Any JUST CARS readers out there got their 25th wedding anniversary coming up? If you've managed to reach that milestone, congratulations (some may say commiserations!) are in order, as it's a milestone few couples manage to reach these days. So, how do you celebrate 25 years of wedded bliss? The traditionalists say silver is the "colour" for a 25th anniversary, but may I make an alternative sugestion in the form of white - Polar White, to be precise. No, I'm not suggesting you ship the missus off to the South Pole (although I'm sure a few of you would love to do that!). The Polar White I'm referring to comes in the form of this issue's second feature car, a 1964 Mercury Park Lane Marauder, in classic Polar White paint. What better way to celebrate your 25th than with this rare and unusual fastback hardtop. Being the 'Marauder' model means it's got more poke than the standard Park Lane, thanks to the 390ci V8 with 4 barrel carby. I'm sure the wife would love it. . . . honestly! The Marauder of 1963 & 64 represented Mercury's first tentative dip into the performance waters, mirroring similar efforts made by Ford with the 500XL Galaxie.
While not "muscle" in the accepted definition of the word, our feature car is undoubtedly quite a capable performer. Mercury made sure they gave some substance to their performance claims when Parnelli Jones scored a swag of NASCAR wins for Mercury in '63 & '64, followed by a class victory in the 1964 Pikes Peak Hillclimb. 390ci V8s, in varying levels of tune, were standard across the range for 1964 (although a 427 was also available). Our feature car runs a numbers-matching 4 barrel carb 390 V8, with Multi-Drive automatic. Now, I'm no marriage guidance counsellor, but I reckon the 300+hp put out by this combination would be more than enough to keep most couples happy! The interior trim is a harmonious combination of medium and light blue 'Diamond Luster' (there's that wedding thing again!) caspian fabric and crush vinyl. The seats have been retrimmed, but the interior chrome, gauges and dash trim are all original and as-new. Our feature car also boasts driver-controlled electric windows and 'central locking', luxuries you'd normally associate with much more recent cars. Power assisted brakes and steering are also standard, although, interstingly, our feature car was ordered without a radio, a rare delete option for the time.
The styled steel wheels and white-letter Firestones aren't standard, but they look good and add a bit more "brawn" to the Marauder. Considering its 110,240 mileage, our feature is in remarkably good overall condition, inside & out. As you'd expect, this car is extremely smooth to drive and handles reasonably well. While the suspension is a little soft, the way the Marauder can surge in a straight line is impressive for such a big car. Of course, the level of trim and appointments means you can enjoy that power in comfort, too. In terms of styling, the Marauder bears an obvious resemblance to the early 1960s Bullet-Bird Thunderbirds, while the broad grille has more than a hint of Lincoln Continental. Overall, the Marauder looks good, and the two-door fastback body is certainly more desirable than the reverse-slope rear screen found on the 'Breezeway' sedans. All panels are original and very straight, and exterior chrome is far better than you could hope for. 1964 marked Mercury's 25th Anniversary in the market, a milestone that was celebrated on all '64 models with special 'XXV' and 'Mercury Anniversary' script on the steering wheel boss. While a lot of classic cars can be marriage-breakers, our feature car could well be a marriage saver. After all, it is an Anniversary Special!
* NOTE: vehicle sold as this issue went to press. Similar model Mercury arriving soon
WHAT, WHERE, WHEN & HOW MUCH
Model: Mercury Park Lane Marauder
Dealer: Gold Coast Muscle Cars
Ph: (07) 5503 1133
0-100 kph: About 9 seconds
Best point: A rare performer
Worst point: Spare parts are rare, too
Recommendation: Treat yourself to this Anniversary special
Trivia: While silver is the traditional colour for 25th Anniversaries, varying shades of white (none of which are Polar!) are the colour choice for no fewer than seven different anniversaries, from 2nd, right through to 75th!