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52 Years Of Ownership: 1948 Mercury Coupe

Sometimes our possessions become intertwined with our lives.  We grow attached to some material object to the point we cannot let go.  With cars, these feelings make moving on almost impossible for some people.  Take for example this 1948 Mercury coupe, for sale on craigslist in Rutherfordton, North Carolina.  Owned by the seller’s dad, this beautiful old Mercury is looking for a new home after 52 years of ownership.  While this sad situation seems to be another case of unwanted inheritance, this dramatic change might be the opportunity of a lifetime for a beginning collector looking to pick up a car with a great story behind it.  At an asking price of $9,500, would you purchase and hold on to this distinctive coupe?

We are not given much more information about this classic Mercury.  The seller does tell us that the Flathead engine still ran well around five to six years ago.  We are also told that the interior and body are in great shape.  From the pictures, the body does look to be very straight and rust free.  A closer inspection would obviously be warranted, but following the lines of the car in the picture shows nothing out of the ordinary.  The chrome looks to be all there but needs a bit of polish.  The glass and the hubcaps are also in place and in good shape.

From the rear, we can see that the large chrome Mercury specific bumper isn’t rusting or displaying any visible chrome separation.  These cars shared a number of parts and pieces with their sister coupes from Ford, so mechanical items should be easy to find.  The Mercury specific sheet metal and chrome trim are, however, pretty much Mercury exclusive and rare.  We can also see that this car is also equipped with a trailer hitch and dual exhausts.  Few sounds on Earth are as sweet as the dipped in honey low rumble of a Flathead Ford-powered car with dual exhausts.

The interior has definitely been recovered with sixties-era upholstery over the original seat frames and door panels.  The greenish cloth with black vinyl and white piping looks good regardless.  Some splitting is evident, but a good upholsterer should be able to re-stitch the seat for you.  The dash is also in good shape, and the car looks to have a radio installed.  The steering wheel shows no signs of cracking, and the “three on the tree” shifter looks ready for a workout.

As you can see from the photo above, the back seat on these coupes is rather small.  However, it would be OK for kids or short jaunts with compliant adults.  The overall impression of the interior is that this car didn’t see a lot of sunlight to break down the fabric and vinyl.  All clues point to this being a garaged car for a majority of its life.  Sadly, a carport is all the protection the car has until it goes off to live with its new owner.

Looking from stem to stern, this is a nice car.  From the ad, we can safely infer that the 52-year owner of this car has likely passed on and a family member is ready to send it down the road.  While it would be nice if the car was kept in the family, this is an opportunity for a reasonably priced collector car to pass into new hands.  The new owner will likely have some work ahead of them getting the Flathead engine back into service.  They will also have to go through the car’s mechanicals and chassis with a fine-toothed comb.  I doubt that getting it on the road again will be expensive.  These cars were proven designs by 1948, and many of the mechanical parts can still be found at your local NAPA.  Perhaps the seller will be a little flexible on the price if the right caretaker is found.

Has a particular car ever been a long-term part of your life?


  1. Dirk

    All it needs is a big block, mag wheels, custom interior and a new paint job in red or orange. I’m being facetious of course but unfortunately, many who read these columns think along those lines and, as a result, many wonderful old cars are destroyed forever. Let’s hope this great old Merc finds a new owner who is sensitive to its great history and largely original condition.

    Like 23
    • Mark S.


      Like 9
    • Jett

      Sssssh—don’t give them any ideas!!

      Like 5
  2. KSwheatfarmer

    I do like almost all things Mercury,this being a super nice example of an early one,will make someone happy. Yes I can relate to the long term relationship with a car,next on the list for revival is my 64 Park Lane Maurader. Grandpa bought it new for my aunt,it then went to my dad as a daily driver till 72, It was my high school ride till 76 then went into the chicken coop till now. Had my 70 X-100 at the car show on saturday when a guy came up and told me his dad had one just like it. After introductions I informed him that it was in fact his dads car, made his day and mine also.

    Like 14
    • Al

      I understand long-term relationships. I still have my ’70 Olds 442 bought new.
      I drive it 4 times a year totaling about 150 miles a year.

      Like 3
  3. Lroy

    What a beauty, for less than 10k and you get a car that will stand out at any car show cruise in coffee morning. I’m surprised this add has been up 28 days. Most of the junk on here is being offered for 10 grand. This is one hell of a good deal.

    Like 8
  4. jdjonesdr

    What a time capsule. Beautiful car even covered with dust that was obviously well taken care of.

    Like 5
    • PatrickM

      Too bad the current owner can’t get it inside, at least for a while. And, YES, I would love to have it.

      Like 1
  5. Joe Haska

    The first few years after the war were very unique for car sales, and buying a new car. Everyone wanted one ,and were pretty willing to buy whatever was available. I was just a little kid, but I loved cars and was very curious and observant of all the different makes and models. My dad and my one uncle bought new Fords, my dads a 46 4-door, my uncles a 47 2-door, and they bought them from the same dealer ,on the same day. A few weeks later on, my other uncle showed up with a 46 Mercury Coupe. I thought right away this car is way neater than my dads, the chrome was bright and lots of it, and it was a creamy yellow, and I thought why didn’t my dad buy one like that!

    Like 4
  6. David E Richey

    What a classic and a beauty…these were excellent cars (and still are)!!!

    Like 1
  7. Jett

    Man…for under $12,000, I’d be all over this, and leave it as original as possible. Ensure it’s mechanically sound, clean it up and drive it on nice, sunny days. My Dad has a photo of him sitting on the fender of his Dad’s ‘47 Ford sedan. It would be neat to replicate that somewhat with this car…

    Like 4
  8. Tort Member

    Very nice car just to get running and drive and enjoy as it is. Doesn’t have the style and demand of the 40 Ford coupe on yesterday’s Barn’s Finds but they are not asking 26 grand that the 40 was up to in bidding the last time I looked. Great car at a great price and would love to own it.

    Like 4
  9. Uncle Bob

    Kudos to the seller for pricing it near market. I too am surprised at the month on market ad. A sad commentary on this slice of the market.

    Ol’ dad must have loved his car. A “custom” interior (of sorts), chrome plated fuel door, and what look to be Mid ’50s Olds caps on wide whites. A very mild custom to smile about. Can’t help but wonder if it’s got a Columbia.

    Given that the family is probably in unload mode someone (please) could swing a very good deal after this much time.

    Like 4
  10. Del

    Nice Merc.

    You guys crowd fund me and I will fly down and buy it

    Like 3
  11. Denis Flaherty

    If it was closer to my area, it would be mine…luvet!

    Like 1
  12. Del

    I want it.

    So chip in and crowd fund me.

    Like 2

    Looks like a bargain to me.

    Like 1
  14. Bob Smart

    I’d go thru the mechanicals, clean it up and keep it stock. My first love was a ’48 Merc. If it’s still available, contact me!😍

    Like 0
  15. John Yarbro

    I am the new owner of this automobile.

    Like 1
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

      Congratulations, John, and thanks for sharing!

      Like 0

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