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1950 Mercury Station Wagon


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About to embark on a new project that is radically different than the '40 Buick that is nearing completion.  This car, the '50 Merc, was restored in 1988 by the father of the gentlemen who sold the car to me.  He reports that his father meticulously restored the car to original.  The car has been lightly used since restoration, possibly because of the 4.55:1 rear axle ratio and the restorers other projects.  The exterior and interior of the car are in beautiful condition, is complete and likely to require little work.  As of this date, the tires are 36 years old as are the brakes, fuel system, gaskets, etc.  This is a vastly different project than the Buick which was an overpriced piece of junk. 

 

The foolishness to which I ascribe and enjoy includes a trailering trip from Atlanta to Dave Prueit's shop in Glen Rock, PA to drop my Buick for an interior and top.  Southbound from there to Florida to retrieve the Mercury and visit family.  I intend to gather as much information as I can from the seller so that I can properly credit his father for the work that he performed.  I can empathize with his father who dedicated time and attention to the Mercury.  I'd imagine his working in the garage somewhere during Wisconsin summer nights and weekends laboring over the wood, the running gear, and other details.  He searched the internet for parts - no wait - there was no internet to speak of.  He poured over Hemmings and sent SSAE's to perspective parts sellers and waited days to weeks for a response, then sent money and waited again for the part to arrive.  Might be they exchanged polaroid's of the part to verify condition.  I wonder what shows he brought the car to, wonder also about the Friday night cruise and the spectators questions, even back in the 90's.

 

Against all reasonable advice that I've ever received or read about, I bought the car sight unseen, wow, stupid.  Again, the Buick was a pile of junk when I bought it and I persevered seven years efforts to put it back together properly.  This car isn't supposed to be junk, and the next post will either be exciting news of jubilation or sorrow.

38-Years-Family-Owned 1950 Mercury Eight Woodie Wagon

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  • 2 weeks later...

The car was generally what I thought it would be, which was a pleasant surprise.  The body had never rusted nor was it ever in any collision; everything was as straight and clean as it could be.  Details oftentimes lost when rebuilding metal panels were all in place. 

 

The car was not restored personally by the previous owner as much Solid Gold Classics, Inc in Eagle River, Wisconsin.  The car came out of western Canada, then to Arizona, then Wisconsin where this owner had the car restored.  Be careful researching the Solid Gold classics company name, it's a popular name for businesses that operate out of black painted buildings with no windows.  

 

The car runs OK, zero oil pressure at idle, plenty at speed.  The 38 year old tires are a bit scary, brakes pull hard to the right at the front wheel, and the engine needs a tuneup badly.  The car has only had 1,000 miles put on it since it was purchased in 1986.

 

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The previous owners son, the seller, provided me with a docket full of receipts from his fathers efforts restoring the car.  Well, the car was not rust free as the rockers were replaced prior to the body being painted.  OK, I can definitely live with that.  The photos or the body prior to priming show almost unnoticeable rust damage.  The really great news with this car is that it is complete.  Having just endured recreating one 1940 Buick from four and a half cars with many parts missing, this Mercury will be a delight.

 

I've not discovered the motherload of parts sources for this car yet.  Mechanical parts seem quite available, but searching for say a rear seat, wall-mount ashtray yields no results.  The forum format for the woodies isn't like the Buick section of the AACA forums with so much more activity with Buicks.  I was helped enormously by other Buick owners which goes to show the value of the AACA with that sort of introduction.  I've found the national Woodie Club and see that woodies are much more popular on the west coast and with an apparently strong New England chapter, but no local chapter in the southeast.

 

My first task has been to jack the car high enough to get lots of crawl space under the car.  I'll drop the rear axle (Dana 44) and am taking it to a shop to exchange the 4.55 with a 3.x ratio for better cruising speeds.  This will also give me a chance to go through the brakes.  The brakes are tagged as having silicone brake fluid.  I'm debating a change back to original mostly because I then do not have to be concerned about different, nonstandard fluids on my shelf.

 

I've purchased the 1949-1951 Mercury book by Gene Napoliello.  It is a fabulous book, the likes of which I wish I had for the 1940 Buick.  Comparing the car to the book shows that I have quite a few parts that might normally be lost like the floor filler between the third and second row seats; this car has that.  The wall mount ashtray is missing its cover and the car has no jack.  The auxiliary front mounted lights and A-pillar spotlight are aftermarket but look OK.  Removing them will leave holes that I don't feel like repairing. 

Edited by kgreen (see edit history)
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