By on November 16, 2015

16 - 1982 Mercury Marquis Wagon in California junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

In 1983, Ford decided to put the Mercury Marquis on the new-ish Fox Platform, while the Grand Marquis remained on the Panther Platform (where it would stay until the bitter end). Confused? Hey, at least the Marquis/Grand Marquis split wasn’t as puzzling as, say, the Toyota Corolla Tercel (which was unrelated to the Corolla) or the Nissan Stanza Wagon (which was only slightly related to the other US-market Stanzas).

Here’s a faded but generally solid ’83 Marquis woodie wagon I saw in Northern California in August.
04 - 1982 Mercury Marquis Wagon in California junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

Thirty-two years of California sun have converted the once-vivid Whorehouse Red cloth-and-vinyl interior to a sort of washed-out pink hue.

02 - 1982 Mercury Marquis Wagon in California junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

The Let Me Huff Some More Starter Fluid And I’ll Believe This Is Real Wood™ siding is about as convincing now as it was the day it left the assembly line.

06 - 1982 Mercury Marquis Wagon in California junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

I’m a little puzzled by this three-dimensional fuel-gauge component. Is it a decorative touch intended to let the Marquis wagon driver feel superior to those lowly LTD wagon drivers (with their proletariat flat fuel gauges), or is it an indicator light of some sort?

14 - 1982 Mercury Marquis Wagon in California junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

Under its hood is the 3.8 liter Essex V6 engine, which went on to a lengthy career that included installation in 21st-century Mustangs. This engine has proven to be one of the most reliable in the 24 Hours of LeMons race series (in fact, it is one of the hardest-to-kill engines in the series, much less likely to throw rods and/or blow head gaskets than the Windsor V-8) and the later versions make good power.

08 - 1982 Mercury Marquis Wagon in California junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

The factory AM/FM stereo radio was a $109 option, which is about $260 in inflation-adjusted bucks and not a bad deal compared to the staggering prices once paid for factory radios.

23 - 1982 Mercury Marquis Wagon in California junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

This car was complete, rust-free, and probably still ran when it got towed to this wrecking yard. By now, it has been crushed, shredded, and fed into the global commodity-trading system. Imagine this car with all the go-fast tricks generally applied to its Fox Mustang siblings!

11.9% financing? Where do I sign?

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86 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1983 Mercury Marquis Station Wagon...”


  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    Another car that is one 347 stroker/2.3 turbo/3.8 SC away from greatness.

  • avatar
    John

    My thoughts exactly!

  • avatar
    -Nate

    It’s always a sad thing to see what appears to be a decent appliance being discarded .

    I realize this thing was worthless and had zero collector value but there needs to be more GearHeads out there willing to save oddball old vehicles .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    My grandparents’ 1986(?) Grand Marquis had a very similar gauge cluster, with the white and silver rectangles everywhere. The strangest part to me was the squared off rotary-style speedometer.

    There’s no indicator in that part that sticks out, just a fancy way to hide where the needle connects. There should be backlightning in there that looks kinda neat though.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Terrible thing to happen to a great old hatchback.

    My Civic wagon of the era made me love those red ’80s interiors.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      >Marquis wagon
      >”Hatchback”

      Um, OK. :P

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        Is there not a hatch on the back? That is a functional description.

        Calling a nicely elongated hatchback a station wagon is merely a conventional description.

        Yes, SUVs and CUVs are also hatchbacks. It’s a super genus!

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          I won’t disagree with you there, but station wagon is a much older term (and so has seniority), and there were no midsize hatchbacks (IIRC) sold in NA in the 1980s.

          Semi-related: Ford used the Squire nameplate starting in the early ’60s to denote any wagon (or Ranchero!) with “wood” trim–Fairlane Squire, Falcon Squire, Pinto Squire, Torino Squire, etc. Did Mercury have a name to differentiate woodies from non-woodies?

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            “Did Mercury have a name to differentiate woodies from non-woodies?”

