Do You Remember? Cars! - Mercury & Ford Pinto

By: Sean Sporman
By: Sean Sporman

One was a brand of cars that endured for over a half-century, while another is considered by some to be one of the worst automobiles ever made.

Mercury was a brand of automobiles from the Ford Motor Company that first debuted in the early 20th century. Named for the Greek messenger god, the first Mercury vehicle debuted in 1938. Throughout the decades, the brand featured such vehicles as the Monterey, Montclair, and Maurader. The brand became known in the 1990s for such vehicles as the Sable and Grand Marquis. Although mainly cars, the Mercury brand also featured SUVs like the Mountaineer and minivans like the Villager. However, by 2010, the Mercury brand was terminated by Ford, with the last vehicles rolling off the lines in 2011. Despite being defunct, the website for the Mercury is still active at

Although the Mercury brand lasted decades under the auspices of the Ford Motor Company, the Ford Pinto didn't even last a decade. The subcompact was first introduced to the car market in 1971 to compete against under budget cars at the time like the Vega from Chevrolet. The car was targeted and released with a price of around $2,000 (roughly $11,500 in 2014 dollars). Later models of the vehicle were said to have defects with fuel tanks, leading to fires. The Pinto was last sold in the 1980 car year. Amazingly, a flying car based around a Pinto was made in the early 1970s, called the AVE Mizar. This combined the wings of a Cessna plane with a Pinto. After a first accident in 1973, the inventor and one other was killed in the second test flight of the Mizar.

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