The first postwar Mercury was introduced in the 1949 model year. The engine was a flathead V8 that produced slightly more power than the then also newly designed 1949 Ford. A new overdrive system was optional, activated by a handle under the dash. The styling of the Mercury Eight, when it was released in 1949, adopted the “pontoon” appearance, and was successful in both ending the monotony of warmed-over pre-war style, and differentiating Mercury from its comparable Ford cousin, a trick that spelled sales success. Sales figures for both Ford and Mercury broke records in 1949. The new approach to styling was also evident on the completely redesigned Lincoln and the all-new Lincoln Cosmopolitan. The Mercury Eight used full instrumentation. An 8 tube radio was an option. The Mercury was an up-scale car and quite a performer in its time. (Extracted from Wikipedia)
There are very few preserved Mercury’s of this era to be seen today. This body style became very popular with customizers – the shape somehow stirred their imaginations and many variations show up at car shows across North America. Years 1949, 1950 and 1951 show gradual design feature changes until a major redesign showed up in 1952. In Canada a virtual clone was called the Monarch. Most of its variations were trim designs.
This Mercury Eight Sport Sedan from 1950 is a remarkable and accurate restoration – the exception being the striking colours. The owners Linda and Dave Goff just won another Best-In-Show award at a car show in Ontario. Linda picked the colours and interior while Dave looked after the outside – restored in 1997 including new fenders, rocker panels and a rebuild on the 255 Cu In. Flathead V8.
Dave says the overdrive kicks down a cog if you need passing power – push the accelerator to the floor and it drops down to regular third gear, let the pedal up and it shifts back to overdrive. Overdrive works in second gear also but is seldom used that way. Linda laughs at the vacuum wipers – step on the gas and the wipers slow down – not good for passing slower cars in the rain!
The other shortcoming was pretty normal in the 50’s – no synchromesh in first gear. So, rolling stops before shifting into low gear are not preferred.