Shifty Panther: 1996 Mercury Grand Marquis with Manual Swap

The Panther platform had a very long life, mostly underneath taxis, police cars and grandparental transport. These offered rear-wheel drive and periodically attracted enthusiasts off and on over the years, with the Mercury Marauder being the ultimate factory iteration. One thing all factory versions had in common, however, was an automatic transmission. That’s been corrected in this example!

Continue reading Shifty Panther: 1996 Mercury Grand Marquis with Manual Swap

Salesman’s Hot Rod? 1968 Mercury Montego MX Four Door with 390 and 4-Speed

For those not old enough to remember, and for those who forget, it seemed that no one except salesmen and some realtors drove four-door, US domestic non-luxury cars back in the day. As recently as the late 70s, the best-selling car in the US was the Olds Cutlass, most of which were two-door sedans. The big families stepped up to wagons and vans, leaving the four-door for work and (oddly) retirement duty. Given all this, four-doors historically had a bit of a stigma and, more recently, they haven’t ridden the wave of increased collector prices. That makes really nice four doors oddities and, as such, we love ’em. Today’s feature is a 1968 Mercury Montego MX with bid block (390) power and a four-on-the-floor!

Periodically, we see swapped four doors for sale; but the seller here has a Marti report documenting original equipment. Further, this car looks perfect in dark red/maroon with black vinyl top and those original GT wheels. Its four-door nature retains sleeper quality, but we imagine the 390 with headers gives things away a bit.

Depressed four-door prices made them bargain used cars for smart families back in the day and that holds true for enthusiasts today. This won’t be a great collector investment, but it should be reasonably to purchase, it won’t likely lose value and it will likely provide a lot of fun (with the option of a couple kid seats in the back). This is also cheaper to buy and maintain than another of our favorite four doors, the Mercedes Benz 300SEL 6.3…

Just note that this one may need diff work:

“Runs great car has 325 trac loc factory I believe it’s broken noisy .””

Click for eBay ad
Westfield, MA, USA
$6,550 with 21 bids, reserve not met and one day to go

With the engine off, this is a sleeper, although closer inspection reveals it wears the best 15-inch tire one can buy today, the Pirelli P6000 (see pic in ad).

Exposed exhaust gives things away a bit.

Front end, of course, matches the two-door Montego (and isn’t too different from a Torino), which was a handsome car.

Grandma’s car styling is perfectly clean and, yet again, we like the dual exhaust.  Was it that exposed when stock?

Here’s a money shot with the four-speed.  Note the bench seat – this car technically seats six adults!

Very rare in a four door is a tachometer!

The engine has a bit of dress-up, but some of these had chrome bits when stock. Supposedly, it was rebuilt about 6000 miles ago.  Power steering is present, but no AC.

Ad text:

“Car is in very nice condition never had rust or any repairs. Car was repainted years ago . This is a one of one production car . Comes with Martin report original motor and trans motor was rebuilt approx 6000 miles ago I believe the top was replaced also car came from calf . Runs great car has 325 trac loc factory I believe it’s broken noisy .”

this is 1968 Mercury montego 390 Mx 4 speed manual transmission  4 door  power steering   ,Power brake,  posi traction ,4 barrel carb

Car has hooker headers and dual exhaust. Car runs great   I just don’t drive it enough.   Car has 15 inch Ford gt wheels with Mercury man center caps very rare. This is a documented one of one production car with Martin report.   Do not waist my time with money orders or scams. cash and u pick it up it’s that simple car will not leave until paid in full threw paypal or cash no checks at all. All shipping is up to buyer . Car must be picked up within 1 week of sale . 

Rare Sleeper: Big Block, Four-Speed Mercury Montego

First, we admit a 1960s mid-sized sedan isn’t the sleeper it once was; but it’s true that most sedans in this class were built with mild powertrains.  Not this one, however, as it sports a 390 and four-speed manual!

This example is essentially stock, but does wear headers and custom exhaust, as well as a 750 CFM Holley carb.  The great news is that the carb is hidden under a stock air cleaner.  That’s a decision we respect on a car like this!

The car appears to be in very good condition, even if the pics aren’t the best.  It seems the seller had trouble getting the whole car into any one pic.  Condition is overall very good, but the seller claims it needs a replacement posi-traction carrier, as the limited-slip diff isn’t functioning (though the car drives).  We also see a few minor items that need addressing in the interior.

