The Panther Platform: A vehicle platform designed by ford in the early 1990s and used from the mid 1990s until 2012. The Panther platform is a body-on-frame design that cradled a V8 and an automatic transmission.
The Mercury Grand Marquis: An upscale panther platform.
The 2003 Mercury Grand Marquis has a 4.6L V8 engine and a 4 speed automatic transmission. The V8 under the hood is a tried-and-true motor, being used in hundreds of thousands of service vehicles around the world. It’s not a numbers pleaser, it really only cranks out about 220hp, but it’s easy to work on and has tons of parts available. The panther platform was used as police cars, taxi cabs, and detective vehicles for more than 15 years: they had to work properly. The fun part is that the Grand Marquis is rear wheel drive, which adds some driving fun when the grip goes away.
The interior is the reason why I wanted to review a sixteen-year-old sedan. I reviewed a crown Victoria, the cheaper version of the Grand Marquis, a couple years ago and was blown away by how comfortable it was. The Grand Marquis is no different. The front seats feel like lazy boy recliners that have been bolted to the chassis. Whether they did this for the service men and women who would spend hundreds of hours behind the wheel patrolling our streets, or if it was for the elderly generation that grew fond of these cars, I don’t care. They are the most comfortable American seats you can get in a car. The back is more crammed than you would think, but still not deserving of the adjective “crammed”. The features are what you would expect out of a 2003 American car. A tape deck, some wood trim, and a digital clock.
The Grand Marquis is a great, cheap, American car that can be purchased for next to nothing on today’s market. It’s like driving a cloud without breaking the bank. If you are looking for a winter beater, get a Grand Marquis. If you’re looking for a comfortable daily driver, get a Grand Marquis. If you’re looking for a v8 for your engine swap, get a Grand Marquis and roll around in luxury until you pull the motor.