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NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

Mercury lacked clear identity

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Mercury lacked clear identity

BY MARK PHELAN

FREE PRESS COLUMNIST

Mercury never had a clear identity over its 71-year existence.

Over the decades, Mercury strove to offer more style and performance than Ford models, but those plans repeatedly fell victim to a lack of vision and corporate infighting.

In spite of that, Mercury sold some memorable cars.

Here are a few that show what Mercury might have become, if Ford had managed the brand effectively:

• 1949 Mercury sedan -- The first car from a combined Lincoln-Mercury division, this low-slung sedan became a favorite with street rodders, police departments and James Dean's character in "Rebel Without a Cause." A mainstay of ZZ Top videos and album covers.

• 1967-70 Cougar -- This fashionable European-inspired sport coupe featured crisp lines and sequential turn signals.

• 1971-77 Mercury Capri and Capri II -- This German-built coupe was among the first sporty compacts sold by an American automaker.

• 1988-89 Merkur Scorpio -- A rebadged version of Ford's big European sedan, the Scorpio was another attempt to give Mercury international flair. Merkur was a separate brand, but its cars were sold only by Lincoln-Mercury dealers. The Scorpio was the brainchild of Bob Lutz, who ran Ford of Europe before going on to become the product guru at Chrysler and GM.

• 1991-94 Mercury Capri -- Italian design graced a little front-wheel drive roadster that went on sale just before Mazda introduced the Miata. Weak performance and poor quality undid it.

• 1999-2002 Cougar -- A dramatic design that was Ford's last attempt to create a distinct Mercury look. The compact coupe had sporty and precise handling.

• 2003-04 Marauder -- This high-performance version of the Grand Marquis sedan was the last Mercury that mattered. An instant collector's car.

link:

http://www.freep.com/article/20100606/COL14/6060488/1331/business01/Mercury-lacked-clear-identity

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• 1949 Mercury sedan -- The first car from a combined Lincoln-Mercury division, this low-slung sedan became a favorite with street rodders, police departments and James Dean's character in "Rebel Without a Cause." A mainstay of ZZ Top videos and album covers.

While there may have been a '49 Merc or two in the background of a ZZ Top video or two... I can't think of any it which it was the featured car. And I have the whole ZZ Top CD catalog... no '49 Mercs on the covers. I imagine Phelan can't tell a '49 Merc from Cadzilla.

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While there may have been a '49 Merc or two in the background of a ZZ Top video or two... I can't think of any it which it was the featured car. And I have the whole ZZ Top CD catalog... no '49 Mercs on the covers. I imagine Phelan can't tell a '49 Merc from Cadzilla.

About the only music video I can think of w/ a '49 Merc was John Mellencamp's 'Cherry Bomb'..had a white '49 in a couple scenes, IIRC.

Trivia--what '80s music video had a '75-76 or so Mercury Monarch?

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