The 1969 Mercury Marauder X-100 was typical of the musical cars produced at the time. As the 1960s drew to a close, performance came in two basic forms: big engines in small packages and big engines in big packages. Typified by the Pontiac Grand Prix, Buick Riviera, and Ford Thunderbird, the latter were considered by the automakers to be prestige specialty cars. At Mercury, the full-size fire-breather for ’69 was the Marauder X-100.

The Marauder was a two-door hardtop based on a Marquis chopped in wheelbase by three inches and shortened in the body by about five. The result was a relatively roomy two-door hardtop with a long-hood/short-deck profile on a still-substantial 121-inch wheelbase. Curb weight started at two tons, escalating to 4500 pounds with a full option load. Marauder essentially was the same as Ford’s big Galaxie 500XL coupe and its flying buttress roofline and upright, tunneled backlight mimicked the SportsRoof Ford.

1969 Mercury Marauder X-100
By the late ’60s, big-block boats like this 429-cid 1969 Mercury Marauder X-100
were marketed as prestige specialty models.

X-100 was the costlier of the two Marauders and came standard with rear fender skirts (optional on the base model), as well as “sports tone” matte-black paint on the tunneled rear deck area. The last could be deleted for credit or by ordering the extra-cost vinyl roof. The dash was Marquis to a T, so there really wasn’t much sporty about an X-100 inside, even if you ordered the optional buckets and console in place of the plushly padded front bench.

To move this considerable mass, Lincoln-Mercury specified the venerable 265-horsepower, two-barrel, 390-cubic-inch Ford V-8 as base power. Standard for the X-100 and optional on the base model was Dearborn’s new 429-cubic-inch V-8 in four-barrel form with 10.5:1 compression, a rated 360 horsepower at 4600 rpm, and 480 pounds/feet of torque at 2800.

A three-speed Select-Shift automatic was the only transmission and an Interstate-gulping 2.80:1 rear axle ratio was standard. With the optional 3.25:1 Traction-Lok gears, the X-100 could turn the quarter in the mid-15s at 86-92 mph.

“We realize that this level of performance is perfectly adequate, but adequate for whom?” queried Car and Driver. Certainly not muscle-car mavens, it concluded. Surprisingly, the X-100 was a pretty competent roadgoer. Though understeer was the rule and the power steering was unnervingly light, roadholding was better than the base Marauder, thanks in part to the X-100’s standard Goodyear Polyglas H70×15 bias-belted white sidewall tires on Kelsey-Hayes “MagStar” five-spoke aluminum wheels. Handling could be further improved by the stiffer springs and shocks offered with the $31.10 optional competition suspension.

As a bonus, the X-100’s ride was pleasingly firm and its optional $71.30 power-assisted front disc brakes helped produce short, sure stops. Overall, said Car and Driver, “it’s extremely controllable in a wide range of situations -- which is more than we can say for most of its competitors.”

With a base price of $4091, the X-100 listed for $700 more than the base Marauder. Toss in such options as air conditioning, power windows, tilt wheel, and remote trunk release, and the X-100 could run $4800 or more. That kind of price didn’t stop Mercury from building 14,666 Marauders in ’69, 5635 of which were X-100s. The car came back little changed for 1970, and production was down to 6043 Marauders, just 2646 of them X-100s.

That the car didn’t sell in huge numbers and wouldn’t run with the supercars of the day is not really the point. As a broad-shouldered heavyweight with the biggest engine in the stable, the Marauder X-100 was typical of one branch of the muscle car family.

Engine Type
V-8/385 Series
Displacement (cid)
429
Horsepower @ rpm:
360 @ 4600
Torque (pounds/feet) @ rpm
480 @ 2800
Compression Ratio
10.5:1
Bore (inches)
4.36
Stroke (inches)
3.59
Valve Lifters
Hydraulic

Times*:

0-60 mph (sec)
7.5
0-100 mph (sec)
19.9
1/4-mile (sec)
15.17 @ 92.3 mph
Top speed (mph)
126
Axle ratio
2.80:1

*Source: Car Life (April 1969), Car and Driver (December 1968)

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