Garage Kept for 18 Years: 1949 Mercury Sedan

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A lot of credit goes to the all-new 1949 Ford for saving Ford from bankruptcy.  While still offering the venerable Flathead V-8, this pivotal car was incredibly sleek and modern compared to the 1948 Ford it replaced.  What gets overlooked is that the Mercury and Lincoln divisions were also treated to almost new cars in 1949 and had a proportionate hand in helping the Ford Motor Company survive and prosper.  The 1949 Mercury sedan you see here is one of the reasons that Mercury sales shot from a 1948 production number of 50,268 to an amazing 301,319 the next year.  The new Mercury was more substantial and arguably more handsome than its Ford stablemate and was the choice of those who could swing a little more each month when the payment came due.  Was it worth the extra money?

The family that owns this 1949 Mercury sedan seems to think so.  According to the ad, the ad writer is selling the car for his father.  While we are not told how long the father has owned the car or if it has been in the family for a long time, we are informed that it has been garaged for the past 18 years.  It also ran when it was parked so long ago.  Why do we think they think it is a good car?  It clearly states in the ad that they are “hoping to find someone who can lovingly restore this classic beauty to her original glory.”

Finding a loving restorer for a car with sentimental value is tough.  It is even tougher when the car in question has four doors.  Yet, 1949 through 1951 Mercurys have always been a desirable and very recognizable automobile.  The most famous example was the 1949 Mercury seen in “Rebel Without a Cause.”  This movie was released a month after the star died in 1955, and it set off a frenzy of searches for similar Mercurys by those who wanted to emulate the cool that Dean radiated on the silver screen.  Later, the Barris brothers set the custom world on fire with their Hirohata Mercury lead sled.  The last major Mercury of this era to gain fame was David Lee Roth’s 1951 convertible made MTV famous in the music video for the Van Halen song “Panama.”

The problem is that four-door Mercurys rarely get customized, as a “chopped top” is almost federally required for such vehicles.  That doesn’t mean that this car couldn’t be fixed up and given some custom touches.  As you can see from the pictures, it is a highly original car that is complete but in need of refurbishment.  There is rust in the lower rockers and we are not told if the underside is in rough shape as well.  The interior is complete and in need of new upholstery.  The dash, trim, and steering wheel are, however, in great shape.  The interior shot above also shows the awesome green paint that was used on the interior trim as well.  While it is hard to pinpoint exactly what color the car is, this distinctive green may have been called Banff Green Iridescent.

Another feature going for this car is the three-piece back glass.  As stated in other articles on Barn Finds, the technology to make curved glass was emerging during this time.  Making large expansive, curved pieces of glass initially brought high rejection rates, but Ford found that making the back glass for 1949 Mercury cars was easier if it were split into three pieces.  By 1950 they had worked out the bugs and made it in one single piece.  Customizers who wanted to show off their abilities back in the day preferred 1949 Mercurys because cutting down the three-piece glass and window rubber was the mark of a craftsperson.  If the new owner of this Mercury doesn’t like it or doesn’t want to go to the trouble, this one can be replaced with the single-piece glass from a 1950 or 1951 model.

While the ad tells us that this Flathead has 110 horsepower and is backed up with a three-speed manual transmission with overdrive, we are not told if the engine rotates.  We assume that it is not currently running because the ad says that it ran when it was parked.  Regardless, there are plenty of used Flatheads and a plethora of parts out there for these engines.  Once again, the car is amazingly original under the hood.  While it would be interesting to see some speed parts such as finned heads and a multi-carburetor intake manifold, it would almost be a shame to not restore this car to its original condition.

In all, this is a very nice car with one major drawback: rust.  If you can get a handle on that, this is a cheap way to get into a 1949 Mercury.  The classic lines still look good on this car even though it is a four-door.  Hopefully, this neat, original Mercury finds a good home soon.  A car like this deserves to be back on the road.

If you are looking for a distinctive Mercury project, then check out this 1949 Mercury sedan for sale on Facebook Marketplace in Roanoke, Virginia.  The asking price is a reasonable $4,500.  Thanks to T.J. for another awesome find!

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Comments

  1. HoA HoAMember

    While the authors post of “saving Ford from bankruptcy” is a bit misleading, as I read, Ford never filed for bankruptcy, but did have some rough spots, primarily right after the war. The Mercury was not a Ford with lock washers, it had its own features, and buyers were willing to cough up an extra $500 for one. I don’t think it was the movie so much, that made these Mercs so popular, just the lead sled era seemed to glorify ’49-’51 Mercurys and why they were kept at all. Some more “Mercury” songs include, Alan Jackson, Steve Miller, Mercury Blues by KC Douglas( 1948) and the Tubes.

    Like 13
    • Erich

      Don’t mean to nit pick, but here goes. With the exception of The Tubes, Alan Jackson, Steve Miller, and KC Douglas all sang the same song. Mercury Blues

      Like 1
      • Bry593

        What about ole sly in Cobra?

        Like 0
    • Tim John Hammond

      Jimmy Thackery & The Drivers did ‘Crazy ’bout a Mercury” years before the rest of those groups

      Like 1
  2. bobhess bobhessMember

    Beautiful design from front to back with a great instrument panel. Hated what they did to the ’50 with more chrome all over and a ’30s design dashboard.

    Like 6
  3. Steve R

    Even though it’s a 4 door I’d have thought the asking price would have been compelling enough for someone to act over the weekend.

