’s death can’t come soon enough. Even if 2013 is a brand new day for Lincoln, this fanboi has a hard time seeing the silver lining in that Lexus ES-shaped thundercloud. I’ll be ready if and when Lincoln joins Mercury in a tragic, star-crossed fate.

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Junkyard Find: 1972 Mercury Marquis Brougham http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/junkyard-find-1972-mercury-marquis-brougham/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/junkyard-find-1972-mercury-marquis-brougham/#comments Wed, 23 May 2012 13:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=445641 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!
32 - 1972 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 01 - 1972 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 02 - 1972 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 03 - 1972 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 04 - 1972 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 05 - 1972 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 06 - 1972 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 07 - 1972 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 08 - 1972 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 09 - 1972 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 10 - 1972 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 11 - 1972 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 12 - 1972 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 13 - 1972 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 14 - 1972 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 15 - 1972 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 16 - 1972 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 17 - 1972 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 18 - 1972 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 19 - 1972 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 20 - 1972 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 21 - 1972 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 22 - 1972 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 23 - 1972 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 24 - 1972 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 25 - 1972 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 26 - 1972 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 27 - 1972 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 28 - 1972 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 29 - 1972 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Junkyard Find: 1997 Mercury Cougar XR7 With Florida-Style Faux-vertible Option http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/junkyard-find-1997-mercury-cougar-xr7-with-florida-style-faux-vertible-option/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/junkyard-find-1997-mercury-cougar-xr7-with-florida-style-faux-vertible-option/#comments Fri, 11 May 2012 13:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=443836 When I saw this car at a Denver self-service yard, I had to wonder if Ford really sank so low in the late 1990s as to make this godawful crypto-laundau roof a factory-installed option on the MN12 XR7. I haven’t been able to find any references to such an abomination in any of my reference books, so it’s probably a safe assumption that we’re looking at an aftermarket conversion.
Not that we’re dealing with one of the better-looking iterations of the Cougar nameplate here.
The MN12 was a big leap into the future from the Fox Platform Cougar, and you can tell by the spoiler that Ford had embraced 1990s style for real.
OK. Florida. That explains the roof.

16 - 1997 Mercury Cougar Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 01 - 1997 Mercury Cougar Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1997 Mercury Cougar Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1997 Mercury Cougar Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1997 Mercury Cougar Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1997 Mercury Cougar Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1997 Mercury Cougar Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1997 Mercury Cougar Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1997 Mercury Cougar Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1997 Mercury Cougar Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1997 Mercury Cougar Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1997 Mercury Cougar Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1997 Mercury Cougar Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1997 Mercury Cougar Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1997 Mercury Cougar Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1997 Mercury Cougar Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]>
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Junkyard Find: 1980 Mercury Capri http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/junkyard-find-1980-mercury-capri/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/junkyard-find-1980-mercury-capri/#comments Sat, 07 Apr 2012 13:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=438815 The Fox Platform was one of Ford’s biggest postwar success stories; a (relatively) modern, (sort of) lightweight unibody design that could be used for everything from economy commuters to rubber-burning factory hot rods to plush luxury sedans. Sure, Ford kept the Fox on life-support a few years too many, but that’s how they roll in Detroit. We often forget about the Fox Capri, since it looked even nearly identical to its Mustang sibling (and because everyone thinks of the earlier Euro-Ford-based Capri when they hear the name), so it took me a second to realize that this inhabitant of a Northern California self-service yard wasn’t a Mustang.
The Fox Mustang/Capri with the 5.0 engine became quite fast by the mid-1980s, but the early ones were much more Malaise-appropriate sluggish.
For the 1980 model year, the Capri could be purchased with the base “Pinto” 2300 (88 horsepower), the 200-cubic-inch I6 (91 horsepower), the 255-cubic-inch Windsor V8 (119 horsepower), or the 150-horse turbocharged 2300. The hood release was busted on this car and I didn’t feel motivated to try to pry it open, so there’s no telling which engine it has (I’m guessing it’s the cheapo NA 2300, judging from the manual transmission and general lack of bling).
Here’s a very nice Field Expedient Ashtray, made from a Vienna Sausages can and some wire attached to the heater controls.

