The Last Woodie! 1951 Two-Door Mercury Wagon

Todd FitchBy Todd Fitch

Car enthusiasts typically picture a 1951 Mercury either as a two-door coupe in stock form or as the quintessential low-rider.  This particular 1951 Mercury Two-Door Woodie Wagon ran as recently as last year. Representing the last Mercury wagon to feature real wood panels, it needs a new owner with the skills and passion to put it back on the road. For a chance to park this once-handsome classic from Springfield, Missouri in your garage, simply click Buy It Now here on eBay and $22,050 will seal the deal.

Personally I’d be embarrassed to let a 43 word listing convince buyers to give me $22,000, but it’s definitely one way to say “I don’t really need to sell this car,” or “I enjoy talking to strangers.” According to howstuffworks.com, these cars sold poorly, and fewer than 4000 were built. The car’s designer, Gordon Buehrig, said “That 1949-1951 station wagon… was the most expensive car in the line, and it had the lowest production… GM and Chrysler both had all-steel wagons. They were outselling us…” and thus the 1952 Mercury “Woodie” wagons featured wood-looking decals surrounded by natural wood frames.

Two-door wagons generally look sportier and better-proportioned than their four-door counterparts. There was no four-door Mercury Wagon in 1951, but this is one well-executed design. The seller mentions the car’s “90 horsepower flathead V8 with a dual carb setup,” evidently a non-original motor. The 1951 Mercury Ranch Wagon featured a 255 cid, 112 HP flathead (thanks to classicdriver.com for some details). You can check out a similar car, fully restored, here on Hemmings.com. Though transmission choices included the new Merc-o-Matic,  From the pictures we surmise that it’s a column-shifted manual transmission.

Other than the obvious need for wood craftsmanship and the statement that it “needs brake work,” we must let the pictures do the talking. Much of the interior seems original and possibly could be salvaged as part of a sympathetic restoration or refurbishment. It would be fun to effect necessary mechanical repairs for safety, and minimal cosmetic updates (maybe a surfboard on top?), then enjoy more-or-less what you see here before deciding on a complete restoration. How would you finish this last of the Mercury Woodies?

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Comments

  1. Chinga-Trailer

    This sprang from the same mind as the Cord 810 / 812??? From a coffin nose to a coffin butt?? I may have a coughin’ fit!

    5
  2. John M.

    Just like the one that was used in the old 1960s cop show, “Mod Squad”

    4
    • Michael

      I remember the scene when the Woody finally died. I think it went over a cliff but not sure. Linc, Pete and Julie were sad.

      3
  3. Metoo

    22k seems a bit high given its condition. But who doesn’t love a 2 door wagon.

    7
  4. Alexander

    Reminds me of a model I had in the 70s. The Mod Squad Surf Woody by Aurora had surf boards and figures of Peggy Lipton (oh yeah) but was incorrectly identified as a 1951 when the model built into a 1950. I had several of these in order to do shoebox Fords as woodies.

    1
  5. JP

    If this car were free it would still be too much. Nothing costs more to restore than a rotted-out woodie, especially one without essential original components, like, say, the engine. And after you’ve dropped $100k into it you have a $50k car! Who doesn’t love a woodie??

    6
    • canadainmarkseh Member

      All steel body wood was cosmetic.

      • JP

        The cosmetic wood will set you back at least $15k…

      • canadainmarkseh Member

        Not if you are a good wood worker and make your own pieces. That’s the problem in our modern days, nobody has any hands on skills anymore so there at the mercy of the people that do. There can’t be any more then $500.00 to $800.00 dollars worth of wood in this car, and that’s me being generous. The pieces on this car look like most of them are good enough for templates. Wood is not that hard to shape with the right tools and some practice. Definitely worn learning verses $15000.00 worth of prefab wood.

        2
      • JP

        Then you should definitely jump on this opportunity!

      • Chinga-Trailer

        Re: canadainmarkseh – what “verses” are going to help you rebuild this wood? From the Bible? Nursery rhymes? I don’t get it. As far as the average guy being able to replicate the factory wood – I don’t really think that happens. Look at all the fake “Woody” street rods people build on 1930s and 1940s chassis – they just look awful as they miss the subtle curves and shapes a professional designer can draw, looking as though they were simply laid out with a straight edge and framing square (which they obviously were.) I had a boat tail Bentley body built out of African hardwoods a number of years ago. The guy was an absolute master cabinet maker and it took all sorts of CAD drawings just to get the patterns set up.

