Looking back on the '60's, we think of some of the most awesome muslce cars ever built. Sure, today we're seeing production cars hitting the 500hp plus mark, but it was the 60's cars that got us thinking we needed the best looking and fastest production cars money could buy.
Actually making its mid-year debut as a 63-1/2 model, the 2-door Marauder was the "fastback" alternative to the massive 215"-long Monterey 4-door sedan (remember that reverse-slanting "Breeze-way" window that actually rolled down?). The Marauder was styled for the sixties with its stately road presence, elegant roof line, and optional S-55 "Buck Rogers" interior. yes sir, this was a car for the young at heart. A country club cruiser, a car to arrive in.
Driven by what many have observed as an influence from Lincoln styling, this model year would be the start of a whole new look for the Mercury line up. Notable hallmarks were the square styling of the roof line, the long, sweeping body lines, and the massive trunk. The wheelbases measured in at 120.0", and the overall length of 215" was greater than that of the '63 Lincoln!
The Marauder, based on the Monterey body style, had a stylish new "fastback" roof line and a very classy road persona. The key differences in the Marauder S-55 (in addition to exclusive trim and badging) were the bucket seats and console, and most importantly, the availability of the 427 "Marauder V8."
The marketing strategy for this car was to appeal to both racecar enthusiasts as well as consumers, using the slogan "Safety Surge V8s." This approach was statistically supported with numbers that claimed lower-horsepowered vehicles tended to have a higher per mile accident rate.
Mercury was attempting to become more than just a family car. They were looking for a more well-rounded ownership. Sales figures would prove they had a winner as the 1963 models generated great interest among stock car drivers, drag racers, and other performance-oriented categories.
The powerplants for the Marauders started with the 2-barrel 390 cubic-inch big-block generating about 250 hp. Someone looking for that extra boost could order the higher compression 300 horsepower 390 4V configuration. The available 406 4V offered 385 ponies, and the even more powerful 6V could dish out 405 hp. The 406 cubic-inch option was replaced mid-year by the much coveted 427 in 2 flavors: the 410 hp 4V or te 425 hp 8V. This was pure power in a car that had style and simplicity as its trademark.
Complete article now available in issue #4 of Legendary Ford Magazine