By on April 13, 2020

1983 Mercury Marquis in California junkyard, LH front view - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsFord squeezed every possible nickel of value out of the rear-wheel-drive Fox platform during its near-20-year production run (longer than that, if you accept the SN95 Mustang as a Fox), and I enjoy tracking down as many Fox variants as possible while I march up and down the rows of my favorite car graveyards.

I think the period of Peak Fox came during the first half of the 1980s, as the Malaise Era shifted into the Conspicuous Consumption Era (and we haven’t seen a Fox Ford here since 2019), so this 1983 Mercury Marquis deserves inclusion in this series.

1983 Mercury Marquis in California junkyard, trunk badge - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsWhile Americans could buy the Grand Marquis all the way through Mercury’s demise in 2011, the Fox Marquis — in production for the 1983 through 1986 model years — ended up being the very last Marquis. The Grand Marquis during this period remained on the full-sized Panther platform.

1983 Mercury Marquis in California junkyard, grille badge - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsLike nearly all Mercuries, the 1983 Marquis had a near-identical twin with Ford badging: the LTD.


This car must have been parked outdoors and neglected for years, because its cowl vents had enough built-up soil to support a crop of grass during Northern California’s rainy winter.

1983 Mercury Marquis in California junkyard, front seats - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsWith Whorehouse Red™ velour upholstery and plenty of hard red and fake-chrome plastic, the affordable opulence was real.

1983 Mercury Marquis in California junkyard, door panel - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsYes, there was a time when aspiring luxury sedans had hand-cranked windows.

1983 Mercury Marquis in California junkyard, speedometer - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe federal government mandated 85 mph speedometers in U.S.-market cars from late 1979 through late 1981, but plenty of new cars retained them long after that. The silver-gauge-face fad, mostly seen in Oldsmobiles, Buicks, and Mercuries, reached its zenith during this period.

1983 Mercury Marquis in California junkyard, HVAC controls and radio - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsAM/FM cassette and air conditioning!

1983 Mercury Marquis in California junkyard, engine - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsMarquis buyers could choose among three engines for 1983: a “Pinto” 2.3-liter four cylinder with 90 horsepower, a 200-cubic-inch straight-six with 92 horses, or a 3.8-liter V6 with 112 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. This car came with the top-of-the-line V6; the 5.0-liter V8 became available for the 1984 and 1985 Marquis. An automatic transmission came as standard equipment, though I’m sure a persistent buyer could have forced a dealer to order one of these cars with a manual.

1983 Mercury Marquis in California junkyard, field expedient taillight - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsYou know the junkyard lies just down the road when a car has taillights made from taped-on shards cut from a red plastic storage tub.

You’ll find links to 2,000+ more Junkyard Finds— including dozens of discarded Mercuries— at the Junkyard Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™.

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43 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1983 Mercury Marquis Sedan...”


  • avatar
    Erikstrawn

    “You know the junkyard lies just down the road when a car has taillights made from taped-on shards cut from a red plastic storage tub.”

    I recognize those! Folger’s Coffee tubs. I have a stack of them under my work bench labelled, “Bolts”, “Washers”, “Nuts”, etc.

    I also have a Cobra IRS sitting in my shed, awaiting a Marquis or Fairmont wagon.

  • avatar
    Erikstrawn

    “You know the junkyard lies just down the road when a car has taillights made from taped-on shards cut from a red plastic storage tub.”

    I recognize those! Folger’s Coffee tubs. I have a stack of them under my work bench labelled, “Bolts”, “Washers”, “Nuts”, etc.

    I also have a Cobra IRS sitting in my shed, awaiting a Marquis or Fairmont wagon.

    Love it!

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I often wonder how many badges were applied to the Fox-body Ford and the K-car Chrysler? I had forgotten (no surprise) that there was a Mercury Marquis that wasn’t a “Grand” Marquis. I love the crank windows on a pseudo-luxury nameplate

    • 0 avatar
      theflyersfan

      I also remember that plasti-chrome would reach around a billion degrees on a summer’s day (especially the seat belt buckles and latches) and left nice little burn marks where it touched raw flesh!
      As a family, we had a Pontiac “war wagon” with the same color interior. I do miss the days when interiors had colors, or ones that you didn’t have to pay a small fortune to get a “special order” color.
      Every time I see a car like this, especially in these junkyard posts, I’m reminded of a friend of mine back in grade school – his dad had pretty much this same car and I keep thinking of the cigarette smoke stained headliner right above the driver’s seat, the open can of beer at all times, and the “let’s see if we can launch it over these train tracks” missions at night! Memories!!!
      Don’t think kids today will have those same memories in a Rogue or Highlander.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        “Kids” will hot rod anything. Your friend with the classy dad, did they live in a doublewide? ;-)

        • 0 avatar
          theflyersfan

          Let’s just say my friend kind of lived in a “Norman Rockwell is Bleeding” kind of environment…

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          No, Nate, nothing wrong with doublewides, it’s some of the parks they hang out in

          There is that park in Malibu where trailers go for a million dollars and up. Is that where you are?

          • 0 avatar
            -Nate

            ?! _MALIBU_ ?! LOL .

            Hardly .

            Agreed many trailer parks here and there are, IMO, pretty nice .

            None near me but I digress .

            I’d live in a trailer park except the crabby old ladies always make a fuss about the cars, parts , Motocycles and junk .

            -Nate

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    I thought these were nice enough I guess but the half-blanked out tail lights were always stupid looking. Pure laziness.

    So in the course of 6 years this car was effectively the Zephyr, the Cougar, the Monarch and the Marquis. Did I miss any?