            Colony Park?

            http://oldcaradvertising.com/Mercury/1964/1964%20Mercury%20Ad-02.html

  • avatar
    Joss

    Remember a rental sedan back in the 80’s from Hertz. Comfortable, solid build, insulated & had good pickup. Burgundy in color which was fortunate, since spilt brake fluid was stuck on the roof. Don’t recall that gas gauge though.

  • avatar
    VolandoBajo

    The darn vehicle look more like a Plymouth K-car wagon, than a FoMoCo vehicle, especially with that faux wood.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    The Marquis and the LTD, thank god the Taurus came along.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Agreed, and I think the designers and marketers knew what was coming, too. Both cars just reek of “stopgap.” They didn’t even bother to give them unique names.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Couldnt agree more. The LTD/Marquis were horrible cars and Im not sad to see this one so close to the crusher.

      Im probably alone here, but I mourn more for the Topaz sitting next to it (even though it was most likely an automatic). Of the two, no contest whatsoever, Id take the Topaz without a second thought. There is nothing about the Marquis that I find attractive. Nothing at all.

      I do like the Fox-body Mercury Zephyr, but not a wagon. As far as styling, it had a “shrunken Town Car” sorta look to it, not this hidious slanted back mess of terrible styling.

      This thing couldnt be any less desirable to me if it tried.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        I actually find the LTD and Marquis to be the most attractive of any of the Fox-body sedan/wagons, but to still be using a RWD platform in 1983 vs. the GM A-bodies and the Dodge 600/Chrysler E-Class was almost willful obsolescence.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          I agree these are the best looking Foxy sedans and wagons, way better than the Fairmont and Zephyr.

          Which is more excusable, keeping something that works until a truly advanced successor was ready or rushing a half baked replacement to market. Ford was making a huge bet in the Taurus and they took the time to make sure that it was fully cooked before they put it on the table.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            I’d rather have a Zephyr Z-7 or whatever they called it than one of these, or even just a plain 2 door Zephyr.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            The Zephyr Z7 (and the more famous Fairmont Futura) were certainly lookers in their day, but that front end was DDR-levels of austerity. Check out this Futura with an LTD front clip:

            http://www.tccoa.com/events/upload/06-01-03Carlisle/MVC-644F.JPG

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Ford should have just done that, but I’m guessing they discontinued the Futura/Z7 in 1983 instead.

          • 0 avatar
            RHD

            The Taurus trannies got cooked pretty quickly, too.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    No mention, Murille, of the super-custom headliner covered with old advertising sign wallpaper!?

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    It’s getting harder and harder for me to believe Americans ever put up with crap like “low” 11.9% financing and malaise-era vehicle quality. I was born in ’76 and remember such treats as my Dad’s company car (an ’80 Chevy Malibu) blowing it’s engine at 30,000 miles and his disgust with the situation. I remember my mom shoving rolled up newspaper in the choke of an ’82 Celebrity so it would start. I remember my dad being laid off and picking up an ’82 Skylark just to have wheels after losing his company car and the Iron Duke shaking the entire dash and steering column at idle.

    My family went Honda in 1987 and never went back. I went another route and stayed with Ford through a ’90 Taurus, ’93 Taurus, ’96 Grand Marquis and ’08 MKZ. Only the ’96 Grand Marquis was a solid car and I drove it for a decade.

    My moment of truth came last week when the ’08 MKZ blew up. No more domestics for me I think, outside of trucks.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      “when the ’08 MKZ blew up”

      You’ll need to expand on this point, as the MKZ is typically a used recommend across the board around here, for feature content, reliability, and overall value vs. the Ford Fusion version.

      What happened, at what miles, and with what sort of maintenance history and driving treatment?

      • 0 avatar
        SaulTigh

        @CoreyDL

        90,500 miles

        Water pump went out. It’s located INSIDE the engine and I was quoted just under $2,000 to replace it. That’s after I spent $1,100 earlier in the year on a grenaded AC compressor and sundry parts. Car received excellent maintenance over the 4 years I owned it. Flushes, synthetic oil, etc.

        I believe the Fusion is a good and reliable platform, with an I4. Avoid the 3.5L V6 so that rules out the MKZ other than the Hybrid I believe.

