After a slow rise, 2003–04 Mercury Marauder values are suddenly spiking

The 2003–04 Mercury Marauder has been creeping up on the market for years. And then suddenly, with the latest Hagerty Price Guide update, it pounced.

With a 10-percent increase in HPG values, the Marauder finds itself in the collector car market spotlight, something few would have anticipated in 2014, when a 2003 Marauder in #3 (good) condition had an average value of $11,500. Today that number is $17,400 and climbing.

“Marauders have been on the rise for years, but it’s been very gradual,” says Hagerty valuation editor Andrew Newton. “The latest jump is the biggest they’ve ever seen.”

A 2003 Marauder in #1 (Concours) condition is valued at $29,400, climbing ever closer to the car’s original MSRP of $34,500. It has a #2 (Excellent) value of $22,100.

Nearly two decades ago, Ford reached back into its muscle-bound past and resurrected the Marauder name for its new mean-looking, high-performance version of the Grand Marquis four-door sedan. It sounded either great or odd, depending on your point of view; ultimately buyers weren’t impressed. Car and Driver complimented the Merc’s ride but said its 302-horsepower 4.6-liter DOHC V-8, built to the same specs as the Mach 1 Mustang, seemed a bit out of place. “Hot rodding a Grand Marquis,” the magazine quipped, “is a little like making bourbon out of Geritol.”

Built on Ford’s venerable Panther platform that lasted from 1978–2011, the Marauder was based largely on the Crown Victoria and—like the earlier Chevrolet Impala SS—it received high-performance equipment from police models, in this case the Crown Victoria Police Interceptor. Steering was by variable assist rack-and-pinion; a 3.55 limited-slip differential was standard, and the driveshaft was aluminum.

2004 Mercury Marauder Dash
2004 Mercury Marauder Ford
2004 Mercury Marauder shifter knob
2004 Mercury Marauder Ford

2004 Mercury Marauder Exterior
2004 Mercury Marauder Ford

Visually, the Marauder could be distinguished from the normal Grand Marquis by its twin Cibie fog lamps, the 1960s-style Mercury logo on the wheels, aluminum interior trim, 140-mph speedometer, and oil pressure and voltmeter gauges. It was offered in Black, Dark Blue Pearl, and Silver Birch the first year; Dark Toreador Red replaced blue in 2004.

Ford estimated that it could build 18,000 Marauders annually, but demand was weaker than anticipated, and only 11,052 were produced in total over two model years (7838 in ’03, and 3214 in ’04). The Marauder remains one of Ford’s last rear-wheel-drive sedans.

As with every car, Marauders have their share of loyal followers, and membership is increasing. The number of insurance quotes has risen 35 percent in the past year, and most of those come from Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, who make up 76 percent of quotes—evenly split at 38 percent each.

Marauder #2 values have now pushed their way past the 1994–96 Chevrolet Impala SS, which Newton says “is a similar concept but arguably better executed.” There are far fewer Marauders out there, however. Nearly 70,000 Impala SS models were produced in three model years—six times as many as Marauders—and while the Merc’s values climbed dramatically with the latest HPG update, ’94–96 Impala SS models slipped 1.4 percent.

Perhaps the 2003–04 Mercury Marauder’s time has finally arrived.

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