        1
  6. RicK

    And I remember the Mod Squad episode when their Merc Woodie went over a cliff, last time it appeared on the show. Couldn’t believe they’d wreck such a cool car. To make up for it, producers then had Pete, Linc and Julie riding around in a ’71 Challenger convertible, pretty sure it was a one of one special build by Chry Corp for the show.

    2
  7. FOG

    The seller is proud of this woodie, the asking price reflects this. The last ’50 Ford woodie I purchased in Missouri was far less than this one, at $450 (less engine/transmission). I could see offering $8K.

    2
    • JP

      If pride determined price, my old ’86 Impulse would be worth $2.5 million. Loved that car, but never thought I could retire on its value… 🙂

      1
  8. Rex Rice

    How was the front bumper lost? I had 2 ’51 Mercs over the years. None of them could ever be worth $22,000..(?)

  9. Del

    Car is extremely rare.

    Until now I had never seen one.

    As per previous comments it will be too expensive to restore.

    Asking price way to high

    2
  10. Alexander

    Here is the box for the model of the Mod Squad woody. Incorrectly identified as a 51. Actual model depicts a 1950 Merc.

    1
  11. Big Kahuna

    This one looks to have all the woodie specific items with it which is a BIG plu$$.
    Wood is probably the least of your worries as you can buy a kit for about 5k, by the time you do fit, finish and install budget 10k for wood. The rest of the resto on this is pretty straight forward. These are really a very rare car and a restored example will be at LEAST 75k and as much as twice that much for a top quality example. Seller will get his price easily

    1
  12. Tort

    Would be a great car restored back to stock or at least keeping the body looking original. Saying that, pricey to buy and more so to restore for the average car guy but watching some of the TV car shows money must not be an issue for some folks.

    1
  13. Oliver Felix Rojas

    This car has impeccable lines and actually looks good with a portion of the front bumper missing.
    Like the sloping rear and the round tail lights that compliment a spare tire on the back.
    I cannot comment on the price because it seems like such a rare vehicle worthy of restoration.

  14. Michael

    Ad says right hand drive. It is clearly not.

    • mankosan

      Ah, come on, Michael. If you are standing in front of the car and are facing the windshield, it is plain to see the steering wheel is on the right .

      1
  15. Beatnik Bedouin

    I think the price is a bit OTT for a Merc woodie in this condition, but as there are so few on the ground, now, I guess it’s a case of what the next owner is prepared to pay.

    One of my aunts had a ’51 Merc wagon back in the 1950s. I thought it looked a lot cooler than my family’s ’54 Country Squire.

  16. Mike

    The front grill without the bumper makes it look like it has a moustache.

    1
  17. JazzGuitarist54 Member

    This picture is a 51 Ford 2 door wagon. The site Woodn Cars sells these kits for $5995
    I am sure that it would be a couple of grand extra for the Merc
    http://www.woodncarr.net/kits.html

    2
    • Craig M Bryda

      I wonder why a wood kit for a Merc would cost more, they look identical from the cowl back ? Neat car, it’d be nice as a semi resto-mod,,,,,,,, if you could afford it.

      • Craig M Bryda

        UH-OH, Different shape of the top verticle piece on the leading edge of a the door.

        1
      • Z1rider

        Definitely not the same as the Ford. Look at the front fender shape of the Merc and follow it back to the door. Lots more shaping of the wood, likely requiring some steam bending. The wood at the rear of the front fender is almost S shaped. The Fords is just a gentle curve.

        Just saw your addition while I was composing the above paragraph. You caught it.

    • JazzGuitarist54 Member

      They don’t give a price for the Merc, only the Ford
      The figure of 5995 is for the Ford
      I added a couple of grands for the Merc since it has different curves

      • JP

        So figure that cost, plus the car and restoration, you’re over $80k and you don’t have a numbers-matching engine…

      • Chinga-Trailer

        I’m gonna guess, and this is only a guess, that there is simply no “wood kit” available for these cars at any price for the simple reason that there aren’t enough being restored to make it economically viable to produce. And to another commentator who says it can’t take more than $500 worth of wood, well, okay, if cheap pine and other soft-woods are all you want, but such a construction won’t have any durability nor look good. It will look like a cheap “notch above an Ikea ” (maybe) piece of junk er, economically priced alternative to quality!

        2
  18. stillrunners

    Some of you posters just need to get a grip…..

    2
  19. Alexander

    That most important piece of wood, where the front fender extends into the door, appears to be the absolute worst part and in need of replacement. So figure in buying the Ford wood kit and custom fabricating this piece. Nah-ah.

  20. David Kirschnick

    Gentleman that just called me about 1965 tempest wagon please call me back . You had your number blocked and didn’t leave one to call back . 773-988-8239

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