1971 Mercury Marquis: Are You Up for the Blindfold Challenge?

In 1965, Ford introduced the LTD, a model that progressively gained more luxury features each year, encroaching on Mercury’s traditional market position within the Ford Motor Company lineup. In response, Mercury followed a similar trajectory, inching closer to Lincoln’s status on the Dearborn product hierarchy.

The 1971 full-sized Mercurys received a facelift, adopting numerous Lincoln styling elements, particularly evident in the Marquis model, which featured skirted fenders, a classic grille, and concealed headlamps. At a glance, distinguishing between the Lincoln and Mercury might pose a challenge for the average observer.

The Marquis was an imposing vehicle, measuring almost 225 inches in length—a dimension that carried significance during that era. Equipped with a standard 429 cubic-inch V8 engine delivering 320 hp, an optional 360 hp 429 V8 was available (both requiring premium fuel).

The Marquis lineup comprised two variations: Marquis and Marquis Brougham. While they shared similarities, distinctions in badging and interior appointments set them apart. Many of the Brougham’s features were also available as options on the Marquis.

To emphasize the luxury narrative, the Lincoln-Mercury division conducted a blindfold challenge with a selected group of car shoppers. Participants were asked to rate the passenger experience of the Marquis against a $26,000 Mercedes-Benz 600 and a $16,000 Chrysler Imperial limousine. Considering that the Marquis had a price range of $4,500 to $5,000, every participant in the challenge reported that the Marquis provided a smoother, quieter ride—underscoring the emphasis Ford placed on a soft, plush driving experience for its large cars during that era.

While the video below captures the positive reactions of the participants, it’s important to note that such comparisons often involve subjective experiences. Nevertheless, Ford’s commitment to delivering a comfortable ride with its big cars was a defining feature of the era. The 1971 Marquis, with its blend of size, luxury, and distinctive styling, played a role in shaping the automotive landscape of its time.

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