1946 Mercury Eight Coupe
Flathead Fords are still some of the most entertaining old cars you can own. Quick, agile, handsome, and rugged, cars like this 1946 Mercury coupe have been favorites for decades because they do everything well and look great doing it. Owned since new by the same family in warm South America, this handsome Mercury coupe looks like it just rolled out of an old black and white photograph from the late '40s. The basic profile is pretty much the same opera coupe that Ford was building before the war, but the unique Mercury front end gives it a clean, grown-up look is one of Ford's better designs. Paint and bodywork are in decent shape and it might have been repainted decades ago, so there's plenty of patina but nothing that needs immediate attention. Instead of metallic two-stage urethane, it has a softer shine that looks like period enamel, another sign that the car has been loved all its life rather than squirreled away as a collector's item. Yes, there are plenty of nicks and chips, but patina has to be earned and it works rather well here. Panel fit is quite, the big pointed hood fits well, and the light color reveals neat details like the body lines around the fender trim and the oval rear window. Lots of stainless trim and a few chrome bits, all of which is in good order, make it look far more expensive than it is. There's a surprising amount of room in the coupe's bright interior. Brown leatherette upholstery has a very 1940s look and the patterns are simple and unpretentious. Matching door panels, tan carpets, and a correct headliner give it an authentic look. The instrument panel has a large, round speedometer and four smaller auxiliary gauges, all with a jaunty '40s font, and there's a matching clock in front of the passenger. Radios were still expensive options in 1946 and sadly this one doesn't work, but this car does carry an under-dash heater/defroster unit that should be quite effective. The steering wheel is in shockingly good condition, including the chrome horn ring, and the plastic center grille for the radio speaker is also in nice shape. The trunk is positively massive, with cardboard side panels and a full-sized spare tire assembly. But the real reason these cars are perennial favorites is the 239 cubic inch flathead V8 under the hood. It's rated at just 100 horsepower, but it feels like much more than that out on the road. Inhaling through the stock 2-barrel carburetor and oil bath air cleaner, it has a distinctive sound that Ford fans have loved for years. Twin coolant hoses from the cylinder heads give it a nice, symmetrical look and later flatheads like this have proven themselves for decades with unbeatable reliability. It remains quite stock and while it isn't detailed, it is instantly recognizable and there are a lot of recent parts, including all the usual tune-up stuff. The 3-speed manual transmission with column-mounted shifter has well-chosen ratios to make the most of the V8s power band and the original banjo-style rear end hangs out back. The undercarriage is tidy if not detailed and it's always nice to see an old car riding on correct bias-ply tires for the right look, although these should probably be replaced if you're going to do any serious driving. Very affordably priced, this 1946 Mercury is one of those great old cars that will make you smile every time you fire it up. Call today!