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Ford Motor Company’s Mercury division was taken from us in 2011. The brand’s demise came during a flurry of marque terminations, and was bracketed by the shutdown of Pontiac (2010) and the final model year of Saab (2012).
Though hard to pinpoint exactly, Mercury’s market position probably hewed most closely to GM’s Oldsmobile division, though both brands drifted at different times between being slightly sporty to being more luxury focused.
If you’re my age (around the half-century mark), you’ve been programmed since high school to fully appreciate the dangers and potentially disastrous consequences of drinking and driving. And, indeed, since I began college in 1983, the legal penalties for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol have become significantly harsher.
In the annals of automotive retailing, there are few–if any–model names that have been applied to more body types or market segments than Mercury’s Cougar badge. Over the moniker’s multi-decade run, it was used on coupes, sedans, station wagons, convertibles, pony cars, muscle cars, luxury cars, and, at the end of its run, a front-wheel-drive sporty hatchback.
Given how socially vilified cigarettes and other tobacco products are today, it may be difficult for people much under the age of 40 to recall a time when smoking was not only generally accepted, it was openly promoted.
Even the most casual car person knows that GM stands for General Motors. It’s a tidy acronym that can spare journalists and message-board users alike a little time and effort.
I was born in 1965, and to the best of my memory, I never saw a DeSoto being used as a daily driver. Of course, cars didn’t last quite as long in those days, and by the time I was paying attention to cars, the last of the DeSotos would have been almost 10 years old.
I graduated from high school in 1983. The third year of President Ronald Reagan’s first term was pretty good to me—I spent the summer working full time at a service station, I starting taking classes at a local junior college, and I spent a considerable amount of time looking at, reading about, and talking about cars.
There is an air of parsimony to the automotive print ads of 1982. Take in all of the examples and take note of the following:
An important automotive anniversary passed with little fanfare recently. At least, it passed with little fanfare here in the United States.