Special Report About That Ford/Mercury “Legend”

October 1, 2010 | By Ted Kade

We Recently Related a Story We Thought Was an Auto Myth. It May Not Have Been a Myth After All…

EDITOR’S NOTE: IN commenting on Ford Motor Co.’s decision to drop the Mercury line at the end of this year, we noted in our August issue how over the years Fords and Mercurys had become virtually identical, with the differences between the two lines being mainly in the areas of interior appointments, trim and identification badges.

To further EMPHASIZE this point, I related a long-standing automotive legend regarding a plant that was producing the Ford Maverick and Mercury Comet compacts on the same line. To SUMMARIZE the story, due to a parts mixup, employees on one side of the line were installing Comet badges on the cars while people on the other side were putting Maverick I.D. on the cars, and thus jointly producing “Comericks” or “Mavets.”

“Is there any truth to the story?” I Asked in my August Rearview Mirror column, and then answered, “Probably not…”

Well, so far no one has come forward with a Comerick or Mavet sighting yet, but several readers have related similar stories regarding other lookalike Ford/ Mercury products.

Here’s a sampling of some of ourmail:

Some “Granarch” and “Monada” Sightings

I read with interest your August Editorial on the passing of the Mercury. I have been a ’50s Mercury fan for years, having had a 1955 in high school and a current 1956 Montclair Phaeton as a cruiser.

Your tale about the script mismatch reminded me of 1975 when the Mercury Monarch and Ford Granada were new in the showrooms. I had returned home after a two-week business trip on which I had the use of a new Granada.

Being partial to the Mercury brand, the wife and I decided to visit a local dealership to check out models and equipment. The dealer had five bright red 4- door sedans sitting out front which we looked at in passing as we were leaving the showroom.

As I passed between two of the sedans, the script on the sides caught my eye. The driver side said “Monarch,” but the passenger side of the adjacent car said “Granada.” I did a quick check of all five sedans and they were all the same.

They were, indeed, Monarchs, with the correct grilles and other details, except for the passenger-side script.

I said to the wife maybe we should tell someone. Then I thought if they had not caught this before they put them out front, what else had they missed. I did not buy a Monarch.

So in this case, this group of cars made it past the factory inspectors and the dealer prep people. The only Mercury I have bought since that eye-opener is my current 1956 Montclair Phaeton.

Ron Yex Ste. Genevieve, Missouri

I found your August Rearview Mirror article to be particularly interesting. As soon as I read the story of Ford producing Mavericks with Comet trim on one side I just had to tell you that the story is most likely true.

In 1980 I was thinking of a new car. Since my parents had a 1977 Granada 2- door with the 302 that I thought was a great-looking car, I went to a Ford dealer in Jacksonville, Florida, to take a look at the 1980 models. I don’t remember which of the three Ford dealers it was but I asked the salesman to show me a 2-door Granada with a 302 and vinyl top.

They had none on the front lot so he took me to the back lot where the recent deliveries were waiting on dealer prep. There was a great-looking light green metallic one with a darker green top.

It was a very good-looking car. It had the fake wire wheel covers in the trunk. This was the car! While I walked around it, and in hindsight I just should have shut up, I noticed the left side trim and badging was Granada and the passenger side was Monarch.

Stupid me pointed out the flaw and suddenly the car was no longer for sale at any price. So, I believe the Maverick/Comet story astrue.

Stephen P. Sears Via e-mail

PS Way back when I was in the 5th grade (way way long ago) I had a geography teacher that had worked at an Oldsmobile plant at night while he went to school during the day. Hisjob…steering wheel nut installer.

Sometimes, he would turn around, take a sip of coffee and a car would go by on the line. The next guy installed the horn ring and those cars never got steering wheel nuts. You have to wonder how many of those were running around back in the early ’60s, or maybe still are out there today.

I also still have the 7/16” deep socket wrench I found in the passenger side front fender in my brand-new 1972 Vega. I always wondered if it was a factory or dealer item.

Oh, Mr. Kade, sadly, your “Comerick” story is probably all too true.

In early 1975, my dad, a dedicated Ford man, bought one of the all-new Granadas. Indeed, it came with a Granada badge on one side and a Monarch badge on the other.

That was a sign of things to come. The Granada had so many quality issues he got rid of it for a Chevy LUV pickup a few months later!

Matt Harwood Los Angeles, California

If you were working on the assembly line, might you sometimes confuse the 2000 Ford Crown Victoria
If you were working on the assembly line, might you sometimes confuse the 2000 Ford Crown Victoria

with the Mercury Grand Marquis shown below it?
with the Mercury Grand Marquis shown below it?

How About a “Crown Marquis”or “Grand Victoria”Instead?

You wrote in your August Rearview Mirror column about the legend of early ’70s cross-badging. While I can’t speak of that incident, I used to own a 1989 Crown Victoria, made in Canada, that was cross-badged. The badge on the car’s left-pillar read “Crown Victoria,” while the badge on the right C-pillar read “Grand Marquis.”

Most of the people whom I have told about it refused to believe me until they had walked around the car and looked for themselves.

When I had the car repainted in the late ’90s, the body man offered to replace the Grand Marquis badge with a Crown Victoria badge, but since it was unique, I told him to leave it as it was.

David Lipham Pensacola, Florida

Editor’s Note: We have photos of a late model Marquis and Victoria at the top of this page so you can compare them.

General Motors Did It Too

Your story about the Maverick and Comet assembly line caught my attention because something similar happened to me.

Back in 1995 or thereabouts, General Motors Sent me a letter offering me $100 if I would come in and test drive one of their new Oldsmobiles.

I decided to check out the offer, so I went to a nearby dealer. The dealer told me that he had already sold the last of the new Oldsmobiles he had on hand but he did have a leftover car from the previous year that I could test drive.

So, I test-drove it. I was driving a 1994 Taurus SHO with all the bells and whistles so he was pretty sure that I wasn’t interested in trading. Well, he was right, I wasn’t interested.

Then he said that he would let me take a look at a new Oldsmobile he had on hand, but he wasn’t allowed to sell it or let it go out on a test drive. That piqued my curiosity and he showed it to me.

The car had two different kinds of trim on it. There was one kind on the driver’s side and another kind on the passenger side. What a sight!

Richard Roberts Wells, Minnesota PS I did receive a $100 check from GM for the test drive.