Curbside Musings: 1985 Mercury Grand Marquis LS – Nobility

1985 Mercury Grand Marquis LS. Edgewater, Chicago, Illinois. Saturday, March 16, 2024.

I didn’t really know what a “marquis” was until I looked up the definition.  Why would or should I know this?  There has never been any such title in the U.S., at least to my knowledge.  Even though I did okay in subjects like social studies and world history, I’m pretty sure I’d lose all my money on “Final Jeopardy” if the question was on the subject of titles and rankings of nobility.  Ask me what a “marquis” is, and I’ll tell you that it’s a title, but little else.  If I was feeling smart or flip that day, I’d say a marquis was a big, old Mercury.  I might even make reference to a kid in my second-grade class who had that name, though his was pronounced “Mar-KWEES”.  (He was cool and I liked him.)

1985 Mercury Grand Marquis LS. Edgewater, Chicago, Illinois. Saturday, March 16, 2024.

There are several definitions of marquis that I found online, and most generally center around it being a title given to a nobleman who ranks below a duke, but above a count or an earl.  Being a nobleman is hereditary and based on your family of origin.  This is a fitting name for a make and model that is below a Lincoln Continental or Town Car, but above an LTD or Crown Victoria.  Indeed, the Grand Marquis was the “middle child” of Ford’s full-sized car rankings during its entire existence, in accordance with the Mercury mission.  At certain points during its production run, the Marquis seemed like a genuinely unique product with a strong identity, citing the models of the early ’70s (expertly referenced by REDRAM back in 2016).  With each successive generation, though, the Marquis progressively became more similar to its Ford counterpart, especially when the Panther platform arrived for ’79.

1985 Mercury Grand Marquis LS brochure page, as sourced from

This does not mean I think the full-size, rear-drive Marquis was superfluous or unnecessary.  I liked the LTD Crown Victoria of the ’80s by association with grandparents, who had owned an ’85, but the Grand Marquis always looked much nicer.  My grandparents thought so, too, making the switch to Mercury next and staying with it until they had both passed.  All the same basic qualities of the Ford were there: the stately, linear, blocky styling; the luxury appointments on the inside; standard V8 power; the availability of options that signaled traditional, U.S. luxury, like padded vinyl roofs and simulated wire wheel covers.  It was the minor aesthetic touches of the Mercury, like the full-width taillamps, the more refined texture of the chrome grille, and other things that made the Grand Marquis look like it stood slightly more upright than the Ford.

1985 Mercury Grand Marquis LS. Edgewater, Chicago, Illinois. Saturday, March 16, 2024.

If the marquis of FoMoCo’s full-sized cars ranked below the duke (the Lincoln Town Car), it certainly was no less important to Ford’s corporate monarchy.  Its 1985 sales total of almost 161,300 cars accounted for almost 38.5% of Mercury’s sales total that year, outselling its next-most popular stablemates the Cougar (117,300), smaller Fox-platform Marquis (104,200), and Topaz (101,400) by a significant margin.  The Ford LTD Crown Victoria barely outsold it that year with 173,500 cars sold, which represents just a 7.5% difference.  It’s also notable that the base price of the Grand Marquis LS (about $12,900) was 17% more than that of the comparable Crown Victoria (~$11,000).  It’s likely that the standard content of the Mercury was higher at this same, non-base tier, but many buyers appear to have been believers in the Grand Marquis’ value proposition.

1985 Mercury Grand Marquis LS brochure pages, as sourced from

This particular car had me a little confused.  There’s an “LS” badge on the trunk, but my license plate search showed this car as not having the LS designation.  This two-tone example doesn’t have the slightly extended, more “formal” roof extension on it like the brown car in the brochure pages shown above, so I thought that maybe the featured car wasn’t an LS and the trunk was just a replacement.  (Who would buy an “LS” badge just to stick on their Grand Marquis?  Not my grandpa.)  Looking at examples of both LS and non-LS examples of ’85 Grand Marquises online, I found pictures of some clearly-labeled LS cars in preserved condition that had the same roofline as what the featured gray car has.  Looking at the sales brochure pages I found online, I wasn’t able to confirm if the more formal roof was an LS standard, or what this option was called.  I welcome your educative comments below.

1985 Mercury Grand Marquis LS. Edgewater, Chicago, Illinois. Saturday, March 16, 2024.

With no disrespect to anyone born into such a system or who lives in a system of nobility, and within the context of my own life experiences, I’m glad I’m just a dude with no titles or obligatory expectations to live up to, with the freedom to fulfill my own potential and choose my own life’s course.  As for the Grand Marquis, it served its make and parent company very well, lasting right up through the end of the Mercury marque for 2011.  It was a full-sized, V8-powered cruiser that offered a touch more distinction than the comparable Ford, even if for a bit more premium.  This one wears its vinyl roof cap like a crown, as it should.

Edgewater, Chicago, Illinois.
Saturday, March 16, 2024.

Brochure pages were sourced from