Mercury Eight

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Mercury Eight
A 1951 Mercury Eight
Parent companyFord Motor Company
AssemblyDearborn, Michigan
Body style(s)2-door coupe
4-door sedan
LayoutFR layout
Related1949 Ford
ManualsService Manual

The Mercury Eight was the first Post War Mercury design, and the first named Mercury model (earlier Mercury vehicles had carried only the brand name). The engine was a Flathead V8 that produced slightly more power than the also newly-designed 1949 Ford. The styling of the Mercury Eight, when it was released in 1949, 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.

Within its era and beyond, the Mercury Eight was popular with customizers. In 1949, Sam Barris built the first lead sled from a 1949 Mercury Eight; the Eight became a definitive lead sled, much like the Ford V-8 was becoming the definitive hot rod. The Eights were among the first models to receive an aftermarket OHV engine swap, since Oldsmobile and Cadillac had developed the first high-compression OHV V8 engines in 1949, whereas Ford was still using their sidevalve engine.

Fiberglass replicas of the 49 Mercury, inspired by Sam Barris's car, are still in production and are popular with kit car and hot rod enthusiasts.[1]

In popular culture

  • The 49 Merc often appears in films set in the 1950s. It is James Dean's ride in Rebel without a cause and is driven by the Pharaohs gang in American Grafitti.
  • A more recent film where it appears is The Cobra. Sylvester Stallone drives a supercharged Merc.

See also

  • Hot rod
  • Leadsled
  • Custom Car
  • Low rider
  • Kustom Kulture
  • Sam Barris


External links