Ted Schlenker, of Troy, has owned his 1963 Mercury Marauder since 1981. Prior to that, it belonged to his aunt, who lived in California. The car was included in a special Ford Motor Co. event to celebrate the launch of the 2002 Marauder.

Ted Schlenker, of Troy, has owned his 1963 Mercury Marauder since 1981. Prior to that, it belonged to his aunt, who lived in California. The car was included in a special Ford Motor Co. event to celebrate the launch of the 2002 Marauder.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Behind the Wheel: ‘The Little Old Lady from Pasadena’

From California to Michigan, Marauder stays in the family

By: Jennifer Sigouin | C&G Newspapers | Published October 2, 2019

 A nameplate on the Marauder's glovebox is inscribed with the name of Schlenker's aunt, the car's original owner.

A nameplate on the Marauder's glovebox is inscribed with the name of Schlenker's aunt, the car's original owner.

Photo by Deb Jacques

Photo by Deb Jacques

Photo by Deb Jacques

Photo by Deb Jacques

More than five decades ago, Troy resident Ted Schlenker’s aunt bought a brand-new 1963 Mercury Marauder in Van Nuys, California. The car was pink — her favorite color — so she had to have it, Schlenker explained. 

Schlenker’s aunt drove the car until 1981, when she reached a point where she could no longer drive, and then she passed it on to Schlenker. He flew out to California from Michigan for a business trip, and then he and his wife drove the Marauder back home to Troy from Pasadena, which is how the car got its nickname, the Little Old Lady from Pasadena.

Once it had settled in to its new home in Michigan, the Little Old Lady got a bit of a face-lift. Schlenker had a friend rebuild the engine and drivetrain, and then he took the car to J & M Collision in Troy to repaint it in its original Ford Motor Co. color, Pink Luster. The updates were completed in 1996. 

“Everything is totally original on the car, except the paint,” Schlenker said, noting that the Marauder’s glass, chrome, carpeting, upholstery and more remained in great condition over the years. 

Schlenker’s Marauder — which he said is technically a 1963 1/2 model — is a rare sports model from the Mercury’s first year of production. The car is fully loaded with a factory-equipped AM/FM radio, remote sideview mirrors, air conditioning and more — all rare features for a car from this era. Another especially unique feature, he said, is its swing-away steering wheel, which moves to the side when the car is put in park. The car also includes a personal touch — a nameplate on the glove box that’s inscribed with his aunt’s name. 

Schlenker said that he mainly drives the Marauder on special occasions, and one past event turned out to be more special than he had anticipated. He took the car to the 50th anniversary celebration of the Lincoln Mercury, held at the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores, where it got the attention of Ford executives who were there. Following that event, Schlenker was later asked to bring the car to a special showing of the then-new 2002 Marauder — an event held exclusively for Ford employees prior to a public showing. 

“I was surprised, because as soon as I drove in the gates, they were waiting for me and ushered me to a whole ring of Mercury Marauders,” he said. 

His car was placed in the center of a display of new 2002 Marauders to highlight the vehicle’s history. 

“I thought it was really cool,” he said. 

Schlenker added that his son, Robb, took the Marauder to the annual Orphan Car Show in Ypsilanti in 2014, and it won Best in Show in its class. As a longtime Woodward Dream Cruise participant, Schlenker also noted that he’s only seen one other Marauder like his in all the years he’s been attending, since 1996.  

“This one is the real deal,” he said of the car.


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Do you own a vehicle that has an interesting history? Contact Staff Writer Jennifer Sigouin at jsigouin@candgnews.com or at (586) 498-1052, and you could be featured in an upcoming edition of Behind the Wheel.