Automotive

Junkyard Gem: 1992 Mercury Grand Marquis LS

Junkyard Gem: 1992 Mercury Grand Marquis LS

We’ve all been seeing the instantly familiar Ford Crown Victoria P71 Police Interceptor on North American roads for what seems like forever, though in fact the very first of the aerodynamic Crown Vics didn’t appear until a mere 31 years ago. Yes, after more than a decade of boxy LTD Crown Victorias, Dearborn took the late-1970s-vintage Panther platform and added a brand-new, Taurus-influenced smooth body and modern overhead-cam V8 engine, giving us the 1992 Ford Crown Victoria. The rule was, since 1939, that (nearly) every Ford model needed a corresponding Mercury, and so the Mercury Division applied different grille and taillights and the rejuvenated Grand Marquis was born. Here’s one of the first of those cars to be built, now residing in a Denver-area self-service boneyard.

The Marquis name goes respectably far back, to the late 1960s and a Mercurized version of the Ford LTD hardtop. The Grand Marquis began life as the name for an interior trim package on the 1974 Marquis Brougham (also LTD-based), eventually becoming a model in its own right for the 1979 model year. Today’s Junkyard Gem came off the Ontario assembly line in March 1991, making one of the very first examples built.

For 1992 (and through 2011), the Grand Marquis was a Crown Victoria with slightly enhanced bragging rights. This one has the top-grade LS trim, with an MSRP of $20,644 (that’s about $44,370 in inflation-adjusted 2022 dollars). The corresponding Ford-badged model (built on the same assembly line by the same workers) would have been the Crown Victoria LX, which actually cost a bit more: $20,987 ($44,910 now). The very cheapest civilian 1992 Crown Vic cost just $19,563 ($42,045 today).

There weren’t any powertrain differences between the Crown Victoria and Grand Marquis in 1992. The only engine available was this Modular 4.6 SOHC V8, rated at either 190 (single exhaust) or 210 (dual exhaust) horsepower. The transmission was a four-speed automatic with overdrive.

How many miles are on this one? Can’t say! Based on the worn-out interior, I’m going to guess 221,719 miles passed beneath this car’s wheels during its 32-plus years on the road. I’ve seen some very high-mile Police Interceptors, of course, including one with 412,013 miles, but Ford didn’t go to six-digit odometers in the Grand Marquis until a bit deeper into the 1990s.

Thanks to flawed speech-to-text applications on smartphones, the Grand Marquis is known as the “Grandma Keith” to many of us…

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