        There were other, little things starting to crop up as well. Squeaks and rattles, switches starting to act iffy and unreliably. Those weren’t to bothersome to me – I figure most of that was having an 8 year old car with nearly 100k on the clock, but they contributed to my overall unwillingness to spend $2k on a repair. As my household is in much better financial shape than when I bought the car 4 years ago, I elected to trade it on something brand new.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I understand the reluctance. But doesn’t the 3.5 have a timing belt anyway, where you’d need to change it at 75K miles (and do water pump same time?)

          $2,000 sounds too high, but $1,700 if it included water pump and t-belt sounds reasonable and on average.

          “Flushes, synthetic oil.”

          No. No flushes EVER. Read up on this topic and you’ll see.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Because there was no alternative.

      “Now this here is a real fine automobile. It’s got all your creature comforts, your nice tufted seats, your power steering, your nice big engine, that great wood applique on the side here. And just this week, we’ve got a special low-impact financing plan–just 12.3% for you fine folks. What, you wanna buy some Jap crap toy car? What are you, some kind of un-American liberal hippie?”

      …was the mode of thinking at the time.

    • 0 avatar
      VolandoBajo

      ’96 Grand Marquis was a solid car…Panther love forever.

      While my supposedly rational mind can understand bball40dtw’s explanations for why the Panthers needed to go, I still wish Ford made something in the same size and body styles of the Aero generation Mercurys and Crown Vics, updated with some of the newer features of the Whale era, and with an all new NA V8 with a bit more power, but still delivering around 30mpg or better.

      I don’t even know if that is technically feasible or not, but that is what I want. Not a Fusion “shoebox” with a hexagonal grille, or an FiST pocket rocket WRX-killer, but a full-sized seats 5 great, 6 OK, smooth driving, quick “real” car, for lack of a better term.

      And especially no “environmentally correct” turbo 4 or 6 with enough heat soak to cause global warming in the passenger compartment and enough pressure on the bottom end to wipe out crankshaft bearings before 150K, just a big beefy NA V8 with lots of torque throughout the power band. And no double-digit range automatic trans, or CVT, just a nice closer ratio five or six speed successor to the 4R70W’s and AOD’s of the past.

      I keep hoping that someday some manufacturer, preferably FoMoCo brings back a newly updated legitimate successor to the Panthers, with the best of their features all merged into a single platform.

      PlEASE SANTA CLAUS! MAKE AN OLD MAN HAPPY!

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        Oh, so you want an old car? :)

        • 0 avatar
          VolandoBajo

          No, I don’t want an old car…I want an updated version of a car from the past, that takes its styling and dimensional cues from that era, and not from this rear-windowless, high front bumper, lookalike body style era we are offered in all but the most expensive vehicles.

          @DrZhivago You must be a “young whippersnapper”. Cars didn’t all look alike in the fifties and sixties.

          Just think of a GTO, a 58 Impala, a 57 Ford, a 59 Cadillac, etc. A ten year old kid could tell them apart at a glance. Today you practically have to read both the manufacturer’s badge and the model ID that is usually somewhere on the backside.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Cars have always been lookalikes within their respective eras.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Today’s ten-year-old kid would have no trouble telling a Fusion from an Accord from a Camry at 300 feet.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            “Just think of a GTO, a 58 Impala, a 57 Ford, a 59 Cadillac, etc. A ten year old kid could tell them apart at a glance.”

            Ignoring for a moment the fact that the GTO wasn’t produced until 1964, there’s no empirical evidence that proves that to be true of all ten-year-olds.

