Starting as the luxury trim line of the Mercury Marquis, an entry-level luxury sedan from Ford's Lincoln-Mercury marque, the Mercury Grand Marquis was stamped with comfort and class from the get-go. Offering dependable performance, superb handling, and high-end styling, the Grand Marquis soon evolved into Mercury's flagship vehicle. Although the last Grand Marquis rolled out in early 2011 as a result of the dissolution of the Mercury brand, the enduring adoration for the model proves that when it comes to comfort, reliability, and style, nothing really beats the classics.
1983: First generation
When the Mercury Marquis shifted to the Fox platform in 1983, the Mercury Grand Marquis finally had its chance to become the 'halo car' of the luxury brand. The first generation Grand Marquis adapted much of the previous Panther-based Marquis with only the adoption of a Central Fuel Injection system, new taillights, and a new grille as the major design changes. It was initially offered as a two-door sedan, a four-door sedan, and a station wagon although the coupe and the station wagon did not last long. Internally, the Grand Marquis featured a 4.9L 5.0 Windsor V8 engine and a four-speed automatic transmission.
The introductory Grand Marquis was a well-loved vehicle which prompted very little changes throughout its first generation. Apart from a few exterior and interior styling changes, a redesigned emblem, and a shift to a sequential electronic fuel injection system, the Grand Marquis pretty much remained the same.
1992: Second generation
For its second generation, the Grand Marquis received several mechanical and styling changes. The engine was changed from a Windsor V8 to a Modular V8 and the braking system was upgraded from rear drums to four-wheel disc brakes with optional ABS. On the other hand, the exterior had a more rounded look and a formal roofline although the waterfall chrome grille which became Mercury's style trademark was retained.
1998: Third generation
The Grand Marquis got a major facelift for the third generation with brand new front and rear fascia, hood, bumpers, wheels, lights, and even mirrors. Although it employed a much more aerodynamic approach to the exterior styling, the full-size sedan still retained a classic luxury-car look especially because of the waterfall chrome grille.
By its third generation, the Grand Marquis was already getting less and less competition from other Panther-based models such as the Chevrolet Caprice and the Buick Roadmaster. With a larger share of the market niche, sales of the Grand Marquis continued to remain solid throughout this generation.
2003: Fourth generation
For its fourth and last generation, the Grand Marquis incorporated more small upgrades such as a larger grille, new headlights, new door panels, and a sleeker interior. However, there were also major changes such as a fully-boxed, hydroformed frame and a spruced up suspension and braking system.
Over its 36-year run, the Mercury Grand Marquis managed to roll with the punches and maintain its classic, comfortable luxury-car appeal at the same time. While the Grand Marquis has been dissolved along with the Mercury marque, it continues to be one of the most popular entry-level luxury sedans of all time.