Before the jellybean Taurus/Sable hit the scene, Ford and Mercury’s mid-sized sedans were transitional – they was half-square and half-aero. This Marquis in SF is a nice example.
The bones for this Marquis debuted with the 1978 Ford Fairmont/Mercury Zephyr. Fairmonts sold in giant numbers in its debut year, with more than 400,000 of them finding their way into America’s driveways. The Zephyr sold less but was no slouch at about 150K units.
The flossy Zephyr in this promo pic has the Luxury Exterior Decor Group, which blanked out the rear quarter windows with vents. Note the fake wire-wheel covers and fake fender vents, neither of which interfered with the Zephyr’s boxiness.
Eight years later, Ford shed the box for the bean with its groundbreaking Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable. The Sable LS is pictured below. The Sable looked even slipperier than the Taurus, and it was just about the polar opposite of the straight-lined Zephyr.
The Sable also sold well, with production approaching 100K cars in its first year and then about 20% more in its second, as buyers warmed to its new style.
The transition from boxy to aero was a gradual one, and the Fairmont/Zephyr was practical and functional enough to be ferried through that transition with the rounder LTD and Marquis. The doors were the same, but the extremities were curvier…
…and they had more angles. The blanked-off upper tail light panels help the thin lower lenses create an impression of greater width.
Continuing the transitional theme is the melding of a more wind-tunnel-friendly shape with the old-school Brougham name. Fake wire wheels emphasize the theme.
Inside, this Marquis is well-preserved. The double-decker instrument panel is protected by rumpled dashtop carpets. The owner is probably wise to attach a Club, as it wouldn’t take much to jimmy your way in and hotwire it.
This Marquis is not a timeless design. Instead, it’s more like your plate at the salad bar, with a little bit of this, and a little bit of that. Still, its popularity was right in line with those came before and those that followed, with 1984 Marquis production up over 100K units.