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Customs '49-'50 Mercury Flathead -- what do I look for?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by skidsteer, Feb 27, 2012.

  1. skidsteer
    Joined: Mar 19, 2007
    Posts: 1,251

    skidsteer
    Member

    I have a line on a 1950 Mercury coupe, and the guy says it has the original flathead with only 500 miles on a rebuild. He says it still has the 6-volt electrical system, 'needs rocker panels', interior is 'gutted', 'needs wiring', however it runs and drives, and the gas tank has been replaced, but the car has not been licensed in 30 years.
    What do I look for; what is a reasonable price to pay for a '50 Merc flathead driver Coupe if it really does drive down the road; and what are the red flags that would tell me not to buy it at any price? Thanks for any help.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2012
  2. jfrolka
    Joined: Oct 4, 2007
    Posts: 897

    jfrolka
    Member

    Most mercs in original un-touched form need rockers. The original rocker panel design was a bowl so to speak and held water pretty good.

    With the interior out now you can really look at the floor and inside metal for rust, rott, holes, pitting pinholes etc and accident damage or piss-poor repairs.

    The og wiring was cloth wrapped so it was probably fried and what didnt work and shorted was gutted and only the important stuff to keep it running or somewhat driveable was kept intact or repaired to keep it working.

    It sounds like a car I used to have. I rebuilt the motor and trans and had it running great. The engine wiring was the only part of the wiring I fixed because I had no time to thoroughly go through it and well the only important part to me at the time in the resto was to be able to move the car in short notice and not have a dead battery. It was a project of mine that I tinkered with from time to time and was parked in my parents garage, their garage had a wrap around closet for storage and my car had to be able to move out with ease so keeping it a reliable running car was required to be able to park it there. The car had rust and was a little loose in some spots but was still a fully loaded 64 Cadillac Coupe so it had a somewhat value to it and good re-sale.

    From the sound of it, if everything is still on your merc, only has some rocker rott, runs, flathead is doing good (no major bad cracks in the block), no body damage... I would say 9-12k depending on details and condition of all the little things.

    A 49... worth the most
    A 51 ... 2nd in value
    A 50... prob lesser desired of the 49-51

    BUT thats just my opinion and im an asshole, sometimes.
     
  3. Chefbiz62
    Joined: Jul 25, 2011
    Posts: 94

    Chefbiz62
    Member
    from Omaha, Ne

    Merc's have held there price and they aint making no more!!! Sounds like a decent car...I'd buy it!! I have to disagree that the 1950 is the least desirable year.. I think the 51 would be
     
  4. skidsteer
    Joined: Mar 19, 2007
    Posts: 1,251

    skidsteer
    Member

    jfrolka,
    Thanks for the info, that helps me a lot. The flathead is supposedly rebuilt, I'll have to get more details on what exactly was done, who did the job, are there receipts, and speed equipment, etc.
     
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  5. skidsteer
    Joined: Mar 19, 2007
    Posts: 1,251

    skidsteer
    Member

    I grew up in the 60's with SBC's and then the muscle car era, so flatheads are a bit foreign to me. Anything I should look for other than the usual checking the condition of the oil; looking in the radiator; puddles under the car; etc??
     
  6. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 6,597

    19Fordy
    Member

    Be sure and look at the inner rocker panels (located behind the outer rockers) to check for rust. They are expensive to replace. Also check at the base of the A pillars for rust. Do the doors fit good or do they literally "drop" when you open them? If you can put the car on a lift so you can check out the bottom for rust issues and structural rot.
     
  7. skidsteer
    Joined: Mar 19, 2007
    Posts: 1,251

    skidsteer
    Member

    So if the inner rocker panels look okay, is $8-9K a reasonable ball park price for a '50 driver flathead coupe? But if the inners are rotten, is it worth trying to fix them, or will it be a structural problem?
     
  8. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 11,053

    Hnstray
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Quincy, IL

    Both inner and outer rockers can be replaced, just more labor and parts....but on a '50 Merc....worth it if you can buy the car at an appropriate price.

    I am one who also thinks the '50 is the best of the '49-'51 trio...........

    Ray
     
  9. slddnmatt
    Joined: Mar 30, 2006
    Posts: 3,671

    slddnmatt
    Member

    $8-9k is VERY reasonable for a merc coupe. look in the areas i circled for rust. behind the hood emblem, parking lamps, small seams on the inner fender lip, and also stick your head back in the corner under the hood and look at the bottom of the "A" pillars where the body bolts to the frame and so on.. if all it needs are some rocker skins thats easy. if the inner rockers are rotted, depending how bad they are, that can be time consuming and cost $$ to fix..Listen for knocks or tapping, a nice running flathead with a muffler is hard to tell its even running..make sure the water pumps dont leak..finding untouched mercs with a just a little bit of rust are few and far between..
     

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  10. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 6,597

    19Fordy
    Member

    There's fellow in Vermont who makes inner rocker replacements. He sells them on ebay every so often. I have his phone number if you need it. Usually, if the inner rockers are rusted out the body mounts and braces will be also. If you can do the work yourself you'll save a lot of money. Also, look up inside the rear fender wheel well as rust is common there. When you say the interior is "gutted" do you mean there is literally nothing there except the steering column and the dash? If so, depending on your goals, you could spend quite a bit of money on interior pieces. If possible, post some photos. My view is, if you can do the repair work yourself, the price is fine. But if you find you have to pay someone else to do the work, you might be better off and pay the most you can afford for a "done" car. Merc parts are expensive and so is the labor cost to restore them. Also check if the VIN # stamped on the frame and the body ID tag match the title.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2012
  11. FastEddie85
    Joined: Mar 4, 2012
    Posts: 12

    FastEddie85
    Member
    from PA

    I think i bought the car you are asking about.
     

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