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MERCURY HISTORY

Early History 
1937: Edsel Ford begins planning a new premium vehicle range between mainstream Ford "Blue Oval" products and Lincoln luxury cars. After considering a number of names, including "Winged Victory," Ford eventually named the brand Mercury after the winged messenger of the Roman gods, known for dependability, eloquence, skill and speed. 

1939: The first model year for Mercury included four models, a sedan, two coupes and the Series 99A convertible. The Mercury coupes were considered by designers to be quite avant-garde for the era. 

1945: The Lincoln-Mercury Division is established. 

1948: Benson Ford, grandson of Henry Ford, is elected a company vice president and named general manager of Lincoln-Mercury Division. 

1949: James Dean immortalized the 1949 Mercury when he drove a de-chromed six-passenger Mercury Series 9CM in the 1955 move "Rebel Without a Cause." 

1949-51: Mercury coupes become the car of choice for performance tuners and hot-rodders who chopped the tops, removed body trim and filled the resulting holes with lead to create "Lead Sleds" - famous for their long, low, smooth appearance. 

1950: Benson Ford drove Mercury's first Indianapolis 500 pace car, a Mercury Series OMC Coupe. The one-millionth Mercury rolls off the line in August. 

1957: Mercury's second Indianapolis 500 pace car is a Turnpike Cruiser convertible. 

1960: Mercury introduces the Comet, the first upscale compact car. 

1963-64: The first Mercury Marauders, performance versions of Mercury's mainstream Montclair and Monterey sedans, debut at the dawn of the muscle-car era. Production Marauders capitalize on the success of the Bill Stroppe-prepared Marauder stock cars, including the one Parnelli Jones drove to victory at the 1963 Pikes Peak Hill Climb. 

1965: Mercury Comets become drag-strip sensations thanks to Jack Christman, who developed the first Funny Car, a lightweight Comet with a supercharged, fuel-injected, nitro-burning 427-cubic-inch V-8. 

1966: Once again, Benson Ford drives a Mercury pace car at the Indianapolis 500. His Cyclone GT convertible is super-tuned to achieve 0-60 mph in seven seconds. 

1967: The first Cougar - Mercury's luxurious pony car - is named Motor Trend magazine's "Car of the Year." Chauncey, a three-year-old Cougar, stars in famous television ads for Mercury - "at the sign of the cat." 

1968: Cale Yarborough wins the Daytona 500 in a Mercury Cyclone. Actor Jack Lord drives a triple black four-door Mercury Parklane Brougham on the hit television series "Hawaii Five-O." 

1975: The Mercury Grand Marquis nameplate is introduced. Grand Marquis goes on to become Mercury's longest-running, best-selling nameplate, with more than 2.7 million sold. 

1985: The aerodynamic Mercury Sable, offered as a space- and fuel-efficient front-wheel-drive sedan and station wagon, is introduced. 

1992: The second-generation Sable is introduced. 

1996: Mercury enters the sport-utility market with the all-wheel-drive V-8-powered Mountaineer. The third-generation Mercury Sable is introduced. 

1998: Lincoln Mercury moves its headquarters from Detroit to Irvine, Calif. The Mercury Marauder Concept, powered by a supercharged 4.6-liter V-8, is unveiled at the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas. 

1999: The fourth-generation Sable is introduced as a 2000 model. The new Sable offers a long list of safety and security features, including the Personal Safety System™, side-impact air bags for front-seat occupants and an emergency trunk release system. 

2000: Lincoln Mercury-dedicated product development, design and manufacturing organizations are established. 

2001: The second-generation Mercury Mountaineer is introduced as a 2002 model. The new Mountaineer rides on an all-new chassis with four-wheel independent suspension and offers innovative features, including a third-row seat that folds flats into the floor. It is named a "Best Pick" by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The production version of the 1998 Mercury Marauder Concept is unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show. The 2003 model is powered by an all-aluminum 4.6-liter DOHC V-8 and incorporates significant chassis and safety improvements planned for Mercury's rear-wheel-drive architecture. 

2002: Brian Kelley becomes president of Lincoln Mercury. Susan Pacheco is appointed as director, Mercury Product Development, Elena Ford is appointed Mercury group brand manager and Darrell Behmer is named Mercury chief designer. The Mercury Marauder Convertible Concept is unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show. The 2003 Marauder and Grand Marquis arrive in dealerships in the summer.