Lincoln-like looks made the 1949 Mercury popular

Farm Forum

Aunt Mary never drove her 1949 Mercury, but everyone in the family knew it was “her car.” Since her husband’s employer provided a company car, Mary’s Mercury saw use only on the weekends.

When her husband died, Mary kept the Mercury in her garage. A few years later, upon her death, ownership of the car passed to Mary’s niece. In 1992 the Mercury received a fresh coat of Lima Tan paint that matches the original paint.

The Lincoln-like styling attracted a lot of buyers to Mercury in that post-war year. Records show that the 1949 Mercury was assembled in Ford’s Dearborn plant and was purchased new for $2,176.87 at Park Motor Sales, a Lincoln Mercury dealer, in Highland Park, Mich.

The 3,321-pound Mercury coupe rode on a 118-inch wheelbase. A 255-cubic-inch flathead V-8 engine provided 110 horsepower, sufficient to push the car up to an honest 100 mph. The Lincoln-like flush fenders hid the fully independent front suspension while the two-barrel carburetor fed fuel to the engine.

Eventually, the decision was made to sell the coupe after it had been in the same family for 63 years, so the Mercury was listed on e-bay. In Texas, Thad Woodruff recalled that as a senior in high school he had purchased a used 1949 Mercury coupe that had served him well. Woodruff saw the car advertised on the Internet and it reminded him of his own 1949 Mercury of years past.

Six months passed before Woodruff contacted the seller and was surprised to learn the Mercury was still available. Woodruff sent an inspector to north of Detroit to see if the car was as-advertised. The report was positive and Woodruff purchased the Mercury in March 2012.

The odometer showed the 1949 Mercury had been driven only 51,551 miles. With the exception of the paint, Woodruff exclaims, “The car is completely original.”

The car was transported to Waco, Texas where Woodruff had the brakes brought back to modern working condition. Not a sign of rust was discovered on the underside of the car. In the trunk is the original 7:10×15-inch Firestone spare tire.

The entire interior was like-new, with the exception of the armrest on the right door. After a lengthy search, Woodruff located matching fabric and now the interior looks brand new. Woodruff was thrilled to get his refurbished Mercury to his home near Houston in April.

His only minor disappointment is that the Mercury has no overdrive. On the other hand, he says, he has no plans to take the car on any long distance drives so it makes no difference.

“It’s real happy at 45,” he observes. “It runs down the road just fine,” he says.

Like the Mercury of his youth this one has a split rear window, an outside mirror and an oil bath air cleaner. This Mercury also has an Art Deco dashboard.

When Woodruff settles into the driver’s seat behind the shoulder-wide steering wheel he remarks that, “It takes me back 50 years in time.”

He says his Mercury is a very simple car and since he has owned it the odometer has accumulated only enough miles to boost the total to 51,800 miles.

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