    • 0 avatar
      theflyersfan

      Wasn’t the Fairmont one of these also? Not sure…

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        The Fairmont was the mother of all fox bodies

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          Fairmont, the small LTD that the Taurus replaced, Granada, Thunderbird/Couger through 88…the fox body was like 2/3rds of a Ford dealers inventory in the 80s.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        You’re right; the Zephyr was the Mercury twin. I should have stated “Mercury labeled”. The 2nd gen Granada and the mid-80s LTD were Foxes as well, the LTD when the large Ford because the Crown Victoria.

        The ability of the domestics to swap their names around always vexed me…if you say “Camry”, “Accord”, “Legacy”, “Passat”, etc, we all know what vehicle you mean, even though the generations may vary as they’ve gotten bigger over the decades. There’s rarely consistency with the domestic large car labeling over the decades….

        • 0 avatar
          cardave5150

          That naming inconsistency with the domestics is partially caused by so many “legacy names” being tainted by crappy products over the years. So many names had to be discarded, and they found it easier (and lazier) to add “Grand” or “Gran” in front of model names and jump size classes.

    • 0 avatar
      CaddyDaddy

      Lincoln Continentals of this time were of Fox Body bones. IIRC in 86′ they became upmarket Taurus / Sable.

    • 0 avatar
      Blackcloud_9

      My friend had a Zepher. Man, what an awful car. Had the Pinto engine, power nothing, no A/C. Starting breaking almost as soon as he got it.

    • 0 avatar
      namesakeone

      The Monarch was the Mercury version of only the first-gen Granada; the second-gen Granada variant was called the Cougar, and the Thunderbird (coupe) variant the Cougar XR-7. You did miss the Capri (1979-86) and the Continental (1982-87).

  • avatar
    Mike-NB2

    This brings back memories. In ’87 I bought an ’83 Marquis. Brown over brown. It had the V6 too. I bought it because I was living on my own at the time (I was on my first posting in the RCAF – though it was still just called Air Command at the time) and wanted something reliable. My guess was that avoiding anything that might have been hooned made sense, and buying an old man car was the best choice. I was right as the Marquis served me well.

  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    Wow hand crank windows and leather wrapped steering wheel – incongruous.
    Chrysler also big on the silver face gauges.
    I had a GF with the LTD version of this, same silver, same 3.8L that ate headgaskets for lunch. Comfy car but that is ALL it had going for it. It was literally a Fairmont with changed front & rear ends and a nicer interior.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      Those compartments in the center arm rests were for the power window and if ordered the seat switches.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Ah, the old, “you’re too cheap to opt for the power windows so we’ll just put some holes here” routine

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          No, if you didn’t get the power windows you got the bin you see here to store change in, instead of the flat panel with the holes for the switches.

          Ford was not one to do blanking caps. For example on the late Panthers there are 4 unique molds for the panel that goes to the left of the steering wheel. No holes, for the base models. Left hole for traction control, Right hole for power pedals or two holes for both. If it doesn’t have a hole for the switch it has a holder for the connector that doesn’t have a switch to plug into so it isn’t rattling around behind the dash.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    One of my high school friends’ parents had one of these with the V8. He got a speeding ticket in it one day, I don’t remember the numbers being particularly impressive in the grand scheme of things although they were impressive to our impressionable (impressi ble?? easily impressed??) young minds, most of us relegated to driving our own parents’ malaise sixes and fours. Of course we mocked him mercilessly for the next few days.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    The horrific 3.8l Essex V6. I wonder how many head gaskets this thing went through? I never drove one of these, but I did get to drive a couple of LTD rent cars of this vintage (like ’85 and ’86) with the Essex. Not terrible.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      I owned a 1987 Thunderbird with the 3.8 Essex V6. With normal maintenance I got 187k out of it until the head gasket blew and I got rid of it. It kind of surprised me that it didn’t go sooner but a coolant change every few years as well as a fresh radiator might have helped the longevity.

  • avatar
    cprescott

    I owned a Fairmont Futura four door – the last of the Fairmonts before they were converted to Granadas and then to LTD’s.

    I genuinely liked this car even though it had the 2.3 liter 4 cylidner- it could carry six with no problems (though the engine was not stout enough to do this with any promise it would not grenade hauling six people).

    Mine was a pewter metallic exterior with a wonderful red interior with vinyl seats. It was almost as if the Ford Falcon was reborn – this time with sheet metal that felt like a beer can in flimsy nature. The interior had fake wood trim and plenty of hard plastics. But it handled well and was great on gas. This last variation of the Fox Body had a trunk that was redone so it had plenty of depth (early Fairmonts had shallow trunks).

    If this car had not been wrecked prior to me buying it (I was young and didn’t know what to look for), then I might still have it as I’m frugal beyond belief. It was a good car. Not a great car. But good is enough to make it worthwhile for me.

  • avatar
    ravenuer

    Still no de Sade Edition?

    hmmmff.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    These are mostly useful as the “before” in before-and-after comparisons with the Taurus and Sable, or to be compared with Accords of similar vintage to show why the Big Three were declining. Phoned in from the start and never got any better.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    What happened to velour?

    I see all these junkyard pics and the vinyl of the 70s and the velour of the 80s just seems to be capable of surviving almost anything.

    This was a super neglected car and that interior would clean up and still be serviceable.

    I never had an issue with velour.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    I believe there was a Mercury version of the Ford LTD-LX, those must be hen’s teeth rare.

  • avatar

    This brings back memories…our HS Driver’s Ed car, complete with assistant coach driving instructor, was a Fairmont. I recall it mostly as the first car I ever legally drove, and the horn wasn’t normal. You had to push the turn signal stalk…in. I’ve no idea whose brilliant that idea was….

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