1993 Mercury Grand Marquis LS 4.6 liter V8
My "Grand-Ma" is one terrific car
2 new front springs.
All new pads and rotors.
One tie rod end.
One new fuel and one brake line.
New EGR controller.
2 new cat converters.
One body mount.
One rear window regulator.
A/C does not work.
Heater core leaks.
I bought this car because I needed a cheap daily driver. Vintage cars are a hobby and I like traditional American luxury cars, having owned a few of them.
The Grand Marquis is very cheap to buy, easy to fix, reliable, and roomy, with reasonable performance and mileage. My car has lived up to all those points.
My car had all options except leather seats. It was well cared for for most of its life, but the last owner neglected it and drove it into the ground. I bought it cheap, $400, but it needed a lot of work. It's rust free, great paint, and the major mechanical components are very solid. But a lot of the wear items were worn out. Fortunately parts are cheap and it's easy to repair.
I chose a '93 because it has the redesigned aerodynamic body which is very quiet and solid. But it had the simple and reliable OBD1 engine management system, and an all aluminum intake manifold. Cars '95 and newer have the more complex OBD2 system and some have a failure prone plastic manifold. Also in later years, Ford made the cars a bit cheaper and removed or cheapened some basic equipment. The older MGMs often handle and perform a bit better, and are better trimmed than newer ones.
This car feels very retro. It's big, wide and roomy, with flat seats, wide dash, no console and a column shifter. I think the seats feel too hard and flat, not form fitting and not pillow soft. But the 8 way seats and power lumbar support help. The head restraints are too low for me, even when extended. The back seat is very comfortable. Leg room in the back is okay, but not much to spare. Still I've had 3 across in back with no complaints.
The trunk is huge and deep. Ford has been making these wonderful deep roomy trunks in their full size rear wheel drive cars since 1965. Best trunks ever.
Unlike many new cars, the dashboard is low, the windows are big and visibility is excellent. The side mirrors are amazingly big and useful. The optional digital dash is much better than the base instruments. It has some gauges and a decent trip computer. No tachometer, though. And the coil pack system requires an adapter to hook up an aftermarket tach. The engine is so smooth and quiet, it's tough to judge the engine revs by sound.
The engine is no huge powerhouse. Power is adequate for normal use, but it's no race car. Like many overhead cam engines, it has less low end torque than a decent pushrod V8. But the top-end power is decent. It's efficient too. This car gets better gas mileage than older models, in part because the engines's OHC combustion chamber design is more efficient. The engine is very very smooth. No vibration gets through and it's really quiet.
The stock single pipe exhaust is really undersized and restrictive. Dual exhaust was an option which improves power... But Ford should have put on duals or at least a big single pipe as original equipment. It's a waste to spend money to develop a sophisticated engine just to kill the power with a cheap exhaust pipe.
This car had the first year of the electronic shift AOD transmission. The shift program is odd. Accelerating from a stop at light throttle puts you in top gear with a locked converter very quickly, and the car then feels very sluggish. I've taken to using more throttle so it shifts in a more normal manner.
This car had never had a transmission service when I got it. I changed the fluid and filter (and drained the torque converter too - Ford nicely installed a special drain plug for this). The transmission had a very long and slow 1-2 shift. The trans service fixed this problem.
The cruise control does not work. There was a recall on these. This car had the recall done, but apparently it needs a special wiring harness replaced for the cruise to work.
Handling is remarkably good. I installed the optional wider 225/70 tires which improved cornering. It has lots of grip to corner fast. The car has surprisingly fat front and rear sway bars for flat cornering. The front bars have some neat, sophisticated ball-joint end links, for low friction and maximum effectiveness. It's a nice detail.
This car is full of nice details like this, where it's been upgraded over the usual traditional American sedan. Rear disk brakes, with separate parking brake drums, standard ABS, double seal doors, 2 kinds of keyless entry, fully carpeted trunk, high quality interior materials, aluminum full size spare tire, aluminum hood, all nice details.
The steering is light, a bit vague and over assisted, compared to a newer car. But it's precise with some road feel. The solid rear axle works well, and handles heavy loads nicely, but is not so good for rough roads. Bad pavement produces a rougher ride than an equivalent car with independent rear suspension.
Overall, I love the car. It's got the roomy retro full size sedan feel, but with all kinds of improvements and upgrades. It's very useful, comfortable, affordable and easy to live with. And it's cheap. This car is the best kept secret ever. No one wants them because they think they are too big and old fashioned, only used by old people... Ah well, that makes it even cheaper for me to buy them.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 30th July, 2016
31st Jul 2016, 03:42
The pre-95 Modular V8 had a very open combustion chamber - prone to ping, not much flow.
The single exhaust does the engine no justice - duals all the way!!!
Keep up with transmission services and all will be well.
31st Jul 2016, 16:57
No OBD2 until 1996.
8th Jun 2017, 21:55
A much better review than anything from Motor Trend or Car & Driver!
9th Jun 2017, 12:38
OMG, is this the longest review on Carsurvey?
9th Jun 2017, 21:10
It's much preferable to a few sentence fragments.
10th Jun 2017, 23:00
No, it's just an honest review with a lot of detail about how good these cars really are.
13th Jun 2017, 12:28
With a young family in the late 90s, these were nice cars. A great trunk to lock up things out of view. Great for grocery shopping. In many ways better than minivans and even our crossover we have today. Rode great on long trips vs vans and minimal issues. Quiet inside vs van noise and items sliding around. And no odors with a trunk like bringing home gas for a mower etc. You are right it's not getting a style award. But with 2 child seats in the car, it's a very safe vehicle to own. And used it's a great buy. The savings bought us a nice house instead of high car payments and heavy repairs. Very reliable year round vehicle. Even in winter with rear wheel drive. It did pretty well.