from The Drive

The Legend of the Florida Highway Patrol Mercury Marauder, the Fastest, Rarest Panther of Them All

Twenty years ago, the Florida Highway Patrol rolled out a fleet of souped-up Mercury Marauders for high-speed pursuits.


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I spotted a Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor on duty this week. It was a Laredo Police Department patrol car, and it gave me a touch of sentimentality seeing this decade-old workhorse. The odometers on these P71 Interceptors are rapidly reaching “I’m too old for this shit.” But seeing that old cop car reminded me of the legend of Florida’s fastest, rarest Panthers: the Florida Highway Patrol Mercury Marauders.

Twenty years ago, Florida’s highways were patrolled by a special group of unmarked 2004 Mercury Marauders thanks to an anonymous donor who gifted 27 cars to the Florida Highway Patrol, and a local tuner named named Dennis Reinhart who modified them for use in high-speed pursuits. The Marauder was already a hotted-up version of the standard Crown Vic, with a 302-hp V8 out of the Mustang Mach 1. But Reinhart took it further with a host of mods that made these the ultimate sleeper sedans.

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