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Slammed, shaved, flames, stripes, fender skirts, chopped tops, and art deco is often what you may find when searching for a 1949-1951 Mercury today. These models are a considered a customizer’s piece of heaven, and are often the most sought-after bodies for this type of treatment. From the movies, iconic actor James Dean led the charge and his appreciation for these Mercurys influenced a younger generation toward a passion for the “slab-sided” Merc of the day.
Mercury had the distinction of being the Indianapolis 500’s pace car and winner of the Mobile Gas Economy Run, with a mpg of over 26 when equipped with the overdrive “straight stick” combination. New for the year were the “Merc-o-matic” automatic transmission and a new trim line in the “Monterey” series with a decorative vinyl roof and upgraded upholstery that was meant to ward off the competition (with their new pillarless hardtops, which were attracting many new buyers). In vogue at the time and popular in the beach scene was the most attractive “woody wagon,” as it was called, and the more conservative buyers had the choice of the standard coupe or four-door sedan. The “flathead” or l head engine at 110bhp made cruising at 100 mph very possible, when the pedal hit the metal. 1950 was a banner year for Mercury with the 100,000,000th unit rolling off the assembly line and a total production for the year in ninth place, at over 293,000 units.
The interior featured new fiberglass sound-proofing which quieted “the soft purr of the strong, silent” engine. A new Merco-Therm system delivered “fresh air in any season”. Mercury’s new Safe-T-Vue dash grouped all the gauges behind a single plexiglass panel. The spare tire was fitted upright to create more efficient use of its spacious trunk.
The LeMay collection now features a fully restored original.
- Mercury all new in 1949; minor trim changes in 1950; new grille and extended rear fenders in 1951
- Many 1949-1951 Mercurys were customized and hot-rodded
- This restored car is one of the few remaining 1949-1951 Mercurys with the standard engine and original body style
- 293,000 1950 Mercurys were produced; Price new: $1,980