So, we love the car and imagine it will have no trouble finding fans.  The question is whether it will find a buyer at the opening bid price.  So far, the answer is no.  While this is cool and rare, its four doors mean it won’t get anywhere near the buy-it-now (BIN) price.

Click for eBay ad
Westfield, MA, USA
$8,500 with ZERO bids, reserve not met, 1.5 days to go and $17,000 BIN price

Here’s a hint of the classic sedan profile.  We love the classy combination of dark red and black vinyl top, as well as the styled steel wheels.  The trim appears to be present and in at least decent driver condition.

Front end shows interesting concave shape and cool quad lights.  The hood also has a nice, aggressive bulge down the center.

Rear is pretty much plain Jane, although the dual exhaust hints at power.  We’re not sure that the 390 badge was placed in this location originally – someone can correct us if we’re wrong.

Interior sports split (?) bench seat and lots of fake wood.  Naturally, we get a bit fixated on the three pedals and long shifter.  Unfortunately, the doors were cut for speakers and it looks like someone’s working on the remote mirror adjustment.  Surely, these can be sorted fairly easily (retro speaker grills hiding modern speakers would be nice).

Rear seat offers decent room, though not much by today’s FWD sedan standards. Still, modern child seats should fit back here and will be compatible with the lap belts.

It looks like the car has a relatively new gas tank and we don’t see rot back here.

Here’s the 390 (AKA 6.5L) V8.  Again, we love the largely-stock look.  Sure, some might want to clean things up a bit, but this looks just right for a driver.

Ad text:

This is a documented 1 of 1 built. It is a 390 4 speed 4 door with original miles . This is all original. motor was gone threw before I purchased I have receipts  runs perfect.  It does need a track lock carrier . I believe it’s cracked but does drive posi does not work. Car was repainted years ago never had any rust or damage .  I just don’t drive it enough .  Do not call or message  and ask to end early .  Car will.not leave my possession until payment in full and has cleared with my bank . Clean tittle in hand .  I will assist with pick up .  Car must be picked up within 7 days of completed sale . No shipping 
Car does have a edelbrock intake manifold and 750 holly carb and cam is a little larger than stock and hooker headers .  Drive line is original to car minor upgrades on engine and exhaust only 

Time Capsule Topaz: Two-Door with Five-Speed!

Soon, we’ll have a whole generation that doesn’t remember Mercury, Ford’s red-headed stepchild.  That’s sad, as the brand had a few real performance gems over the years.  This isn’t one of them, but it is a last holdout of the 80s, even though it was sold in the 90s.

The Topaz, of course, was Mercury’s twin to the much-maligned Ford Tempo.  This is the car that makes people realize just how good the Mondeo-based Mystique and Contour “world cars” really were.  Still, there were bright spots: AWD in some cases, a Mazda diesel and even some V6-powered performance variants.

Today’s feature isn’t one of the special editions, but it’s interesting for a few reasons.  First, it’s amazingly well preserved while most of these have rotted away.  Second, it is a two-door variant with manual trans; so it is ostensibly sporty.  Third, its full red interior reminds us that OEMs once invested enough to make that many parts in different colors.  Those days are long gone.

At under $5K, it’s hard to say this isn’t a bit of a deal; but one has to wonder what to do with it.  It’s rare that a Tempo or Topaz is worth more than $1K.  This one checks the box because of its condition and mileage, so any change to that might rapidly make this a $750 car.  So, this is a bit of a conundrum, but we think it deserves to be saved.

Click for eBay ad
Canton, GA, USA
$4,990 BIN

Styling was cleaner and more modern on these later Tempos/Topazes.  The front “light bar” was a brand/family theme derived from the Sable (of all things).

This is a relatively friendly face and one some of us used to see often – usually in our rear view mirrors.

Profile reveals this car’s “coupey-ness” and quality alloy wheels.

Would anyone ever really use this “luggage rack?”

Apparently, the tail lights work.

Here’s that beloved, full red interior.  Big caveat  – we don’t know what’s under that dash cover.  Also, yes, this car has mouse belts!

This even had a tachometer!

Rear seat, of course, shows no wear.  Not surprising, consider the fronts don’t, either.

