Junkyard Find: 1983 Mercury Marquis Station Wagon

Murilee Martin
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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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?

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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  • Purple Purple on Nov 19, 2015

    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.

  • FalconRTV FalconRTV on Nov 22, 2015

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

  • Bd2 Probably too late to do anything about it for the launch, but Kia should plan on doing an extensive refresh of the front fascia (the earlier, the better) as the design looks really ungainly.
  • Namesakeone Since I include SUVs and minivans as trucks, I really cannot think of a brand that is truly truckless. MG maybe?
  • Sobhuza Trooper Subaru, they were almost there with the BRAT. --On a lighter note, where the hell is my Cooper Works Mini truck?
  • Mike Evs do suck, though. I mean, they really do.
  • Steve Biro I don’t care what brand but it needs to be a compact two-door with an ICE, traditional parallel hybrid or both. A manual transmission option would be nice but I don’t expect it - especially with a hybrid. Don’t show me an EV.