            What can be proven is that all cars in a certain era follow certain styling cues and conventions, usually from borrowing another manufacturer’s look and adapting it to last year’s body (and there were just as many ugly cars “then” as there are “now”). Tell me the ’65 Ford wasn’t ripped off the ’64 Pontiac.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I would have liked for Ford to update the Pathners more often. The 2003 update was a much bigger revision than people realize, but it would have been nice to have another update between 2003 and 2011. Or some sort of actual replacement. By the time Ford had money to build a new Panther, they didn’t have a RWD platform besides the Mustang, F-Series. It was too late and Ford wasn’t going to develop a US only RWD platform for a sedan. Maybe the Crown Vic can come back, as a unibody vehicle, once the D6 platform is up and running.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          That would be great.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          I just don’t get the wish for an updated Panther for anyone other than a cab company. They were huge on the outside but the packaging was so bad that today’s Camry or Accord is roomier inside. In non-P71 form they have the worst kind of nautical ride — not smooth and controlled, but bouncy and flailing. The non-P71 4.6 has the power of a good four today with old-fashioned V8 fuel economy. About all they can do better than a normal FWD family sedan is jump curbs without too much damage and do ice donuts.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I meant that over time it should have been updated more often, or a new platform should have been developed. I don’t think it would have made any since for Ford to redo the CV/TC as a BOF sedan in 2011. It would have had to been completely different and unibody.

            Also, the Panther had the 4.6L at the end, but it isn’t like Ford didn’t have other engines. They went cheap and sold everything to existing operators.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Unfortunately before they were done with the 2003 their budget got cut. So no money left to make any external changes so most people had no clue as to all the changes to the chassis. The reason that there were no real updates between the 2003 and the end of the line with the 2012 (yes there were 2012 they just weren’t sold in the US) is that it had been scheduled to be discontinued after the 2008. Popular demand, yes mostly from the police and livery operators, earned it multiple stays of execution.

        • 0 avatar
          VolandoBajo

          That would be something I would really look forward to. I could live without the BOF. But I hope it gets an efficient NA V8 and a rock solid five or six speed A/T, and with all the roominess and good handling while style not noisy or bumpy.

          My 97 Grand Marquis goes over railroad tracks smoothly and quietly, yet I can pull some fairly tight corners at or near highway speeds, and without a lot of body lean.

          Too many people think that you must either have hard suspension for handling, or mushy handling for a smooth ride.

          The engineers who put together the suspension of the Panthers know better, as do Panther owners who like a comfortable ride because they are older and have back problems, but still like to drive hard once in a while.

          But I am curious @bball40dtw as to why you say it would have been a US only platform.

          Don’t you think that there could have a been a market for the Lincoln and/or Mercury Panthers in Latin America, Canada, Europe and/or China in addition to the US? And if not, why? I would really like to understand if there were objective reasons that made it impossible, or if Ford just didn’t want to have to try to market a car like that elsewhere.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            It sounds like what you really want is, or can be mostly found in, an F-150.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            The original plan was to replace the Panthers with a platform that would also form the basis of the Falcon for down under and lend at least some components to the Mustang. Unfortunately the economy, increasing gas prices led Mullaly to axe the project as one of his first big changes after taking the helm.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Ford could have sold a large RWD vehicle in other places, but there wouldn’t be much of a demand. There aren’t many buyers outside North America that want a 17 foot V8 powered sedan.

            Now it has the possibility of happening because the D6 platform can accommodate FWD and RWD. So just like Ford is appropriating the T6 Ranger/Everest bones for a Bronco in the US, they may be able to do the same thing for a Crown Vic/Town Car.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The only places you could sell a revived Panther like the one you described in any meaningful numbers are the US and the Middle East. China’s displacement tax would kill any NA V8, the car is too big to succeed in Europe and most of the rest of Asia, and too costly to operate to succeed in most of the third world.

            With a 2.0T as the engine you might be able to sell a few in China, but in that segment you’re up against some pretty brutal and established competition.

          • 0 avatar
            VolandoBajo

            Yes, I can find most of what I want in an F-150, except I want a full sized back seat, a large trunk, and auto body styling. Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, that would play out just fine.

            My son probably wants/needs the F-150. And I have nothing against them, except for the fact that I have no need for a large open platforrm on the rear of my DD, nor do I want to put all the things I’d like to put in my trunk under a tonneau cover on top of a pickup bed.

            But yes, a full sized RWD sedan with a large NA engine in the D6 frame could be the answer, especially if someone went back and compiled all the features that were decontented from the Panthers at one time or another, and put them all back, in a deluxe version. And even more so, if it could be a Cadillac killer at a significantly lower cost.