Trunk seems ample in size for the size of the car and it looks like original (?) floor mats are included.

Here’s the non-exciting, 2.3-liter I4.  This produced around 90HP when new.  The best claim to fame here might be sharing an engine with thousands of Mustangs…

How about a genuine Topaz Monroney label???

Ad text:

Nice 1-owner rock solid 56k org mile Colorado rare 5-speed Topaz GS Coupe! This is a super clean 2.3L Fuel inj 4cyl  5-speed Merc! Very rare that org owner had the foresight to take extra special car of this gem! This baby has survived the years and is still looking great it looks more like a 5 or 6 year old not a 23 year old! Runs and drives nice and tight and strong! Nice original paint that looks great! Nice red cloth interior! Clean engine bay. Clean undercarrage. Well equipped with cold ac, nice factory alloy wheels, luggage rack, original am/fm/stereo cass, spare tire and jack in place and look to have never been out, leather wrapped shift knob, factory floor mats, power mirrors and more! All books/manuals and original window sticker! This car has had years of pampering and care how many Topaz’s have survived like this one and how? I can tell you just about none much less a rare 2 door 5 s-peed rust free version most lived in the rust belt but not this one! If you want a nice original and had one of these years ago heres your chance to relive the dream! So may of these are very junky beat down and not in the shape our little fella is in so weigh your options you can buy a beater and fix it up and bet you will have more spent or just buy this gem and enjoy it now! Vehicle is parked in our showroom it is that quality so please call ahead to set up a time to ck out!

Awesome LeMons Buy?

So, this went over the $500 limit; but it seems like  the ultimate LeMons car.  This is a Fox-platform Mercury Cougar with the turbocharged 2.3L four and five-speed manual.  It looks like every piece of sheet metal on this car has damage and/or rust and the dash has seen too much sun.  That seems like a race car opportunity to us, assuming the rust is not in structural bits.

1) Body needs work?  Check.
2) Engine needs work? Check!
3) Not worth restoring? Check!!

Well, we think it’s worth restoring from a coolness perspective, but it will make no economic sense.  So, why not strip this Cougar’s interior out, sell off the good bits, rebuild the engine with performance mods (plenty are available) and stiffen up the suspension to make an awesome racer?

Someone already bought this one, but we had to post it.  Hopefully, it goes to some sort of loving home to see another life on the track or as the sleeper it was meant to be.

Click for eBay ad
Middlebury, VT,  USA
Already sold for $610 with two bids

Here’s the “formal” Mercury roof line.  Silver makes this even more of a sleeper vs. the red and blue XR-7s and Turbo Coupes that come up periodically.

Have you seen the light?

Front end would be indistinguishable from a T-Bird withouth the grill change.

Rear has fancy “Cougar head” lights.  Also, there’s no CHMSL on this 1984 model.

Here’s an idea of the kind of rust we’re talking about.  Hopefully, T-Bird doors fit, as full door replacement might be the best idea is one wants to “restore” this.  The seller included more pics showing rust bubbles along the lower side/rocker trim.

The interior appears to be very nice overall, although the dash is cracked.  In a sense it would be a  shame to gut this, but the parts might have some value, given the good overall condition.

Back seat looks new.

Trunk is ample.  Your humble host has previously fit a keg in the T-Bird equivalent.  Note the head gasket…hmm.

Here’s the cool turbo four – Ford didn’t even both to relabel this as a Mercury engine.

Ad text:

This is a great opportunity for someone who is looking to restore or mod a great car from the 80s. Only 6,171 of these XR-7 were made in 1984 and a small percentage of those were manual transmission like this one.  This car needs some work but does run.  It burns oil so probably needs rings and/or valves replaced.  Turbo works.  Will need brakes and tires, but the frame is in good shape (just had it looked at by a mechanic).  The interior is in pretty good shape and is leather.  This car has had only two owners, my Father-in-law and me.  It’s a cool car and I wish I had the time to work on it but I just do not.  Please contact me with any questions. Buyer will be responsible for vehicle pickup or shipping but I will help in any way that I can.

Why? Nearly Perfect 1990 Sable Wagon

The seller claims this was a grandparental car from new, and that’s the only explanation we can think of for its condition.  Any Sable in good condition is an oddball in 2016; but this wagon with full blue interior and upgraded engine is a true gem.  Would you drive this?

