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Hooniverse Obscure Muscle Car Garage – The 1969-70 Mercury Marauder X-100

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Welcome to the Hooniverse Obscure Muscle Car Garage, a regular feature which aims to expand the notion of what a muscle car is, and maybe to change your thinking in the process. Up until now there hasn’t been a product produced by the Mercury Division of Ford covered in this series. While this car isn’t a Ford badged product, it was produced by the Ford Motor Company, with a Ford Performance pedigree. Let me introduce you to the Mercury Marauder X-100.

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Lincoln Mercury’s management seemed to be beaming with excitement during the later 1/2 of the 60′s. They went on to state that the product line was their best ever. The changes in the full-size Mercurys, represented the most dramatic product changes in one year in the history of Ford Motor Co. These fine automobiles, along with the new 1969 Cougars, represent the fourth stage in the complete product revamping of the division, which began in 1967 with the Cougar, continued in 1968 with the Montego and the spring of 69 with the Continental Mark III. Indeed, The Mercury ad campaign for the 1969 Marauder X-100 read “In Case Luxury isn’t Enough.”

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Ford had big expectations for the Mercury line that year. The Marauder, a distinct model in 1969, was made the flagship of the Mercury portfolio. The X-100 would consist of traditional full-size Mercury “luxury” but with the added power of a new power plant, the 360 horsepower 429. Priced in 1969 between $4000 and $5000, the intention was to contend with Buick Wildcat and Pontiac Grand Prix sales. The Marauder X-100 was typical of the muscle cars produced at the time. As the 1960s drew to a close, performance came in two basic forms: big engines in small packages and big engines in big packages. Large cars with big engines were performance specialty cars, and the X-100 fit right in.

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The Marauder was a two-door hardtop based on a full sized Marquis chassis, chopped in wheelbase by three inches and shortened in the body by about five. The result was a roomy two-door hardtop with a long-hood/short-deck profile on a still-substantial 121-inch wheelbase. Curb weight started at two tons, and more with the right mix of options. The Marauder essentially was the same as Ford’s big Galaxie 500XL coupe with its flying buttress roofline and upright, tunneled backlight.

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X-100 was the costlier of the two Marauders and came standard with rear fender skirts (optional on the base model), as well as a matte-black paint appearance called “Sport Tone” on the tunneled rear deck area. The last could be deleted for credit or by ordering the extra-cost vinyl roof. The dash was Marquis, and as such, gave a decidedly luxury car appearance, even if you ordered the optional buckets and console in place of the plushly padded front bench.

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To move this considerable mass, the standard powerplant for the X-100 (and optional on the base model) was Ford’s new 429-cubic-inch V-8 in four-barrel form with 10.5:1 compression, a rated 360 horsepower at 4600 rpm, and 480 pounds/feet of torque at 2800. A three-speed Select-Shift automatic was the only transmission and an 2.80:1 rear axle ratio was standard. With the optional 3.25:1 Traction-Lok gears, the X-100 could turn the quarter in the mid-15s at 86-92 mph. Other Performance Figures: 0-60 mph in 7.5 sec, 0-100 mph in 19.9 Sec, Top Speed of 126 MPH.

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Car and Driver Magazine wrote; “We realize that this level of performance is perfectly adequate, but adequate for whom?” Certainly not all out performance mavens, it concluded. Surprisingly, the X-100 was a pretty competent performer though. Understeer was the rule and the power steering was unnervingly light, roadholding ability was better than the base Marauder, thanks in part to the X-100’s standard Goodyear H70×15 bias-belted tires on Kelsey-Hayes “MagStar” aluminum wheels. Handling could be further improved by the stiffer springs and shocks offered with the optional competition suspension. Overall, said Car and Driver, “it’s extremely controllable in a wide range of situations, which is more than we can say for most of its competitors.”

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With a base price of $4091, the X-100 listed for $700 more than the base Marauder. Options made it more expensive, but the pricing didn’t stop Mercury from building 14,666 Marauders in ’69, 5635 of which were X-100s. The car came back little changed for 1970, and production was down to 6043 Marauders, just 2646 of them X-100s.

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That the car didn’t sell in huge numbers and wouldn’t run with the intermediate fire breathers of the day is not really the point. As a broad-shouldered heavyweight with the biggest engine in the stable, the Marauder X-100 was typical of one branch of the muscle car family. Ford pulled the plug on the Marauder in 1970. It wouldn’t be until 2003 that Ford’s Mercury division would re-introduce the Marauder name.

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Well, there you have it. Is a Full Sized Mercury, one with a Big Block 429 hooked up to a C-6 automatic, an obscure Muscle Car, or is it just a Boulevard Cruiser pretending to be one? Remember, there was a market for full sized bruisers like this one. Does it belong in the Garage? leave your comments, and let your voice be heard.

Does the 1969-70 Mercury Marauder X-100 have what it takes to be included in the Hooniverse Obscure Muscle Car Garage?

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Please Note: All Images are screen grabs from around the web. If you want credit for any image, please let me know in the comments section. Thank You!

  • calzonegolem

    Dem spats!

  • http://hooniverse.com/ Tanshanomi

    "A three-speed Select-Shift automatic was the only transmission…"

    I'm having trouble thinking of this as a muscle car on this point alone.

    • I Think Not

      Eh, this was meant to be a straight-liner, and big blocks with autos have never suffered in the straight-line speed department.

      Anyway, a clunky, heavy-shifting 4-spd manual would have gone against this car's luxury pretensions. It is a gentleman's muscle car.

