Mercury, a division of the Ford Motor Company, first started cranking out cars in 1939. As an upscale brand, she was slotted in between the entry level Ford and high-end Lincoln models much like the Buick and Oldsmobile nameplates in the GM family fitted above Chevrolet and below Cadillac. That their fates should similarly come to an end is not without irony.
Over that almost three quarter century run, Mercury produced some of the most intriguing designs from sedans to woodies, performance cars and wild one-offs, and highway cruising convertibles and racing vehicles bound for the track. In order to celebrate and preserve that legacy, the International Mercury Owners Association (IMOA) gathers every year across the country for an annual convention and car show.
This year's event was held in Dayton, Ohio over the summer and given the 80th anniversary of the brand, it was extra special. After registration of participating members a caravan slowly made its way to the Wright-Patterson Air Force Museum. United by their love of Mercury, proud car owners showed off their cars, went for drives, and shared stories about their prized automobiles. Information is shared, phone numbers are exchanged, and bonds are forged continuing long after the event comes to an end.
Other drives and attractions were also on the itinerary such as a jaunt to the Wright Cycle Museum before heading back to Dayton. To formally mark Mercury's birthday, John Clor, Enthusiast Communications Manager for Ford Performance, gave a presentation of the Mercury brand entitled, "80 Years of Mercury," highlighting key events and players in the marquee's history. It was met with great enthusiasm.
One of my favorite rides is a Mercury Cougar and there were many different years and versions of the Mustang doppelganger on hand at the 2019 IMOA convention this year. She was based on the Mustang platform but with a wheelbase a few inches longer and modified shock towers to accept bigger motors. And unlike the Mustang, which came with a 6-cylinder engine as standard, the base motor in the Cougar was a small-block 289 V-8. Interior trim packages were all a bit more plush than her sister car and you could configure a Cougar with power windows, sun roof, leather trim pieces, and power door locks. She was a sort of a luxury muscle car. Plus, you could order a GT-E version with a fire-breathing 427 sideoiler under the hood! Nice! R.I.P., Mercury. Buckle up.
(via Ford Performance)