The first Mercury model, the 1939 Mercury 8, debuts in dealerships on Nov. 4, 1938, as a premium alternative to Ford. It sold for $916 and boasted a 95-hp, V-8 engine. Mercury 8 sales in the first year totaled 65,884 vehicles.
Ford established the Lincoln-Mercury division in 1945, separated the two brands in 1955 and recombined them in 1957. Mercury’s success peaked in 1953 when the division captured 5 percent of the U.S. market.
Over the years, the Mercury lineup included a wagon (1940s), large premium cars (Montclair and Monterey) 1960s muscle cars (Marauder and Cyclone), compacts (Topaz and Mystique), a minivan (Villager), a family sedan and wagon (Sable), a large SUV (Mountaineer), and a crossover (Mariner), as well as two gasoline-electric hybrids (Mariner crossover and Milan sedan). The Cougar was introduced for 1967 as “America’s first luxury sports car at a popular price.” The Grand Marquis, a large, rear-wheel-drive sedan, debuted in 1975 and went on to become Mercury’s longest-running, best-selling nameplate, with more than 2.7 million sold.