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Lead Sled Potential: 1951 Mercury Coupe


This 1951 Mercury coupe is located in Phoenix, Arizona, and is offered for sale here on craigslist for $3,500. With the prices on decent four door versions of this car approaching ten grand, non-restored, previously unmodified coupes like this one are getting a little tough to find. The exterior looks decent, very straight, and with much of the trim still present. I can’t use the “P” word right now, but this car might have enough of it for the right kind of build.



A look inside shows us an impressive view of the pavement below. At least there’s no conflict about whether to repair or to replace.



This car being from one of the most arid regions of the country, doesn’t say many good things about what has happened to so many others like it. If the exterior and the rocker panels are savable, this car is still very build-worthy, with at least some aftermarket support available from companies like Mac’s, a well-known Model A parts supplier. A northern rust bucket can easily provide the curved glass and some trim. I didn’t say it would be cheap. So what do you think? Does this have lead-sled potential, or do you think someone should restore it?


  1. Avatar photo Steve

    Rarely do you ever see these cars in stock form. Being a two door it is highly desirable. Chopped and channeled and smoothed door handles is what this car screams for.
    A guys dad who lived down th street from me when I was a kid customized these sleds and had some nationanlly known examples. I bet those cars are worth hundreds of thousands now. They are the coolest customs out there.

    A gem

    Like 1
  2. Avatar photo RON

    i see worse cases than this sell for this and more to the lead sleaders. not cheap but it can be saved as an original as well with primarialy the floors being the worse of it all

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  3. Avatar photo Woodie Man

    Its amazing how little 3500 bucks will buy you now

    Like 0
  4. Avatar photo Stang1968

    Needs to done up through old fashioned way with lead body filler and a souped up flathead.

    Like 0
  5. Avatar photo Ed P

    Merc’s of this era seem to scream to be a natural to become lead sleds. I usually prefer restoring to original, but I’ll make an exception on this one.

    Like 0
  6. Avatar photo Barry T

    Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble would love this bottomless car.

    Like 0
  7. Avatar photo Howard A Member

    NOOOOOO! There’s plenty of lead sled Merc’s. Someone please keep it original. Matter of fact, there’s so many, I can’t recall the last time I saw a stock one. If this car screams anything, it’s “ambitious restoration”. Still, it would be great to show future generations, this is what the most sought after customized car looked like BEFORE the transformation.

    Like 1
  8. Avatar photo Gary I

    Chop it! It would only be right to honor George Barris with a proper sled with attitude. These cars come to life when customized properly, not a better platform for a gorgeous custom exists. Chop it! In 2005 I saw a 1950 Merc, field fresh but solid, on a trailer at a Goodguys event in Columbus, Ohio for sale with $10,500 on the windshield. It was a complete project, total restoration, car. I asked the seller as to why so much for a total project ( body was stock). His answer was that the two door cars were so hard to find in solid, but restorable condition, that guys had resorted to customizing four doors to have a custom Merc. If he had any clue what he was talking about and got even close to his asking price then this would be a great deal at $3,500. I can’t wait to get some of my projects behind me so I can grab stuff like this! Good find for someone for sure.

    Like 0
  9. Avatar photo JW

    When I see one of these cars I can’t help but think of the movie “COBRA” with Sylvester Stallone. Cool movie and super cool car. Nice Find indeed.

    Like 0
  10. Avatar photo Robert White

    This is close.


    Like 0
  11. Avatar photo Alexander Member

    I like that ONE headlight ring with a “brow.” Super cool.

    But please, BF editors–a sentence like “This car being from one of the most arid regions of the country, doesn’t say many good things about what has happened to so many others like it.” Makes one scratch their head and ask what would a high school journalism instructor say to that kind of sentence structure? What the hell was trying to be said there?

    Like 0
  12. Avatar photo Brakeservo

    I don’t think it’s from Arizona or New Mexico, the license plate location isn’t readable but could be Oregon or maybe even New York.

    Like 0
  13. Avatar photo DENIS

    Love those old sleds…customized several and would love to do one more but there’s 3 projects ahead of it….Buick nailhead motor would make it complete….if it was closer, I would have to go take a look…..

    Like 0
  14. Avatar photo Lion

    three times back in the 70s I just missed buying a ’51 coupe. The first one needed some minor engine work to drive it home but I didn’t have the $500.00 asking price. They would have remained stock in my possession. Ended up with a ’49 4door Monarch but the people love those suicide rear doors at the car shows.

    Like 0
  15. Avatar photo Ed Williams

    The origin of this car is definitely NOT Arizona because of the rusted out floors.

    Like 0
  16. Avatar photo Lion

    That headlight rim is not stock either.

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  17. Avatar photo Ed Williams

    I’m thinking that this would be a good project car for someone who would not be in too much of a hurry to finish it. To just relax and do a little bit at a time as money could provide and of course have the needed skills to do the work.
    In that regard the Merc is worth saving.

    Like 0
  18. Avatar photo Rex Rice

    I found my ’51 Merc coupe at a Chev dealer; low mileage trade in by an old guy. Just out of high school, I did the usual: Lead the nose & trunk, refrigerator white paint, 2″ lowering blocks, moon hub caps, duel exhaust with ‘Smitties’. I loved that car! Drove it from Seattle to Florida, cruisin’ at 80 with no problems. I had to sell when I shipped out.

    Like 0

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