Mercury's orbit coming to end

Rick Kranz is product editor for Automotive News.
Mercury's history is coming to an end.

Some time next week the final Mercury will be produced, and it will be, ironically, the brand's biggest and oldest model -- the Grand Marquis.

Mariner and Milan production ended this week.

The Mountaineer died at the end of October. Ford announced in June the brand would be discontinued at the end of the year.

Mercury has been on life support for much of the decade. Through 11 months this year, the brand has generated sales of just 84,802 vehicles.

Championed by Edsel Ford and launched in 1938, Mercury had its share of hits and misses over the decades. Among the winners were the Cougar and Sable.

Turnpike Cruiser, Merkur and Mystique were among the losers. I recall a Ford executive in the ‘90's inadvertently calling the Mystique the Mercury Mistake at a press conference.

Mercury created a long list of nameplates, among them Bobcat, Capri, Colony Park, Comet, Lynx, Marquis, Marauder, Meteor, Monarch, Montego, Monterey, Park Lane, Topaz, Tracer and Villager.

Zephyr originally was a Lincoln and decades later it resurfaced as a Mercury.

The brand also has enjoyed its share of notoriety in pop culture.

James Dean drove a ‘49 Mercury in the ‘50s flick “Rebel Without a Cause.”

Actor Jack Lord drove a big Mercury sedan in the ‘70s TV show Hawaii Five-O.

Actress Farrah Fawcett started her career as a sexy model in 1970s Mercury ads.

Over the years I've owned Mercurys, Oldsmobiles and Pontiacs.

I think automakers should pay me to stay away from their brands.

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