They just don’t make ’em like Rich Dickson’s 1963 Mercury Marauder S-55 any more.
Between those distinctive early-1960s body lines, the eye-catching Pacific Blue Metallic paint, and the over 137-feet (137 FEET!) of stainless steel trim, the ’63 Marauder just couldn’t help but stand out—even at a show as large as the Summit Racing Equipment Atlanta Motorama.
But it was the hard work of Dickson, a Fayetteville, GA resident, that made the Marauder a showstopper and award winner at the 2018 Atlanta Motorama.
“I’ve always been a Ford guy but when I got back into cars I wanted something a little different,” Dickson said. “I looked at the Mercuries—actually I have a 63 Mercury Comet convertible at home—and I found this car in California. I bought it home, played with it a little bit, and then I started restoring it. It’s just a really rare car; you don’t see them much.”
An S-55 version of the Marauder, it came with bucket seats and the four-barrel 390 cubic-inch V8. Dickson purchased it in 2011 and his plan was to restore back to its original condition by 2013, the car’s 50th anniversary.
“It was run down, but it was a rust-free car,” he said. “I had to replace one fender but other than that, most everything else is original to this car.”
That includes the original motor; however, Dickson installed a SCAT stroker kit to up the cubic inches to 445. He also installed a set of aluminum heads and a bigger cam, which bumped the horsepower from the factory 300 horses to about 500 horsepower and about 560 ft. lbs. of torque.
“It’s a 60s-era car, so I just wanted to hot rod it a little more,” Dickson said. “It’s a pretty heavy car—It weighs close to 4,000 pounds—so I just wanted to up it a little bit but mostly leave it the way it was.”
He also made a few tweaks to the drivetrain, opting for C-6 because “it’s more old school and it fits better with the gate of the shifter inside the car.” It also has a positraction rear-end and electronic Gear Vendors overdrive, which makes it perform a lot better on the highway.
“It didn’t come with a posi-traction—it was an open rear-end,” Dickson said. “Instead of going with a clutch-type rear-end, I went with a Truetrac, which is a four-gear system like a lot of late model cars run on all-wheel drives. They sense the pressure on one side and throw it to the other side. There’s no ratcheting like some of the old-style gear boxes.”
The interior and exterior of the Marauder are restored the original look, including its Pacific Blue color.
“I’m really happy with the paint job,” Dickson said. “Everybody says something about it!”
Every trim piece of the car was there; Dickson had all the chrome and stainless steel straightened and re-polished. The interior was restored with original stock material by from a company out of the Washington state. The company made the door panels and everything to factory specs. He found the replacement dash pad from a company in California.
“It was about a 1,200 dollar dash pad,” Dickson said. “I thought for a long time that maybe I could use a metal dash pad, but I really wanted to go all the way with (the restoration), so I coughed up the money.”
The Marauder is a true cruiser that Dickson drives to a variety of events. It features the original power windows and steering, and he upgraded the factory brakes to a front disc setup for safer highway use. A set of steel Wheel Vintiques wheels completes the Marauder’s distinctive look and complements and copious amounts of chrome.
“That one piece (of chrome trim) is nine feet by itself,” Dickson said, pointing to the passenger side of the Marauder.
Nope—they truly don’t make cars like Rich Dickson’s Mercury Marauder S-55 any more.