16 - 1980 Mercury Capri Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 01 - 1980 Mercury Capri Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 02 - 1980 Mercury Capri Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 03 - 1980 Mercury Capri Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 04 - 1980 Mercury Capri Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 05 - 1980 Mercury Capri Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 06 - 1980 Mercury Capri Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 07 - 1980 Mercury Capri Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 08 - 1980 Mercury Capri Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 09 - 1980 Mercury Capri Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 10 - 1980 Mercury Capri Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 11 - 1980 Mercury Capri Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 12 - 1980 Mercury Capri Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 13 - 1980 Mercury Capri Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 14 - 1980 Mercury Capri Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 15 - 1980 Mercury Capri Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]>
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Junkyard Find: 1975 Mercury Comet Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/junkyard-find-1975-mercury-comet-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/junkyard-find-1975-mercury-comet-sedan/#comments Fri, 30 Mar 2012 13:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=437116 A Maverick in a junkyard is a rare sight indeed these days, so you can imagine my surprise when I found this badge-engineered Mercury Maverick just a few rows down from yesterday’s ’75 Ford Maverick Junkyard Find. There wasn’t much difference between the Maverick and the Comet, though the Comet was marketed as being somewhat classier.
You aren’t going to see a sticky vinyl interior in this weird green color these days.
Check out these futuristic taillights!
The 1975 Ford Maverick four-door listed at $3,025 with 200-cubic-inch six-cylinder engine. The 1975 Mercury Comet four-door listed at $3,236, with the same engine. It’s hard to imagine the tiny margin of bragging rights the Comet might bestow over the Maverick, but some felt the extra $211 was worth it.
The 1992 Sci-Fi Channel button on the inside of the C pillar is a nice bit of personalization.

22 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 01 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 02 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 03 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 04 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 05 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 06 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 07 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 08 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 09 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 10 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 11 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 12 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 13 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 14 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 15 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 16 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 17 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 18 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 19 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 20 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 21 - 1975 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip Greden 1975-Mercury-Comet-thumb-courtesy-of-Phillip-Greden Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]>
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Junkyard Find: 1964 Mercury Comet http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/junkyard-find-1964-mercury-comet/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/junkyard-find-1964-mercury-comet/#comments Sat, 03 Mar 2012 14:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=432245 Some of our sharper-eyed readers noticed that the car parked next to yesterday’s Junkyard Find (this 1965 Mercury Park Lane Breezeway) was also a mid-60s-vintage Mercury. It’s the upscale version of the Ford Falcon, the car that the Edsel Jihad still hates as a symbol of Robert MacNamara‘s misplaced— and probably Communist-inspired— priorities. Yes, Ford CEO MacNamara killed the Edsel in favor of the Falcon, right before he masterminded the not-real-successful war effort in Vietnam; the Edsel Jihad can forgive the latter but never the former.
I found these two doomed Mercurys side-by-side at a Northern California self-service yard last month. Both seem quite restorable, but more complete Park Lanes aren’t too expensive and nobody seems to want Comet sedans. Next stop: Chinese steel factory via the Port of Oakland!
This one is free of serious rust, but: four doors.
Comet V8 options in 1964 were 260- and 289-cube Windsor V8s, but this looks like a more recent swap. 302, probably.
Whenever I see these old factory radios, I have to resist hoarding impulses. They’re just so cool-looking, but hoarding car clocks is bad enough!
It’s possible that this car was driven by Apple Computer’s oldest employee in 1990… but I doubt it. Still, Cupertino is upscale enough that it’s hard to imagine an original-owner Comet being driven there.

15 - 1964 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 02 - 1964 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 03 - 1964 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 04 - 1964 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 05 - 1964 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 07 - 1964 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 14 - 1964 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 06 - 1964 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 07 - 1964 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 08 - 1964 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 09 - 1964 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 10 - 1964 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 11 - 1964 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 12 - 1964 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 13 - 1964 Mercury Comet Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]>
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Junkyard Find: 1965 Mercury Park Lane Breezeway http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/junkyard-find-1965-mercury-park-lane-breezeway/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/junkyard-find-1965-mercury-park-lane-breezeway/#comments Fri, 02 Mar 2012 14:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=432215 Of all the crazy ideas to come out of Dearborn in the 1960s, the Breezeway option on big Mercury cars is one of my favorites. You had a rear-canted back window that rolled up and down, providing a hurricane of wind through the car at speed, and no doubt enhancing the passengers’ intake of Vitamin CO. It made no sense, but so what? Not surprisingly, mid-60s Montereys and Park Lanes (the Mercury-ized Ford Galaxie), aren’t worth much in beat condition these days (nice ones are another story), but I still wasn’t expecting to find this one in a Northern California wrecking yard last month.
Mercury really went overboard on the wild trim and weird gingerbread during this period, but it ended up looking pretty good.
Here’s a good example of Northern California rust; the quarters and floors are fine, but the places where rainwater pools during the winter end up rusting through. This car probably sat outside for a decade or three.
There’s not much demand for 390 parts these days, though someone— probably a Mustang guy— has grabbed the carburetor and valve covers off this one.
Let’s return to the trim around the Breezeway window. Such style!