            Hell, it could even be an M-B killer, done right. Something built with that design rubric would make a good point of departure for a modern version of the classic Lincoln Contintental of yore.

            I hope if I give bball40dtw enough good ideas, he might arrange to send one my way for a longterm road test.

            Most of the time I don’t regret switching from automotive engineering to computer science for my career, but when I start daydreaming about what could be in the realm of modern cars, that is when I really wish I had stuck with cars.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            F-150 SuperCrew has 43.6″ of legroom, and if you put a lockable cover on the bed, you have a trunk with either 52.8 or 62.3 cu. ft. of cargo space. If that’s not full-size, I don’t know what is.

          • 0 avatar
            VolandoBajo

            When you explain it that way, @bball40dtw, it does really make sense, and makes it less painful to accept. And the tidbits you dangle about the D6 option give me hope for the future.

            I guess I am just a dinosaur, but I happen to like driving a seventeen foot long V8 at this point in my life.

            And a D6 based sedan with all the finer features of the various Panthers, including a long body and a roomy interior, would be sweet.

            And I haven’t been inside every Camry and Accord, but the later models I have been in are in no way as comfortable as my Mercury.

            And while both Ford and Toyota have had their good models and their troublesome ones, for the most part, I would prefer to bet on the Ford iterations, and not just because of the Panthers. Toyota has been living off of its past reputation for years, while Ford appears to be making giant strides in engineering on several fronts.

            I “calls em like I sees em” and right now Ford seems to be leaving the competition in the dust on most fronts. So a new lineup of D6 based vehicles is bound to be an interesting time.

            I wonder if we will also see th4e emergence of aluminum body sedans.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    These cars with the 3.8 V6 were real fuel sippers of their day, for the power you got. EPA rated at 20/32, they averaged around 17/18 mpg. In 1983, gas prices were a stiff $1.12/gallon in March, before ballooning up to an outrageous $1.25 in the Summer driving season. Of course, they accelerated from 0-60 in 12.5 seconds, but with kids in the back, that was fast enough, maybe TOO fast. Today, that’s not fast enough if you’re late for yoga class, but there would be no kids in the back, just materials for your latest pinterest project.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

    3.8L Essex = reliable?!?!

    I contend that there is no engine in the history of Ford Motor Company that has turned more people away from ever buying a Ford again.

    Ive watched people pour thousands into repairing a 3.8L head gasket issue on a low mileage unit only to have it start knocking a week later. Cars with under 100k on their third engine. Terrible!

    Absolutely the worst engine Ford has ever produced.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Read again the 3.8 has proven to be one of the most reliable engines in the 24hrs of LeMons.

      The head gasket issue is always overblown in the 3.8 they did not fail any sooner than many Hondas from the era and Ford actually paid to have them or the entire engine replaced, even if it was delayed, well after the warranty was up, something that Honda never did. (OK it wasn’t Ford that payed it was actually Armstrong the supplier of the gasket material that did not meet specs that eventually footed most of the costs)

      I did way more Honda head gaskets/engine replacements in this era than 3.8 Fords.

      Never have I seen a 3.8 loose a head gasket before 60K and if a car had a second replacement engine by 100K it was due to owner abuse/negligence. Replace the head gaskets before the engine temporarily seized due to heat and they would be good to go until 150-200K. Wait until the vehicle came to a complete stop in traffic and yes replacing the head gaskets could give you an engine that would fail sooner rather than later. Now the Tempaz HSC on the other hand you could overheat it until the engine temporarily seized and the head cracked and you could put a new head on and be good to go.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        We saw more bad Ford 3.8 Essex V6’s at the auctions than you could shake a stick at. The intake and head gaskets went bad causing lots of internal engine damage before the owner even knew what was going on. The Ford dealers were replacing them like crazy during the 90’s on the Taurus/Sables and the minivans. Many would come in and get new head and intake gaskets and find out a month later that the heads were cracked or the bottom end was toast. Customer after customer with these engines used to tell me it was there last Ford.

        We used to go behind the Ford dealers during the 80’s and 90’s and see loads of 3.8 equipped cars with there engines pulled out sitting at the back of the dealership. It was a weekly thing. Not to mention there junk 4 speed transaxles.

