CC Capsule: 1983-86 Mercury Marquis – The Zephyr Goes Aero

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The Fox-bodied 1983-86 Ford LTD and Mercury Marquis are getting pretty scarce around here. However, I did catch this one last spring–the same day I discovered the Schuco 1967 Cadillac, as a matter of fact. It looked pretty decent for its age, with just one missing wheel cover and minor rust.

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The local birds seemed to like it too, though the Marquis’ owner probably doesn’t appreciate that, if you know what I mean. I believe this is a 1985, judging from the taillights and wheel covers.

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Here’s a 1983-84, for comparison’s sake.

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If the front was visible, you would be able to see the new grille for that year, which rounded out the changes for 1985-86 before the model was discontinued in favor of the Taurus/Sable.

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Essentially a restyled 1978-83 Fairmont/Zephyr, the 1983 Marquis and its LTD sibling were meant to replace the 1979-up Panthers, but when the economy recovered in ’83 and full-size cars began selling again, the biggies continued as “Grand Marquis” and “LTD Crown Victoria.”

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For its first year on the market, the outgoing Zephyr was sold alongside the “downsized” Marquis. Much like the 1975 Monarch and its predecessor, the awkwardly-bumpered Comet, were sold side-by-side in 1975-77.

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Initial 1983 Fox Marquises were available in your choice of a four-door sedan or station wagon (Di-Noc woodgrain optional). A 2.3L four with four speed manual was standard equipment, with the 3.3L straight six and 3.8L V6 optional. Later on, you could get your Marquis with the 5.0L V8. Of course, a Brougham trim level was available.


I am always reminded of Beverly Hills Cop when I see one of these–the only time I remember seeing one in a movie.Who could forget the scene where Foley sends an early supper to Taggart and Rosewood in their BHPD Marquis, then incapacitates it with a banana?

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Plus, when I was a kid our next-door neighbors, the Ohlweilers, had a beige LTD sedan of this vintage. It replaced a similarly beige Fairmont sedan. I was about five when they got the LTD, and I remember liking it a lot better than the boxy Fairmont. In about 1990-91 the LTD was replaced with a fully loaded Taurus LX sedan, in a rather attractive cinnamon color.

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Have we still not done a full CC on one of these cars? If I ever catch up with the two-tone navy blue over light blue 1983-84 Marquis Brougham I will correct that, but every time I’ve seen it, it’s been on the move! Until then, this one will have to do.