Junkyard Find: 1952 Mercury Custom Sedan

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

Ordinary 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.

When 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.

A 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.

This 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.

Lloyd 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.

Could 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.

I took this shot with a 1910 Ansco Dollar Camera, loaded with Kodak Ektar film.

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Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • Jeff S Jeff S on Apr 02, 2019

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

  • JimC2 JimC2 on Apr 16, 2019

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

  • Ronin The very asking of the question "Are Plug-In Hybrids the Future?" is an interesting one. Because just 2 or 3 years ago we'd be asking- no, asserting- that E cars are the future. We're no longer asking that question.
  • Peter Benn There apparently were some K-code 4-dr sedan Fairlanes. Collectible Automobile Apr 2024 has found a '63 500 with HD 3/spd.
  • Mia Hey there!I recently stumbled upon the Crack Eraser DIY Windshield Repair Kit (check it out here: https://crackeraser.com/collections/diy-windshield-repair-kits) and decided to give it a shot on a small chip in my windshield. I have to say, it worked like a charm! Super easy to use, and it saved me a trip to the professionals. If you're dealing with a similar issue, this kit is definitely worth considering. 😊
  • Rust-MyEnemy Whoa, what the hell is wrong with Jalop1991 and his condescension? It's as if he's employed by Big Plug-In or something."I've seen plenty of your types on the forums....."Dunno what that means, but I'm not dead keen on being regarded as "A type" by a complete stranger"" I'm guessing you've never actually calculated by hand the miles you've driven against the quantity of gas used--which is your actual miles per gallon."Guess again. Why the hell would you even say that? Yes, I worked it out. Fill-to-fill, based on gas station receipts. And it showed me that a Vauxhall Astra PHEV, starting out with a fully charged PHEV battery, in Hybrid mode, on my long (234-mile) daily motorway daily commute, never, over several months, ever matched or beat the economy of the regular hybrid Honda Civic that I ran for a similar amount of time (circa 5000 miles)."You don't use gasoline at all for 30-40 miles as you use exclusively battery power, then your vehicle is a pure hybrid. Over 234 miles, you will have used whatever gas the engine used for 200 of those miles."At least you're right on that. In hybrid mode, though, the Astra was using battery power when it wasn't at all appropriate. The petrol engine very rarely chimed in when battery power was on tap, and as a result, the EV-mode range quickly disappeared. The regular hybrid Civic, though, deployed its very small electric reserves (which are used up quickly but restore themselves promptly), much more wisely. Such as when on a trailing throttle or on a downward grade, or when in stop-start traffic. As a result, at the end of my 234 miles, the Civic had used less gas than the Astra. Moreover, I hadn't had to pay for the electricity in its battery.I look forward to you arguing that what actually happened isn't what actually happened, but I was there and you were not."Regardless, that you don't understand it appears not to have stopped you from pontificating on it. Please, do us all a favor--don't vote."You really are quite unpleasant, aren't you. But thanks for the advice.
  • Tassos Jong-iL Electric vehicles are mandated by 2020 in One Korea. We are ahead of the time.
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