Junkyard Gem: 1973 Mercury Marquis Brougham 4-Door Pillared Hardtop

Ford’s Mercury Division debuted the Marquis in the 1967 model year, as a sporty coupe based on a stretched Ford LTD chassis. When the LTD got an update for 1969, so did the Marquis, and production of that generation of the top-of-the-line Mercury continued through 1978 (the Grand Marquis hit streets the following year). The 1969-1978 Marquis was a big, imposing land yacht, and the Brougham version came absolutely loaded with affordable luxury. Today’s Junkyard Gem is a Marquis Brougham from the first year of the Malaise Era, found in a Phoenix self-service car graveyard recently.

This car appears to have spent decades sitting outdoors in one of the harshest climates in the country, and so it’s in rough shape.

The vinyl top received the full thermonuclear treatment and is mostly obliterated by now.

The interior got thoroughly cooked as well. Still, its original opulence shines through if you use some imagination.

What hurts is that this car was packed with most of the good options, including the mighty 460-cubic-inch (7.5-liter) V8 engine with four-barrel carburetor. The price for the 460 was just $76 in this car, or around $548 in today’s money. The base engine was a 429 (7.0-liter).

Power numbers were way down for 1973 when compared to a couple of years earlier, partly as the result of tightening emissions standards but mostly due to the switch from gross to net power ratings that began midway during 1971 and was completed by the end of 1972.

This engine was rated at 202 horsepower and 330 pound-feet. The only transmission available was a three-speed automatic. We can assume that the original buyer of this car and its single-digit fuel economy had a rough time when the OPEC oil embargo hit in the fall of 1973.

Believe it or not, air conditioning was not standard equipment on the ’73 Marquis Brougham (you had to move up to a Lincoln for that). This one even has the automatic temperature control feature, adding a total of $508 to the cost of this car (about $3,661 in 2023 dollars). That AM/FM/8-track radio—or, in fact, any radio—was an extra-cost option as well, with a price tag of $363 ($2,616 after inflation).

The MSRP for the 1973 Marquis Brougham sedan (known as a “pillared hardtop” thanks to the frameless window glass) was $5,072, which comes to $36,555 in today’s dollars. Obviously, its out-the-door cost would have been much higher with all the options.

If this car had been stuck in a showroom when gas prices went crazy late in 1973, it might have been marked down a bit due to the sudden aversion of the American car-buying public to gas-drinking behemoths. However, the door tag tells us that it was built in October 1972, long before Operation Nickel Grass. It was born at the St. Louis Assembly plant and sold through the Omaha sales office.

Would this car have been worth restoring? Not after all those 120°F summers outside.

It had a better ride than the Mercedes-Benz Grosser, according to 50 professional chauffeurs.

The only medium-priced car with standard steel-belted radial tires.

50 airline pilots thought it was more comfortable than a “$30,000 European town car.”


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