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UPDATE! SHO Club Tests Marauder!
7-2-02

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The first Marauder came into my local Ford dealer yesterday. It had my name on it, so I took it for a drive.

I have to say I was more than a bit disappointed! In the power area, this car just seemed to be lacking. Yes I think it is faster than my '96 SHO, and maybe as fast as my '89 with BOS. That makes it a pretty fast big sedan, but I expected a bigger push from a V8 sedan with 300+ rated horsepower.

First Impression?  The build quality looked great. Paint, etc was nice, but the door skins were wavy around the handles.  Under the hood was almost like looking at the Cobra Mustang.  Those great big wide valve covers were right in the open with a nice wrinkle finish that looked durable.  Plenty of room underhood for a K&N FIPK and even a blower.  Nice that Ford didn't cover the engine with a plastic shield like a lot of high end cars these days.  It means they have to make things look neat, but I much prefer seeing the motor to a plastic cover.

Out back, those huge tailpipe tips look great from behind, but from the side, they look a bit tacked on. Running the big pipe so far back just doesn't appeal to me.

Inside, the added gauges down low on the console are near impossible for my fifty-something eyes to read without going to tri-focal glasses, but at least they supplied them, and they look very period.  The "nudo" leather seats were comfortable and felt great, but they don't go down far enough for me.  Really tall people will have a problem unless they lay the seat way back. My '94 Crown Vic had a HUGE amount of headroom, what happened?  They also put the lumbar support on the lower right front of the seat, where it is hard to find and get to, without leaning forward, thus you don't know when you hit the right amount of lumbar support.  This is an ergonomic mistake.

A Crown Vic/Grand Marquis with a floor shift automatic is nice.  Remember that Chevy didn't offer this till the last year (1996) on the SS Impala.  Nice of Mercury to offer it from the start.  Since they made it for the Marauder, you should be able to order the "Sport" Crown Vic with the same console, shifter by now.  Just without the DOHC motor.

What really turned me off though was the power. On a test drive of a Caddy STS about three years ago, on the same roads, I got a huge push into the seat and a nice bark from the tires off the line and in the next two shifts.  The Marauder took off from the same 10 mph roll with a jet-like smoosh, but without the real surge a jet airplane eventually gives. The fairly high stall converter probably needs lots of brake torque rpm's from a dead stop to perform properly, but still, a 10 mph roll tells me a lot about a car.  The shift to second and third was pretty lazy with no hope of that satisfying bark from the tires. Rpm's rolled steady to 6 grand in first, second and third, but forward progress was glacier-like to my mind. Like I said earlier, the car is pretty fast, but I was ready for something more.

Handling was firm, a bit jiggly compared to my '94Crown Vic with the handling package (and 100,000 miles on the factory shocks), but not harsh. The Marauder has secure handling I could really learn to like. Side to side motions, as in an emergency lane change, were very well controlled.

My test was with the windows rolled up and the A/C on.  Can't blame the A/C for any lack of power, the compressor cuts out like it does on most cars with full throttle.  The sounds the car made also were very subdued.  I could hear almost no exhaust noise, but others have praised the exhaust note of the Marauder, so maybe I should have rolled the windows down.  My '96 SHO V8 made more noise when new, and now with the Bullet Mufflers, the 96 sounds like a GT Mustang, and is noticeable under power in the cabin, with the windows up.  I guess the Marauder will have to undergo a bit of muffler change to get a great exhaust note too.

But the power just isn't there! With a 3.55 gear I expected a bit more. They show the car doing massive burnouts on all the video's, and posters, but they must have started with wet tires!

To my mind, the first mistake Ford made was making it a Mercury. I could love a Galaxie more than a Marauder.

Second mistake by Ford was all the build-up to a wishy-washy conclusion. Where is the power?

I guess the magazines may be right, this is a poser.

We can only hope that Ford/Mercury do something to boost power before the second year, when also there will be more colors, and frankly, the Marauder could use some color.  All black looked bad on the SS, it just looks black on the Marauder.

No Marauder in my future, new or used. My 96 SHO V8 puts a smile on my face every time I drive it. I couldn't work up a smile for the Marauder. When I first drove the Impala SS the torque and bad boy looks really turned me on. Price was even fair. Now Ford brings out an all black Grand Marquis that doesn't have much in the way of body changes to really set it apart, and the torque isn't there like in the SS. And for $35,000? I am glad I didn't sell the 96 in anticipation.

