Previous Next

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.

Addendum

MM/dd/yyyy HH:mm:ss tt

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+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

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more