Last Ride of the Mercury Land Yacht

The Mercury Land Yacht has blessed us for ten years with rather reliable transportation. However…

The CD player skips like a little kid when school is let out, the passenger seat belt binds up with out warning, the cruise control is likely to give out every 40 miles, and goddamn, this thing has about as much traction on snow and ice as the 85-year-old who once drove it. The giant deep trunk could hold as much a three adult corpses but was a back strain when you bent over to pull anything weighing as much as a twelve pack of beer. It was clear that Carjo and I were over our love affair with the Land Yacht experience.

The market for used/new vehicles, like everything else, has been warped beyond all recognition by the pandemic. A semi-conductor shortage crimped the production of new cars and high demand drove the prices of used cars to the stratosphere while reducing their supply. In addition, the lots in North Dakota had used domestic SUVs but they wanted far too much for their lemons. I wanted either a Japanese or Korean make with impeccable reliability and features that were more 21st Century. There was little to be found in this state and what there were had prices thousands above Blue Book.

I started shopping online using my brother’s Minneapolis zip code and the market abruptly changed. There was a lot more inventory but most three-row SUVs were still overpriced. But then my brother and I found a niche in the market. Luxury mid-size SUVs of 5-8 years old were plentiful and many were priced to sell. So on a Sunday in June the Mercury Land Yacht made its final journey to the Twin Cities. The old girl had no idea of her fate.

I spent the next Monday morning sprinting between car lots, test driving Acura RDXs and Lexus RXs while they tried to determine how much a Mercury Land Yacht in VERY good shape and low mileage is worth. Driving a modern and compact SUV was a culture shock after years in our beat up Family Truckster and the Mercury Land Yacht. In addition to the various luxuries and amenities these vehicles just felt solid and well-built. Everything not only worked, it worked really well given their respective mileage.

The winner in the sweepstakes was an obsidian black Lexus RX on an Audi lot in Minneapolis. They offered a very fair price for the Land Yacht and being they had a few used RX on the lot to move, they were ready to deal. By that evening I was driving towards ND in the vehicle below, playing CDs on what was apparently Lexus’ premiere audio system. Three cases of MN beer were in the back compartment. I spent the night in Fargo, went drinking with the Fargo Boys, and the next day drove home.

I do note that this vehicle burns gas more readily than the Mercury but that’s the price you pay for all wheel drive. I won’t be bitching about the gas mileage when I drive over snow and ice without the slightest wobble or slide. The chihuahua has a fleece blanket between the console though she likes to climb on the cooler in the back compartment, just like Pippin taught her. Carjo likes to ride once again though this passenger seat belt doesn’t like her either. She refuses to think it is her fault. Once again we have heated seats, which is a must in a land were is doesn’t get above O Fahrenheit for a month. Our small town has a few “foreign” vehicles, there’s a Honda dealer in Williston and Toyota is in Minot. But this is still a Ford/GM/Chrysler town. I’m getting a lot of looks. Ask me if I care.

I still have to sell the 1997 Land Yacht my mother-in-law drove. But a deal is in the works because our heating/AC guy thinks it’s practically an antique. Whatever gets it off the lot works for me. I’ll be driving out to the farm or to Bismarck in a slightly higher (and comfortable) profile.

About jeroljohnson

I guess I'm the crying on the inside kind of clown
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