1937: Edsel Ford begins
planning a new premium vehicle range between mainstream Ford "Blue Oval"
products and Lincoln luxury cars. After considering a number of names,
including "Winged Victory," Ford eventually named the brand Mercury after
the winged messenger of the Roman gods, known for dependability, eloquence,
skill and speed.
1939: The first model
year for Mercury included four models, a sedan, two coupes and the Series
99A convertible. The Mercury coupes were considered by designers to be
quite avant-garde for the era.
1945: The Lincoln-Mercury
Division is established.
1948: Benson Ford,
grandson of Henry Ford, is elected a company vice president and named general
manager of Lincoln-Mercury Division.
1949: James Dean immortalized
the 1949 Mercury when he drove a de-chromed six-passenger Mercury Series
9CM in the 1955 move "Rebel Without a Cause."
1949-51: Mercury coupes
become the car of choice for performance tuners and hot-rodders who chopped
the tops, removed body trim and filled the resulting holes with lead to
create "Lead Sleds" - famous for their long, low, smooth appearance.
1950: Benson Ford
drove Mercury's first Indianapolis 500 pace car, a Mercury Series OMC Coupe.
The one-millionth Mercury rolls off the line in August.
1957: Mercury's second
Indianapolis 500 pace car is a Turnpike Cruiser convertible.
1960: Mercury introduces
the Comet, the first upscale compact car.
1963-64: The first
Mercury Marauders, performance versions of Mercury's mainstream Montclair
and Monterey sedans, debut at the dawn of the muscle-car era. Production
Marauders capitalize on the success of the Bill Stroppe-prepared Marauder
stock cars, including the one Parnelli Jones drove to victory at the 1963
Pikes Peak Hill Climb.
Comets become drag-strip sensations thanks to Jack Christman, who developed
the first Funny Car, a lightweight Comet with a supercharged, fuel-injected,
nitro-burning 427-cubic-inch V-8.
1966: Once again,
Benson Ford drives a Mercury pace car at the Indianapolis 500. His Cyclone
GT convertible is super-tuned to achieve 0-60 mph in seven seconds.
1967: The first Cougar
- Mercury's luxurious pony car - is named Motor Trend magazine's "Car of
the Year." Chauncey, a three-year-old Cougar, stars in famous television
ads for Mercury - "at the sign of the cat."
1968: Cale Yarborough
wins the Daytona 500 in a Mercury Cyclone. Actor Jack Lord drives a triple
black four-door Mercury Parklane Brougham on the hit television series
1975: The Mercury
Grand Marquis nameplate is introduced. Grand Marquis goes on to become
Mercury's longest-running, best-selling nameplate, with more than 2.7 million
1985: The aerodynamic
Mercury Sable, offered as a space- and fuel-efficient
front-wheel-drive sedan and station wagon, is introduced.
1992: The second-generation
Sable is introduced.
1996: Mercury enters
the sport-utility market with the all-wheel-drive V-8-powered Mountaineer.
The third-generation Mercury Sable is introduced.
1998: Lincoln Mercury
moves its headquarters from Detroit to Irvine, Calif. The Mercury Marauder
Concept, powered by a supercharged 4.6-liter V-8, is unveiled at the Specialty
Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas.
1999: The fourth-generation
Sable is introduced as a 2000 model. The new Sable offers a long list of
safety and security features, including the Personal Safety System™, side-impact
air bags for front-seat occupants and an emergency trunk release system.
2000: Lincoln Mercury-dedicated
product development, design and manufacturing organizations are established.
2001: The second-generation
Mercury Mountaineer is introduced as a 2002 model. The new Mountaineer
rides on an all-new chassis with four-wheel independent suspension and
offers innovative features, including a third-row seat that folds flats
into the floor. It is named a "Best Pick" by the Insurance Institute for
Highway Safety. The production version of the 1998 Mercury Marauder Concept
is unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show. The 2003 model is powered by an all-aluminum
4.6-liter DOHC V-8 and incorporates significant chassis and safety improvements
planned for Mercury's rear-wheel-drive architecture.
2002: Brian Kelley
becomes president of Lincoln Mercury. Susan Pacheco is appointed as director,
Mercury Product Development, Elena Ford is appointed Mercury group brand
manager and Darrell Behmer is named Mercury chief designer. The Mercury
Marauder Convertible Concept is unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show. The
2003 Marauder and Grand Marquis arrive in dealerships in the summer.