Single family ownership since new, subject of a recent $70,000 restoration
1951 Mercury Eight Convertible
Chassis no. 51ME23581
The Mercury brand was still young, a wee 10 years old, when it came out with the new Eight in 1949. The brand's first post-WWII design, it was a break from the styling that proceeded it with even more bulbous curves, a rounded off rear end that gave nary a hint at vestigial fenders and a toothy chrome grill that stretched thinly across the entire front end of the car. Under the large hood sat the familiar, 255cid Ford flathead V-8 but power was bumped up 10% on its Blue Oval brethren to 112bhp and 200lb-ft of twist. The last iteration of the flathead, its final year of production in 1951 would see it deliver its power through Mercury's first automatic transmission, the 3-speed Warner Gear-produce "Merc-O-Matic".
The simply, but elegant lines and easy to modify drivetrain made the car a popular target for hotrodders and customizers. Craftsmen like Sam and George Barris fabricated legendary 'rods like the chopped Hirohata Merc, giving way to the model's nickname: Lead Sled. The car's popularity with customizers meant that many of the Eights got chopped and channeled, so much so that today, few survive in unmodified condition.
The offered example is one of those rare survivors. The Monterey Red over black and white leather drop top was purchased new by the vendor's father in Atlanta in 1950 as a 1951 model year car, the Mercury was a cherished car from the very start. Used for both work and pleasure, the vendor remembers going to kindergarten in the Mercquite a stylish way to make an entrance for any five-year old. The car was never driven outside of the Atlanta city limits, but in the '60s it was trucked down to the family cattle ranch in Florida where it was used around the property to transport guests and friends as well as wheels with which to get into town. In the late-1980s the car was covered and stored until the decision was made to restore the old girl to her former glory in 2007. Sent to a restorer in Winter Haven, Florida, the car emerged three years and some $70,000 later looking better than when it had left the factory. Since completion the car has been sparingly used and carefully kept.
With only two years and a handful of miles on the restoration, the Mercury will be leaving the family that collected it from the dealership. A rare opportunity to own a car with a 62 year history of single family ownership, it is made doubly so by the fact the car is such a beautifully presented example of one of Mercury's most iconic models.
- Please note that the actual chassis number for this vehicle is 51ME23581M.