BF Classified: 1949 Mercury Eight Coupe

This has to be one of the quintessential “cool” hot rods in waiting of all time, a 1949 Mercury Eight Coupe. Mercury went to great levels to stress that the redesigned ’49 was a new car and not just a new model. And coming on the heels of the prior generation (1941-1948), this new third-generation Merc was welcomed with open arms. According to Collector Car Market Review, there were 301K ’49 Mercurys of all stripes produced, 80K units more than the previous three years combined!  This example’s sharp condition warrants a closer look so, for your review, here on Barn Finds Classifieds and located in Chesterfield, Missouri is this 1949 Mercury Eight.

The seller advises that he has to sell this coupe so he’ll consider reasonable offers. He refers to this finish as an amateur paint job and he considers it to be a five to ten-footer but the accompanying images actually present this Merc in a very nice light; straight body panels, strong re-chromed bumpers and sharp looking trim. He is adamant that there are no rust or patch panels present. Noted and photographed are some scratches in the trunk lid but they seem more minor that the listing description would indicate. The seller further adds that the glass is all original and starting to delaminate a bit in places.

Regarding the interior, the seller states, “The interior has been redone well in the original pattern but different materials. No rips or splits, even in the headliner. The dash is really nice and all the gauges work. Note that all the letters and numbers are there and clear. You don’t see that very often.” And that is true, so many old cars that are reviewed here have instrument panels where the gauges are not discernable and it can be a challenge to return them to a clean and legible state. Of note, this Mercury’s wiring, closing in on three-quarters of a century in age, is not perfect. The seller mentions that lights, horns and turn signals are iffy. Nevertheless, the interior shows as a clean and comfortable environment.

Under the hood is a flathead V8 engine displacing 255 CI and generating 110 HP. The seller claims that it “runs sweet and smooth” as it was rebuilt in the recent past. The engine, along with the three-speed manual, overdrive equipped transmission and the differential all leak a bit and will require attention. More significantly, the master cylinder and wheel cylinders have been replaced but the brakes don’t work. According to the seller, they need to be bled, at the very least, so this coupe will require trailering to its new home. Additionally, the parking brake is inoperable due to a broken lever inside of the rear passenger drum.

One of the biggest concerns is this Merc’s missing title. This issue has been discussed previously in various Barn Finds articles and, according to our readers, it will be the new state of domicile that determines the degree of difficulty in titling this car.  Something to consider. This ’49 Mercury isn’t a famed “lead sled” but it is the platform upon which so many of those great customs were constructed back in the ’50s. This example has a few issues that need sorting but a lot of the heavy lifting has been done and done well. It would be interesting to know if any readers ever owned one of these famed ’49 to ’51 Mercs and if so, was it customized, hot-rodded or stock?


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  1. Fred Alexander

    Fix what needs to be fixed and leave it stock – – get out Drive the wheels off it to show and shines etc. and enjoy the attention you’ll be getting.

    Like 17
  2. Tom Bell

    If the new owner should reside in New York state, the NYSDMV actually has a great system to register a car like this. Lack of a title certificate is not an issue since NY did not issue titles until 1974. Download and fill out Form 51-51B along with seller’s bill of sale, take them to DMV, pay the fee and you wi be issued a 30-day temporary registration. They then check the NY files and if nothing adverse is found, a permanent transferable registration will be mailed to you. There will be no title on a pre-1974 vehicle. I’ve done this with two antique motorcycles.

    Like 10
    • Mike

      I think in WA state they make you wait three years before declaring it yours with a title.

      Like 1
  3. angliagt angliagt Member

    My Dad bought one of these new in 1949.
    Same color.
    He told me that he sold it before it got 60,000
    miles on it,when it would start having problems.

    Like 6
    • Smokey Member

      He was probably correct. Cars and their parts, and especially tires back then did not last nearly as long as they do now. I am still amazed when. I see a car listed as having “low mileage” at 85,000 miles. I am so glad to see that this Mercury has been kept mostly stock. I hope it has straight-thru glass packs on the dual exhaust. What a nice low rumble that would make!

      Like 8
  4. TimM

    These cars are so cool!!! I want it!!! Best front grill from the post war era!!!

    Like 9
    • Stanley Raymon Gunter

      Arm rest, and Ash trays.My my my.

  5. Mark

    Nice car for someone. My dad had a 1950 Mercury from 1950-52

    Like 3
  6. geomechs geomechs Member

    Of all the early Mercury cars, this is my favorite. Do nothing to this but get the brakes sorted out and drive it. Definitely a barge to herd around but it will take you everywhere you want to go. I am a little surprised that the vendor hasn’t bothered to get the brakes working prior to selling the car; I’m sure it would help the bottom line. These cars used a Teapot carburetor. We called them a 2-storey. Someone decided that it was better to put the float up on top to ward off vapor-lock. I don’t know how successful they were but I saw that feature on Mercury cars then Ford and Mercury until ’56. I also saw the teapot on International V-line trucks. They obviously worked.

    Like 6
    • Camaro guy

      No they didn’t work my very first car in HS was a 49 Merc though unfortunately a 4 door of course that part was a plus at the drive-in i had the same carburetor constantly vapor locked the fuel pump is right on top of the intake manifold finally put an electric fuel pump on it problem solved

      Like 1
  7. Ray M Flenniken

    I rather have a Hornet.

    Like 2
    • Lance

      Got two of them Ray

    • JP

      You could probably buy 5 Hornets for the price of one of these…

      Like 1
  8. ken tilly UK Member

    Now you are talking! One very desirable motor car.

