This is an installment in a series of posts looking back on show cars that we feel deserved a little more attention than they got. If you have a suggestion for a Forgotten Concept topic, please shoot us a line or leave a comment below.
First Shown: 1979 Chicago Auto Show
Description: Two-seat sports car with rumble seats
Sales Pitch: “While most concept cars look forward to the future, Mercury went backward in time.”
First seen at the 1979 Chicago Auto Show, the Mercury XM Concept was purely a styling exercise. Penned by Italian design house Ghia, the XM was a 2-door, 2-seat sporty car featuring a pair of second-row “rumble” seats which were accessible—and usable—only when the hatch was open.
Literally no additional information about the concept was made available. That said, the XM arguably helped established Ford/Mercury design moving into the Eighties. The XM’s rear pillar can be seen, to some degree, on the 1980 Ford Thunderbird and Mercury Cougar, and the 1982-1988 Ford EXP and Mercury LN7 sports cars.
A 1954 Mercury concept, the XM-800, marked the first time Mercury had used the XM moniker. The XM-800 did not employ rumble seats. Note that the 1939 Ford was among the last U.S.-market cars available with rumble seats. Established in 1916, coachbuilder and design firm Ghia was acquired by Ford in 1970.
The most interesting thing about the mostly forgotten XM concept might not be the design, but the wheels. Seen here on a concept car, these same wheels made the rounds at Ford and Mercury, appearing on the Ford Thunderbird and Grenada, and the Mercury Cougar coupe, sedan, and XR-7, and a number of other corporate models, here in the U.S. and abroad. The questions is, which do you remember better, the XM Concept, or these once ubiquitous wheels?
Mercury XM Concept Gallery
(Click below for enlarged images)