Monday, June 7, 2010

Mercury Falling

To celebrate Ford's imminent phasing out of its Mercury brand, the guys at Car Lust will be running a week's worth of tributes to its past glories. They note that, unlike last year's Pontiac funeral, the Mercury tributes will be Not a surprise when virtually every Mercury ever sold was a re-badged Ford (actually, Mercury was more of a trim line than a real brand). Still, ashes to ashes: RIP Mercury

I have always wanted to like Mercurys; in practice, they were semi-quirky Fords with better standard equipment, and their comparative rarity made them seem more special. Mercurys have also had some really memorable names--Cyclone, Comet, Cougar, Capri, Marauder, Mariner, Mountaineer, Sable, Tracer ... in a car world dominated by unimaginative alphanumeric designations, those names were evocative and, matched to the right products, potentially powerful. Heck, even the Ford Pinto clone, the Bobcat, had a pretty cool appelation. Some Mercurys were cars worthy of their names, but most were not. Imagine a Bobcat sport hatchback. Or a Mariner luxury sedan. Or a Tracer sports car. It kills me that these names were wasted on rebadges of mediocre cars.

So ... Mercury. Losing a car brand is generally a sad thing, as it contributes to a further homogenization of our roads, but it's difficult to feel too outraged at this news. Pontiac had its long stretches of mediocrity, but those stretches were also punctuated by moments of its own unique genius. Mercury had some high points, which we'll try to highlight this week, but those high points were more derivative of Ford's high points than anything else. Overall, I'm more disappointed that Mercury wasn't more interested than I am that it's going away.

He's right about the names. Even Mercury's mini-van had a great name: the Villager. I don't know, it just seemed tony in a Darien, CT kind of way.

And, for whatever reason, Mercury had one of the greatest spokes-babes of all time pitching its cars. You know who I'm talking about:

If Ford's serious about reviving Lincoln, they need to get Jill Wagner on the job, stat.

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