Posts from ‘Mercury’
by Don Sikora
Note: The following story was excerpted from the August 2017 issue of Collectible Automobile magazine.
Mercury, and the Grand Marquis, left the automotive scene in January 2011. That final Grand Marquis was a direct evolution of the 1979 Marquis built on the “Panther” platform that was Ford Motor Company’s response to General Motors’s downsized 1977 large cars. Consider for a moment that Panther’s run of 33 model years remarkably covered nearly half the history of Mercury itself. Over time exterior styling evolved but this body-on-frame Merc’s basic specifications remained amazingly consistent.
If you’re looking for proof that 1982 was a transitional year for the domestic auto industry, check out the dealer sales-training video for the then-new Chevrolet Cavalier below. It’s worth noting that Chevy’s cutting-edge front-drive subcompact car is being promoted with two-tone paint and white sidewall tires.
As far as recessions go, the economic dip of the early Eighties wasn’t much of a downturn. Apparently the Fed overdid it a bit, and tightened the money supply a bit more than banks and lenders liked.
The rollout of General Motors’ broad lineup of “X-Car” compact cars for 1980–which consisted of four separate vehicle lines spread across four brands–was a big event in the American automotive industry. Not surprisingly, GM backed up its ambitious new product initiative with a massive presence in TV and magazine advertising.
By Frank Peiler
In the early Fifties, auto designers didn’t always seem to put much thought into the back ends of the cars they were creating. The rear of the car often felt like an afterthought–just a place for a trunk and a couple of brake lights, and not much in the way of style.
By 1986, most parts of the country were enjoying a reprieve from rising gas prices. For the first time in a number of years, petrol was again retailing for less than $1.00 per gallon, with $.99 becoming a popular price point for regular unleaded.
By 1979, there was light visible at the end of the tunnel for performance-car enthusiasts. Though horsepower was still wanting in most cases, cars were growing leaner, and arguably better built.
Confession: I have a very hard time separating what I think is good looking from what I thought was cool—at least when it comes to cars from the late Seventies and early Eighties.
While many advertisers latched onto the Bicentennial hype surrounding our nation’s 200th birthday, automakers largely did not. Sure, there were several red, white, and blue-themed special-edition trim packages available (mostly as 1975 models), but otherwise the automakers were largely mum on the subject.