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Lot 834: Mercury Custom 8-Passenger Station Wagon

The Dingman Collection 2012, RM Auctions (9 June 2012)

SERIES 2M. 125 bhp, 255.4 cu. in. L-head V-8 engine, three-speed manual transmission with overdrive, coil spring independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 118"

Ford, Mercury, and Lincoln all received new bodies for 1952. Stronger chassis frames supported the new bodies and all models had advanced features, like suspended pedals and curved single pane windshields. Like Ford, however, Mercury held over its L-head V-8, which was the only available powerplant. Although it had the same displacement as in 1951, it was more powerful, thanks to higher compression. A Merc-O-Matic transmission was optional and very popular, with nearly half the production equipped with one. Of the cars with three-speed manual transmission, only about a third, or one-sixth of production, had optional overdrive.

There had been plans for ball joint front suspension and overhead valve engines for all Ford Motor Company 1952 cars, but in the end, only Lincoln got them. Ford and Mercury adapted their old suspensions and engines to the new chassis. The new engines and suspension did not appear until 1954.

Mercury had never had series designations, but for 1952, a line with upscale Monterey trim was adopted, comprising a four-door sedan, a hardtop coupe, and a convertible. A basic Custom Series offered two- and four-door sedans, a hardtop sport coupe, and two station wagon models.

With Iron Mountain closed, all wagons were now built at the Rouge plant in Dearborn, Michigan and were all steel. In the Ford line, only the prestigious Country Squire had any wood, and that was simply ornamental. Varnished maple from the Ionia-Mitchell Company outlined a side accent of DI-NOC imitation wood grain. The Country Squire was part of the upscale Crestline series and had seating for eight, the rear cushions folding to form a long flat cargo area. The middle seat was split asymmetrically to facilitate access to the rear.

Like Ford, Mercury's station wagon bodies were constructed entirely of steel. Unlike Ford, however, only a four-door model was available, with seats for either six or eight. Both wagons came with the decorative maple side trim and DI-NOC wood grain. Where Ford had a dogleg wood accent on the rear wheelhouse, Mercury used stainless trim from the sedan. After construction at the Rouge plant, the bodies were shipped to their respective assembly plants. This car was assembled in Los Angeles.

Completely restored in 2008 for former owner Mario Duhon of Baltimore, this 1952 Mercury Custom station wagon is one of 2,478 built that year, completed on October 20, 1951. The restoration was meticulously performed by Hot Rods & Custom Stuff, of Escondido, California, and finished in 2006 at a cost of some $200,000. Copies of the receipts are available. It is painted Hillcrest Green, and the paint is flawless, exhibiting a deep shine. All brightwork is of exceptional quality, and the glass is excellent and etched with correct script. The interior is done in tan and brown vinyl, in the correct patterns, with brown carpet on the floor. Mercury's instrument panel was aircraft-inspired, with gauges housed in a binnacle directly before the driver, flanked by slider controls for heating and ventilation. This car is equipped with a push-button AM radio, a fresh-air heater, and a Borg electric clock. The flathead V-8 engine is correctly detailed and mated to Mercury's Touch-O-Matic overdrive transmission, a rare combination that gives excellent performance with effortless highway cruising.

Acquired by the Dingman Collection in March 2010, the car has been carefully treated and meticulously maintained. Current mileage showing is about 85,000. The car is accompanied by a dossier of documents and photographs. With their low initial production, the population of surviving 1952 Mercury station wagons is necessarily small. This one is certainly one of the very best.

Lot Details
Auction The Dingman Collection 2012
RM Auctions, Hampton, New Hampshire
TypeCar
Lot Number834
Estimate$70000-$90000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price$110000
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Year1952
Condition rating0
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis number52LA33972M
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors4