2003 Mercury Marauder - May 2003
The side benefit of this purchase was that we needed a bigger car for the family visitors we were expecting in May. The extra room was welcomed, as it allowed us to travel with plenty of room in the car, with 4 adults and 1 child in a child safety seat.
Parking downtown was now a little more complicated, due to the added length of this big vehicle not to mention the desire to keep it safe from dents or scratches. Nonetheless, I had plenty of practice with my 10 years of fussing over my Trans Ams, so I could still find the odd gem here and there, when visiting the downtown area.
In my opinion, a vehicle of this nature just looks so "at home" in a suburban family environment.
All was not without headaches, though. Seems Ford quality control took a vacation for the 2003 model year... even though the basic platform was not new, this was the first year that the BIG double-overhead cam version of the 4.6 liter V8 was mated to the "Panther" platform (Crown Victoria, Grand Marquis, Town Car, etc.). Some teething pains ensued, but I figured they'd have them pretty much ironed out by the time I picked up the car in late March 2003! Not so...
That lack of room under the hood meant that some early cars had misrouted harnesses, which would sometimes get sliced on sharp underhood components. Well, in my case, it was on the driver's side of the engine bay, and it shorted out my PCM power fuse, leaving my family and I stranded while on a day trip out of town. Ford's Canadian RoadSide Assistance was an absolute horror to deal with, but my selling dealership Terrebonne Ford came through for me with shining colors. I'd have to say it's due to their consistent skill and dedication to good service that kept me as a Ford owner... otherwise, I would have completely written off the company and gone back to Honda or GM!