Ardun & Judson Powered: 1948 Mercury Convertible

Family owned for several decades, this beautiful Mercury is a classy version of a hot rod with its vintage engine components. Built by the seller’s late father in the 1970’s this beauty has remained in the same family until now. Clean with nice details, this Merc’ is not a concourse grade car, but is a grand looking driver. With zero bids, the opening bid on this family owned hot rod is $74,500! Take a look at it here on eBay out of Tipton, Indiana.

The money maker, the Mona Lisa, the destroyer, the whatever you want to call this thing is okay with me as long as you don’t say that it’s ugly. Truly a work of art with the Ardun overhead valve heads, and the Judson supercharger, it is clear that this Merc has a little more scoot than it did when it was new. The engine bay is detailed well, but there is a light amount of dust present in the bay. No rust or oxidation is present, and the only thing that could possibly be complained about is the chipping paint on the radiator. The engine is a smooth runner, but the seller does mention that the engine smokes. He seems to think it may be the operation of the Judson supercharger with its marvel mystery oil canister that could be the cause of the smoke.

Although restored many years ago the interior does not reflect any age or wear whatsoever. Having varying shades of brown, with some lovely art deco design splashed within, this is a very classy convertible.

Last repainted in 1981 this car is still quite shiny, and has a lovely appearance. The seller has mentioned there are some minor rock chips that give evidence to the cars use. A few rock chips aren’t the end of the world when it comes to a beauty of this caliber. Although offered for a lofty price, this Mercury looks to have an extensive history with plenty of old photos, as well as family accounts, and other various paperwork. With good looks and cool power, would you pull the trigger on this Merc’ for the opening bid?


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  1. txchief

    How much for just the motor?

    • Mike H. Mike H

      If I were a buyer it would mainly be to be able and look at the engine every day.

  2. Jake

    Wow, that engine is so sweet looking and gotta run as great as it looks!!!! Don’t see those heads or supercharger much anymore!!! Love this body style!!!!

  3. geomechs geomechs Member

    Man, those Ardun heads sure fill that engine bay. Way beyond my budget (unless those numbers kick in) but those heads are about as rare as an honest politician. I was at a swap meet back in 1972 when a guy showed up with (3) sets of Ardun heads in the crates. He was open to offers but snorted at the guy who offered him $4K.

  4. Solosolo Ken Tilly Member

    Absolutely the best ever convertible that I have seen on Barn Finds so far. A real Corker! My friend had the ex Danny Kaye (Comedian/Actor) 1948 Chevrolet convert and I spent a lot of time getting it running but it was nothing in comparison to this beautiful Mercury.

  5. 86 Vette Convertible

    it’s beautiful (especially the louvered hood) but not in my price range.

  6. Rob M.

    Paint it black and it looks like Biff’s car in Back to the Future.

    • Treebeardzz

      Or swap the hood out for one made of plexi and upstage “Greased Lightning”.

  7. joeinthousandoaks

    Wow, that’s incredible what’s lurking under the hood. I’d love to have or at least drive it once.

  8. jw454

    I’d enjoy seeing it at a show but, I’d never be a buyer.

    Also, never cared for louvers. When you wash the car it makes a mess all over the engine etc. and the paint likes to chip along the cut edge of the metal where they are formed.

    • waynard

      Lemon / Lemonade.

  9. 68 custom

    neat car with rare and desirable go fast parts and a history. be interesting to see what kind of money buys it. man if this was my families hot rod I would never sell it! Those Ardun heads are so cool!

  10. sunbeamdon

    My dream was perfected in 1960 when I used the earmaked $750.00 for buying an Ardun Head setup to instead purchase an engagement ring. The ’40 Mercury Lead Sled didn’t last long, but ’41 era Chassis I married continues, with one caveat – I can only buy another car if I sell one first!

  11. TR

    Check out the 32 Ford V-8 this cat is selling

  12. Will Owen

    This is so sweet! Wish I had all the pennies this is worth every one of … has all the right buttons lined up, and pushes every one of’em.

  13. Bill Bronson

    Thanks for sharing post on our family’s car!

    Deciding to sell a car with family history is never a easy choice.

    It is interesting that a couple comments would reference greased lightning and Back to the Futre. I have not thought of or heard that before. When comparing to movie cars, most folks ask if it is the “wax on wax off” car from Karate Kid, primarily because of the maize yellow paint.

  14. Bill McCoskey

    Ardun is still in business, and has these OHV head kits available, the same Ford V8 kits as in the 1950s, except they are improved internally with superior materials. The entire conversion kit, including manifolds, oil drain tubes, etc., is just under $14,000.00

    As for the Judson, 99% of these were made for engines of 1200cc to 2000cc displacement. Finding one that fits a larger engine is a rare find indeed! Finding an actual “Kit” for adapting to a ford flat head with Ardun heads is like the proverbial “Needle in the haystack”. Someone got VERY, VERY lucky 50 years ago. A typical, complete Judson setup, for a VW [the most common version], can quickly set you back $4,000 to $5,000. I would hazard a guess that if someone was to discover a Judson Ford V8 kit WITH Ardun manifold adapters, that would set you back about $10,000 at a minimum, and if it was on an ebay auction, it might double that price.

  15. Steve J

    The Ardun heads and supercharger for this engine are still available. Look at

  16. stillrunners lawrence Member

    Greased Lightin’… I need say more…….

  17. lawyer George

    It is a beautiful car and the color is just right but is it not Frame-off restored nor updated. I much prefer the Mercury grille treatment to that of the Ford, but even with and Arden it seems to me owner is trying to start the auction at a price that he should end it with–if he is lucky. But I could be wrong!

  18. boxdin

    This is a car where I would like to see a ride in video with good sound…
    Hey Jay Leno we need your services….

  19. Mountainwoodie

    Very cool and unique. Take the present value of a Merc convertible and figure in the value of the heads and supercharger. I dont know that it will hit the owners opening bid. I’d love to have it though.

  20. Joe Howell

    Yank the engine out and dump in that ratty looking 32 Ford 3 window coupe here on Barn Finds. That jewel of an engine in a rat like that would be a perfect example of the old hot rod spirit, let’s go fast, we’ll paint it later :).

  21. Bill Bronson

    Update on 48 Mercury listed above…

    SHARE THIS FOR POSSIBLE $500 REWARD: Please share this post / link as I am offering a $500 reward to find a buyer. At time of purchase, I will ask the buyer how he learned of the vehicle. If your post is the reason, then I will send you $500. Only one person will be selected and it is the buyer who determines this…

  22. B. Clauer

    As an octogenarian I’ve got the shakes and a drool may set in . Among many other modified 3 window Ford coupes I had a 48 Merc. Sheridan Blue. From the factory it had rear 1/4 window defrosters and a button on the floor between brake and clutch that would change stations on the radio. I kept the body completely stock. Added better adjustable shocks.
    The engine was 3-3/8 x 4-1/4. Early Winfield 3/4 grind cam. Offenhauser R heads. 6 cylinder intake valves, ported/relieved, headers to bypasses, stock mufflers. 2 Lincoln carbs sat on an Edelbrock intake.
    Columbia 2 speed rear from a Ford Sportsman and Lincoln Zephyr gears.
    1954. Still love that car! Good fortune. B~

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