Now, the CV Sport, as shown below, is finally in the order loop after almost a year of delay.  My guess is they didn't want the CV Sport to hit before the Marauder, since the two look almost identical and should have almost the same interiors.  The CV Sport will be about 6 grand cheaper in sticker (lots less if dealers pack the Marauder above sticker) and for that you can add a blower kit and blow right past your friends with a Marauder.

Don Mallinson
SHO Club

 

Mercury Marauder and Crown Vic Sport 
(Posted in 2001)

The Chicago Auto Show (2001) has brought announcements of interest to those of us that love big four door sedans.  You know the ones, those that can satisfy a performance need, and have blue oval blood.

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The Mercury Marauder concept was shown around last year and is apparently going to be a reality sometime mid-year in 2002 as a 2003 model. (First cars hit dealers lots in Late June 2002).

Pricing was initially hinted at $30,000, but has turned into $35,000 in reality.

Here are the vital statistics: 4.6-liter dual overhead-cam V-8 engine with more than 300 horsepower and 300 foot-pounds of torque planned. (since this was first posted, reality is 302 rated HP with 318 lb ft) True dual exhaust, Four-speed automatic transmission with a high stall speed torque converter and 3.55 rear axle with limited-slip differential.  Performance suspension including; 18-inch forged aluminum alloy wheels with high performance all-season tires (P235/50ZR18 front and P245/55ZR18 rear); Mercury logo embossed in the wheel center caps.  140-mph speedometer, 7,000-rpm tachometer, temperature, oil pressure and voltmeter gauges. Leather-trimmed cabin; five-passenger seating with old style Mercury logo embossed in the seat backs and Marauder embroidered in the floor mats (speedometer also says Marauder); center console with floor-mounted shifter.  The monochromatic exterior design with body surfaces finished in gloss black paint and   dark-tinted headlamp and tail lamp bezels (also dark tinted back up light lenses) may even turn a few of the SS Impala faithful to the "dark" side!  "Marauder" will be embossed in the rear fascia and fog lamps are integrated into the front fascia.

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The Mercury Marauder first appeared as a competitor to the SS Impala and as a companion for the Galaxie 500 XL in 1963.

Of prime interest to SHO owners like me that have been screaming at Ford to bring out a "Galaxie" version of the Crown Vic is the news that the Marauder program appears to have spawned a version of the Vic that is close to what I have been wanting since the SS Impala (the good one made from 1994/1996) came out.

The Crown Vic "Sport" is supposed to have the go-ahead from Ford for late 2001 delivery with basically the Handling and Performance package suspension and motor, which includes true dual exhaust.  The interior will be similar to what you see here for the Marauder:  A floor shift, large wheels and tires and monochromatic paint scheme will make the Crown Vic Sport a reasonable alternative for those that need four doors and want a big car.



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Here you see the Crown Vic sport in red, quite a nice package with the 17" wheels and chrome removal treatment.

2001 Crown Vic Sport Front View

 

 

2001 Crown Vic Sport back view

 

 

 

 

 

 

The interior of the Crown Vic sport as shown here is very similar to the Marauder, in fact you can bet they will share many parts directly.  Unfortunately the Crown Vic Sport is not slated to get the DOHC motor that the Marauder will get.2001 Crown Vic Sport interior

 

Starting at $26,655 the CV Sport will be a good addition to the Ford sedan line-up. (I have since seen a window sticker of just under $30,000 for a fully loaded CV Sport) I just hope they put in the DOHC motor at some point. (Not happening as of late 2002)

So why is all this on the SHO Club site? 

Just because these are neat cars, and if you have never driven a Crown Vic or Mercury Grand Marquis with the handling and performance package, you owe it to yourself to give them a try.  The smooth 4.6 SOHC V8 is dreamy and very fast for a fairly big car. Handling is quite good for the size and smooth ride.  No need for seasick pills, the ride is smooth, but my 94 with the handling package with 100,000 miles on the ORIGINAL shocks was still controlled and not floaty.  These are traditional big American cars that will make you feel good going down the road. 

That these also look like 90% of the new cop cars on the road gives you a bit of intimidation factor and respect from even the Corvette crowd.  Put on a cell antenna and CB whip and you can "lead the pack", especially at night!

2001 SHOClub.  Photos courtesy of Mercury and Ford Division of Ford Motor Company.

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