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SHO and Marauder...not VS

new 06/30/2004

Well gang I wanted to get an extra week under my belt with my Marauder before posting my thoughts…

I’ve been driving SHO’s since 1995. First was a 1993 MTX then onto the V8’s…first a 1997 Silver and then in early February 2000, my current 1999. I love SHO’s but there has always been one problem with the V8’s… the inability to upgrade with easily accessible parts and aftermarket kits.

First things first. After driving my Marauder 1933 miles in 34.5 hours coming back from San Diego where I purchased it from a private party I can say that the SHO and Marauder don’t have as much in common as people may believe.

The SHO and the Mercury Marauder (MM) have the same father…but very different mothers. They may have been born of the same company but the background and usefulness of either vehicle is very much different.

The V8 SHO:

Seemingly rare….not advertised by Ford properly (imagine that). 20,000 units in 4 production years. One of a kind engine not used in any other production vehicle.

Good extras on the car, leather, moonroof, etc. All the goodies one would expect in the late 90’s. No complaints as I even liked some of the 99’s decontenting (1 piece antennae, cupholders) Another major problem is the SHO’s problematic but very good looking “oval”. Aftermarket stereo components are basically non-existent. It can be done but at extreme expense and extra work.

My SHO includes the following upgrades: All done over the 4 years I’ve owned her.

26mm rear swaybar

ASP underdrive pulley (not even available anymore)

K-N Panel with sax removed

Extra tranny cooler

3rd cat/resonator removed

Rhino Mufflers w/ OEM tips

Front Tower strut brace

Custom hood (thanks for the idea Kirk J )

Tinted all around

A pillar gauges, Volt/Oil pressure

MTX sub and amp in trunk

Few more….

First the V8 SHO with the rear swaybar upgrade and the front tower strut brace handles very well. I’ve autocrossed mine and done track events at 2 SHO conventions. Handles well but the ride is a bit rougher than I remember a stock V8 being, which is understandable due to the stiffness. I’ve trusted my SHO in the twisties and enjoy putting her through them. With a set of Yokohama AVS db’s she sticks like glue.

Its been a great car and one that should get me through many a winter (its for sale but I’m not really advertising it much).

The front wheel drive gets it around in the snow no problem.

Onto the Mercury Marauder (MM)…..

It’s a super squad car. Plain and simple it’s a large 4000+ pound Police Interceptor with a few extras….in fact a lot of extras… and one important thing: the availability of aftermarket parts. The MM is similar to the Crown Vics and the Grand Marquis which have good aftermarket products….there is a whole internet group based on the Crown Vics… http://www.crownvic.net/ 

Now I know there is a good SHO backing….at http://www.v8sho.com/  and http://www.shoclub.com / and http://www.shoforum.com/  but due to the sheer production numbers over the years its apparent that the CV PI community will outnumber the SHO community for years to come…unfortunately.

When I first got into my new MM in San Diego (owner picked me up at the airport) I had a flashback to the Crown Vic PI’s I  used to drive on patrol. In 6 years on patrol I put about 250,000 miles on Police Interceptors. I loved ‘em. Large, roomy, even with all the equipment. My flashback at the San Diego airport even went so far as to have me reaching up for the column mounted shifter!  When the MM has a floor mounted shifter like the SHO.

The MM I purchased was already modded….here’s the list:

2004 Silver MM

4,350 miles at time of purchase

Metal Matrix Driveshaft

4.10 gears

Alpine head unit (CD/XM satellite radio)

Custom JBL sub install w/Alpine amp

Llumar tint, @70% all around

Optima Yellow Top battery

PIAA head/fog lights on Bosch relays

Addco rear swaybar upgrade

KVR drilled rotors all around, Stock rims

Clifford Alarm (adding autostart 07-06-04)

One of the best things about the Marauder is the availability of aftermarket parts and upgrades. The MM only had 2 production years (2003-2004) but because it has a slight variation of the 32 valve DOHC 4.6 Cobra motor the extras are abundant. As we all know the Mustang aftermarket is immense.

One thing I do love about the MM is the fact it was limited production…only 2 years. Just like the SHO its not a ongoing, regular production vehicle that is everywhere. Look at how many Mustangs are on the road…..

I have the following things on order for my MM….

Custom Marauder aluminum pedals and door sills www.dynoproauto.com/marauderparts1152.htm

Kooks full header back exhaust system ( http://www.kookscustomheaders.com/ ) Spendy…but worth about 40hp to the wheels.

