Friday Fantasy: The 2003 Mercury Messenger Concept Never Delivered But Lives On As An EV … Sort Of

Mercury Messenger Front
Ford Motor Company
Mercury Messenger Front
(Ford Motor Company)

It was a message from the future that went unanswered.

The Mercury Messenger revealed at the 2003 Detroit Auto Show was a sleek and sporty concept proposed for Ford’s middle child marque.

Equipped with just two seats, the rear-wheel-drive coupe was something of a departure from the brand’s previous 2+2 Cougar and Capri models.

Considering Mercury is the messenger of the gods, its name made it the Ferrari LaFerrari of its day and it was definitely designed to be fleet.

Mercury Messenger Rear
(Ford Motor Company)

Although the show car wasn’t fitted with one, the Messenger was envisioned to be powered by a version of the Ford Mustang’s 4.6-liter V8 running through a six-speed sequential automatic transmission.

Its “aluminum hub” monocoque chassis rode on an electronically controlled fully-independent suspension that could provide a mix of comfort and handling while high performance Brembo brakes handled the stopping.

Unfortunately, it never got the green light for production and Mercury had to soldier on for its last few years with a small lineup sedans and SUVs before the plug was finally pulled in 2011.

In an unusual move, Ford put the Messenger and several other concepts up for auction in 2010 at Pebble Beach, where it was sold for $52,250. It crossed the block again in 2014 in Auburn, Indiana, when Chicago-area collector Joe Bortz paid just $27,500.

Mercury Messenger Interior
(Ford Motor Company)

Bortz still owns the car and recently loaned it for a display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. It’s been preserved in its original condition except for one change that seems fitting today.

Since it didn’t have an engine, the Messenger used a small electric motor to move around the car show floors with and Bortz has upgraded it with a more powerful one that’s good for about 30-40 mph, according to Ford Authority.

Could Mercury return as an electric sub-brand like Hummer has at GMC? Mercur-E perhaps?

You probably shouldn’t sit around waiting for the doorbell to ring with that news.