1947-1949 Mercury

The 1947-1949 Mercurys changed little -- hardly surprising given it was a seller's market at the time. In fact, the early 1947s, introduced on February 19, 1947, were identical to the 1946s.

1947 Mercury Club convertible
The 1947 Mercury Club convertible was identifiable
from past models by the stainless strip along the
side of the hood.

Ford Motor Company vice president J. R. Davis, quoted by John A. Gunnell in 55 Years of Mercury, defended the lack of change: "So-called face-lifting, resulting in small appearance changes, is not necessary to designate a yearly model. It is up to the manufacturer to designate changes for the purposes of registering a car as a yearly model. We have done this so current buyers of Fords, Mercurys and Lincolns will get the benefit of 1947 titles."

It wasn't until April 3 that Lincoln-Mercury (and Ford) announced the "Spring Models" that are generally considered to be the "true" 1947s. The easiest way to identify them was by the stainless strip that ran along both sides of the hood. The 1946 strip extended nearly to the front of the hood, while the two strips of 1947 1/2-1948 extended barely half way forward of the cowl. The short forward piece carried the name "Mercury."

The upper grille frame was now chromed, eliminating the need for the three bright stripes at each outer end. Trunklid trim and bumper guards were mildly revised, and the hood ornament lost its red stripes. Hubcaps and instrument faces were slightly different, as well.

Actually, the biggest change was the price, up $150 on average from 1946. The Sportsman was gone, and the slow-selling two-door Sedan was eliminated after only 34 were produced for 1947.

The sole difference between the 1947 1/2 and the 1948 was that the ignition toggle switch was eliminated for 1948 on both the Ford and Mercury.

Model-year production for 1947 came in at 86,383 units (including the early 1947s). For the short 1948 model year (the all-new 1949 Mercury bowed in April 1948), it was 50,268. In each of these three years, about five times as many Fords were produced as Mercurys.

In reporting on the 1947 Ford and Mercury, McCahill found even better performance, but complained about corner-cutting on production costs. He noted, for example, that the Mercury no longer had a trip odometer, and it stinted on weather stripping and interior door trim.

He also pointed out that the 1947 Ford and Mercury engines remained the same -- but the rear axle was changed from 3.54:1 to the 3.78:1 of former years. It might be noted that the 1946-1948 Ford rode on 16-inch wheels, versus the Mercury's 15-inchers, for a slightly higher top speed, but the Mercury had marginally better pick-up.

1948 Mercury convertible
The 1948 Mercury convertible was little
changed from past models.

The rear-end change for both makes meant slightly faster acceleration at all speeds, superior hill climbing ability, but a loss of the "almost overdrive effect" and a higher revving engine at cruising speeds, which also meant a bit more wear. By this time, Mercury's extra weight over Ford was so little that it made no real difference in performance.

Said McCahill enthusiastically: "The '47 Fords and Mercurys have more pep than last year's cars and they are much better at hill climbing. Their top cruising speed is a little less than before, but there's nothing else around of similar price that can beat them... For every owner swearing at his Ford you'll find a thousand swearing by it."

Until 1949, J. Walter Thompson handled Lincoln and Mercury advertising. The Mercury campaign continued the strategy set forth by N. W. Ayer before World War II, implying that Mercury was a very different car than the Ford, which it really wasn't. The ad campaign proclaimed, "More of everything you want with Mercury," but the truth was that beginning in 1946 it didn't even have a horsepower advantage over Ford. This was the time of Ford's landmark campaign, "There's a Ford in your Future," with whimsical cartoons that used cartoon animals.

1947 Mercury Monarch Sedan-Coupe
The 1947 Mercury Monarch Sedan-Coupe
enjoyed advertising that differentiated it
from Ford, yet it was virtually alike.

Mercury advertising didn't take the product so lightly. Instead, it promised endless happiness on the open road, with the emphasis on "more": "In style...performance...beauty...comfort -- there's more of everything you want with Mercury."

What those grinning simpletons riding along smugly in the Mercury ads didn't realize was that the biggest more was the price they paid to have a Mercury name and grille on their Ford. But that's ad revving, folks.

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