    • ptschett

      If a manual transmission is required, that would disqualify these other nominees:
      Ford F150 SVT Lightning
      '74 AMC Matador coupe w/ 401
      Lincoln Mark VII LSC
      1970 Chrysler 300 Hurst
      1977 Pontiac Can Am

      • http://hooniverse.com/ Tanshanomi

        Touché.

        Although for some reason it seems more egregious in this and the Chrysler 300, only because they're earlier.

  • FЯeeMan

    10 feet. Between the wheels. 2 doors. Occupying most of that space. The mind boggles.

  • Senor Smee

    My father had a 1965 Marauder with, sadly, the 352 instead of 390 or 427, but what a stylish beast it was. In another universe, maybe Mercury could have become Ford's version of AMG to Lincoln.

  • mkep819

    You said it yourself…"Large cars with big engines were performance specialty cars, and the X-100 fit right in."

    It would be in my garage, in fact I might consider kicking something else out, but not under the "Muscle Car" section.

  • stigshift

    Anything with a big block, fastback styling and rallye wheels with skirts earns bonus points. I love these things, and haven't seen one in, shit, probably since 1971.

  • david42

    There are lots of things that can qualify a vehicle as a muscle car (well, maybe just speed). But I'm pretty sure that fender skirts are an automatic disqualification.

    I'm usually pretty open-minded about what makes a muscle car, but I think this is the first "no" vote I've cast in this series.

    • stigshift

      Ever heard of the '64-7 Pontiac 2+2? 421 0r 428 cubic inches, 3 or 4speed manual OR automatic transmission available, and on the '65-7, you could get skirts. http://static.ddmcdn.com/gif/1964-1967-pontiac-ca

      • david42

        Great point! Perhaps stick-shift cancels out fender skirts.

  • http://startinggrid.org/ Bret Dodson

    Very cool! I saw one of those Street Parked last year. Haven't seen it since. I love semi-obscure big block equipped personal luxury coupes.
    http://startinggrid.org/2012/09/04/street-parked-
    <img src="http://startinggrid.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/img_0032.jpg?w=670"&gt;

  • Mike R.

    There is a really nice red one of these that shows up at JBA's coffee and cars occasionally. It is simply massive and the owner says it really hauls the mail, in a straight line of course. But it looks great in person, bright red with the blacked out decklid like the one in the beach photo.

  • https://www.facebook.com/alex.w.wise tiberiusẅisë

    I believe I've read stories of saucy minx Murilee Martin delivering pizzas in a big bad Mercury. You know this is just a bigger, malaise-ier version. If that isn't a automatic yes for me, I don't know what is.

    • chrystlubitshi

      I almost clicked 'report' instead of reply due to the mention of that Sauciest of Minxes, Ms. Murilee. However, I believe that '69 and '70 fall in to the category of "final heyday before the malaise"

  • http://hooniverse.com/ Batshitbox

    I think this is more Obscure Cop Car than Obscure Muscle Car. Detectives, chiefs, and other non-uniformed cops always drove the Grand Marquis when I was growing up, which is just a tarted up patrol car, anyway. The X-100 has nearly the same stats as my '73 Pontiac Grand Ville including factory mag wheels, which places it far from muscle car.

    I have wanted one since I first saw one in the '90s, just for the name. They have an oddly Dodge Coronet-ish profile.

  • dukeisduke

    I've been in awe of these since they were new. Much cooler than the Galaxie XL:

    <img src="http://www.cars-on-line.com/photo/47200/69ford47213-8.jpg"&gt;

  • GTXcellent

    In the true sense of the term "muscle car" I have to lean no. A high powered personal luxury crusier it is, but not a muscle car. Full size, 3 speed auto only, 2.80:1 open rear-end, fender skirts – nothing adds up to muscle car. Granted this car isn't a whole lot bigger than my '68 GTX, but worlds apart in every other aspect.

  • McQueen

    A rotted out 69' X100 was a very kind donor for the motor swap in my 68' Galaxie which had a tired 302

  • Rover1

    Even sadder, the Mercury marque met it's maker before exploiting the possibility of the 'De Sade' option line to the Marquis series. One would imagine, at least, extra leather, if not whips and chains. Available colours would of course include black as well as 'Shades of Grey" and suspiciously large sales to middle America. Or would it? Sadly, we'll never know.

  • R.L. Elliott

    Steve McGarrett should have driven one of these, in all black, of course!! :-)

  • Anon M. Ous

    Wasn't this steaming pile used as the model for the "6000 SUX" in the first Robocop movie ?

    • John

      Nope…the 6000 SUX was made from a mid 70's Oldsmobile Cutlass

  • Jay

    Had a 69 Galaxie sportroof. Basically the same car. Loved it BEST CAR I EVER HAD.

  • Kenneth

    Badass, either way!!

  • Joe

    Mom had an X-100 when I was growing up. Got my license in 1975 and this was my cruiser. (back when that was allowed) Beat most all of my friends in their chevelles and camaros. And that's with three friends and a trunk load of beer. Would to find and own one again. : (

  • David S.

    You bet! Park it in the garage!!!!!!!! Mercury had winner! and everyone opted out for 69-70 grand Prixs, Monte Carlos. Lets remember theses were fast and over the top "Personal Luxury Cars" A cross over between a Preformace car and a Luxury
    Car. Every one made one and the market was hot for them.

  • jake o

    my uncle sam got a 69 x-100, he was killed a couple years ago..so ive been trying to keep it going in his honor. he had the 429 bored alittle bit an added a 460 stroke kit an head work done..the cars so big the big block looks like a 302 sitting in it..its a nasty motor and a sweet body tho it needs work..but a hell of a car even with the 666 as the last 3 numbers on the vin tag.

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