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.”
The “Jersey Devil” has a great running flathead, and a brand new dual exhaust, it’s time to refresh the brakes and take it for a spin! Steve works on going through the braking system that was actually recently replaced before the car sat. New wheel cylinders, a master cylinder and some rubber hoses and the braking system is good as new. Matt works on installing some new wide whites, and killer single bar flipper caps. Once back on the ground, Matt and Steve take it around the block for its maiden voyage!! A few more small projects to wrap up and we have ourselves a new daily driver!!
Like a kid in a candy store, we’re zipping our way around a vast, virtual car market that is the Hemmings Classifieds. In our latest edition of This or That, we’re circling around to a specific asking price point between $10,000 and $20,000, this time rounding up four-door hardtops and sedans from the 1970s that are currently available in the Hemmings classifieds. We’ve mentioned this plenty of times before, but for those new to this game, the good news about a $20k cap is that it offers options in good condition (even in our inflated market). So, given the money and space, which one would you take home?
1973 OLDSMOBILE NINETY-EIGHT LUXURY SEDAN
With exception of the Toronado, Oldsmobile’s Ninety-Eight (or, 98) continued its reign as the division’s top-of-the-line series for 1973, now offered in five body styles, including this four-door Ninety-Eight Luxury Sedan. Bested in fine accoutrements by only the Ninety-Eight Regency, the hardtop’s lengthy listed of standard features included – but were not limited to – a 275-hp 455-cu.in. engine, Turbo Hydra-Matic transmission, power steering, power front disc brakes, power windows, bench seats finished in “luxurious Bravo cloth with Morocceen trim” upholstery, windshield antenna, and more, all strapped to a 127-inch wheelbase chassis that cost $5,234 (or $34,335 in today’s currency). Olds built 21,896 four-door Luxury Sedans that year, making it the second most popular car within the Ninety-Eight series. From the seller’s description:
Talk about Old School Cool, once you see it, you won’t be able to walk away. Often turned into low-riders, or used for cruising or hopping, this car has the potential for it all. However, it’s perfect as is… a car that your Father drove and swore it was the best car ever. Finished in Honey Beige with Black 60/40 cloth upholstery, the looks are sure to get the town talking. Drive this one home now, it’s ready to go, in close to perfect condition. Solid body, chassis and drive train. Everything works and was a central part of an estate collection. Do you want to win car show trophies or just take the family out for an ice cream? Pile em’ and go. This car is an amazing drive that you don’t want to miss out on.
Price$18,500LocationCampbellsville, KYAvailability Available
1974 CHRYSLER NEW YORKER BROUGHAM SEDAN
Like the Olds Ninety-Eight, Chrysler’s New Yorker Brougham was bested only by the Imperial in terms of divisional luxury hierarchy by the time our featured 1974 four-door Brougham sedan was sold to its first owner. The Brougham’s mechanical DNA was identical to that of its base New Yorker sibling, meaning it was fitted with a 230-hp 440-cu.in. engine, TorqueFlite automatic transmission, torsion bar front suspension, power disc brakes, power steering, and 15-inch wheels, yet the Brougham also benefitted from the installation of power windows, plusher 50/50 front bench seat with additional arm rests, upscale trim, and a few other bits, all for a standard base price of $6,479 (or $39,099 in today’s currency). While pillared four-door sedans sold exceptionally well in the entry-level Newport and Newport Custom series, the pillared four-door New Yorker Brougham flopped: just 4,533 examples were built. From the seller’s description:
This highly desirable top of the line 1974 Chrysler New Yorker Brougham has only 50,500 miles! Highly optioned with the iconic big-block 440 four-barrel V-8, three-speed 727 TorqueFlite automatic, power steering, power disc brakes, working air conditioning, power windows, locks, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, vinyl top, factory AM/FM stereo, 50/50 power bench seat with dual armrests, etc. The body’s finished in Lucerne Blue Iridium, and is super straight rust free both top and bottom. All lights are in working order, the trunk trunk and engine compartment look like new. This car drives as good as it looks, and is guaranteed to draw attention. The 1974 models were the last full-size models Chrysler designed from the ground up, and one of the last to receive the big dog 440 V-8. Here’s your chance to own one at a very affordable price!
