Ed Z 1969 Mercury Marauder X-100 2dr Hardtop Coupe


Did you ever think back about the cars you owned in years past and wish you still had them. Of course you have, we all have I don’t know about you but just seeing an old car in a movie or watching a car show on TV can transport me back to a place I call back-in-the-day.

Well it’s a Friday and its raining. Its also supposed to rain Saturday and Sunday. So, no car shows for me this weekend. Bored, I crank up my TIVO and start watching the American Muscle Car TV shows I had recorded. Somehow I can’t bring myself to delete these shows after I watch them, so there are 22 of them on my TIVO waiting for me to watch them again and again. I randomly pick a show and start it up. Half way through the show, I see my car, a yellow 1969 Torino GT. Not really my actual car, but close enough to cause me to flash back to the cars I used to own back-in-the-day.

I was born and raised in Scranton, Pennsylvania. My first car was a 1949 Ford 4-door flathead V8. It was our well-used family car that was handed down to me when I was 16. My Dad was a coal miner and a backyard mechanic that had raced cars on dirt short tracks, so he helped me make the 49 a bit faster then stock.. I rewarded him by blowing out transmissions on an average of once a month. Actually after I blew the third transmission, a not so subtle warning told me that this would be the last transmission I would blow.

However, by this time my “speed shift” into second gear was famous throughout the neighborhood. Kids marveled at the bent shift lever and the missing ball from the end of the lever that had disintegrated during one of my famous speed shifts. Kids would borrow their father’s car and come looking for me and the 49. And away we would go down to a little 2 lane road behind the burning coal dumps. This was our drag strip. At night the burning dumps lit up the area with vibrant multi-colored flames running up their massive sides, creating a surreal atmosphere that still lives in my memory. Drag racing, partying, parking, all in the glow of burning coal dumps were my teenage years.

OK, back to the 49. The 49 was the common Ford dark blue color of that era. I painted it a light blue. Actually my Father and I painted it, actually my Father painted it. In any case it was light blue. My after school job, in my uncle’s store, provided the money for light blue seat covers. I also bought some white vinyl material and covered the door panels and package tray. I came across a pair of 57 Mercury Turnpike cruiser skirts, a kid down the block had. He said he found them on the side of the road. I traded him a 2 carb. “Y” manifold, I had somehow acquired, for the skirts. The light blue 49 with it’s Turnpike Cruiser skirts became famous in the neighborhood, and it was quite a sight as it rolled on through the neighborhood with its glasspaks blaring. Life was good, back-in-the-day.

I don’t have any pictures of the 49, except in my memory. The Turnpike Cruiser skirts out lived the 49 and ended up on my next two cars, a 50 Ford and 54 Ford. I sold the 49 to a neighborhood kid for $90. He paid me $40 up front. I never saw the rest of the money. Hey, that was my neighborhood, and that’s how it was back-in-the-day.

