Package Deal: Two 1951 Mercury Coupes

Step right up, two for the price of one, $6,300 for the pair! That’s right, what we have here, located in Greene, Iowa is a pair of 1951 Mercury coupes. The seller claims there are enough good parts between the two to make one good car. Technically, they are being offered separately, but you might want to go ahead and buy the pair!

Back in the day, the ’51 Merc, known as the “lead sled”, and was a favorite of customizers and looked fabulous when chopped and/or channeled. And typically, while the four-door sedan with its cool suicide rear doors lent itself well to the artistry of customizers like George Barris or Dean Jefferies, the coupe, as we have here, was the more desirable body style. Just seeing one of these makes me think of James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause, even though Dean’s ride in the chicken run scene was done with a ’49 Mercury – it just has that cool vibe. You can find this Merc here on craigslist.

Mercurys of this era were powered by Ford’s 239 CI flathead V8 engine with an output of 100 HP. This engine was designed specifically for Mercury but Ford branded cars started to use it too in the mid-forties. The seller indicates that “both cars have never been horsed with” and the engines in both vehicles are “stuck”. Sounds like you’ll need a horse or two to move them. There is no mention made regarding transmissions, a three-speed manual was standard with a “Merc-O-Matic” automatic as an option.

The interiors are about as expected and will require much work. There is no mention regarding the status of the floor pans but I would expect issues considering the visual condition of the cars.

The seller states that the better of the two cars (lead photograph) has been in storage for 35 years but no telling what kind of storage. As a selling point, the low mileage of 67,000 miles is referenced as a selling point. Little is said regarding the condition of the “less than better” car though the two images reveal a car that will need a whole lot of help.

There is evidence of a lot of surface rust on both of these cars as well as problematic looking rocker panels. There is no discussion regarding the frame or structural integrity but it stands to reason that there will be problems here to address. But, as the seller states, it may be possible to swap parts and sheet metal between the two and conjure up one sound car. You can find this one here on craigslist.

Any way you cut it, this project will be a lot of work. I’d want to do a lot of underside and power train inspection before I moved forward – the dollars necessary to bring one of these back to life could mount very, very quickly and go way beyond what’s reasonable for the end result. So, if you were game, would you think in terms of a restoration back to originality, gin it up a bit to hot rod status, or go full-tilt towards a ‘50’s style custom lead sled?


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  1. Rock On

    “I’m going to buy me a Mercury and cruise it up and down the road.”

    Like 8
  2. Bob C.

    The 239 was used in earlier Mercurys. This would be the 255 with 112 horsepower.

    Like 4
  3. PaulG

    Grew up with one of these, super cool car’s. I think a solid offer close to asking would be a great deal for this pair…

    Like 7
  4. IkeyHeyman

    I know of a complete running ’51 coupe for $9K that needs front floor pans. If I had indoor storage, I would rather spend my money on that and be ahead of the game.

    Like 3
  5. Ken Carney

    If you had the resources and the time to do it, you could indeed have your cake and eat it too. Just restore the better car
    and then use the lesser car to make the led sled of your dreams. From the way it looks, that’s about all it’s good for anyway. And yes, George Kennedy drove
    one of these in Thunderbolt & Lightfoot.
    Too bad they demolished that car at the
    end of the movie though.

    Like 5
    • JOHN Member

      They also destroyed a couple in Sylvester Stallone’s movie Cobra.

      Like 1
  6. Brakeservo

    I looked at the headline quickly, I thought it said two 1951 Mercury Corpse! Hmmm, maybe not a bad way to describe them??

    Like 3
  7. sg

    Are mercs not as popular any more? I remember them being practially untouchable – if you could even find one – in the 80s-90s. Just in the last few years they seem to sell more frequently and for a lot less…

  8. geomechs geomechs Member

    It’s actually nice to see one of these that hasn’t been turned into a Lead Sled. They had great lines all their own. Of course, I can’t blame the customizers for modifying these; they almost beckon to the man with the torch. That would be a 255 engine for sure. From ’49 onward, Mercury ran the 255, which was also available in the larger Ford trucks. If you were a Mercury dealer in Canada, the entire truck line from ’50 onward ran the 255…

    Like 2
  9. Governor

    I’m surprised that they’re not sold yet.

    Like 1
  10. Drew Helgeson

    I think I would restore one, and section the other one. Too busy with other restoration projects to buy these two – but good to know they are still out there – maybe I will find one when I finish the current project(s)!

    Like 1
  11. Rudy Richardson

    James Dean drove a ’46 Ford in the “chicken run”, not a ’49 Merc.

  12. Howard

    I’ve gone this route twice before, take two and try to make one good one out of them. The headlight switch was worn out and damned nearly as bad in the other. Same with the blower motor, the dash and the engine. I did end up with two good transmissions tho LOL What wears out/rusts out on one seems to be gone on the other one too. And make two trips to bring them home? Or pay shipping for two? bah

    Like 2
  13. Danny from Oz

    Try a Step down Hudson instead, they have better lines ex factory than a chopped Merc. Second thoughts, don’t meddle with a beautiful step down.

    Like 2
    • moosie moosie

      Those step down Hudsons look almost as if their tops are already chopped, and so much more better looking to me then a like year Merc. I’d do up a Hudson for sure.

      Like 2
  14. Tucker1945 Tucker1945 Member

    I have had a love affair with old classics cars all my life, fell in love with them at 12 years old when I would set behind the wheel of a old 35 Ford two door and pretend to be driving it many years ago in the back yard of one of our neighbors houses. I love them all and only see the best in each one of them not the worst. ja

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