        This car was a Ford Deadly sin in many ways. Launched with troublesome carburetors. Low powered ancient 200 six with 85 Hp hauling around more weight. Junk Essex 3.8, woefully under powered 2.3. The lack of any sort of instrumentation, even as an option, showed how much Ford even cared about these cars and the fact they called this tarted up Fairmont a LTD or Marquis just takes the cake. The peeling woodgrain reminded me of seeing these cars when they were brand new. There was a white 1984 wagon that was just unloaded of the truck carrier back in late 1983. I remember as a 13 year old checking it out and being shocked to see that the wood applique was already starting to bubble up on the lower rear quarter panel. Yes Ford quality was certainly job one back in the day. Too bad it didn’t always transfer to there cars.

        • 0 avatar

          Growing up in a family of Volvo owners, I never knew what a head gasket was until I heard from others grieving over replacing theirs… but I digress.

          My grandfather owned this car’s stablemate, an ’85 LTD. I got to drive it near the end of its life when I was a young driver, from ’96-’97. I hated it. Compared to my dad’s Volvo 240 (also an ’85) it felt like it was held together with dental floss. The Essex had all the charm of a contractor’s air compressor (and roughly the same NVH at idle).

          What I found inexcusable was the turning radius. For a compact RWD platform it took ridiculously wide turns. Maybe the Fox body Mustangs were better, wish I got to drive one of those to find out.

          My grandfather wasn’t a shining example of a gearhead mind you… he put up with a mushy brake pedal for months… until I nearly experienced brake failure and found out the master cylinder was cracked.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          If the car was put back together with a cracked head or other problems that was the fault of the dealer not Ford. Ford would pay to replace the engines if justified and they always payed for having the heads checked for cracks.

          As mentioned there were cars of the era that had a higher incidence of head gasket failure that often ended up with a head that was cracked or too warped to be reused and/or damage to the bottom end because of the coolant in the oil.

      • 0 avatar
        VolandoBajo

        Not losing a head gasket before 60K is hardly a glowing recommendation of reliability, nor is the ability of a purpose-built racing version of an engine to survive proof of durability of that same engine coming out of the showroom.

        Isn’t that the same engine that was in the 88 TBird TurboCoupe?

        (Which, against dealer recommendations, I skipped, and went for the Sport Coupe with the 5.0 Windsor instead.)

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      I owned a 87 T-Bird with the Essex 3.8 TBI. It was one of the most reliable cars I have owned. With normal maintenance drove it to 187K when one of the head gaskets blew. I considered repairing it but instead I sold it.

      The later 80’s and 90’s Essex in the T-Bird/Cougar, Mustang, Taurus and Windstar were plagued with so plagued with head gasket failures at fairly low miles to the point where Ford had to do a major recall.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    My mother had a late 70’s LTD wagon. Complained constantly about the location of its horn.

    Can’t remember if it was either 1) activated by pressing the stalk on the side of the steering column or ii) activated by pressing small inserts located on the back of the actual steering wheel rim.

    Can anyone help out?

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      It was pushing the end of the stalk. The big reason behind that was the impending requirement for airbags that was successfully pushed out many times. That meant that by the time airbags were mandated that steering column had ran its course.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Thanks. That confirms what she has said, that she nearly died on a head on collision in the car when an oncoming idiot pulled out to pass on a 2 line road and in a panic she tried to blast the horn and nothing happened.

        What idiot would put the horn control on the end of a stalk and who would approve it?

        That was the 2nd last Ford product owned by any member of my family from ’68 until then always had at least one Ford in the driveway.

        Her next vehicle was Japanese and she has never purchased a domestic since.

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        Various French vehicles also had the horn button on the end of the stalk. Sacre Bleu!. I think the Americanized Renault Alliance moved it to the wheel.

      • 0 avatar
        thattruthguy

        The reason for the fingertip horn was a US auto industry trying to figure out how to make its cars more Yurrupeen. Thus stuff like graphic icons instead of labels on controls. That’s the same time that dimmer switches moved from the floor to the steering column, which obviously had nothing to do with pending air bag legislation.

