The Mercury Eight series holds the uncanny honor of being the debut line for the upscale Ford division. It was manufactured between 1939 and 1959 over a total of three generations and sat in between the Ford Deluxe (Custom) and Lincoln.
As such, it was produced both before – when it shared its body with the sibling Ford models and after World War II – when it became the first apparition of the new Lincoln-Mercury Division, thus sharing more traits with Lincoln from then on. As such, it is not just a car but also a statement of history.
Anyway, now is your chance to grab hold of it because New York-based Motorcar Classics says it has a classy 1950 Mercury Eight Convertible for sale, with low mileage and a potential craving for best-in-show accolades. Sitting proudly in the dealership’s inventory in classy dark green over tan and dark green attire, the two-door drop-top “has been lovingly refurbished by a late owner.”
There are barn finds, and there’s this Ford F-1 that hasn’t seen rain since 1963. Originally sold in Indiana, the pickup’s second owner “was a closet hotrodder” that replaced the Flathead V8 with a Flathead Mercury V8.
Offered on eBay by sotaboyz with the current title as well as the original title from 1958, the half-ton pickup still wears the factory paintwork. Finished in Coral Flame Red and optioned with the 5-Star Extra Cab equipment group, chassis number F1R2LU19386 comes with the factory-supplied storage box located above the gas tank and an illuminated cigarette lighter.
Described as some sort of needle in a haystack by the seller, the 110-horsepower truck was originally used to haul motors around town by the previous owner. The eight-cylinder mill sourced from a Mercury“fires up with a push of the button, and the original Flathead V8 is included with the sale.”
Both sun visors and the headliner are very well preserved, the speedometer and odometer still work, and the same can be said about the temperature gauge, battery gauge, fuel gauge, dashboard lights, and dome light. The brakes have been gone through prior to the sale, the transmission reportedly shifts smooth, and the truck is rolling on new Coker Classic tires.
Despite the critical drubbing it now receives from the collector community, Ford sold more than 1 million Mustang IIs over its five-year run during largely awful economic times. It would be easy to screw up that kind of sales record, so any new Mustang had a hard act to follow. Luckily, Ford developed a winner that lasted a decade and a half with relatively minor alterations with bones that lived under Mustangs clear into 2004.
Much as the original Mustang had Falcon underpinnings, the new-for-1979 Fox-platform Mustang used new-for-1978 Ford Fairmont chassis basics, including MacPherson strut front suspension, rack-and-pinion steering, and sections of the Fairmont’s floorpans. Fairmont was Ford’s new bread-and-butter sedan and had been met with strong positive reaction from both the press and consumers for its overall package of cost, room, efficiency, and driving pleasure; it was a no-brainer to base the redesigned 1979-’93 Ford Mustang upon it. Unusually for the era of gas-crunch-influenced downsizing, the Mustang (no Roman numeral attached) managed to be bigger than the car it replaced: Its wheelbase and overall length stood 4-plus inches larger, while overall height, plus front and rear track, all grew an inch. And yet the new Mustang, without the use of exotic materials like aluminum in the body or engine, weighed 200 pounds less than a comparable Mustang II.
One of the reasons the Mustang II caught so much flack is that, despite wild-looking stripes-and-spoilers versions like the Cobra II and King Cobra, the top engine was a 134-horsepower 5-liter V-8 —a far cry from the Mustang’s ’60s performance image. In truth, the V-8 was more or less a carryover for 1979, and the hot high-tech turbocharged 2.3-liter four made 132 horsepower. But the style and driving dynamics won customers over. Once the GT reappeared for 1982, Mustang never looked back: It renewed its cross-town rivalry with the Camaro, which was going through its own downsizing and performance renaissance, and quickly became the choice for hometown-hero hotshoes. Mustang’s second life, post-1987 as a late-model cheap-thrills machine, was furthered by its combination of robust simplicity and forward-thinking, high-tech, easily manipulated components. It’s fair to say that these cars are still affordable: Even clean examples of the hottest performance models (bar the limited Cobra R, and the best examples of the ’93 Cobra) remain at or below their original sticker price, and if you go the restoration route, there are plenty of unwanted boneyard specials to donate parts to one that will be improved and cherished. But its legacy, serving as a highlight among generations of Mustang, remains strong today. The Fox Mustang lasted for such a long time and sold so many copies over its 15-year life (2.6 million, not including the hundreds of thousands of Fox-based Mercury Capris built from 1979-’86) that breakdowns for individual model years will be impossible. It also means that there are plenty of examples out there in the wild to choose from, and doubtless plenty more that can be scored for a bargain and picked for parts.
