The Gibson Marauder was launched in 1974 (actually Marauder shipping records state just 1 instrument was shipped in 1974) and remained in production until 1979; being replaced by the Gibson Sonex series around 1980. This Norlin-period Gibson was produced exclusively at the Kalamazoo plant, and was Gibsons mid-seventies budget model; still a Gibson and not cheap, but certainly the lowest price electric. The 1970s were a difficult time for American guitar companies: the oil crisis of 1973, and ensuing recessions, added to competition from Japanese manufacturers, meant ways had to be found to cut costs of at least the entry level models which bore the brunt of competition.
Taken from the Gibson 79 promo magazine: The Gibson Marauder guitar was introduced in 1974. The instrument has a body shape rather like a Les Paul, but has a bolt-on neck. The body and neck are made from poplar and hard maple and the instrument is finished in clear satin laquer. There are three distinct tone settings on the Marauder's selector switch. The front pickup is similar to the Super Humbucker with small additional magnets reinforcing and directing the field, while the bridge pickup has a single, iron-cored coil, with a magnet below and iron strips from the lower magnet pole. The fast, easy-action neck is made from Canadian maple. The fingerboard is made from rosewood with dot inlays and the distinctive peghead is of "V-series" design.
The Marauder was launched at the same time as the Grabber bass and shared some of its cost cutting features. Both had controls and pickups assembled onto the pickguard; an easier production method than mounting electrics into the guitars themselves. Also both had bolt-on maple necks and alder bodies. These woods, aswell as being cheaper than Gibsons staple, mahogany, are more traditionally associated with Gibsons main American rival, Fender. A further nod to Fender comes in the choice of pickup; one humbucker at the neck, and a single coul pickup at the bridge. Along with the body shape, and asymetrical pickguard, the guitar does ressemble a Fender Telecaster custom, whilst its sister model the S-1 was built to capture the essence of a Fender Stratocaster
1975 Gibson Marauder. Notice the 3-way switch, and witch hat knobs
1978 Gibson Marauder. Notice the 3-way switch is replaced by a chickenhead switch, and it now has speed knobs
1979 Gibson Marauder. Notice the maple fingerboard.
Gibson Marauder chronology
1974 Marauder launched, however only 1 instrument shipped in the first year 
1975 First appearance in a price list. The Gibson Marauder protional record is released; a 45 rpm 7 " vinyl demonstrating the guitar with, and without accompaniment. Finishes: Natural Satin ($349), Wine Red ($399). By the second price list of the year, the Marauder was being called the M-1, and the Marauder Custom was announced (Sunburst only) at $449  1975 Gibson catalogue
1976 Marauder Custom price raised to $499 (M-1 prices unchanged ) The second price list of '76 raised the price of the Natural Satin finish M-1 to $359, and offered a Natural Maple Gloss instrument for $399. By late 1976 the three-way pickup switch had been replaced by a pot, allowing more subtle blends of bridge and neck pickup.
1977M-1 Natural Satin $399, Wine Red / Maple Gloss $449. Marauder Custom $539 
1978 Again more price rises announced in January. M-1 Natural Satin $419, Wine Red / Maple Gloss $469. Marauder Custom $559 . The May price list of the same year drops completely the Marauder Custom. New finishes for 1978 include Ebony, Walnut and Tobacco Sunburst, Natural Mahogany (on mahogany bodied instruments)  and White . This was obviously a good move as this is the peak year for Marauder sales  1978 Gibson catalogue
1979 Price slashed to $399, Walnut being the only available colour 
1980 Model officially discontinued, though some instruments were made as late as early 1981, including a few finished in Candy Apple Red.
Nigel Beek Comment left 21st November 2011 11:11:01 My first guitar was a Gibson Marauder, followed by the Gibson S1. Both pretty unloved at the time (late eighties), and WAY cheaper than they are now. Great workhorse guitars, and not super fragile like most Gibsons.