• Aug 3, 2010
2003 Mercury Messenger Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

"Mercury is a brand sending a message that modern design will lead its rejuvenation. Mercury is returning to its roots as a design leader introducing the Messenger concept, a distinctive and energetic high-performance two-seat sports coupe." So said Ford's former interplanetary brand when it introduced the Mercury Messenger at the 2003 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Needless to say, that hoped-for rejuvenation never actually panned out.

As much as we'd like to say that Ford spent a few hundred million giving Mercury a much-needed halo car instead of shuttering the brand entirely, it didn't happen and the reality is that the eight generation of the Mercury Cougar went on to be the last non-Ford-based automobile ever to roll off the showroom floor. Sad, no?

Perhaps all is not lost, however. According to Automotive Traveler, the 2003 Mercury Messenger Concept is about to go under the gavel at the RM Auction during the festivities at Pebble Beach on August 13 and 14. Proceeds from the sale will benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Because the car was nothing more than a styling exercise, there's no drivetrain in the Messenger... but we'd like to think that some willing participant will find a way to make it all go down the road with a brand spankin' new 5.0-liter V8 underhood.



[Source: Automotive Traveler via Hooniverse]


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  • 21 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      actually, with a few styling tweaks, and built on the S197 platform, this would have made a fairly decent, modern Cougar.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "As much as we'd like to say that Ford spent a few hundred million giving Mercury a much-needed halo car instead of shuttering the brand entirely, it didn't happen and the reality is that the eight generation of the Mercury Cougar went on to be the last non-Ford-based automobile ever to roll off the showroom floor. Sad, no?" - Autoblog

      Autoblog you are incorrect. The last-gen Mercury Cougar used the platform, mechanicals, engines, suspension, brakes, and switchgear straight from the first-generation European Ford Mondeo. Indeed, the car was branded Ford Cougar for all international markets in which it was sold. It used Ford of Europe's "new edge" styling theme used between 1996 and 2003 firstly in the Ka, then the the Fiesta-based Puma, then the Focus, then Cougar, then Fiesta, then the Mondeo mk 2, and finally the Galaxy mk 2.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Well, I actually have one of the last Cougars. It's got a lot of power for a V6, handles well, and is insanely fun to drive. They were definitely onto something with that one. The dealers just didn't know how to market them because they were so used to selling Grand Marquis and Sables to an older crowd.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Take that 2.5L, give it a 3.0L block from a Taurus with the SVT heads and intake manifold, and you've got a pretty serious motor for that little car. I know a ton of people that have done the conversion, and with a LSD and some hardening of the manual transmission parts, and they're very fun to drive!
      • 4 Years Ago
      If they had put this in production Mercury would have had a unique product not based on a Ford.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I like it, but based on recent cars like the Saturn Sky and Pontiac Solstice, I think that halo cars are overrated. Seems that the only people that didn't know Mercury's days were numbered was Ford.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Ford should bring that back and retool it as a Lincoln Sports Coupe. Give it the same engine options as the Mustang (and a hybrid option) and bam! You got a new sales hit
      • 4 Years Ago
      Ummm...the 8th generation Cougar was based on the Ford Contour, which was based on the European Mondeo.

      The last vehicle badged as a Mercury that was no based on a Ford product was technically the Mercury Villager, as that was based on a Nissan Quest.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I was just going to say the same thing, then saw your post. CDW27 was the platform for the Mondeo/Contour and it was used for the Cougar.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Not to mention the Cougar was sold in Europe as a Ford.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Ummm...the 8th generation Cougar was based on the Ford Contour, which was based on the European Mondeo."

        The Cougar was designed in the UK by Ford of Europe and used the same switchgear and mechanicals as the Mondeo. It also used the Mondeo's larger brakes, unlike the Contour.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This would be so awesome to own!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Not the best concept FoMoCo has ever brought out.

      The wheels and tires don't seem to fit the car at all.

      The flat headlights and tail lights look quite dated. The thick window frame in the door, and the blind B-pillar makes the car look claustrophobic.

      The slab sides and vertical fascias look blank and chunky, not very sleek, like the roofline and the horizontal lights would make you think they were going for.

      FoMoCo can do better than this. The Mercury MC4 concept was much more interesting than this concept is.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Did you read the article? This concept was from 2003.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I read the article. I remember the concept coming out in 2003.

        It remains one of the less attractive concept cars that FoMoCo has done, and they haven't done all that many for Mercury over the last 2 decades or so.

        It doesn't look right now, and it didn't look right then.

        The MC4 concept that I mentioned was from 1998, and was a better looking and more interesting car.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Sad. If Ford had actually brought this plan to fruition, Mercury could be a lot more than just a memory. They could have made Mercury a performance division to compete with European counterparts. I'm convinced it could have saved and renewed the brand.
        • 4 Years Ago
        What an ugly Mustang.
        • 4 Years Ago
        My heart agrees with you, but my head knows it couldn't have worked.

        I loved this concept when it came out. It was a great update of traditional Mercury styling cues, and to my eye makes for a nice, 21st century Cougar (btw, I wonder if the more recent--and less savory--connotation of the word "Cougar" helped convince Ford to kill the Mercury brand? Just sayin'...)

        I was always a big Mercury fan, but the brand died here in Canada a decade ago, anyway...
      • 4 Years Ago
      I wouldn't be upset with FoMoCo if they took some of the Messenger and put it into a 2 door, RWD Lincoln. The Mark IX?
        • 4 Years Ago
        extend the back a bit and give it a continental "hump" and bam... new Mark IX
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