When the Big M ruled the road…
I’ve been reading all the posts about the end of the line for Mercury, as Ford announced they are killing off the flailing division. As a 1939 Mercury owner, of course I have a special love for the pre-war FoMoCo cars, but without a doubt, the all-time high water mark for the entire Mercury lifespan was the 1949- 1951 models. Quite simply THE custom car icon… Period. The post-war low-slung styling by E.T Gregorie was fantastic, futuristic, and down right sexy. Drop the body a few inches, pull off the chrome and you were an instant rebel with a worthy cause. The stout 255 cubic motor, stroked with a 4-inch crank brought the hot rod flatheads to a new level of power, and kept the L head V-8 in the racing game for years to come. The whole package was so great, right from the factory, that the car customizing game changed because of her. It was no longer about leading the bulbous fenders and running boards, creating fadeaway sides, or swapping dashes and whole front clips to modernize the look of your antiquated car- The new post-war Merc was about taking away the unnecessary trim, changing the stance, a grille swap, and maybe a chop. Everything else worked pretty well as it was, and you ran the risk of a “Mauled Merc” if you went too far in guiding the lily. Custom 1949 Mercurys (among other makes) began to show Detroit what was possible with a little reproportioning, and some brightwork restraint.
Sound is really low on this first 1949 clip: