16,000 Mile EXPeriment: 1982 Mercury LN7

Scotty GilbertsonBy Scotty Gilbertson

1982 may not seem long enough ago to be showing cars from that era here, but I’m sure that some of you weren’t even born then. It’s also possible that a person born in 1982 could even be a grandparent – if they got an early start. This 1982 Mercury LN7 is most likely the nicest one that you will ever find. It’s listed on eBay with a bid price of under $1,800 but the reserve isn’t met yet and it’s located in South Hamilton, Massachusetts.

This is such an unusual shape with that bubble-like rear hatch window. The LN7 was a two-year-only experiment by Mercury, whereas the sister car, the Ford EXP, had a seven-year run. This car is in almost like-new condition which is nice to see, at least for those of us who aren’t against cars from the 1980s based on the fact that they’re from the 1980s.

I got excited when I saw the stick-shift, but it’s an automatic from back in the days before car makers put the same boot around the shift lever in an attempt to keep mens’ chest hair in tact by fooling those folks looking in the window and thinking that they are actually driving a manual transmission. The seller says that this car has every option available and unfortunately that included an automatic transmission. But, it also included leather seats –  it is a Mercury after all. Here’s what’s under that bubble-hatch.

With only 16,000 miles – oh, didn’t I mention that yet? – this engine looks as close to new as you’re likely to find, but even on this one the AC needs to be charged. This is Ford’s 1.6L inline-four CVH (Compound Valve angle Hemispherical combustion chamber) engine which would have had 80 hp. With 80 hp and an automatic the next owner isn’t going to win many stop light races against a Prius, but that isn’t what this car is for. Have any of you heard of the Mercury LN7?

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Comments

  1. Tom Justice

    Never saw the Mercury version, there were quite a few EXP where I was in NC in the 80’s. Mostly a love/hate car but at least it didn’t look like every other car on the road like so many do now. Hope it is a good sale.

    7
  2. mike

    my cousin had a white one of these, didn’t last long. I ended up buying one from an old Ford employee, except mine was the EXP. Metric sized wheels and some of the best gas mileage I’ve ever seen. Drove from NYC to Central Canada on 2 tanks of gas – 800km’s per tank wasn’t unusual

    6
  3. jimbo

    Not a bad lookin car, given all the blandly styled vehicles from the Big 3 in that era……

    7
    • Dave Suton

      Bland and cookie cutter would pretty much describe every import from the 80’s

      5
      • Mike

        Supra, MR2, 3rd gen Prelude, 2nd gen CRX, RX7,etc. Especially given the context of the time I wouldn’t call every import of the 80’s “bland”.

        9
  4. CCFisher

    From the days when American automakers weren’t afraid to experiment, when engineers and designers didn’t fear the accounting department, and when some buyers still put style over functionality.

    8
  5. 71FXSuperGlide

    Wow, that thing is clean! The auto would be a deal breaker for me tho, given the 4 cylinder.

    Be curious to see where the price ends up.

    6
  6. kelly g

    i remember lusting after this car lol. Dad and i were coming out of the Peoples Drug store after he had purchased a large can of his “Mixture #79” pipe tobacco, and there it was, parked along the curb. Back in those days, the Ford dealer would park the new model year cars out in front of the drugstore, so the whole town would be sure to see them. So there it sat with an Escort GT i believe it was. It was red, and WAY sexier than the GT. I told dad i wanted it. and he chuckled. Good times, the 80’s.

    8
  7. David Zornig

    The Budget office in our Texaco had these as rentals, as well as the EXPs.
    Always loved those spore style wheels.

    4
  8. OIL SLICK

    Too bad no stick, it would be gone already.

    3
  9. Tiberius1701

    Is it my imagination or does the seller have another one of these as evidenced in the picture showing the cargo area???

    3
    • OIL SLICK

      That’s prolly the one with the stick. Is that a T-Bird in the garage?

      1
      • CanuckCarGuy

        I think it’s the Cougar…one of the ’80 to ’82 pre-aero models that are so unloved. Looks like the seller has a Quirky Mercury addiction…?

        3
      • Kent

        I agree it is a Cougar and I think the bumper strip is black which makes it a 1982. I had a 1980 cougar as my first car. I must admit I still like them. So yeah with this LN7 and that Cougar he has it even worse then me!

        2
      • ICEMAN from Winnipeg

        Cougar XR7

    • Chapel

      He has like 4. I did this article on him a few years ago. I actually got in touch with him after seeing that LN7 getting restored in the shop next to my house.

      http://www.project-st.com/readers-ride-andrew-gillers-1982-ford-exp-time-capsule/

      1
  10. MathieuB

    Looks to me like a Capri from the same era.
    I always loved theses cars.
    Quiet clean car!

    3
  11. Todd Zuercher

    Of course I remember them! And this one has to be the nicest one left in the world. EXPs are super rare – LN7s are even more rare!!

    4
  12. SWells679

    Ermagherd! My girlfriend in H.S. had the “metallic rose” colored EXP in ’83. My buddies and I used to pick it up and turn it sideways in the school parking lot. She had the last laugh though as my ’73 Maverick wheezed in to her driveway OTW to pick her up for prom, so she ended up driving that night. Aahhh…good times.

