Sunday, September 13, 2015

1947 Mercury Eight Convertible



"Graceful as a yacht! Always so smooth — so easy to handle — such satisfaction to be seen in — Mercury now gives you even more of everything you want!"

Double horns and heavy-duty spotlights didn't come standard, but otherwise this fine convertible looks pretty much like it did when leaving the assembly line nearly seven decades ago.

The impressive look obscures the fact that this generation of Mercury cars technically dates back to 1941. Mercury sold merely prettied-up prewar models in the postwar years, just like most American car manufacturers did. Under their skin, these Mercurys were essentially better appointed Fords, powered by identical engines and transmissions. Few customers would notice the two-inch longer wheelbase of the 1947 models, or their smaller wheels (15 inch instead of 16 inch on the Ford).

What they noticed, though, was the glitzy styling, that made the Mercury look good even in the presence of Detroit's finest. The extra bucks paid for a Mercury went almost completely into extensive chrome trim, better upholstery and a definitely upscale appearance, compared to its Ford sibling. More than 10,000 convertible buyers in 1947 didn't mind paying the markup to get more "prestige" in return.

Yet, it didn't pass unnoticed by Ford's top management that people still saw too much Ford in the Mercury. The next Mercury generation, scheduled for 1949, should become closely tied to Lincoln and thus finally justify its premium price tag.

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