2003 Mercury Marquis LSE in Aspen Green Metallic

While most car enthusiasts remember the Mercury Marauder of 2003-2004, very few remember the stealth version of the Mercury Marquis that came before it: the 2001-2003 Grand Marquis LSE. The LSE we’re featuring today is the best version to obtain as it features the Panther platform’s new rack-and-pinion steering attached to a new stiffer frame.

The following excerpt from the August 2017 edition of Collectible Automobile Magazine provides a great overview of this model:

Announced at the 2001 Chicago Auto Show, the LSE was a new option package for the top-line Grand Marquis LS sedan. Hardware upgrades included the stiffer “Handling Package” suspension with tweaked springs, shocks, and stabilizer bars. Out back, there was a load-leveling air suspension. The beefed-up greasy bits worked with 16-inch “lacy-spoke” aluminum wheels that were shod with P225/60TR16 black-sidewall “handling” tires.

The Grand Marquis of the time ran a 4.6-liter V-8. In standard form it was good for 220 hp, but adding dual exhausts bumped it up to 235 ponies. LSE ran the 235-horse motor and a 3.27:1 rear gear that Mercury claimed improved off-the-line acceleration.

2003 Mercury Marquis 235 hp, 4.6L Dual Exhaust V8

The LSE package also extended to the Grand Marquis interior. In front were leather-clad bucket seats with eight-way power adjustment. In between them was a center console with a padded armrest, two storage bins, and a pair of cup holders. It also housed a leather-wrapped gear shifter that replaced the usual column-mounted lever to control the four-speed automatic transmission. Other creature comforts included power-adjustable pedals; automatic climate control; and a leather-trimmed steering wheel with buttons to adjust the radio, temperature, and cruise control. A Grand Marquis with LSE equipment started at $28,295.

2003 Mercury Marquis LSE Bucket Seat Interior

When the LSE returned for 2002, it was as a stand-alone top-of-the-line model. Like other Grand Marquis variants that year, it added some new standard features including antilock brakes, traction control, and heated exterior rearview mirrors. LSE now priced from $28,625. 

2003 Mercury Marquis LSE Trunk

The ’03 model year saw the introduction of the 302-hp Marauder, but the whole Grand Marquis clan benefitted from some surprising updates. Exterior styling was nearly indistinguishable from 2002, but under the skin there was a new stiffer frame as well as reworked front and rear suspensions. There was also new rack-and-pinion steering that replaced the old recirculating-ball setup. Wheelbase was up fractionally to 114.7 inches from 114.3. The LSE returned to option-package status, then was phased out early in the model year. It resurfaced in 2005 without the buckets and console that lent a sportier air to the earlier cars. 

Presented in this post is a 53.3K 2003 Aspen Green Metallic Over Light Flint Leather example. The seller states that this is a rust-free, pampered car that feels brand new when you sit inside. The seller reports that this car is “meticulously maintained and needs nothing.” Based on the photographs provided, we have no reason to doubt that.

The private seller has this low-mileage, well-maintained, and rare example listed for $6,900 on Craigslist in Albany, New York you can see by clicking here.

Kelly Blue Book’s online valuation tool lists the high end of the Private Party sale value at $5,358 so we feel there is a bit a wiggle room for someone to pick up a rare car in almost new condition for a great price.