Sometimes I curse not having a camera to hand, other times I look and say ‘Thank You’.
It seems to be so long since I came across a real American car (now that I no longer circulate around car shows) that almost any find is a reason to smile, and even more so when it’s a chance find a few feet from home, as in the case of this a (Ford) Mercury Grand Marquis LS.
As far as I can tell, this is a first generation model, ranging from 1979 to 1991. Poking around in the specs shows an engine of 302 ci was usual (that’s around 5 litres of V8), but as the fuel emissions lobby started to bite, this engine was strangled down from just over 200 HP to a low of 122 HP at one point, then saved as fuel injection replaced its carburettors and power climbed back to a little over 200 HP.
Things are hazy (and I’m not taking time to be specific) but the number are confusing unless analysed since specs change from quoting SAE gross HP to giving SAE net HP. Life’s too short for this stuff!
While it’s not perfect, a walk round suggested it has been reasonably well looked after. I’ve seen cars on show that would make this one look as if it had just been driven out of the showroom ‘as new’.
Everything is where is should be, and nothing could be described as tatty or even rusty (just a few spots).
I didn’t see it moving, so I’m left to wonder if the LEDs seen to the left and right of the rear bumper are amber additions demanded by some possibly over-zealous and poorly trained Jobsworth VOSA/MOT inspector, ordered to be fitted before the certificate would be issued since the factory indicators are red, being integrated with the brake lights. Two outer lamps in each rear cluster act as steady brake lights, but flash if being used as indicators.
My tester has always said the rule is that if it was not a requirement when the car was built, then it is not a requirement today – barring a few specific legal ‘construction and use’ regulations that apply to nearly all vehicles regardless of age.
One day, I’ll invest in a new polariser to go with the ‘old’ new camera, in the meantime, I just have to make the best of things when reflections are around.
Inside, you can see the obligatory US speedo maxed out at 85 mph. Did officialdom really think drivers would just stop there, when the numbers ran out? In the 1970s the Carter administration prohibited speedometers from indicating speeds over 85 miles per hour. The idea was around before Carter, but his people implemented it. Regulations require some justification. The justification was: people might not drive fast if they didn’t know how fast they were going.
The reality? When stopped by the cops and asked “Do you know how fast you were going?” They could honestly answer “No, officer.”
As part of Reagan’s regulatory reform the speedometer rule was scrapped. I’ve also read that research that showed there was no benefit from the 85 mph limit was suppressed – something referred to as the Parker report on speed limits being initially suppressed by NHTSA because it did not support low speed limits.
Cruise control on the steering wheel, and plenty of stalks on the steering column. The dash went digital option after the 1992 revamp.