Monday, December 25, 2023

Danville Street Sighting - 1950 Mercury Eight Coupe

It's been fun exploring what began as a silly holiday gimmick, "All I Want For Christmas is 'U'." If you're just joining us, every feature this month is a vehicle from a brand with the letter U in its name. Our world tour comes full circle where it started, back in America, with a gorgeous black 1950 Mercury coupe.

For many years now, I've been a big fan of Ford passenger cars of the 1940s and '50s. I may be a bit at odds with the mainstream though. I like the immediate postwar Fords, the 1949 Bulletnose flathead shoeboxes and the early fin cars. I also like the 1954 Mercury. The traditional favorite among hot rodders and lead sled builders is what you see here, the Mercury Eight coupe. Mercury has always played second fiddle to big brother Ford, that middle child between Ford and Lincoln that sometimes got basic rebadge jobs or downright weird styling choices between the occasional brilliant bodystyle or feature. The 1949 lineup was arguably the first time that Mercury knocked it out of the park, and gave the brand an actual identity.

Park this Mercury next to a concurrent Ford Custom or even a Lincoln Cosmopolitan and it immediately stands out. The Merc looks like a custom car right off the lot, even without the requisite roof chop long favored by "Kustom" builders. It doesn't take a lot of modification to clean up the lines, just remove some body ornamentation and you're practically done. And with these lines, you can't go wrong with a dark color or basic black. It was good enough that a completely stock black '49 Merc was featured with the other king of cool in the '50s, James Dean, in the 1955 film Rebel Without a Cause. I've seen the movie car on display at the National Automobile Museum in Reno, Nevada. It's worth a visit if you ever find yourself in Reno.

This Mercury looks to be a mild custom build, kept simple with a stock body and dual exhaust, wide whitewall tires and chrome crossbar hubcaps mounted on body color steel wheels. These cars always looked low, but this one has been dropped a few inches at least. I don't know if it has adjustable ride height as I didn't see it drive away. Stock ride height would have had the top of the tire about even with the front wheel arch instead of tucked up inside the wheel well. I must say I do like the stance. These cars can look a bit squat in profile with stock ride height. Lowering it just enough makes the car look longer without having to cut the roof pillars down.

I spotted this car at the height of COVID in 2021, when not many people were out and about. So it was a real treat to see nice cars on the street. It's also why I blighted so many of the photos with a blue face mask. It is what it is. Still a gorgeous car and probably my favorite shoot of that year.

Just another day in downtown Danville!

Hope you and yours have a wonderful Christmas, and I hope you've all been good! Wouldn't want to be a Rebel Without a Claus!

Photographed May 2021

1 comment:

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