The seller claims under 55K miles and that everything works.  Basic maintenance was recently done to keep it running; so there’s a good chance this is ready to roll.  We don’t know the reserve, but the low starting bid means we’ll see a market price.  Anything under $2,500 seems like a bargain; but the buyer will have to decide what to do with this.  With minimal investment, not a lot of money is at risk if one decides to start adding miles.

Click for eBay ad
Long Beach, CA, USA
$217.50 with four bids, reserve not met and 5.5 days to go

This looks space-age at launch and still look unconventional today.  At Oddimotive, we consider that a good thing.  Note the desirable basket weave wheels (apologies to Bimmer fans).

Here’s the Mercury signature lighting from the era.  This was, at one time, a common sight in one’s rear view mirror.

This is familiar to me, as the former owner of a 1986 T-Bird.  Ford and Mercury were apparently pretty consistent.  Condition appears to be great.  Aftermarket head unit sticks out like a sore thumb, though.

Digital dash actually works!

Driver’s seat shows only minor signs of use.

Rear seat appears to be perfect and all carpet is in excellent condition.

Again, condition is amazing here.  The dark blue reminds me of my 1998 SVT Contour.

Cargo space is ample, as one would expect from this best of body styles.

You’re damn right there’s a tail gunner seat!

Here’s the sideways, 3.8 liter V6.  These were exciting (save for the supercharged T-Bird/Cougar version),but were decently torquey.

Ad text:

Classic, now almost vintage, Garaged, near perfect 1990 Mercury Sable LS wagon in mint, ultra low mile condition.  Only 54,9xx original miles from new.  No accidents.  I am third owner (and first two were grandpa to his grandson)  Car has always been in the Bellflower, CA area since new, and always garaged. No rust anywhere.  Original paint in excellent condition with only minor scratches and minor chips.  Clear coat is perfect.  Interior is truly like new with perfect dash, perfect leather on steering wheel- supple, no discernible wear and tear, no fading..  No leather stains, cracks or really noticeable wear from new.  The condition really has to be seen in person to be appreciated.  The headliner is perfect with no drooping at all.  Fully loaded including dual power seats, power antenna, 3rd row (technically seats 8).  This was not used as a family vehicle so the carpet, seats, headliner and door panels are just really like new.  I know I keep saying this, but it really is.  Dash has no cracks or sun wear.  Full digital dash including fully working trip computer.  AC works all functions but could use freon.  Power antenna works as new.  Factory rims with BF Goodrich tires in excellent, clean non curb rash condition.  Keyless (pad) entry works as new.  And the best part is the really cool front end with full lighting all the way across.  Clear, non cloudy headlights.  Has newer Pioneer CD with AM/FM USB and aux input, with new Pioneer speakers.  

Has driver airbag.  Comes with original factory service manual.  

Brakes in excellent shape.  Recent work includes hoses, belts, new valve cover gaskets.  Starts with one turn, no weird noises or lifter sounds.  Passed smog easily.  Runs great and cool, no overheating, excellent steering and transmission.  Drives like a car with 54,000 miles should.  

Any questions text xxxxx.  Clean title, no accidents, garaged.  No rust.  

This is not a Volvo, Chrysler Dodge, Jeep, Ford, Chevy, Toyota, Honda, Accord, Civic, Malibu, Impala, Taurus, Camry, Toyota,

Just a Marquis?

From time to time, shorty cars pop up based on various platforms.  Today’s feature started life as a Mercury Grand Marquis sedan, which means a lot of shortening took place.  Don’t bother to ask why.  We suppose the end result is just a Marquis.

In this case, the ad text is almost as amusing as the vehicle.  Here are a few quotes (SIC):

“A One of a kind modifty 1988 Grand Marquis project car.”

I actually like this made-up word.

“Legal to drive and it has a 5.01 motor, eight cylinder.”

5.01? Motor? Is it electric?

“However, it needs some work in the interior, muffler, windows and has a cracked windshield.”

Just a little work, huh?

“Additionally, you will receive some parts for the engine of the vehicle.”

Why were they removed?

“You are weclome to come look at the vechicle as well as negotiate a better price if plausible.”

We love the combo of typos and use of the word “plausible.”

