Mercury Woodie Station Wagon
The all-new 1949 Fords were designed by a team headed by outside consultant George Walker. However, there had been competing company proposals from the in-house studio of E.T. “Bob” Gregorie. Gregorie had penned a family of three similar cars in three different sizes: Ford, Mercury and Lincoln. When Walker’s design was chosen for the low-priced car, the Gregorie proposal was bumped up a notch to become Mercury, Lincoln and Lincoln Cosmopolitan, respectively. A smaller version went into production at Ford France as the Vedette.
A much larger-looking car than the Ford, the new Mercury actually preserved its former 118-inch wheelbase. A stepped sculpture line ran from the front fenders, across the doors, back along the rear quarter and dipped down to the bumper. A version of the Ford station wagon body was married to the Mercury front clip, which required heat bending not just the laminated birch or maple trim but also the mahogany panels.
As in the past, there was but a single series of Mercurys, thus the new wagon was called simply Mercury Station Wagon. Although the basic body was identical to the Ford’s, Mercury received several upmarket features, like an all-leather interior (Ford had genuine leather only on the seat cushions), twin taillights, and directional signals. While Mercury shared Ford’s new independent front suspension and open drive line, it departed from the common engine program of 1946-48 and received a larger, 255 cubic inch version of the flathead V8. The new car, introduced in April 1948, was well received. Model year sales expanded six fold from 1948, aided in part by a longer model year. In all, more than 300,000 were sold, just over 8,000 of them station wagons.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in August 2009 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California and in January of 2011 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix, Arizona.
110 bhp, 255.4 cu. in. Flathead V8 engine, three-speed manual transmission with overdrive, coil spring independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 118".
Source: RM Auctions as part of the Monterey Auction in August, 2009; Mecum Auctions as part of the Kissimee Auction in January, 2013
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel