I was sad to hear about Mercury. I have been a fan of the brand, and there are few among us who don't remember the two-door Mercury James Dean drove in Rebel Without a Cause.
Gene Winfield, of custom car fame, probably has chopped a few hundred 1949-51 Mercurys, and he's still at it -- if there are any in the country that haven't already been chopped.
Mercury was in its heyday during its time on the big ovals of NASCAR. And that doesn't include the fame the brand had on the drag strip. When Jack Chrisman showed up at the National Hot Rod Association Nationals in 1964 with a nitro-burning Mercury Comet, it was the beginning of the drag-racing Funny Cars.
But the Mercury brand slowly morphed into an old people's car. The Mercury Grand Marquis seems to be sold only to people receiving Medicare. A couple of years ago, Ford tried to rejuvenate the brand with the introduction of the Mercury Marauder, but it wasn't up to the task and died.
When Mercury was introduced with much fanfare on the eve of World War II, it had great promise as a middle-priced brand.
Plymouth, DeSoto, LaSalle, Oldsmobile, Studebaker and Willys are a few of the brands that were around at Mercury's birth but are gone now.
Lest we forget, they have been replaced in the U.S. market with newer brands such as Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, BMW and Volkswagen, to name a few. It looks like it might be just about an even trade.
This business is not about sentiment. For that, we have car museums and halls of fame, to honor and remember the men and machines that have faded into the night.
Perhaps all car brands have a life span: a beginning, a middle and an end. Some might last longer than others.
Ford has promised its dealers that it will treat them right. It's a tough time if you have been a Mercury dealer forever. But it's a tough business, and Ford is right. You have to do right for the shareholders, the employees, the dealers and finally the customers.
Ford can't afford to keep Mercury on life support indefinitely. It had a good run. Many of us have great memories of Mercury, but now it's time to move on.
It will be fun to watch new history being made by Ford and Lincoln.