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Hagerty Employee

The 1991–96 Mercury Tracer LTS coulda been a Civic fighter

FoMoCo’s near-luxury brand was initially (1939) intended to be better than a Ford but not quite a Lincoln. But that was also Edsel’s thing in the 1950s, as the Oldsmobile sucking on a lemon brand was also planning a ritzy, long-wheelbase version of the upcoming compact Ford Falcon. Which left Mercury flailing in the wind, until it wasn’t; Edsel’s demise meant a hasty rethink of the 1960 Comet into a standalone brand sold at Lincoln-Mercury dealerships. Such a bizarre twist of fate for a modestly priced vehicle is where our story begins, and Mercury’s constant need for affordable iron kept these interesting partnerships afloat for decades to come ... Read the full article on



These were utterly forgettable cars. The rusted out and were not cheap to repair. Just one of many low spots in the 90’s


Those cars and their Ford Escort siblings were the reasons for my unsavory contempt for Mazda. Imitation Cosworth 4 cyl oil leaking disasters. Garbage!


I was having a discussion the other day about Mercury’s woes in the era before it’s demise on another site. I posited that all the parts applied to the mid-80’s Mustang SVO should have been glued to the Mercury Capri instead for two reasons: One, to really differentiate the Fox Capri from the Fox Mustang and two, to pave the way for the upcoming Merkur brand.


Here’s another example of missed opportunities. The previous Tracer was a blatant attempt at getting people under 50 into a L-M showroom, which failed. Then, they tried with the Australian Mazda-based Capri, which also went over like a lead balloon. The ticket in the 90’s was to try and beat Honda (with a Mazda, no less) as a way to get the youngn’s to beat a path to the L-M dealer’s door.


Tracer LTS. Sounds like a decent little package with a little extra oomph over its stablemate. However, it appears Ford dealers didn’t like L-M getting something it couldn’t have so it ended up with its version of the LTS. Amusingly, neither one sold worth a damn.


By that time, the Ford (Mercury) Cougar was on the drawing board, and the folks that ran L-M saw it as a way to get the youngn’s to beat a path to the L-M dealer’s door.


Rinse and repeat.