Ford Product Development Center
16 June 2002
This Lot has no reserve
MERCURY MC4 CONCEPT
Dark green graphite with beige suede leather trimmed interior
The Mercury MC4 is a very clever concept. It is a sports coupe, but with a big difference. The Mercury MC4 applies Ford's experience with extended cab pickup supplemental doors to create an innovative and very practical solution to a problem faced by every young and enthusiastic driver who wants a sporty ride but needs space for a growing family.
The Mercury MC4 was very much the product of the design work of the late John Hartnell, who tragically recently passed away at the young age of 55. John was a native of England and had joined Ford back in 1965 and worked on the design of many European Ford vehicles while based out of the Dunton studio in England. He later moved to the USA as a design manager and working under the directorship of Claude Lobo at the Advanced Design Studio he worked on several concepts including the Indigo in today's auction. The Mercury MC4 was very much designed with Ford Motor Company's distinctive "new edge" approach displaying smooth lines with sculpted features and crisp well-defined intersections. Headlights use high intensity discharge lamps behind sharp triangular aerodynamic covers. Big Brembo brakes are visible behind large one-off specially built 19" 5-spoke billet alloy wheels with P255/40R-19 Goodyear tires that reside in wheel wells surrounded by defined flares. The pointed nose is close to the ground for aerodynamic penetration. A steeply sloped windshield rises into a long greenhouse that falls away in an arc to the tip of the high deck. The Mercury MC4 concept's visual presentation is "sports coupe".
Within its sporty exterior, however are innovative features that both enhance its playful character and make the Mercury MC4 practical for young and active families. The remotely-operated front doors are short which allows them to be opened wide in tight parking places. Behind them small back doors are hinged at the rear and will only operate when the front doors have been opened. There are no center posts, so when both doors are open access to the interior is unobstructed.
John Hartnell and his team adopted an unusual solution to providing practical access to the Mercury MC4 concept's luggage area over the high tail and under the large rear window. The rear window is split down the centerline and opens from either side, a technique pioneered years ago by the Ghia design studio with the deTomaso Mangusta. The Mercury MC4 roof has separate power sunroofs on each side which drop down and then retract, and there is also an overhead console in the T-bar.
The Mercury MC4 is painted in a handsome dark green graphite metallic while the custom handmade interior is trimmed in beige untreated suede leather with dark grey trim. The Mercury MC4 has four bucket seats and a combined dedicated child safety seat or arm rest located between the two rear seats. The front seats are electrically operated and the rear ones fold down for additional cargo space in the rear. It is provided with television-style rear and side vision monitors (one camera is cleverly incorporated into the rear spoiler) which we are told are working. Instruments are housed in several bright-finished tubes which extend forward to eventually disappear below the windshield, as if they were directly connected to the engine. There is a state of the art fully functioning stereo system fitted. The feeling in the cabin is very airplane-like with many beautiful nickel plated finishes although one of the Mercury MC4 amenities has yet to make its appearance even in the most luxurious First Class cabin: the center console was designed to have heated and cooled cup holders (which are non-functional)!
The Mercury MC4 is built on a 1996 Ford Thunderbird rear wheel drive chassis with a 4.6 liter V8 engine. Glazing is plexiglass and the side windows do not operate. It is in excellent cosmetic condition throughout. It is also a creative solution that was designed using state of the art computer aided design technology and compromises little while being at once a sports coupe and a family sedan loaded with engaging technology.
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