    Steve R

    Like 9
  4. Todd J. Todd J.Member

    In the mid-70’s, I bought one of these in black, original paint and interior and low miles. Awesome car. I sold it only because I moved to Vermont and didn’t want to expose it to New England winters. With overdrive, it cruised nicely on the highway. For years afterwards, I would sometimes dream I still owned it.

    Like 8
  5. Anthony H. Tellier

    Those Mercs had a longer stroke that the 8BA found in Fords …

    Like 2
    • Harrison Reed

      These Mercury’s did not catch my fancy when they were new, and I was repelled by the “lead-sled” trend that grew around them. But 75 years later, I miss them on the road! Hope this one gets brought back to glory, and back into roadin’ service!

      Like 7
  6. Harrison Reed

    These Mercury’s did not catch my fancy when they were new, and I was repelled by the “lead-sled” trend that grew around them. But 75 years later, I miss them on the road! Hope this one gets brought back to glory, and back into roadin’ service!

    Like 1
  7. John C.

    Already says pending. A good deal for someone!

    Like 2
  8. 427Turbojet 427TurbojetMember

    In the very early 1960s my brother bought an uncle’s 49 Mercury 4 door, mainly for it’s 15 inch wheels and tires. They were installed on his 40 Ford Standard 2 door sedan, along with the Mercury’s steering wheel (must have been a standard steering wheel, didn’t look like one in this post). I remember riding home in it from my uncle’s farm about 30 miles away. One very distinct memory of that 49 Mercury and my brother’s 40 hot rod was the hot, kind of oily blow-by smell. I was about 6 years old and that smell remains vivid in my mind. I never knew why he didn’t save the Mercury V8, but I do remember leaving the car in the junkyard my brother worked in after school.

    Like 3
  9. 427Turbojet 427TurbojetMember

    In the very early 1960s my brother bought an uncle’s 49 Mercury 4 door, mainly for it’s 15 inch wheels and tires. They were installed on his 40 Ford Standard 2 door sedan, along with the Mercury’s steering wheel (must have been a standard steering wheel, didn’t look like one in this post). I remember riding home in it from my uncle’s farm about 30 miles away. One very distinct memory of that 49 Mercury and my brother’s 40 hot rod was the hot, kind of oily blow-by smell. I was about 6 years old and that smell remains vivid in my mind. I never knew why he didn’t save the Mercury V8, but I do remember leaving the car in the junkyard my brother worked in after school.

    Like 1
  10. John AndersonMember

    Can’t tell from the pictures, is uh is a suicide rear door models, or was that laterz?

    Like 2
  11. Stever

    Pictures downplaying the fact that it’s a rusty four door.These type of sellers make sure the first shot is straight on from the front and anything from the side is too poorly lit to show the weak points. Seller is wasting a few moments of my time but you know when they do this it NEVER turns out to be a coupe or a convertible.

    Like 6
    • Steve R

      You are right about the way sellers frame the pictures in the ad. It’s so common they don’t deserve the benefit of the doubt. Obscuring relevant details is worse that being lazy by putting up an ad with 2 or three pictures.

      I think that’s starting to change, the market is softening, cars are taking longer to sell, more sellers are sending out offers (on eBay), auctions are increasing in numbers and drawing less bidders, buyers are getting to swapmeets later less are carrying purchases, “good deals” aren’t selling quickly. This is going to force sellers to put in more effort such as washing their cars, taking more and better pictures and writing an actual description if they want to sell their car.

      Steve R

      Like 4
  12. mike danna

    I remember a 2 door merc maybe a ’50 0r ’51 used in movie Thunderbolt & Litefoot! was nice to hear that V-8 roar! Plus Clint eastwood hauling around that anti tank gun! shame george Kennedy totaled her.

    Like 3
    • Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac DivaMember

      @ Mike Danna

      Thunderbolt & Litefoot, good movie.
      Unfortunately the only thing I remember about it was they totalled a 1973 Buick boattail Riviera.
      Bruce Willis also totalled a 1971 Buick boattail Riviera in his movie the Boys course. I hate it when they blow these cars up just for a stupid movie.

      Like 5
  13. William R Hall

    My dad bought a 49 new. He said it was junk. So when he met up with the guy who sold it to him, he convinced my dad that a 50 was a much better car so he bought it. This was our primary family auto until 1958 when he bought a 58 Ford wagon new last new car he ever had, the 50 Merc ended up a few years behind our service station being cut up. Being much younger I learned a lot about how cars were built.

    Like 2
  14. Troy

    At $4,500 bucks I don’t think I would restore it I would get it running and driving then cruise it around with a for sale sign especially during hot August nights and see if I can flip it for profit and if not I still get to cruise in it.

    Like 1
  15. Tim Mack

    I remember these from the “cliffhanger” serials that were first in the theaters, then on TV – especially the “Flash Gordon” and “Commander Cody” serials. I thought that the 4-door models with the suicide doors were the coolest cars I had seen and liked them more than the “lead sled” 2-door models. Yes, you can chop the roof on the 2-doors, but the 4-door models were more distinguished and refined.

    Like 3
  16. Harrison Reed

    I agree on the four-door version of tgec1949-’51 Mercury. I always have liked four door cars, with certain exceptions: the 1952-’53 Mercury looked best as a two-door hard top, and the four door pillared sedan spoiled its lines, in my view.

    Like 1

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