Factory spoiler

3000 Stall PI torque converter

Extra deep tranny pan

Now onto the good stuff….the comparison:

With the upgrades I have on each car here are the results:


Better in the twisties…weighs less…smaller car.

Very comfortable on long trips but less room than the MM.

Low 15’s in the ¼ with little room for improvement without major $$$ investment

Inability to hit 12’s on a regular basis no matter what I do…..

Low production numbers over 4 years

With cams welded…only problem is the tranny!

Good performance at a great price, value!

Really feels better at higher speeds….This could be due to my unfamiliarity with the MM at higher speeds and the fact my SHO is used to them  but the SHO is rock solid at 120+ and loves it.

Not really a ¼ mile car….3.4 does not lend itself to low end torque but shines in the 70+ range.

Rough ride with the suspension upgrades


Availability of aftermarket parts…
Supercharger kits available: Proven 450hp to the rear wheels: 12’s on a regular basis….. http://www.reinhartautomotive.com/  centrifugal style s/c

http://www.trilogymotorsports.com/  roots style s/c

The car floats at speed in a good way.. It’s a dream. Even with the rear swaybar upgrade the MM is comfortable. Its an amazing ride…smooth and comfortable. I’m not talking the same speeds as the SHO…but more so at 80-90mph. I haven’t had my MM above 110 but with the 4.10 gears its definitely not the same ride as the SHO. High speed runs go to the SHO.

The ¼ mile runs go to the MM. No doubt. Even weighing in heavier…with the availability of  upgrades the times are very different. The SHO’s are difficult to get into the 12’s or even 13’s on a regular basis…the MM’s get there all the time.

The best recorded time for the MM is in the 11’s. A supercharger and a shot of NOS. Several have runs 12’s on a regular basis, run after run, with a supercharger. The tranny holds up with a few minor  upgrades. This is pretty amazing for a 4000+ pound car.

Heated seats, Very roooooomy interior, especially for a guy like me at 6’6”.

Bad: It’s a boat. The MM is a large car…not meant for the twisties….it handles ok…and obviously reminds me of my squad cars…but it’s a large car….no doubt.

Good internet community at http://www.mercurymarauder.net/  of which I am a member.


Both cars get a thumbs up for being limited production….which is something I really like. I have a  1984 Mustang in my garage…but how many mint condition 84 GT’s do you see on the road.

Comfort depends on what you want. My MM is huge. At my height the MM is more comfortable as its just a larger car. I got along with my SHO as it was about perfect for my height…but if I was a inch or two taller I’d have problems. The MM has adjustable pedals which help. The MM was great.

I went from Central Utah to just south of Mpls/St. Paul in 22 hours….all in one shot. Very great car to drive in…and the XM SAT radio helped.

Cornering goes to the SHO but the MM is better in the ¼ even with its weight.

They are very different vehicles. Both the SHO and MM were not advertised correctly, both vehicles are comfortable at speed with the SHO (with the right mods) is better. The MM is better in the aftermarket as soooo much more is available due to the engine being a variation of the Cobra  motor. If the SHO had a variation of of the 4.6 we’d have an entirely different story due to  aftermarket upgrades.

I’m putting a roots style s/c on my MM. Its not why…its just when it will happen. Late February 2005 at the latest. I’ve been waiting for this car for 2+ years (many on the list will remember me speaking of it) and I cannot wait to hit 12’s on a street regular basis.

One last thing…..there is a company asking $200 per rim to widen the MM 18” rear stock rims. The MM stock rims are 8”. With the rim widening service you’ll see 9.5” rims which will allow Nitto 305/45/18’s on it….. Barely legal but with 450 to the rear wheels its necessary.

I have the best of both worlds, 1 great ¼ car and 1 great high speed car.  Take your pick….just depends on what you’re looking for!

Mark G. Hlady

Faribault, MN

1984 Mustang GT (mint), 58K original miles

1999 Taurus SHO, 71K, lots-o-mods….

2004 Mercury Marauder, 6K, lots-o-mods…coming

Great assessment & comparison analysis, Mark. The only thing you left out is that it has enough space in the trunk to carry the entire kitchen sink w/ plumbing attached at speed…take no prisoners to keep the weight down & don’t jam your 2 fingers trying to hit the L&S rockers… J

Bill H.

Great write up Mark. Mark has been around for a long time. I had the pleasure of hanging with him at last years convention and watching him chase Kirk around Blackhawk. Still can't figure out how he fits in that SHO though!!

Thanks again Mark!!


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