Click for eBay ad
The Bronx, NY, NY, USA
$6,800 BIN with offers considered and 6.5 days to go

When we said short we weren’t kidding.  Driver sits on top of the rear axle, presumably.  Is there even a drive shaft?

From this angle, this is your average geriatric equivalent to a police car.

Yeah, cover that plate – no one will be able to pick out this car in a crowd.  Or…is that a parachute?

How about one more look?  Sadly, no interior pics were provided.  We really hope there’s a thin sliver of roll-up window left, as it appears there may be.  We’re not sure the mech would fit in the door, though.

Ad text:

A One of a kind modifty 1988 Grand Marquis project car. It was originally 4 doors but was converted into a two door vehicle. Legal to drive and it has a 5.01 motor, eight cylinder. However, it needs some work in the interior, muffler, windows and has a cracked windshield. It runs excellent and is a real head-turner. Additionally, you will receive some parts for the engine of the vehicle. If purchased you must pick up the vehicle. You are weclome to come look at the vechicle as well as negotiate a better price if plausible.

Post Super Bowl Panther: ’98 Grand Marquis with 5MT Swap

Despite rolling on an ancient platform and being known mostly as police and bingo hall cars, there’s something interesting about the Ford Panther platform cars.  They offer low prices, V8 power, rear wheel drive and a big dose of simplicity.  Today’s example solves the biggest shortcoming, which is the exclusive use of automatic transmissions by Ford.

Had the Panthers won the Super Bowl, we wonder if this would have been up for sale in February with a ridiculous price.  Probably not…

The seller mentions some (hopefully minor?) rust issues,but this is – fittingly – in Florida, where cars just rust away in the salty, humid air.  Hopefully, this can be saves, as the MT swap was a great idea and the other mods are relatively subtle.

The non-functional hood scoop is from a 1983 Mustang and it looks like the fog/driving lamps were added.  Beyond that, this appears to ride low and have a small rear spoiler.  The driver confesses some cosmetic needs and indicates that rear shock are needed.  We’d investigate what’s already on the car and use the opportunity to maximize suspension performance.  If the price stays close to this opening bid, this could be a fun driver for someone.   Mileage is low; so this should be around a long time – again, as long as rust is stopped.

Click for eBay ad
Sarasota, FL, USA
$2,500 with ZERO bids and two days to go

The exterior mods take away the sleeper effect to some extent; but this will always be mistaken for a police car when viewed in a rear view mirror.

Profile looks mostly stock; but the hood scoop does protrude and we’re not sure these Crown Vic wheels were available on the Merc.  Maybe they were??

The ad indicates the car was “slightly sideswiped” on this side.  We’re not sure where.

Here’s the intimidating front end and another look at the thoroughly-non-functional hood scoop.  Driving/fog lamps were an interesting idea and the installation could be worse.

Rear shows obligatory custom badges and extended dual exhaust.  It’s not clear whether the exhaust system has any mods or these are just tips.

From this angle, the interior looks basically stock and reasonably clean.

Here’s the money shot for this car – really the only reason it’s here.

Ad text:

Custom 1998 Mercury Grand Marquis. Only 90k miles.Original 4.6 v-8 engine with a 2002 Mustang Tremec TR3550 five speed manual transmission.The conversion was done at 75 k.  Mercury Marauder cluster, console, dual exhaust and trunk spoiler. K&N filter, SCT tuner. 1983 Mustang GT hood  scoop. 327 Trac Loc rear. Runs, drives and stops well. Cold a.c., tinted windows and cd stereo with subwoofer. drive as is or restore. Has droopy headliner and cracked leather,  typical of an 18 year old car. The lighting control module is in need of replacement as well as the rear shocks. the air bags are fine and the compressor is working. Slightly sideswiped on passenger side. Some rust on front fenders and on the frame is present, previous repairs have been done but more are needed. car is sold as is with a clean Florida title. No warranties expressed or implied.

Mercury Cyclone 351/4-speed

The Mercury Cyclone was different things in different years, having started as a variant of the compact Comet.  This 1970 model, however, was a stand-alone, mid-sized model, although Cyclone would be rolled into the Montego lineup later.  Cyclone typically meant performance, and this example, while not a CJ, fits that mold.

This Cyclone GT was generally a cruiser model; but this example is fitted with a 351-4V and four-speed transmission.  GT does mean it has nice interior details, including a full console; so one can have fun in comfort.

