By on April 1, 2019

1952 Mercury in Denver wrecking yard, RH view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsOrdinary family sedans of the 1940s and 1950s look cool and everyone claims to love them, but the sad reality is that hardly anyone with the time, money, space, and skills to restore an old Detroit car bothers with the postwar four-doors. I see 1946-1959 American sedans, mostly in pretty solid condition, with depressing regularity in the big self-service wrecking yards I frequent, and this ’52 Mercury in Denver is the latest one.

1952 Mercury in Denver wrecking yard, front view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsWhen it first arrived in the yard, it was absolutely complete, with 255-cubic-inch flathead V8 engine and all the body panels and trim. It had been in the yard’s fenced-off “builder” lot, available for well under a grand to anyone who wanted it. There were no takers, so after a couple of months it went into the Ford section of the main yard, loitering among the Tauruses and Mystiques.

1952 Mercury in Denver wrecking yard, engine compartment - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsA pair of Mercury fanatics must have been checking for this car every day, because they were on it immediately, yanking the engine, much of the trim, and the front body components. I did the exact same thing with a ’41 Plymouth sedan in another yard, so I understand.

1952 Mercury in Denver wrecking yard, heater controls - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThis car was saturated with more rodent poop than any junkyard vehicle I’ve ever seen, and Colorado is a place where mice invade neglected cars. I haven’t caught hantavirus… yet.

1952 Mercury in Denver wrecking yard, trunk badge - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsLloyd W. Stephens Co. appears to have been a dealership in Washington State; there’s an oil-change sticker from a shop in Longview, Washington, as well.

1952 Mercury in Denver wrecking yard, rodent nest - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsCould it have been restored? Sure, the exterior was solid and all the glass and trim were present, prior to hitting the yard’s inventory. However, a complete ’52 Mercury interior restoration costs real money, which most would rather invest in a convertible or at least a coupe.

1952 Mercury in Denver wrecking yard, RH view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsI took this shot with a 1910 Ansco Dollar Camera, loaded with Kodak Ektar film.

If you like these junkyard posts, you can reach all 1600+ right here at the Junkyard Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand!


Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

31 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1952 Mercury Custom Sedan...”


  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I am curious as to your go to yard to walk through in Denver.

    I walked through one in Littleton Saturday looking for some seats, or at least some ideas. Lots of early 00’s Dodge Durangos in the yard. My assumption is the gas consumption is too high to justify owning one 4th hand along with keeping it running.
    Nice find on the Mercury, that patina is fantastic. The hood would have made for great wall art.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    “Could it have been restored? Sure”

    Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Just your basic totally unremarkable old 4-door Mercury

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      Yeah, I wonder if in 60 years people will be like, “It’s a shame nobody is restoring these 2015 Tauruses…”

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Look one of the last Sables…

        Quick grab the Mercury specific parts!

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Well, no, nobody will be restoring old Tauruses as no one’s restoring these early 50s sedans

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          I guess that makes me a nobody, as I’m slowly but surely (as it remains a daily driver) restoring an old Taurus.

          Besides, in 60 years, there wont be nearly as many 2015 two door cars to restore as there are 1950s 2 doors today. You got a few from luxury brands, 3 pony cars, Honda Accord, Toyobaru twins, and…um…yeah. So, if you wanted to restore a 2015 car, your choices are very limited if you dont want a sedan, unlike back in the ’50s when every car came in a two door body style.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Once the world realizes the greatness of Taurus’, they’ll be all gone. The same thing already happened to Pintos, and to a great extent, Mustang IIs.

            If you like it, who cares? Right? In 50 years, Hollywood will be pounding on Johnny’s door for his collection of Taurus’ when doing Period pieces and flashbacks.

            Otherwise it’s just gonna be backdrops of Corvettes, GT500s, LFAs, Porsches, AMGs, Ford GTs, R10s, etc driving by as “everyday” cars.

            btw, all Pintos were 2-doors.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Sorry, John, I forgot about you the exception to every rule ;-)

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            John, you have to make your Taurus project into a series. Seriously.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      I’m afraid I completely disagree. While I’d prefer the two door, there’s nothing wrong with restoring a 4 door. And, I’ve seen it done plenty of times.

      If this particular one was available to me for cheap (as in what the junkyard paid for it), I’d have been happy to have had it. Would I spend $50k fully restoring it? Probably not, but I’d spend some effort and money to fix it up to “good enough” status.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Why? There’s nothing special or iconic about it

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          That’s what makes it special. ‘Regular’ vehicles are overlooked, usually run into the ground and scrapped. So that most of what remains are the ‘special’ or ‘odd ball’ vehicles that represent on a very small portion of what was on the road. Or what most people drove or road in.

          That is why some of us treasure the few survivor cars that still exist of ‘base model’ and mass market vehicles.

          Have to admit that is one heck of a lot of ‘scat’ in that vehicle. A bio-hazard equal to some of the vans that Murilee has photographed.

        • 0 avatar

          “Why? There’s nothing special or iconic about it”

          Nothing iconic about Taurus? It was a revolutionary new design in 1980s that set a new standard for midsize car, it was the car that saved Ford and there is always SHO which is as iconic as you can get.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    If you ever dreamed of owning a 50s era American car of just about any body style or brand, now is a great time to buy as prices are very soft. 55-57 Chevys and T-Birds, finned Caddies, final year Packards and Hudsons, etc. that have been cherished and restored are going for way below restoration costs as 70-90 year old collectors or their estates clear the inventory and interest from the younger set is not very high.

    • 0 avatar
      CaddyDaddy

      Stingray, completely agree. Wait 20 years with Harley Davidsons and 67- 71 Muscle Cars. They will be cheap as dirt as the next generation will see under-engineered cars with thirsty big engines. When 426 Hemi Cudas were going for more than concours restored Marmons or Packards, I knew the market was upside down.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        I highly doubt I’ll ever be able to purchase something like a 440-6 Charger for “dirt” money. Cars of the 50s are certainly off their lofty peaks but you’re still talking $25k-$90k depending on the brand, options, and body style. That’s probably around where muscle cars will settle into.

        • 0 avatar
          stingray65

          ajla – You can get some very nice 50s sedans or even some coupes and convertibles for well under $25K.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            That’s true, but it seemed like the ‘bell curve’ of 50s cars is mostly in the range I commented on. Either way, a “very nice 50s sedan” is still a long way from a top-engined 60s muscle car.

            I agree that 60s cars are going to fall (and honestly it is already happening), but I think the degree is often overstated on the internet. “Dirt money” on a classic car to me would be under $7000. I’d be shocked if that much of a drop occurred.

        • 0 avatar
          bumpy ii

          The truly rare stuff will remain pricey, but something like a regular old automatic V8 Chevelle will settle into “clean used car” money.

    • 0 avatar
      thalter

      Yep. This has been the case with Model A’s for years (decades, really). $10K will get you a decent example all day log (that someone probably spent a lot more on restoring at one point).

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        That’s just it there are even some 100 year old cars that still aren’t special enough to command much more then base collector money

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          Preaching to the converted here. Anyone who has even a cursory understanding of the importance of demographics on economics (see Boom, Bust and Echo) predicted this years ago.

          Your spending habits, as well as your ‘leisure’ activities are largely predicted on your age.

          When you get to a certain age, your children are gone, you are at your peak earning or net worth and want to buy what you ‘lusted for’ or made you happy when you were young. Once you get too old to keep it running or use it, there is a reduced chance that your children or grandchildren or the majority of their generation will be interested in it. They will have moved on to the Madeleine objects of their own youth.

          You can also track the stock prices/sales of beer, wine and dark spirits according to demographics. Also as ‘vacation properties’. And as household collectibles and ‘vintage’ furniture.

  • avatar
    Liam Gray

    These cars are great for anyone looking for a cheap project. My son is an 18 year old high school senior and last fall he picked himself up a 1953 4 Door Plymouth Cranbrook for $1600. Flathead 6, 3 on the tree, and ratty as hell with a flat black housepaint paint job. It’s solid though, and it runs and drives. He’s been working on it slow and steady and has it on the road. It will never be a showcar, but it’s great for a cruise to the beach or just to bomb around town, and it turns more than a few heads when he pulls into school with it. It’s a perfect first project for him. Side note – antique insurance is crazy cheap even for an 18 year old kid. He has it registered in his name and its like $150 a year for comprehensive, which is nuts.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I could see driving an old car like this around if it is in decent mechanical condition. Even if the paint is faded and the upholstery is not perfect it would still be a nice project if you didn’t go crazy and spend more than what it is worth. A set of inexpensive seat covers and floor mats along with a good vacuum and cleaning to make it at least presentable. It would be a conversation piece. I wouldn’t mind having a sedan like this especially since it is a 1952 which is the year I was born.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    The Pharoahs drove a 1951 Mercury Custom (chopped).

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    My sister owned a ’51 Mercury, her first car, in 1961. The flathead V8 was nothing but trouble – it had overheated before she got it and our dad told her to dump it. She bought a ’57 Pontiac Chief, and when the dealer’s mechanic drove the Mercury away, the steering wheel came off in his hand!

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    My father had a appliance white 1958 Studebaker Scotsman which had to be about the cheapest vehicle made. Mercury couldn’t have been any worse. The steering wheel broke on it and the hubcaps, grill, and bumpers were painted silver. One of my older brothers spray painted the hubcaps and grill gold because the silver paint was flaking off of them. The interior was full of cardboard and the rear windows were fixed. My father had it for 2 years buying it used when it was a year or 2 old. The only thing it had extra was a heater. If I recall it was the cheapest Studebaker you could buy and it came only in a 2 door, painted bumpers, grill, and hubcaps, and only with 3 on the tree with a heater and radio being the only options.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Take back the bumpers were chrome the only thing chrome on the car and the only thing that didn’t rust even in Houston.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    If I had money, I tell you what I’d do,
    I’d go downtown and buy a Mercury or two…


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • JimC2: If I had money, I tell you what I’d do, I’d go downtown and buy a Mercury or two…
  • SPPPP: Oh look, it has a squared-off wheel. Wait, what on earth? …
  • ajla: The ratings on the 2.0T are disappointing, although I would never have bought that engine anyway. Torque on the...
  • Lie2me: This looks like they took styling bits from every mundane sedan on the market all rolled into one. Too bad...
  • thelaine: Yeah. Pickups have undergone a frkin revolution in the past 10-15 years. They are sooooooo much easier to...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States