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Lot 124

1951 Mercury Station Wagon

  • Chassis no. 51SL61954M

Sold for $143,000


Model 1CM. 110 bhp, 255.4 cu. in. Flathead V8 engine, three-speed manual transmission with overdrive, coil spring independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 118"



Like Ford and Lincoln, in 1951 Mercury was in the final year of a three-year cycle of styling. Like the others, there was a new nose, the grille becoming more pronounced and extending around to the sides of the front fenders. Other body styles received extended rear fenders, but the station wagon, which shared its body with Ford, had no changes at the rear. Mercury offered an optional automatic transmission. Called “Merc-O-Matic,” it was the same as the sister division’s Fordomatic, a three-speed planetary gearbox with torque converter, though in normal operation it used only two speeds. About a third of production was so equipped.



Station wagon production at Iron Mountain was winding down in 1951. The all-steel Chevrolet, Pontiac and Plymouth wagons were cutting into Ford’s sales, in part because they were cheaper, but also because the public was tiring of the extra care and attention that wood required.



Company president Henry Ford II was tiring, too, of the care and attention that Iron Mountain required. A 30-day strike in 1949 angered young Henry, and continuing labor troubles strengthened his resolve to shut the facility down. Design began on new station wagons for 1952, to be built at the Rouge plant in Dearborn. In August 1951 he put Iron Mountain on the market. The last Iron Mountain woodie was built on December 5, 1951, and then the place closed. The property was sold to Kingsford Chemical Company, which continued to operate a wood carbonization and distillation plant that Ford had put into operation many years before to dispose of scrap wood, some 400 tons a day. The distillation plant produced methanol, acetates, acetone, alcohols, creosote and pitch, while the carbonization plant made charcoal and briquettes. Thus the Ford brand of charcoal was replaced by Kingsford, one of today’s most popular barbeque fuels, although the Iron Mountain plants closed in 1961.



This 1951 Mercury station wagon is nicely presented in Tomah Ivory. The paint shows a deep gloss and no visible flaws. All body contours are excellent, and the doors shut well. The original Ford maple and mahogany are a perfect match with the pale yellow paint and tan interior and the 10 coats of varnish add warmth to the beautiful grain. The brightwork is very good to excellent, and the Lincoln script glass shows only slight separation on the vent windows and sliding panes.



The seats are upholstered in Golden Tan and Chestnut Brown vinyl and are newly done; the headliner matches the seat cushions. The black rubber floor mats are new. The dashboard has outstanding restored woodgrain.The car has a radio, fresh air heater, clock and factory directional signals.



The 8CM engine is clean and correctly painted in green, but shows recent use. Likewise the chassis and underbody are painted in black and are generally clean, but show road use. The tires are 7.00-15 blackwall Firestones, installed in 2002, and the spare is mounted on the tailgate under a metal cover.



Nick Alexander bought this Mercury from Kent Jaquith of Zillah, Washington, in May 2001. It received a Dearborn Award from the Early Ford V8 Club at Park City, Utah, in 2002, judged at 992 points. It has currently covered just under 99,000 miles, and runs and drives well. It is registered with California year-of-manufacture plates 3B40232, which are included in the sale. A fine example of the last Iron Mountain-bodied Mercury, it represents the end of an era.

Addendum

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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

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+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

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+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

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+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

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+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

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+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

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+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

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+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