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Lot 138

1942 Mercury Station Wagon

  • Chassis no. 99A466720

Sold for $209,000

Model 29A. 95 bhp, 239.4 cu. in. Flathead V8 engine, three-speed manual transmission with Columbia rear end, solid front axle and live rear axle with transverse semi-elliptic leaf springs, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 118"

For many Americans, Pebble Beach is a golf course reached via 17-Mile Drive. For car collectors, the road to Pebble Beach is far longer. The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, recognized as the USA’s premier old car event, dates from 1950. No ordinary car show, its objective, according to the organizers, is to “recognize and properly preserve the great automobiles of the world.” For more than 50 years it has done just that.

The first Concours was actually an add-on, an adjunct to the Pebble Beach Road Races, which were won by Phil Hill in a Jaguar XK120. The Concours comprised about three dozen cars in three classes, and Best of Show was won by a 1950 Edwards R-26 Special Sport Roadster owned by its creator, Sterling Edwards. In 1953, entries reached 100 and the first special exhibition was held for winners of the Carrera Panamericana. In 1955 Phil Hill’s 1931 LeBaron-bodied Pierce-Arrow was the first old car to win Best of Show, pointing the show in a new direction toward Classic and Antique automobiles. The first featured marques, Packard and Cord, were also a 1955 innovation. In 1957, the races moved to Laguna Seca, while the Concours continued on the lawn at The Lodge. Class categories began to form around Antiques, Classics and Vintage Cars. An historic event occurred at the 1985 Concours when all six Bugatti Royales congregated together at Pebble Beach for the first time in history.

The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance continually evolves. The first appearance of non-traditional cars came in 1997, with special classes for Hot Rods and Microcars. There are now two Preservation classes for unrestored cars. In 2009, for the first time, there is a Motorcycle Class.

To enter a car for Pebble Beach, an owner must make application. New entrants are given preference, and a previous entry is not generally re-invited for a period of ten years, unless it has changed ownership and been freshly restored. Cars accepted for the Concours may enter the 50-mile tour on Thursday which includes the 17-Mile Drive, two laps at Laguna Seca and a steep climb racetrack. Completion of the tour offers an entrant a considerable judging advantage over “trailer queens”. Nick and six co-workers enjoyed a trouble free trip in this ‘42 Mercury, passing several less fortunate entries that had broken down.

Ultimately, judging considers originality and authenticity, and also design, styling and elegance. “Concours d’Elegance,” after all, translates loosely from the French as “beauty contest.” Class judges, who are authorities on the marque and era concerned, focus on originality and technical condition. Honorary judges arbitrate the more subjective fields of design and styling. In order to be considered for Best of Show, a car must win its class.

Operation of the car is considered as well as condition, for part of the Best of Show judging takes place as the class winners cross the winners’ ramp to receive their awards.

This 1942 Mercury station wagon has had a very long journey to Pebble Beach. Henri St. George of Schenectady, New York, bought it as a used car from the Eastern Auto Garage in his city in October 1950. After St. George’s death in 1973, it was sold to another used car dealer, then to the lot of the Nemith Motor Corporation of Latham, New York, a Lincoln-Mercury dealer. Darel Hed of Rochester, New York, purchased it from the Nemith dealership with 62,718 miles showing. Mr. Hed sold it to Kenneth Williams of Monroe, New York, in October 1981. Nick Alexander purchased it in August 2000 from Kevin Sheedy of Rochester, New York. Nick pursued Kevin for three years before Kevin called Nick with good news and bad news. The bad news was that a doctor informed Kevin that trying to restore the car in an unheated garage in Rochester at three degrees below zero would endanger his frail health. The good news was that of all the people who wanted to buy the car, no one had pursued it as doggedly as Nick, so the car was his if he still wanted it. Nick flew to New York the next day and drove to Rochester in a snow storm to complete the sale.

After restoring the car and winning a Dearborn Award from the Early Ford V8 Club at Pismo Beach, in 2001 with 997 points, he applied for entrance to the 2003 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

Pebble Beach entries are limited to 175 cars, and judging takes place in classes organized by age, genre and marque, with special classes each year for particular observances. In 2003, the Concours celebrated the centennial year of the Ford Motor Company with several special classes for Ford-built automobiles. One of these was for wood-bodied cars. Nick Alexander was pleased to have two of his cars accepted, and to have both of them earn honors in their class. First in Class was his 1940 Ford Standard Marmon-Herrington All-Wheel Drive station wagon; this 1942 Mercury took Second in Class honors.

The 1942 model is considered by many to be the most attractive early Mercury station wagon, and with 783 built is certainly the rarest. Its horizontal bar grille is more plainly esthetic than the 1941’s slanted combs, and certainly less ornate than the 1946-48 style, with its horizontal-vertical medley. The more delicate fender trim, too, gives it a lighter feel, in contrast to the more heavy-handed application of brightwork on the later models. Nick is aware of only ten surviving examples of this model.

Still concours-worthy after six years, this Mercury has excellent body contours. The black paint exhibits a deep shine and has no flaws. The wood is original Maple framewood, and gumwood panels glisten through twelve coats of the best marine varnish. The roof is covered in new black imitation leather. The glass is excellent as is all the brightwork.

The seats are newly upholstered in brown leather; the front has lap belts for two. The rear floor has a new black rubber mat, the front a black rubber mat with tan carpet inserts. The dashboard, which is Nick’s personal favorite, has been restored in burl walnut woodgrain using the Ford factory method. The dashboard plastic is in excellent condition, as are the instruments and steering wheel. It is equipped with an electric clock.

The engine compartment is clean but not over-detailed, and shows evidence of the regular exercise from which all Alexander Collection cars benefit. The chassis and underbody are painted in gloss black and are clean. The car runs on Firestone 7.10-15 blackwall tires, new in 2001, and the spare is tailgate-mounted, under a body color metal cover.

The car runs and drives well, its 3.78 gear and Columbia two-speed rear end giving effortless freeway cruising, along with the added horsepower of a four-inch Mercury crankshaft and later Mercury cam. It is registered with California year-of-manufacture plates 1M4321, which accompany it in the sale. The mileage since restoration is about 2,400. A car with an interesting history and a solid concours pedigree, it is worthy of further competition under new ownership.


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Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

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California, United States

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United States

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Donnie Gould

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Florida, United States

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Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

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Jake Auerbach

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Matt Malamut

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Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

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Mike Fairbairn

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Ontario, Canada

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United Kingdom

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United Kingdom

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Tonnie Van der Velden

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United Kingdom

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