    Like 2
    • PatrickM

      In my teens, every guy that wanted to be a real car guy wanted one of these…including me. That same feeling and desire has stayed with me through the years. Every time I see one, I want it. This is one sweet looking ride. As GeoMechs said, leave it stock, fix what needs fixing and have some fun.Sure wish I had the money and place to keep it. Drool, slobber, slurp.

      Like 1
  9. Howard A Member

    If Hollywood has taught us anything, nothing cooler than a ’49 Merc 2 door. Got James Dean written all over it. “You were too fast to live, to young to die, bye, bye”,,

    Like 6
    • Bob Mck Member

      I hear what you are saying, but the James Dean fans are now in their 80’s. This is a wonderful car. Are there any younger people that collect these? I am 67 and I remember “old” people collecting them decades ago.

      Like 1
      • triumph1954

        James Dean fans are in there 80s? I’am 65 and have always been a fan. Favorite early movies growing up were Rebel without a cause and Robert Mitchum in Thunder Road and Lee Marvin in the Wild One. Nice car and worth the money. Nice it still has teacup still on it.

        Like 2
      • Stevieg

        I don’t think I am “young” any more (will be 50 on September 1st) but I would love to own this! I would love the 4 door version just as much because I am a sucker for suicide doors.

  10. bobhess bobhess Member

    My dad bought a blue ’49 4 door new. I always thought it was the best of the ’50s Mercs as they went chrome happy on them after that. Many years later I ran across one that was pretty used up except the instruments, which I grabbed to put into my ’32 5 window. Picture the 4 small gauges in an oval ’32 dash and you can see what a nice package they are. Neat old cars!

    Like 3
  11. Bob C.

    Years ago I knew a guy who worked at a body shop and he owned a 1950 similar to this. I cut all the glass for him (except the curved back glass) and gave him a hand with installing some pieces.Only problem, it had a Chevy engine and transmission. Nothing against Chevy, but keep a Ford all Ford.

    Like 7
  12. JP

    Rebel Without a Cause! Gorgeous ’49 Merc.Please keep it original!

    Like 1
  13. Chuck Scifers

    I had a ’50 Merc Convertible in High School. I installed a new top, upholstery, and had it painted a candy maroon. FOMOCO transmissions were very weak, and with my youthful attitude, I broke 5 of them. I would go to the auto junk yard, buy the appropriate cluster gear, and rebuild. Thru the much practice, I could have the tranny on the bench 20 minutes after pulling into the garage.
    Loved that car! And , liked the ’50 dash better than the ’49.

    Like 3
    • LarryS Member

      Had a ’50 Ford in high school. V8, 3 speed with overdrive. Never had to replace the transmission but went through a number of rear ends.

    • Frank Britt

      I had a 49 Merc coupe in 1951 and I loved it but like you, I had to pull the transmission every few months to replace the low and reverse gear. I installed twin exhausts with “Smitty” mufflers. I also had to drop the pan frequently to tighten the center main bearing. On a long trip the main ecsme loose and before I could stop to tighten it, a rod went through the block.
      I installed a 53 Merc engine but traded it for a used 52 Merc.

  14. Richard Van Dyke Sr

    One of the coolest cars ever made

  15. Jerry Miller

    I may be missing something but don’t see any contact information in this ad. Please send me phone number or email or some type of contact information. Thank you

    • Jim ODonnell Staff


      You’re right, I don’t know what happened as there is supposed to be a contact box attached. What you can do is go to the underlying craigslist ad and reach the seller that way via the “reply” button. Sorry for the confusion.


  16. Mark3guy

    Hudson Hornets were great cars. They could never be Mercurys. The silhouette…the sound…the sexiness…It was no comparison to the Mercury. Hornets have just started really appreciating

  17. bob mccurdy

    Bob Mc, I had a 51 Merc when I was 17, that was 1958, shaved and decked it had it painted a new 58 burgundy metallic color, also had the Oldsmobile flipper hubcaps on it. sold it a couple years latter. Loved the car still wish I had it !!!

  18. Dennis M

    Man that engine shot brings back memories! That’s the engine I had in my ’39 Ford when I was in high school! Had the brakes and wheels from the ’49 Merc donor as well.

  19. Alex Ramirez

    I purchased the Mercury a few days ago and it is now in Chula Vista Ca. I would like to say that the seller really described the vehicle very honestly. He was very detailed on the minor issues the vehicle had. He was very accommodating, patient with the shipping and transaction. You dont meet too many people with integrity these days. The vehicle is going to remain stock with maybe 2″ lowering blocks in the back to give it that nice stance.

    Like 1
    • LarryS Member

      Congratulations to you both. Beautiful car.

  20. Fred Alexander

    Wow – – – you got it – – and a fellow after my own heart – – leave it stock and add the lowering blocks – – – Graffiti ready – – enjoy your ride – –
    FYI in Canada we had the Mercury and Monarch – – Monarch being the Canadian version basically the same car with some different badging and appointments. My Neighbor had a coupe that he was going to chop but it sat in his shop for about 20 years with chalk lines for chopping pattern but this old bogyman from pick and file and lead days of body work just couldn’t do it – – – and he’d chopped cars before in his career but when it came to his own – – –
    Also he bought the Monarch 4 dr Sedan from the postmaster in our village and sold it about 5 years for a good $$$$. The coupe was sold by his son after he passed away. RIP “Neighbor Bob” – you were the best.

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