1951 Mercury “Woodie” Station Wagon

A two-door station wagon blends the utility of a wagon with the sportiness of a coupe. Often a choice of trade workers, they make an attractive service vehicle without the excess length and cost of a four-door wagon. This 1951 Mercury Station Wagon in Albuquerque, New Mexico has lost its real wood siding to the elements, but features newly installed floor metal, a flathead V8 of unknown condition, and “very little” rust, according to the seller. The listing here on Facebook Marketplace asks $18,500 for this as-is classic. Thanks to reader Ikey H for spotting this nifty New Mexico wagon.

Purists may eschew the structurally metal “tin woodie” as not a “real” woodie, but restoring them still requires skills possessed by few body repair experts, let alone hobby enthusiasts. Classics like this Mercury, with a structure of steel, make a smart choice for those toying with the idea of restoring their first woodie.

Whether transporting oversized items or simply enjoying a picnic lunch, you’re well-served by the Mercury’s flat tailgate. Three rows provide seating for eight.

While the transmission type evaded the listing, two pedals suggest the new-for-’51 Merc-o-Matic three-speed automatic. In normal driving, the gearbox starts in second and shifts as needed. The driver may select first or “Lo” using the column-mounted gear selector. Merc-o-Matic:  ask for it by name!

No engine pictures grace the listing, but the “flathead” would have originally been the Mercury-specific 255 cid (4.2L) version making 110 HP. Thanks to lov2xlr8 for some details. Called simply the “Mercury Station Wagon,” all specimens in the sales literature were two-door wood-clad models. For a good laugh, check out the vintage promotional Merc-o-Matic advertisement on YouTube. Despite three minutes detailing this innovation including its “overdrive effect,” the transmission still “almost defies description!” Would you consider rebuilding a woodie like this neat old Mercury?

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  1. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Kinda a rare one there….hope it finds it’s forever home………

    Like 7
  2. Steve S

    It ain’t cheap but you can get replacement wood kits for these. The body is mostly steel structure with wood panels.

    Like 6
    • Gordo

      Exactly, wood panels, so I’m confused as to why Mister Fitch refers to this beauty as a tin woody?

      Like 2
    • 86_Vette_Convertible

      The quality of the floor replacement has me concerned, not very professional IMO.
      The wood panels would be the next. If they are available then this one could hit the road again, if not then I doubt it will be anything other than a parts vehicle. Trying to make replacements would be an extremely expensive proposition if a kit isn’t available.
      Hope it seen the road again some day but it will be a daunting task for anyone not dedicated to completing it IMO.

  3. John

    Mod Squad comes to mind, but I think theirs was a ‘50

    Like 6
  4. bobhess bobhess Member

    The ’49s were a beautiful design front to back. Never did understand what Mercury’s design folks had in mind starting with the ’50 and especially the ’51s. That said, I don’t remember the last time I saw one of the true wood wagons. This one looks like a great candidate for restoration but it’s going to be a lot of work.

    Like 3

    This reminds me of the car on The Mod Squad!

    Like 1
  6. TMK

    Company in California sell the kits for woody’s .Starting around $10,000. depend on the car and type of wood.

  7. WayneAlan

    At least $75K in restoration work not including the wood kit. My Dad had a ’49 brand new. He sadly traded it for a sailplane and bought a ’48 Olds Woodie as a tow vehicle.

  8. David Scully

    In the mid-’70s, I was deep into the ’49-’51 FoMoCo woodies, I had at least four drivers, and a raft of parts donors. Only one of them was a ’50 Merc. IIRC, the cars were all the same from the A-pillar back (Ford-based), with the Mercs using only their front-end sheet metal and dash boards. The wood panels on the Mercs all had the extra bulges and swoopes at the leading door edges, making them much more cumbersome. I believe all of the FoMoCo woodies went through the Iron Mountain Ford plant, but never followed up on research in that area.
    This car does have the elusive second seat (a shortened two-seater) and the two tail lights of the ‘deluxe’ model. I can believe the $10K figure for replacement wood – A Hemmings ad back in that day had a NOS ’50 Merc set for $750, which seemed ‘way too spendy at the time…In any case, this one may be worth doing – it was a rarityback in the day – even more so now.

    Like 3
  9. Joseph

    It would be a very cool car in the end but a huge infusion of cash, in addition to the initial cost of $18.5K, will be needed to get to that point.

  10. Rex Kahrs Member

    I probably would not go with wood again because of all the maintenance. I’m thinking vinyl siding.

    Like 5
  11. Tort Member

    A car that should and hopefully will be restored back to what it was when new but it is going to take some deep pockets both with the purchase price and restoration costs.

  12. Pete

    That ‘professionally replaced floor’ was not completed by a body shop if I can see the sun and the ground by the door pillar. I’d probably take it for maybe $5000 and take 5 or 10 years to finish it If they want to pay shipping…..

    Like 1
  13. z1rider

    In the U-tube video on the Merc-O-Matic, the gear selection procedure was demonstrated. Note the order, P,R,N,D,L.

    Ford was the first to order the choices that way, and of course it became the industry standard.

    Like 2
  14. Kenn

    At one time one manufacturer – and I wish I could remember which one – had a R PNDL or something like that. At least, I remember the Park was between Reverse and a drive gear. Try rocking out of snow or sand with that set up! That layout didn’t last long.

  15. Bill McCoskey

    Whoever buys this should be aware that the new floor panels are NOT even close to what should be there. 1949-50 floors are different from 1951, and what is there isn’t correct for either version. The sizes are wrong, and the strengthening ribs don’t match the factory ones. In addition, they look as if they were quickly installed by tack welding.

    Having not done a ’49 – ’51 Ford or Merc wagon restoration in a long time, I wanted to make sure I’m right, so I checked them on the internet. I stand by my statement that these are the wrong panels.

    Like 1

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