Farm Truck: 1952 Mercury M1 Pickup

This 1952 Mercury M1 Pickup is a project that stalled fairly early, meaning that the next owner can freely choose which direction they would like to head in with the vehicle. Given how solid it is, it would seem to be well worth the effort to breathe new life back into this classic. It is located in Sweet Grass, Montana, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has now reached $2,500 in what is a No Reserve auction.

It isn’t clear what color originally graced the flanks of the Mercury because it is a pickup that seems to wear a bit of everything. What it doesn’t seem to wear are major rust issues. In fact, the sections in the running boards and lower front fenders would seem to be the worst of it, and this all appears as though it would be repairable without having to resort to panel replacement. The frame looks as though it is good, while the floors and cab corners, both of which can be quite rust-prone, appear to be rock solid. The majority of the distinctive badges and trim which differentiates the Mercury from its Ford cousin are present and in good condition. There are a couple of small pieces that are missing, but the owner is trying to secure replacement pieces for the next owner. One thing that will need attention is the vehicle’s glass. Some of the glass is missing, while the windshield looks like it has a bullet hole in it, so replacements will be required. Otherwise, the Mercury seems to be largely complete.

The original restoration of the Pickup was commenced as a “father-and-son” project, but they soon gave up when they realized that they were in over their heads. We don’t get any engine photos, but maybe they reached this conclusion by about the point that they dismantled the original 239ci flathead V8 engine. The owner says that the dismantled engine can be included in the sale, but that it will need a complete rebuild. We don’t get any information on the state of the 3-speed manual transmission, but we do know that the Pickup rolls and steers fine. With the engine in its current state, the next owner could potentially have some interesting choices to make when it comes to deciding just what to slot under the hood.

The interior of the Mercury is going to require some work, but if a faithful restoration is the ultimate goal, then one of the more fiddly tasks for the next owner will be sourcing some of the smaller missing pieces. This includes either an original radio blanking plate or a period-correct radio. There are also a couple of switches missing, along with the shifter knob. The steering wheel has deteriorated quite badly, and will almost certainly require replacement. As the seller rightly points out, at least the original Mercury horn button is still present and is in good condition. Source those few items, throw a new cover on the seat, and the interior would be quite serviceable. As I have said in the past about the interiors of pickups from this era, one of their great attractions is just how easy and inexpensive it can be to really make an interior shine.

We get to see some pretty promising classic pickup project vehicles here at Barn Finds, and this Mercury M1 is probably up there with the best of them. It is a solid and clean vehicle with only some very minor rust that will need to be attended to. It is a blank canvas for the next owner, but given the fact that it does come with its original engine and transmission, it would be tempting to restore it to its original glory. Of course, everyone will have a different idea of which path they would choose to follow, and this is one of the things that makes the classic car scene so interesting.


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  1. geomechs geomechs Member

    Well, they keep coming out of the woodwork and poised to make someone’s day a little brighter, not to mention busier. Unless the truck was ordered with a Delete option the engine, if original, should be the Mercury 255. Through the years when an engine went out sometimes, the owner stuck in whatever was available. But Mercury trucks had that edge over their Ford counterparts. During my years as a border brat, I got to see lots of both Ford and Mercury trucks. I don’t think I ever saw a Mercury pickup with anything but a 255. Well, the ’48 still ran the 59AB and the ’49 had the 239 with aluminum heads. Most of those were replaced with 255s. Anyways I sure wouldn’t turn a project like this down…

    Like 6
    • 52 Merc

      Your statement about Mercury pickups having the larger 255 engine is not correct. The Ford and Mercury trucks were built together on the same assembly line at Windsor, and they are both identical mechanically. All pickups had the same Ford 239 flathead V8. The only difference is the name badging and trim.

