Wayne Cook
October 1, 2004
Photos By: Miles Cook

We are grateful to Ford for providing us with the best in new vehicles for our event coverage. For the Mustang 40th anniversary festivities, we got a brand-new '04 Mustang all decked out in the anniversary trim. For this year's Hot Rod Power tour, a brand-new Mercury Marauder was provided. This 4.6 liter engine never runs out of breath, and it makes the big Merc a passing terror as the 32-valve, 302hp V-8 drops into second gear when the throttle is nailed at 80 mph! The automatic holds second gear until past 6,000 rpm, and when the shift into third occurs, the big rig we're passing seems like it's tied to a tree. For a long-range affair like the Hot Rod Power Tour, this car can't be beat with its spacious leather interior and killer engine.

This year, the Hot Rod Power Tour started in Arlington, Texas. It then traveled to Tulsa, Oklahoma; Springfield, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; Davenport, Iowa; Arlington Heights, Illinois, and finally to Green Bay, Wisconsin. Our Marauder wasn't ready for us out in Los Angeles until almost starting time, so we had to play catch up in the beginning. We left California and drove all night through Utah and into Colorado. we rested up there and then headed for Missouri, catching up to the Power Tour at the Osage Beach, Missouri, lunch stop. We stayed with the tour until its end in Green Bay, and then headed to Volo, Illinois, where we shot a feature on a very special Shelby Mustang. Follow along with us and check out the fun.

(Inset) Underhood, it's wall-to-wall engine with the huge valve covers hiding dual overhead cams. With a compression ratio of 10:1, the 4.6 liter, 32-valve engine makes 302 hp at 5,750 rpm and 318 lb-ft. torque at 4,300 rpm. With only 281ci displacement, it's making well over 1 hp per cubic inch.