These don’t come along every day and it’s unusual to see this 351 GT in such good shape.  The Cobra Jet variants are big-buck, big block cars and tend to get restored.  We think this is a great way to get into something just a little different, but easy to work on.  The seller claims over $20K of recent work and we believe it, based on the images.

Click for eBay ad
(Carlos?) Tavares, FL, USA
$20,000 with ZERO bids, reserve not met, 6 days to go and $32,900 BIN price

As the 70s started, the front ends got bigger.  The Thunderbird took the beak to an extreme, but this Cyclone is no slouch.

Profile is pure Muscle car, but not one that’s often seen.  Slotted steel wheels are perfect here.

Trunk should hold a body or two.  Note the generous badging!

Rear end is unique with cool trim panel.

Full blue interior is a welcome sight and goes nicely with the dark blue exterior.  Condition appears to be excellent.

Three-spoke wheel was an upgrade and might mean it has “rim blow.”  Four-speed shifter is fantastic sight.  Lack of tachometer is typical for the era, but we do see some auxiliary gauges under the dash.

Yep, that’s a Cleveland.  This 1970 M-Code (4-barrel) version should be a beast, as this is before compression started to drop for emissions reasons and this should have the sought-after closed-chamber heads with gigantic valves.

Ad text:

You are bidding on a beautiful, hard-to-find 1970 Mercury Cyclone GT — a true muscle collector classic! This vehicle is equipped with a 4-speed manual transmission, concealed headlamps, hi-back bucket seats, dual racing mirrors and a new 351 Cleveland engine. A copy of the original window sticker, a 2012 Marti report, and over $22,000 in recent receipts of overall work performed on this vehicle are available for review at your request. This is one gorgeous car — well worth the investment! Bid in confidence — you won’t be disappointed! This vehicle is being sold as-is and is offered for sale locally by First Mate Classics (a small and friendly classic car dealership in Tavares, Florida), so we do reserve the right to discontinue this auction at any time. Click “Buy It Now” to ensure ownership of this vehicle instead of waiting for auction end! All our vehicles are run through a complete physical and mechanical inspection and any necessary repairs are performed prior to vehicle being offered for sale. We have a full-time mechanic on duty with over 30 years experience. It is our utmost intent to only offer vehicles that are in excellent mechanical condition. Please visit our website: (firstmateclassics dot com) to view our entire inventory. Feel free to call if you have any questions! 305-xxx-xxxx — Thanks for bidding and good luck!

Mercury-Branded Pinto Cruising Wagon with Manual Trans

If you know oddball cars, then the Pinto Cruising Wagon needs no introduction.  No other vehicle brought quite as much 70s van culture into a compact size.  What could be better?  A Mercury version!

Let’s make one thing clear in order to avoid claims of false advertising: This is a Pinto with a Mercury front clip.  Merc never officially made a Cruising Wagon clone.

With that out of the way, it seems someone decided this should exist, so here it is.  This 1976 Pinto has Mercury bits

Click for eBay ad
Greenville, SC, USA
$1,795 with ZERO bids and six days to go

Was this Ronald McDonald’s car at one time?

Here’s the iconic Cruising Wagon rear 3/4 view with the porthole

Here’s the ultra-luxury Merc front end.

And…here’s dat azz.

There’s plenty of cargo space here with the seats folded down.

The interior is dingy, but should be easy to fix up, as it looks like it’s all there.  We’d like to see better finishing work around the shifter, though.

A turbocharged 2.3 should technically fit right in, you now.  Even if that’s not done, we’d love to see that exhaust manifold refinished…

Ad text:

1976 Mercury Bobcat / Ford Pinto Cruisin’ Wagon 

Converted Ford Pinto Wagon
Previous owner added Mercury Front clip to Pinto Wagon
Replaced Station wagon windows with Cruisin Wagon panels

Recently rebuilt 2300cc (2.3) 4 cylinder
Upgraded T-5 5 speed manual transmission

Very good tires

New upper and lower control arms
New front brakes
New Alternator and Regulator
New exhaust

Interior needs carpet and door panels

Set up for A/C, but compressor not currently installed // Compressor included in sale

Solid floors, though rear floors will need work  at some point

Runs great // drive anywhere // cruises painlessly at 80mph