The origins of Mercury are fraught with drama. If it had been up to Henry Ford, there would never have been a Mercury or Lincoln, only the Ford.
From its very inception in 1937, Henry Ford denied that the Mercury even existed. His only contribution to the marque was in finally allowing Edsel to go ahead with it. The reason for the car was obvious enough: To put something into the gnawing $500 gap between the Ford DeLuxe and the Lincoln Zephyr.
The original 1939 Mercury debuted on November 5, 1938, and shared Ford's antiquated transverse-spring suspension. However, the first Mercury frame wasn't quite the same as a Ford's because it was made more rigid and carried a four-inch longer wheelbase.
The engine was pure Ford flathead V-8, bored out from 221 cubic-inches to 239.4 to develop an additional 10 horsepower. However, the body was unique, sharing no panels with Ford, although design-wise the two were clearly related. Also unique to Mercury was the narrow B-pillared Club Coupe, arguably the forerunner of the hardtop body style.
Edsel Ford introduced the Mercy model in 1939. This Sport Convertible was mounted on a 116 inch wheelbase, weighs 2,995 pounds and sold for $1,018. It was powered by a 239.4 cubic inch V-8 engine that developed 95 horsepower.
The original engine in this model was redone in 2001 to three-quarter race specifications. The Isky cam, Eddie Meyer hi-rise dual intake manifold, high compression heads and Fenton headers have increased the performance to 140 horsepower.
The original restoration now has 19,000 miles as it is driven from Michigan to Florida, where it is housed in winter, and returns home to Michigan in spring.