    4
  13. 80s Time Traveler

    In the picture showing the literature(on the eBay page ) it lists the owner as Benny’s Inc, Benny’s was a discount chain in New England until closing recently , it must have been a company car , unusual for the low mileage as most company cars are driven hard
    I’d love to know the story as to why it was put away , I miss Benny’s, you could get all your car accessories there , even had a tire shop , in addition to sporting goods , toys , and housewares

    4
  14. gtyates

    My aunt had the Ford EXP around this same time period, same color. Hers was very similar to this one equipment-wise except she did not have leather. It looked a whole lot sportier than it was… Her next car was a Thunderbird Turbo. That was fun to drive.

    2
  15. Ed

    These ain’t as slow as u think my friend had one great gas mileage and plenty of storage great two person car for getaways.they drive like a roller skate.way ahead of its time.

    1
  16. Rob

    I just found the Ford EXP In the back yard of a person that wants to put a 5ltr Mustang running gear into it.

  17. connbackroads

    I’m thinking that these cars had something to do with Ford of Australia . . . somebody help me with this?

    • Larry McGaw

      You are likely thinking of the Australian Capri convertible that was brought across in the early 90’s.

      2
    • Joe Backer

      The EXP was created because of the Pontiac Fiero. So to jump on the two seater mid engine market as fast as they could. They took the Escort and made different body panels and chopped the roof two inches. Doors from a two escort will not work with exp’s. Hence the factory roof chop. Ford didn’t want to tool up a whole new mid engine car. The Exp/LN7 had nothing to do with Ford of Australia.
      They boosted about having such a low drag coefficient. Yet it came at a cost down the road for owners. Warp heads and killing the motor with coolant into the cylinders. Wipe out lobes on the cam.
      I only take mine out on cool days and in low traffic. I also have custom head bolts from ARP.
      Your better off with something you can get parts for. Like the Fox Mustang. Millions to pick from.

      • Miguel

        That doesn’t make sense since the EXP came and went before the Fiero even hit the market.

  18. LarryW

    I’ve read that the EXP weighed more than the standard Escort on which it was based. So much for creating a sports car from a sedan.

    1
  19. Marathon06

    Bidding is at $3000, did not think it would get that high. Nice example, you likely will not see one again, but not sure these really have that much interest, same case with the EXP. No one cared back in the 80’s either.

    1
  20. Gary

    Exp/Ln7 was the first 2 seater for ford since the 55 T-bird. Rented one iwith a buddy for a trip to the 82 worlds fair in Tennessee and loved it. Remember stopping at a little country store for gas and beer and a old man came over to look it over and said, looky there at that fancy sports car and them boys from the big city. We still laugh at that. Not many around today but they have a active facebook page and club for them.

    4
  21. scottymac

    Think those are Michelin TRX wheels, so winning bidder better allow $1,500-$2,000 for a new set of tires. The bubble back was Mercury trying to tie it in with the Capri (Mustang clone) which had one, too. Ex-wife was driving EXP/LN7 when I met her – why didn’t I take that as my first clue?

    3
  22. Jubjub

    Wow. This design has aged surprisingly well. Like a consumer friendly version of Ford’s series of Ghia & Probe concept cars. And those TRX wheels really make the look!

    At the time I was still holding a grudge against Ford for not giving us proper, European Capris in the US.

    2
  23. Fran

    I was in Florida in 80 when I saw both the ford and mercury in West ft lauderdale running around they had manufactures plates on them! Then in upstate ny in the mid 80s Randy DeLisio of super Stang built a exp with a Boss 429!!!! It was cool!

    1
  24. scott reska

    Perfect candidate for pulling the powertrain and swapping in an RS Focus drivetrain. But that’s me. It may not be you.

    • Bradley Howe

      There are plenty that arent pristine low mile versions to cut up. This needs to be left stock

  25. BigBlocksRock

    My sister had one just like this one in the early 90’s only yellow & a 4 sp. Put over 150k on the clock & it had very few problems other than it leaked oil from everywhere towards the end.

  26. Lee Yusten

    I don’t remember if mine was an ’82 or ’83. I browsed google images over time, and have never come across this paint scheme. Gotta love those gold Enkei wheels! I had gotten divorced, and decided on “my independence” 2-seater! 🙂

    3
  27. Brad h

    Remember in junior high when these came out and loved them. Unique style, colors, doopanel design, etc. everything about them was quirky. This one has me thinking. I just picked up an 84 EXP Turbo but not in this condition!

  28. robert

    Well im surprised to see it being MERCURY LAUGH OUT LOUD BUT I DID OWN A FORD EXP BACK IN THE LATE 80S. I was just in my 20s and working for a Painter that did awesome work we tore the 4cylinder out and tubed it for a trans and stuck a Ford 302 with a c4 trans in it and it was one car that was a sleeper and fast but never won a lot of races do to so light it would just burn the tires right up in no time laugh out loud but when we put sand bags in the back we would pull wheelies all day . fun car but I don’t think id waist my time on another one .

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