Price$12,950LocationMaple Lake, MNAvailability Available
Canadian snowbirds are plentiful in Arizona this time of year, but this rare and unusual Mercury 2-door sedan seems to have roosted in the dry, warm climate permanently, judging by its remarkably original survivor condition.
The Pick of the Day is a 1947 Mercury 114x, which still wears its original 74-year-old paint and shows just 48,000 miles on its odometer, according to the Tucson, Arizona, dealer advertising the car on Classiccars.com.
The Mercury 114 was built by Ford of Canada for the home market as a more-affordable model, compared with the slightly bigger Mercury 118, the numbers noting the 114-inch and 118-inch wheelbases. The 114 was basically a rebadged and dressed-up Ford, although with a totally different grille treatment.
This sedan coupe, as Mercury called the 2-door configuration, is a rarely seen upmarket Super Deluxe version, designated by the x in its numeric name. It is therefore wearing some nice chrome accents and powered by Ford’s famous flathead V8, which in this model produces somewhere between 93 and 100 horsepower, the dealer says in the ad
Only a tiny percentage of the 10,393 Mercury 114s built for 1947 were Super Deluxe 114x models.
“The 1947 Mercury 114x offered here is one of only 34 produced for US and Canada, as noted in Jerry Heasley’s ‘The production figure book for U.S. cars’,” the seller says. “It remains largely original with only 48,000 original miles since new.
“The car is completely rust free and retains all of its original panels and floors. The paint is largely original and still shines very nice. It has multiple chips, dings, and scrapes from over 70 years of service. Both front fenders have had touch ups, but I cannot find anywhere else that has had paint work on the car.
Although probably not as many as rival GM, carmaker Ford has its share of skeletons in the closet. One of them is Mercury, a brand that has been around for about seven decades before being sacrificed to the altar of money-saving
During its time on the market, Mercury was responsible for making vehicles that, in some cases, are still sought after by collectors today. One such vehicle is the iconic Eight, a mid-range machine that came with that irreplaceable feel of classic design, seen on the cars made in the 1940s and 1950s.
The Eight was one of the brand’s heavy hitters and was made in a variety of body styles and rather large numbers. It’s unclear how many of them survive to this day, but if you’re lucky enough to stumble upon one in great condition, expect to pay a fortune for the privilege of owning it.
Lucky or not, we found one, sitting on the lot of cars of a dealer called MaxMotive. It’s a 1947 example, meaning a second generation, and it’s offered, in exchange for $60,750, complete with a very rare and collectible Operator’s Manual.
The car is a convertible, sporting a power-operated burgundy canvas that falls over a gray body and burgundy leather interior with a woodgrain dash.
The Mercury was completely redesigned for 1952, along with other Ford vehicles, with the brand moving away from the rounded form of previous years, which was much-beloved by lead-sled custom builders.
The new look was taller and squarer, and more in line with modern taste as the chrome-bedecked cars of the ‘50s got under way. The Monterey became its own top-drawer model, with premium trim and features.
The Pick of the Day is a highly attractive 1952 Mercury Monterey convertible in red with a black-and-red interior, powered by the correct 255cid, 125-horsepower flathead V8 linked with a 3-speed manual transmission and overdrive.
The Mercury has had “limited ownership” during the past 35 years, according to the Canton, Ohio, dealer advertising the convertible on ClassicCars.com. Presumably, that means it’s been in the hands of just a few people during that time
When U.S. automobile production resumed after World War II, eager buyers scooped up warmed-over prewar models while advertising agencies cleverly avoided the phrase, “all new.”
Take Mercury, for instance. The division’s pitch for 1946 was “Step out with Mercury.” It was simple enough, and the mid-priced branch of Ford Motor Company promptly sold 86,603 cars. A year later, “More of everything you want” became the company’s slogan. Sure, the instrument panel dials had been updated, interior hardware was now finished in chrome (as was the grille surround), hub caps had been revised, and there was a new nameplate on the hood, but there was nothing “more” to Mercury. With little effort at the factory and the swipe of an artist’s brush, another 86,383 units were built during the model year.
