Saturday, November 15, 2014

Found in the Wild: The Black Panther

This is a rare car. It might look like a common Ford Crown Victoria used as cabs and police cars across the country but this one is actually quite special and one of only 11,000 ever made. That's because this is a 2003 Mercury Marauder and it's got a little secret under its hood.

That secret lies in the form of a 302 horsepower 4.6 litre DOHC V8. Standard Crown Vic's had to make do with just 240 horsepower from their SOHC V8's. This enabled the Marauder to do 0-60 in just 6.9 seconds and the quarter mile in an equally impressive 15.4. 

The Marauder doesn't look drastically different than the ubiquitous Grand Maquis but it has a host of subtle changes that set it apart. Most noticeable are the 18" chrome wheels with the god of Mercury depicted on the center caps. The rear valence also has 'MARAUDER' embossed into it and the car has twin chrome exhaust tips. 

In addition to the high-horse quad-cam V8, the Marauder received a special rear suspension layout and shorter 3.55:1 gearing for quicker acceleration. Every single Marauder was sold with a four-speed automatic transmission so you three-pedal die-hards are gonna have to sit this one out.

Production of the Marauder was stopped in 2004 due to disappointing sales. Ford figured the market no longer wanted an imposing four-door, V8 muscle sedan. Then Chrysler launched the 300C with Hemi V8 power in 2005 and went on to sell hundreds of thousands of them. 


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