Unique classic cars like this 1951 Mercury Woody Wagon are not only incredibly attractive, but they're fun and practical as well, and they represent some of the best automotive designs America ever created. As the '40s turned to the '50s, we were treated to excellent ventures of steel meeting metal, but with more emphasis on placed on productions costs, longevity, and frankly heightened concerns for driver's safety, Woody Wagons weren't long for this world. Times were changing, wood was .....
declining while steel was booming, and the writing was on the wall for the wood-bodied wagon in the '50s, and cars like this particular 1951 Mercury Eight represented the very last year offered. Restored back-to-stock with a 239 Flathead V8, period-correct colors, real wood, and a comfortable interior, this 2-door Merc Waggy is a gorgeous piece of history on wheels.
Of the 3,812 wood-bodied Mercuries built in 1951, only a select few still exist, and Mercs in particular seem to remain popular with Woody enthusiasts. And we have to admit, not many can boast the kind of jaw-dropping curb appeal this beauty possesses. The Mercuries shared bodies with the Lincoln, not Ford, so they were widely considered to be the better-driving, better-handling, and all-around higher-end version of the Woody wagons. A sporty 2-door wagon seemed like a crazy idea at first, but many Americans preferred the styling over the bulkier 4-door designs, and that bold engineering decision would later be reused in the iconic Chevrolet Nomad. With beautifully restored wood paneling (and yes, that's all real wood) that could easily pass for original, this Woody looks the part, and the lightly varnished wood really pops out next to the period perfect Light Blue paint. Fit and finish are top driver-quality throughout, not so nice that this Woody belongs in a museum, but rather finished to a level that will have you yearning to take the family out for ice cream in it every weekend. You'll also note that this was a fairly expensive vehicle by 1951 standards, and it included a lot of ornate and bright stainless trim, shiny oversized bumpers, and that commanding front grille that all glisten on tis gorgeous classic. There's a continental kit-style mounted spare-tire cover out back, attached to the drop-down tailgate that's a huge plus over some of the swing-away options that came in later station wagons. Everywhere you look, you can see that the builders got the details right, and the results speak for themselves.
The beautiful blue vinyl interior is quite neatly trimmed in the original style, instantly transporting all passengers back to 1951. Seating surfaces are plain and simple, but that means they're durable and easy to maintain. Plush blue carpets on the floors are joined by some heavy-duty rubber mats to seal up the cabin from the outside world, and it does offer true 8-passenger seating with 3-rows of seating that include a full rear bench. Front windows wind up and down in the conventional style but rear passengers get sliding-window panes, which is kind of neat, while the door panels have been dressed-up with dark wood paneling that really warms things up a bit. The light blue dashboard is pretty much the same as any other Mercury 8, with attractive factory gauges housed inside a lovely chrome bezel, an original AM radio in the center, and giant dual-ring steering wheel with a black rim and lots of chrome heading up the command center. Even with the 3 rows in place, there's plenty of storage room out back that's been carpeted and finished to match the rest of the wagon.
It would be a mistake to underestimate Ford's rugged, Flathead 239 cubic inch powerplant. It fires up almost instantly, idles smoothly with a great mechanical whir, and thanks to a smooth-shifting '3-on-the-tree' manual transmission and relatively tall gears in the rear end, it's quite peppy around town. While not detailed for show, the engine compartment is tidy and clean, and shows signs of regular maintenance and care including an upgraded 12-Volt system and distributor, along with a freshened 2-barrel carburetor and chrome air breather. The three-speed manual transmission slips through the gears easily once you've familiarized yourself with the column-mounted shifter's operation and the gears keep the V8 in its sweet spot. Even with 12-volts it feels quite authentic thanks to stock components like the big generator, and with that giant radiator up front, you don't have to worry about overheating. There's a newer dual exhausts system below as well, improving the soundtrack without sounding obnoxious. Finishing the look are those gorgeous paint-matche steelies adorned with chrome hubcaps and wrapped in thick, whitewall Coker tires at all four corners.
Representing the end of the line for the mighty Woody, this neat little wagon is a delight to drive and will always be the star everywhere it goes. Call today!