By then, Mercury’s boardroom was aware that its vastly redesigned cars would be ready for production in late summer 1948. Thus, the ’48 Mercurys, like this Model 76 Club Convertible, entered showrooms with little fanfare.
The Club Convertible was now one of four body styles offered by Mercury, the others being a two-door Sedan Coupe, four-door Town Sedan, and a Station Wagon. In a calculated move, the exceptionally poor-selling two-door Coupe had been dropped in anticipation of the forthcoming redesign. Not unexpectedly, each retained the same grille design from the previous year, topped by running lamps flanking the pronounced hood. Front and rear fender trim was identical to that used a year prior, and a split windshield remained. The Club Convertible’s top was available in either “natural” or black-tinted fabric.
The 1948 line of Mercurys continued to utilize the division’s 239.4-cu.in. flathead V-8 engine, which had been upgraded a year prior with the use of lightweight, four-ring aluminum pistons, and carried a factory rating of 100 hp. Likewise, a column-shifted three-speed manual transmission was standard equipment. A full set of 12-inch hydraulic drum brakes managed stopping force, while passenger comfort was handled by “slow-acting springs” and shocks
In the 1930s, Ford was getting slaughtered in the mid-priced market by the likes of Dodge and Oldsmobile. To save the company, Edsel Ford – the legendary Henry Ford’s son – established the Mercury brand in 1939, serving as a bridge between Ford and its Lincoln luxury division. The idea worked like a charm, as Mercury produced some of the most iconic American classic cars from the 50s to 70s era.
10 – 1969 Mercury Cougar Eliminator
Most people don’t include the Mercury Cougar in their list of the greatest classic muscle cars, but it fully deserves to be included. Introduced in 1967, the Cougar had everything muscle car fans love – a Mustang-based design, a mighty V8 under the hood, and fantastic driving dynamics. The Cougar was so good that it received the 1967 Motor Trend Car of the Year award.
Following the successful launch of the Cougar, Mercury introduced several trims, with the highest-performing one being the 1969 Eliminator. This car came with a 4.9-liter V8 – the same engine in the Mustang Boss 302 – producing 290 horsepower, making it a joy to drive.
9 – 1950 Mercury Coupe
The Mercury Eight is one of the first cars Mercury built in the early 40s. However, it wasn’t until 1950 that Mercury gave it the redesign that earned it a spot on this list. The 1950 Eight was based on the 1949 Ford, but had a distinctive design and a bigger Flathead V8 than the Ford.
Available as a sedan, coupe, convertible, or two-door station wagon, the Eight quickly became popular in hot rod circles and even had songs written about it. It’s also one of the most popular movie cars featured in James Dean’s 1955 film Rebel Without A Cause.
We know that the 1960s were full of horsepower hijinks, but did you know that manufacturers sometimes fibbed about the size of their engines? Indeed, that burbling V-8 in your beloved classic may actually not measure up to its promised displacement. We rooted out five of the worst offenders.
Available from mid-1963 to mid-1968, the 427 was Ford’s crowning achievement in the 1960s, carrying the torch during Ford’s “Total Performance” reign of global competition. However, to American enthusiasts, the 427 is best known for powering Fords and Mercurys to success on the drag strip and in NASCAR. The FE-series engine was introduced at the same time as Ford’s semi-fastback roofline for the Galaxie 500 and Galaxie 500/XL (as well as Mercury’s Marauder sub-series), and the silhouette’s aerodynamic advantages helped maximize the engine’s performance on the banked ovals. The street 427 was available with either a single or pair of four-barrel carburetors for 410 or 425 horsepower, respectively. Several thousand 427s were built through 1964, with popularity falling drastically in 1965, the last year of big Mercury; in its swan-song year of 1967, the 427 was installed in 89 full-size Fords.