27 - Mercury Park Lane Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 01 - Mercury Park Lane Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 02 - Mercury Park Lane Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 03 - Mercury Park Lane Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 05 - Mercury Park Lane Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 06 - Mercury Park Lane Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 07 - Mercury Park Lane Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 08 - Mercury Park Lane Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 09 - Mercury Park Lane Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 10 - Mercury Park Lane Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 11 - Mercury Park Lane Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 12 - Mercury Park Lane Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 13 - Mercury Park Lane Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 14 - Mercury Park Lane Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 15 - Mercury Park Lane Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 16 - Mercury Park Lane Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 17 - Mercury Park Lane Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 18 - Mercury Park Lane Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 19 - Mercury Park Lane Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 20 - Mercury Park Lane Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 22 - Mercury Park Lane Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 23 - Mercury Park Lane Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 24 - Mercury Park Lane Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 25 - Mercury Park Lane Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 26 - Mercury Park Lane Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]>
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New or Used: No Rondo in the Condo? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/new-or-used-no-rondo-in-the-condo/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/new-or-used-no-rondo-in-the-condo/#comments Thu, 23 Feb 2012 07:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=431780

 

TTAC commentator DougD writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I put the snowtires on Dad’s 2007 Kia Rondo yesterday, and right on cue we’ve got snow today. While we worked we talked about cars, of course. My parents are in their mid 70′s, Dad bought the Rondo new and there’s a lot to like about it. Upright seating, good ingress for seniors, easy to park in the condo parking spot. It’s been reliable and still looks good, so the Rondo’s held up well.

Unfortunately Mom hasn’t held up quite as well as the Rondo. She’s got some back problems now and finds that the Rondo’s so-so seats, jouncy ride and boomy interior make it a literal pain to be in for more than short trips.

Ideally they’d like to replace it with something that combines the Rondo’s good points with great seats and a serene, quiet ride. They drive about 15,000 miles a year including the 900 mile trip to Myrtle beach each fall. All options are open from something new to a couple of years used.

What should they be looking at? I really have no idea since their wish list is pretty different from my own, but I guess this is the demographic that buys new cars.

Really enjoying your column.

Steve Answers:

It all depends on the size and the spaciousness they seek.

For a small ride with a bit of cushiness, I would test drive a Buick Verano. It seems to be the one small vehicle these days with Rondo like proportions that can provide your folks with a luxurious ride.

To be frank, the small ‘luxury’ car market has struggled for eons on end. From 1990′s Dynastys and Skylarks, to 1980′s Cimarrons and Sevilles. It’s very hard to build this segment into something sustainable for most automakers. The choices in this segment are just slim due to a lack of interest in ‘small’ luxury.

So if they’re willing to consider a midsize, I would opt for a gussied up prior gen Camry or a Lexus ES350. Both cars have rides that are like marshmallows with handling that is direct and easy. They are also the two most popular retiree vehicles I see in West Palm Beach.

Mature folks love these cars.Easy to drive. Soft. Nothing to worry about. It may not be your ideal. But for those who wish to simply go on a magic carpet to their favorite retiree villa, they are optimal vehicles.

Sajeev answers:

You people are quite literally torturing me!  How can I not recommend Panther Love in this case?

I will stop pigeonholing myself. I like Steve’s recommendation of a Buick Verano, even if I’ve never even seen one, much less driven it to know its worth the depreciation.  But the baby Buick reminds me of my time in a Camry LE on a business trip to Long Island, NY.  While I quite enjoy the stealthiness of the SE, the LE earned a bit of respect for its ability to absolutely obliterate bumps and smooth out a long hike down the Interstate.  It made a hectic commute much less so. If I had a bad back…you see my point.

Granted it lacked the isolation of a Panther in the same circumstances, but they are more common, easier to park, easier on fuel and perform well enough compared to a Rondo.  The ride is heavenly for someone like your Mom, it is the best in its class. So do it, go for a 2007-2011 Toyota Camry LE.

 

Need help with a car buying conundrum? Email your particulars to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com , and let TTAC’s collective wisdom make the decision easier… or possibly much, much harder.

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