Curbside Classic Outtake: 1978 Mercury Marquis Brougham

Paul Niedermeyer
by Paul Niedermeyer

This Marquis Brougham certainly seems the polar opposite of yesterday’s Nissan Pao. It weighs three times as much, is a domestic, certainly not an illegal alien, not exactly artistic or tasteful, definitely not retro, and didn’t require a lottery to buy it (more likely rebates). It’s available 7.5 Liter engine is 7.6 times as big as the Poa’s, even if it only makes 202 hp. Yet, a number of similarities occur to me: They’re both in the same parking lot. Their owners are obviously making an artistic statement. They both have a horsepower to weight ratio of 31 lbs/hp. Both engines are carbureted. Nissan and Mercury joint-ventured on the Quest/Villager mini-van. Both of them are not displayed at MoMA. Somebody help me out here…

Back to the Mercury at hand. This is just not a car that inspires a full-on Curbside Classic. If it wasn’t wearing that appropriate majestic coat of purple, the traditional color of royalty, I probably wouldn’t have even taken its picture. But it was, so it’s earned its fifteen minutes of fame. And it has earned its place in history: the end of the road for the big Fords and Mercuries. The following year was the big downsizing to the new Panther chassis. But we’ll do a full-on CC on that subject with another of the Marquis’ stablemates. Engines were pathetically feeble: the standard 351 (5.7 liter) had all of 144 hp; the optional 400 (6.6 liter) squeezed out 160 hp; and the big 460 (7.5 liter) managed a whopping of 202 hp. Mileage? don’t ask. Ah, those were the sweet days of automotive malaise.

(Edit: I’ve corrected the earlier title and made a few changes to reflect this car’s historical significance. Thanks to the commentators for pointing them out)



Paul Niedermeyer
Paul Niedermeyer

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  • Zarba Zarba on Nov 28, 2009

    In 1976, when I got my license, my first ride was a 1973 Ford LTD. Green, green vinyl top, 400 cid 2-bbl. Rim blow wheel, IIRC. A/C that would frost the vents, and acres and acres of room. Great highway cruiser. 29 days after I got that license, the LTD gave its life when some idiot ran a stop sign in front of me. The LTD crushed the van, but the front end was gone, and it went the the junkyard. I walked away from that crash, so I'll always have a soft spot for these FoMoCo land yachts. And yes, they did make some torque.

  • EHJ710 EHJ710 on Apr 04, 2010

    When he was caught, Timothy McVeigh, the OKC bomber was driving a 1978 Mercury Marquis, (it was a a pale yellow one) escaping from his crime. He got caught because a cop noticed he had no license plates on his car, and that was enough to pull him over.

  • Probert A few mega packs would probably have served as decent backup.
  • Lou_BC Lead sleds. Now-a-days GM would just use Bondo.
  • Jrhurren This is a great series. Thanks Corey
  • Tane94 Not as stylish as the Soul which it is replacing but a practical shape and bonus points for EV only.
  • Ronin What is the magical white swan event in the foreseeable future that will suddenly reverse the trend?Success tends to follow success, and likewise failure. The perception, other than among true believers, is that e-cars are a lost cause. Neither government fiat, nor government bribery, nor even the promise of superior virtue among one's peers have been enough to push past the early adapter curve. Either the bust-out is right now for e-cars, or it doesn't happen. Marketing 101.Even subtle language-manipulation, such as deeming those possessing common sense as suffering from some sort of vague anxiety (eg, "range anxiety") has not been enough to induce people to care.Twenty years from now funny AI-generated comedians will make fun of the '20s, and their obsession with theose silly half-forgotten EVs. They will point out that, yes, EVs actually ran on electricity generated by such organic fuels as coal and natural gas after all, and then they will perform synthesized laughter at us.
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