A brand new Flathead V8 block with a lot of the inherent issues from the original engineered out.
The perfect Ford-Mercury block! Outstanding casting quality thanks to modern foundry technology.
– Brand new, no cracks, no rust. High nickel content steel.
– Stronger everywhere it needs to be with thicker decks and main bearing bulkheads and larger main-bearing caps.
– Mains are aligned honed.
– 3-3/16-inch standard bore.
– 59AB-type bellhousing with 8BA refinements for improved coolant flow. Requires 1938-1948 oil pan.
– Drilled and tapped to accept 8BA or truck waterpumps.
– Drilled and tapped to accept either early (center outlet) or late (forward outlet) heads.
– Factory relieved (won’t accept Ardun heads).
– Bellhousing CNC-machined to fit Ford firewalls without modification.
– Long center head bolts (required) and rear main seal retainer are included.
– Glyptol painted valve-lifter valley, timing case, and crankshaft chamber for fast oil drain back
In their stock configuration and the way French flathead blocks have been sold previously the bosses, casting numbers, and pads for military applications do not fit most Ford passenger car applications without firewall modifications. SF Flathead blocks are precision milled to remove the unsightly “lumps.” Only a pad remains that carries a SF Flatheads serial number. Stop searching for a savable old Henry lump. This strong, high-nickel casting is the last flathead block you’ll ever need! Please call for availability. Truck shipping required. Rate quoted at order
Same high-quality new casting as the standard block plus:
– Original flow restriction in bowl removed and enlarged for uniform volume and increased flow.
– Intake ports machined larger and straightened for improved flow.
– Exhaust ports machined larger and radiused to improve exhaust gas flow.
Please call for availability. Truck shipping required. Rate quoted at order.
All features of our stage – 1 and 2 block plus the following:
– Lifter bores cut and drilled for ease of adjusting lifters
– Grind valve seats open to 1.6 on either intake, exhaust, or both at customer request
– Valve bowls smoothed and polished
– Exhaust ports polished and matched to customer provided headers
– Intake ports polished and matched to customer provided intake manifold
– Rear oil galley drilled and opened for full flow oil filter adapter system
Footnote – The engines have disappeared from the So-Cal site the link now goes to their Flathead page
I’d also suggest watching this thread on the HAMB as it appears a little lively on this subject!
If the title of this Readers’ Rides feature didn’t already give it away, the 1984 Ford Mustang you see here is not your average Fox Body Mustang. Owner Phillip Landry of Lafayette, Louisiana took his 1980s Mustang build in a very unique direction—the car was put together for land speed racing and is powered by a 1950 Mercury flathead V-8 engine that Phillip can switch between a roots-style supercharger and a turbo depending on the event.
“We race this car at Bonneville where we hold the XF/BFALT record at 142.822,” Phillip told us. He also races with the East Coast Timing Association (ECTA) at Wilmington, Ohio, and Blytheville. With help from his friend Damon Braus and brother John Landry, the trio has the car dialed. So much so, Phillip said, “At Wilmington we would change over from a single four barrel to the supercharger setup while waiting in line.” He also added, “Of course I couldn’t do all this without my wonderful, supportive wife Mary.
The 1932 highboy roadster is an example of the quintessential hot rod. The ’32 highboy was born on California’s dry lakes and refined by young men with skills acquired while serving in the military during WWII. We often think that these cars were just cobbled together in a haphazard manner, but the workmanship on many of them was outstanding.
Read the article and see the rest of the photos here
Known as the Godfather, Father or Immortalizer of the Corvette, (take your pick) Zora Arkus-Duntov was born in Belgium in 1909 to Russian-Jewish parents and then moved with them first to Berlin, Germany, and then Leningrad, Russia. When World War II broke out and after serving in the French Air Force, Zora found his way to the United States where he and his brother, Yura, established the Ardun Mechanical Company in Manhattan, New York. (Ardun is from ARkus DUNtov while Zora’s hyphenated last name combines both Arkus (his father) and Duntov (his stepfather after his mother remarried). Zora was also a successful race driver himself, winning many important events from Pikes Peak to first in class at LeMans. Ardun was famous for its hemispherical Flathead Ford V8 aluminum cylinder heads that pushed horsepower to an astounding 300-plus. Ardun was also one of the very first major eastern seaboard aftermarket performance parts companies as most operated out west ala Isky, Offenhauser and Edelbrock to name a few.