7 Reader Comments

  • 1
    RE ALmanace East Coast August 26, 2015 at 15:46
    Took Mom's Camaro and would race it informally -- man that thing would overheat!! I would always remember to turn on the heater and drive around the block a few times before bringing it home-- except for one time when I ...forgot. "WOW" sez Ma --"This car is overheating!!" "Oh.. REALLY???" sez me.
  • 2
    Dick Diefenbach Danville, VT August 26, 2015 at 17:39
    When I turned 17 I bought a '47 Mercury convertible and began to soup it up and do all the "hot rod" stuff of the day (1954). It had a 3/4 race cam, Edlebrock h/c heads, a 4 barrel carb, aluminum flywheel and Mallory ignition and, of course, dual exhausts. I had a local shop de-chrome it and everything was leaded in - no plastic at that time. The paint was baked on and turned out a beautiful maroon. The inside was done over and I installed a tach where the clock had been. That car was fast but expensive to own. After I missed second one night we installed Lincoln Zephyr gears in the tranny. It was a fun car but nothing held up very well and I was always fixing something. However, I did learn a lot about cars and resolved not to buy another Ford product. But - my next one was a '51 Ford conv., light blue with o/d. A great car I had to sell when I joined the Marines.
  • 3
    Darryl MI August 26, 2015 at 17:42
    It was back in 1992 and I had my 91 Z28 5.7L and a friend at work, who was a girl, had a 91 Mustang GT 5.0. We finally met at Milan Dragway one summer day to, once again, demonstrate the Chevy Camaro-Ford Mustang battle for fastest car. We asked the setup crew to let us stage together and finally the RACE WAS ON!... except I was so excited I red-lighted!! Argh! So after enduring her "jokes" we HAD to try it again. This time I beat her by at least 0.5 sec (15+ to my 14:55 - as I recall)... but of course now it was blamed on her having a stick-shift, but I think we put Ford in its place that day! My best 1/4 mile time in that car was a 14:18 and... I still have the car.
  • 4
    Zachary NewMexico August 26, 2015 at 22:10
    I remember one particularly fun summer of '75 bracket racing the summer away. This summer began innocently enough while I was helping a friend make his '56 Chevy with a 301 (yes the factory called those 302's) four speed car perform better. We were at the local "non sanctioned" strip where I was working on the car and driving. About run four or five I was shifting at about 56 to 57 hundred when Damn missed third gear...or so I thought. actually my friend had installed a rebuilt pressure plate and clutch the previous week. I didn't miss the gear rather the pressure plate exploded. This immediately made a strong impression as the parts, springs, and other debris bounced around the inside of the car. I jammed on the brakes to discover first a broken foot and second that the floor board was bent under the brake pedal and preventing the brakes from working. Third was the discovery that the Chevy and I were on fire as the fire reached through the floor and rear compartment to make the ride uncomfortably hot! I eased the car into the left drainage ditch along the strip to stop it and there is where it burned to the ground. Now that that was only the beginning of the racing summer. I was put on medical leave from my job since I could not perform the required work with my foot in a cast. So now I have time and a job related disability check so what should I do? As a joke, I drove my Silverado to a friends house who ran a very competitive modified Corvette (on national NHRA records) and sat in front of his home and honked the horn. He came out of the garage and I said "Are you ready to race?" as I held my walking cane on the accelerator. We got a good laugh and then I thought why not? I trailered my '71 Monte Carlo with a mildly ported rectangular port, 11:1 compression LS-6 454 and modified TH400 to the track...slicks, open headers and all...a mid 12 second car when most bracket cars were stuck in the 13's. I quickly discovered that the cane on the accelerator did not work but I was able to sling my right foot over the console, hold the car staged with the cane on the brake and drive with my left foot on the accelerator. I won the overall bracket eliminator that day but that was only half the fun. The announcer was in his full glory needling the other bracket racers by being beat by a cripple! Of course the more he talked, the worse my limp became when I got out of the car and pulled the crutches from the rear seat. I am thanking Rob, the announcer, for our team work. I raced the remainder of the summer on Saturdays and Sundays. Some of the times, the competitors would line up as far away as they could in the other lane...I guess the limp and crutches made them worry about mt steering ability. Just a summer of fun!
  • 5
    Ron NY State August 27, 2015 at 10:22
    Back in 65 driving the families Buick Electra convertible. Told to only drive no more then 10 miles, we would disconnect the speedometer cable after 10 miles & reconnect it just prior to arriving home. It had a control setting that would buzz at a predetermined setting to avoid speeding tickets we would crank it up to 90 mph & not always remember to back it backdown Whops
  • 6
    Bob Parker, CO August 27, 2015 at 10:48
    I was a poor college boy back in 1964 and had a 1954 Dodge Royal Ram V8 4-door with a small hemi engine and slipping PowerFlite transmission that drank ATF by the gallon. It had a stock 2 into 1 factory muffler. I had a friend weld on some 2" pipe nipples down from the manifolds with screw-on pipe caps to close it up. I decided to take my "hot rod" to the Sunday drag races once, so I bolted a seat belt to the floor pan and borrowed a friend's motorcycle helmet to be race legal. I think I was officially a "H" or "N" stock automatic (can't remember which). I unscrewed the pipe caps (made good noise if not power). I would rev the engine up in neutral and yank the shifter into low at the start and get a decent amount of tire spin, surely hastening the transmission's demise. After my stellar burn-out, I finished second in a field of two. Hot damn!
  • 7
    Keith B Rochester, NY August 27, 2015 at 12:52
    Back in 68' I was returning home to Rochester from my cousin's in Port Allegany, Pa. with his little sister, Cherrie. We were coming out of Mumford heading towards Scottsville on Rt. 383. In front of us was a red with black convertible top 67 Corvette. He slowed down and she started yelling, "Race him, race him!". I said no, it's a Corvette! She kept yelling to race him so I pulled up beside him at about 10 mph. We looked at each other and hit it. He pulled about 2 cars on me. When he shifted to 2nd, he was about a car and a half out. At 3rd he was almost dead even. He shifted to 4th at about 95 and I pulled a few feet ahead of him. At 105 mph I shifted from low to drive. Yup! I had a 2 speed automatic and was at 7000 rpm. Well. We left him. As we came to the first curve, I had to hit the brakes because my 6:35 - 14"s on the front didn't want to go around that curve. As we cleared the curve he passed me. Cherrie yelled, "Catch him!". I hit the gas and was soon beside him. I let off the gas and ran beside him and Cherrie said, "Can't you pass him?". I said, "Wave to him.". She waved and he looked at her like "WHAT". I floored it and left him sitting there. We met up in Scottsville and he came up to my car yelling. "What the H... do you have in this car?!!!". I said, "A stock 389 with a 4 barrel.". He yelled I was a liar. He said, "You didn't shift until 105. I said ya, it's a 2 speed automatic. He kept yelling I was a liar and I didn't have a stock motor. I asked him to let go of me and I'd show him. He pushed me back into the seat, he had hold of me thru the window, and I got out and opened the hood. His buddy jumped out off the Corvette and came back. As they looked at my stock, 389, cast iron intake and exhaust headers from the factory, Carter AFB 4 barrel idling as smooth and nice as could be, his friend said, "Hell, that's a stock GTO.". He swore some more and kept saying it wasn't stock. He got in his Vette and I ran up and asked him how fast he was going when I pulled up beside him and my cousin waved. He said, "Kid. I was going as fast as this F..ing car will go! 145! You didn't just pass me, you pulled away from me. We figured you must have been going 160 out there ahead of us." A 1965 GTO post sedan, no power steering or power brakes, a 2 speed automatic, with 8:50 - 14's on the rear, factory stock engine, whipped his 1967 big block 427 Corvette. I wish I knew who this guy was so I cold ask about his . car. If you're out there, or your friend is, let me know. I am restoring a 64 GTO called The Orange Crate. Yes it's Allis Chalmers Orange and lettered on both sides. I hope to have it on the road next summer and hit a few shows with it. See ya. Stay tuned. You'll run better!

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