1940 Mercury Club Coupe

The 1940 Mercury Club Coupe was the brainchild of Edsel Ford, who had a reputation for good taste. See more classic car pictures.
2007 Publications International, Ltd.

The 1940 Mercury Club Coupe was envisioned by Edsel Ford, who is fondly remembered as a man of impeccable good taste. It was he who took credit, with designers John Tjaarda and E. T. "Bob" Gregorie, for the startling, aerodynamic 1936 Lincoln Zephyr.

Classic Cars Image Gallery

Edsel saw a gaping hole between the $700 Ford and $1,300 Zephyr, a gulf that was costing Ford millions in lost sales to Pontiac, Dodge, and the independents. Although Henry seemed unconcerned, Edsel knew Ford needed a "step-up" car.

The 1940 Mercury Club Coupe used strip-type instruments.
2007 Publications International, Ltd.

The "super deluxe" Ford arrived in late 1938 as the 1939 Mercury. It was named after the Roman god Mercury: messenger of the gods, god of commerce, manual skill, eloquence, and cleverness.

The engine introduced with Ford's latest remained in production through 1948, a 239-cid L-head V-8, slightly larger than Ford's 221-cid V-8/85, and -- at 95 bhp -- 12 percent more powerful.

Mercury's 116-inch wheelbase stretched four inches longer than Ford's, enough to add elegance to the styling and make the car look larger. The dash, aping Ford's, used strip-type instruments; both featured a column-mounted gearlever and (finally) hydraulic brakes. Mercury's 1940 styling looked Ford-like: a crisp, pointed nose; flush-mounted headlamps; and rounded lines that tapered to a beetle back.

The 1940 Mercury Club Coupe had multiple body styles, including the one shown here.
2007 Publications International, Ltd.

The five body styles were priced from $946 for a two-door sedan to $1,212 for the seldom-seen convertible sedan. One of the prettiest models offered was the five-passenger Club Coupe, or coupe-sedan. Its trim B-pillars and neat chrome moldings around the side windows almost predicted the hardtop, which became the rage in the late Forties.

For more information on cars, see: