Oddball Concept Cars from the 1990s

1997 Mercury MC4 concept

© Motor Trend

Motor Trend got rather excited about the MC4 when it debuted in 1997: “The MC4 is for Mercury what the Viper Roadster was for Dodge nine years ago.” Yes, it was far more interesting to look at than the blob-like Mystique or the softly contoured Mountaineer … but no one knew that, 13 years later, Mercury would stop producing vehicles, its sales cannibalized by parent company Ford.

In 1997, however, Mercury’s star shone far brighter. The MC4 wore the edgy, minimalist look characteristic of Ford’s New Edge design language, initiated by the GT90 concept in 1990 and most familiar to folks on the 1999 Mustang.

A trapezoidal grille and emphasized wheel arches are common to both that Mustang and the MC4, which actually started life as a V-8–powered ’96 Thunderbird. Unlike the T-Bird, the Mercury concept boasts four doors and a rear cargo area accessed by a pair of gullwing doors. It had style, space, and, of course, a healthy dose of tech that hadn’t quite been readied for production: video cameras instead of side- or rearview mirrors, nickel-chrome plate bedazzling the interior, and heated and cooled cupholders.

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