  • avatar
    healthy skeptic

    11.9% APR??? And that was the ‘good’ rate, the one worth advertising.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      18% wasn’t unheard of at the time for someone with reasonable credit. I hate to think what it may have been at the time had they been willing to make loans to the lower tiers of credit worthiness. 30%?

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Usury laws in most states still existed at the time, so 15% to 21% would be as high as they could legally go.

        I just wrote a post below how I got 7.9% dealer financing in 1987 on the first car I bought, and my parents were so convinced I was being lied to/screwed that they insisted on going with me when I went to pick up the car to confirm the finance details. How the times have changed!

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Usury laws were no where near as common back then and I’m certain that the caps would have been higher if they existed because the “normal” interest rate was so high. There are states where 25% or more is allowed today.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      10% interest in savings accounts was typical at the time. Inflation? We had high inflation and we liked it! (Walking uphill, both ways, in the snow, of course…)

  • avatar
    Pch101

    The end of an era. Thank God it’s over.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      In most ways, it was the best we’d ever had. Obviously not if you were into big engine output, but look at the typical 60’s sedans we were driving before then, including Falcons, Novas, Valiants and such, with points ignition, crank windows, drum brakes all around and forget about reliable AC. Corinthian Leather???

  • avatar
    VolandoBajo

    @DrZ It is not just a question of how many cubes of storage. I’m an old geezer, +/-, and I don’t feel like rooting around in a large flat box for my things, nor do I want to have to have them sliding around instead of being tightly packed in.

    And I don’t want people on my lawn either! ;-)

  • avatar
    SavageATL

    This car is very plushy for 1983, with electric windows and plush velour. This was what passed for entry level luxury, the equivalent of an Acura/lower level Infiniti/(whatever the Lexus Camry is called now in 1983. Best looking and nicest Fairmont ever.

    The AM/FM radio never having been replaced, this strikes me as Grandma’s last car purchase and then the kids/heirs discovered it hadn’t run since Al Gore invented the internet and it was going to bring $1000 if alive and $500 if dead. I wonder what she traded in for it, probably a ’70’s land yacht Country Squire/Colony Park. This car would have been plushier, with velour rather than vinyl, and so much more maneuverable.

    Saultigh I am sorry to hear of your troubles. No water pump should grenade at 90K and should not cost $2000 to replace. I do think those continuing experiences make people come back for another helping of Camcord rather than try domestic products.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Check out that special financing rate of 11.9%

    In 1987 I bought my first car I financed – a Ford Tempo. I got 7.9% special financing for 48 months, I had over 50% equity driving off the lot (which basically evaporated when I drove it off the lot, lesson learned) and a payment around $100 a month. My parents were so convinced I was being screwed/lied to on the 7.9% rate they insisted on going with me to the dealer to examine the paperwork. How times have changed.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      $212 a month on a Ford Tempo. There are no words.

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        Wow. Just look at what you can get for roughly that today. Mid-sizers Cam Cord etc.

        • 0 avatar
          SwagWagon

          And that seems to be exactly what young people are buying now. There’s a Sophmore nursing student at my College that just took out a 48 month loan on a ’15 XSE Camry. Black with leather interior, infotainment, and a moonroof. A little overkill for a 19-year-old that dosen’t care that much about cars, IMO, but it’s her life, not mine.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Camry (XV50) is actually a pretty smart buy for anyone right now. Resale, interior room, 2.5 I4 (although the current AR is similar to the previous AZ while incorporating new features like VVT) paired with a new standard six speed automatic. While bland, it works.

  • avatar
    purple

    California sure has clean cars in their junkyards. I live in suburbs NW of Chicago, not the kindest place for cars. I love station wagons. If I only had the room and money. The wagon needs to be saved by someone? Make it a sleeper. Throw a lot of Mustang parts at it. A Coyote with a supercharger or a big block or how about a new twin-turbo 6. Im a dreamer.

  • avatar
    FalconRTV

    Interesting fact: that model shared its rear tail gate with the Australian designed and manufactured 1979 XD Falcon station wagon.


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