      Like 2
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        52 Merc, I’m not going to argue with you but you might want to check your information again. I went those same rounds with the guys from Vintage Truck Magazine a few years back. A subscriber to VT, who worked for a Canadian Ford-Mercury dealer from wartime until the late-50s, read the banter and contacted me. He bought a ’52 Mercury M-1 brand new and still has it. It has the original 255 engine in it. He told me that Mercury pickups, even though they were built on the same assembly line as Fords, had the Mercury engine. He understood that you could get the 239 as a ‘Delete’ option but if you didn’t specify it you got the 255. I’ve Never seen a Mercury pickup from ’50 onward that did NOT have a 255. Neighbors along the border ran them all (F1s, F47s, and M47s) because the nearest dealer was 10 miles north of the border in Canada. I’ve worked on M-47s and M1s as well as lots of Ford F1s and some F-47s. I find it curious that the Ford pickups all ran 239s. Now I could be wrong, but the trucks I worked on don’t lie; the Mercury engines ran a 4-inch stroke plus the heads all had the cast CM/8CM/CM1 on them. And I tend to take the word of the guys who were there long before I was a twinkle in my dad’s eye. I might add that I have a documented original engine in my shop that I pulled out of a ’53 Mercury M100 (the new owner wanted to drop in a 312). It’s got 51K miles on it; the original owner told me that he went up to Canada to buy the Mercury truck, just to get the bigger engine. The Mercury dealer (originally from Kansas) was also a relative. Anyway, that’s the information I have…

        Like 1
  2. kevin

    What is it about Sweet Grass, MT and the unbelievable stash of these FoMoCo trucks of yore?

    Like 4
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Sweetgrass is a major border crossing both into Canada and the USA. These guys have obviously set up shop in a convenient place to broker and store the trucks that they get for resale into America. I sure wish them luck as I heard rumblings about a hefty tariff being levied against Canadian vehicles going south…

      Like 3
  3. Bob S

    The guy, is cruising all the wheat farms in southern Alberta and Saskatchewan, and when I was stationed there in the 60s, there was one or more in every farmyard. They were used for everything, including hauling grain to the grain elevators until the 60s, when farms started getting consolidated and farmers started buying two ton dumpers.

    Like 4
    • On and On On and On Member

      Had the opportunity of staying with some folks on their ranch/farm in Cadillac, Saskatchewan. They grew wheat, lentils and had a herd of Buffalo. Old cars and trucks all over the place, Buffalo ribs be good.

      Like 3
  4. Eric

    He’s had to have listed close to 20 of them by now. Just Mercs. He’s also sold a few Fords and GM’s. How many can there be and how charming must this guy be to get them all to sell to him?

    Found this guy while checking out the ebay listing. Kinda cool patina. Yeah, I said it. Also, plenty of not cool rot.

    Like 1
  5. Del

    These guys do a good job of retreiving these old buckets.

    I am sure they would just rust into the ground without their efforts

    Like 2
  6. TimM

    The grill on the 51,52 Ford and Mercury trucks is just the best one ever in my opinion!! I always wanted to do a red paint job with black fenders and running boards and the teeth in the grill white!!! I would upgrade the brakes to make it stop reliably but leave the flat head with a rebuild and some go fast parts!! It would be my summer daily driver to the hardware store or to bring the wife to dinner!! I guess I can still dream!!

    Like 3
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      A lot of us have similar dreams, Tim. Just make sure you act on them before time gets in your way…

      Like 4
      • TimM

        I’ve been trying for years!! But I thank you for your words of wisdom!! There’s a couple of guys (and your one of them geomechs) that I always make sure I read the posts when I see you’ve written something!! You’ve probably forgot more than I know about old cars but I’ll continue to weld fix and replace stuff on my old iron and drive it as often as I can!!!

        Like 3
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        That’s the way to go. And thanks for the good words.

  7. Stevieg

    I’m with TimM. He described my dream truck I would like to build & drive, and some of these guys on this site really know their stuff. I love reading what they say so I can learn from them. Geomechs, Howard A, On & On, Leiniedude, Miguel, just to name a couple. Thank you guys for sharing your knowledge.
    This is an awesome project. My dream garage is not getting any smaller lol.

    Like 1

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