Junkyard Find: 1972 Mercury Marquis Brougham

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
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!

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • "scarey" "scarey" on May 23, 2012

    Murilee NEVER kids.

    • Robert.Walter Robert.Walter on May 23, 2012

      Scarlet, you need an aviator based on the brogenham acid monkey heads.

  • Patrick McCall Patrick McCall on May 24, 2012

    From the look of that crest, I somehow get the impression it was never meant to be dissected into its most basic counterparts. Case in point, the ghoulish crowned monkey skulls on the "lions". Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that seat fabric is referred to as brocade. Brocade appears often in GM car brochures of the early 70's, particularly Cadillac.

  • EBFlex At the summer property putting boats in the water, leveling boat lifts, cleaning the lots for summer, etc. Typical cabin stuff in the most beautiful place on the planet
  • Lou_BC I've I spent the past few days in what we refer to as "the lower mainland". I see Tesla's everywhere and virtually every other brand of EV. I was in downtown Vancouver along side a Rivian R1T. A Rivian R1S came off as side street and was following it. I saw one other R1S. 18% of new vehicles in BC are EV'S. It tends to match what I saw out my windshield. I only saw 2 fullsized pickups. One was a cool '91 3/4 ton regular cab. I ran across 2 Tacoma's. Not many Jeeps. There were plenty of Porches, Mercedes, and BMW's. I saw 2 Aston Martin DBX707's. It's been fun car watching other than the stress of driving in big city urban traffic. I'd rather dodge 146,000 pound 9 axle logging trucks on one lane roads.
  • IBx1 Never got the appeal of these; it looks like there was a Soviet mandate to create a car with two doors and a roof that could be configured in different ways.
  • CAMeyer Considering how many voters will be voting for Trump because they remember that gas prices were low in 2020–never mind the pandemic—this seems like a wise move.
  • The Oracle Been out on the boat on Lake James (NC) and cooking up some hella good food here with friends at the lake place.