Even though Ken and Shirley Wines were saddled with mortgage payments on a new house they had purchased in 1970, the couple decided in 1971 to purchase a new car.
Wines had always favored Ford automobiles, but his long-time friend Phil Keller convinced him to consider a Mercury. After a trip to the Lincoln-Mercury dealership in Arlington, Va., Wines and his wife were enthralled with the two-door 1971 Mercury Marquis Brougham model.
"I would have liked to have had side-marker lights and power door locks," Wines says. But money was tight.
Even so, the luxurious Mercury was well equipped with standard equipment. The no cost equipment included: fender skirts, power steering, power windows, power disc brakes, luxury rim blow horn, concealed headlamps, color key wheel covers, select shift transmission and power ventilation system.
There were a few other options the Wines would have liked but the budget would not be stretched that far. The Mercury they did order was equipped among other items with: Whisper air conditioning, AM/FM stereo radio, 429 cid V-8, rear window defroster, traction lock axle, tinted glass, 78x15 white sidewall tires, intermittent wipers.
Before the Wines signed on the dotted line, they drove an 18-foot, 5-inch-long demonstrator car -- exactly like the one they wanted -- to their home to see if it would fit in their garage. They discovered the bumper guards that Wines had wanted would have prohibited the Mercury from fitting into their garage.
Once that matter was settled on Jan. 22, 1971, Wines placed a $100 deposit on the car and began the nearly two-month wait for their new Mercury Marquis Brougham. It was a happy day for the Wines family on March 2, 1971 when they got the call the Mercury was ready for delivery.
When the black beauty finally arrived the couple retrieved their chrome-laden Mercury and in the interest of fair play, husband and wife each took turns driving the car home. Wines reports that the Mercury has been driven to Nashville once and to Florida at least three times.
In the three or four years thereafter Wines' wife drove their children in the Mercury until, tiring of babying the Marquis Brougham, she replaced it with a beater car less vulnerable and parked the still-pristine Mercury in the garage.
Wines recalls that when the 1971 Mercury was new he could fill the 22.5-gallon gasoline tank with premium grade fuel for about $9. Economics aside, he enjoys the 360 horsepower V-8 that is ready to respond and the comfortable ride provided by the 124-inch wheelbase.
With no regrets about stretching the family budget back in the 1970s, Wines says, "I'm glad I bought it."
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