Huw Evans
April 1, 2009

Today there are all kinds of options when it comes to upgrading the performance of your car. Two of the most common, it seems, are a cold-air intake and an aftermarket exhaust. Granted, a lot of Fords in recent years have benefited from reasonably efficient factory pipe and muffler systems, but there's always room for improvement. Take the case of the late and lamented Mercury Marauder. Spun off the evergreen Grand Marquis fullsize sled, the Marauder was a proper-sized muscle car, the likes of which hadn't been seen since 1970. A lot was promised initially, including a supercharged Two-Valve 4.6 engine, and even a concept two-door convertible was built. As this car emerged, it was powered by a version of the '03 Mustang Mach 1 engine that, while exotic for a muscle car, didn't have the low-end oomph to get one of these near-4,200-pound beasts moving off the line at a torrid pace.

High Is Good, But We Want Low
Yours truly remembers testing one of these cars when they were new. Whilst a bit slow to start, the cammer engine came into its own above 3,500 rpm. Unfortunately, it was a bit too late to really get the advantage in the whole 1,320 grudge match, the kind of thing muscle cars were really built for. Our testing of the day (without cheating, I might add) yielded a string of low 15- and high 14-second e.t.'s. On numerous occasions our test victim was run against its arch-rival, the '94-'96 Impala SS, which had 79 more cubic inches, and our Marauder's 60-foot times were slower. By the time we really got up to speed, we ran out of track. So while the mph was consistently higher than the big Chevy's, our e.t.'s remained slower-we couldn't have that.

Gary Keilhauer, a product specialist at Donway Ford SVT in Scarborough, Ontario, felt the same way. He liked the look of the Marauders ever since he first laid eyes on one and just over a year ago hit pay-dirt when he picked up a low-mile mint example for a reasonable sum. However, like us, he felt the car needed a bit of extra va-vavoom, so he sat down and contemplated a few upgrades. We've said since day one that this car needs a tune, an exhaust, and 3.73 gears to make it really fly. All the basics were already in place. Keilhauer, wanting to add a bit of excitement, decided he'd begin his journey down that road, but considering the car was a daily driver, he left out the gears initially. That meant an exhaust upgrade and a custom tune were still in order. Would they provide the extra thrust and power he was looking for? Let's find out, shall we?

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