Curbside Classic: 1942 Mercury Woody Wagon: An American Icon

Why did Alphonse ever sell this car?

I started my personal blog three years ago this month just after moving to the greater Daytona Beach area. On it I have a series called “What I Saw Today” and have posted over a hundred posts in that category. By and large, they are about something automotive related I saw that day. Kind of like a Curbside Classic mini version, but not nearly as entertaining. The one vehicle that sticks out in my mind over the last three years was a  1942 Mercury Woody Wagon my nephew spotted one day while we were out cruising around. The above shot is of my Mom sitting on the hood of her dad’s woody back in 1941. I’m pretty sure Dad married my Mom just to get closer to that wagon.

Anyway, I came up with a fictional, but factual, short story about the Woody wagon the Kid and I spotted and I thought I would share it with my fellow Curb Dwellers. I hope you find it enjoyable.

Imagine, if you will, it is 1941.

The Japanese have bombed Pearl Harbor, Franklin Roosevelt has declared War and orders the War Department to gear up for entry into the Second World War in three decades.

In 1939, you were lucky enough to have landed a job selling a material that separates fuel and water in ocean going watercraft and landed your firm a contract to supply this material to the War Department. Your salary in 1939 was $13,000.00, including commissions. By 1941, your salary and commissions was $82,000.00, with even more expected in the years ahead. The average teacher made $1,800.00 that year, an executive with the North Carolina government made $13,000.00 and Satchel Paige made $40,000.00.

You now have a serious dilemma. What automobile to purchase to get the family to that newly acquired beach house? You have a limited choice, due to the auto industry converting all of their factories to military vehicle production, and with your current salary, a used car just won’t due.

Do you want a Chrysler Town and Country Woodie Wagon? Nah, that is coach built with ash and mahogany from Pekin Wood Products in Helena, Arkansas.

You want something even more desirable stumbled upon this at a lowly Mercury dealer:

A 1942 Mercury Woodie Wagon. Only 792 produced and at a price of $2,955.00, you get the Deluxe, the top of the line at the time. The average price of an automobile in 1942 was $1,100.00. At the time, the only factory built woodie wagon, with timber from Ford’s own lands on Iron Mountain Hill on Lake Superior. Solid, strong, wood, durability grown in upstate Michigan

A four door, clam shell tailgated equipped, honest to God, woodie wagon with seating for 9.

Baby moons, beauty rings, deep maroone colored wheels matching the body color.

A vinyl roof and a mandatory luggage rack to carry all the items needed for a summer long stay at the Beach.

The air scoop to provide refreshing fresh air along the trip. A spot light to enhance the majestic natural views. The inbound turn signals, provided at the whim of an, unknown to you, automobile stylist.

To conserve metal, California provided you porcelain license plates for $17.00.

And, no flat six for you, you have to have the V8.

Optional clock and wing vents to add more fresh air.

The wood ribbed roof looking so much like narrow surfboards line the interior.

Maple door panels and chrome handles on the rear of the seats.

Streamline front grill with chome bumpers.

You love this automobile from all angles.

Rear mounted spare with Mercury scripted on the hub cap with Goodyear wide whites all the way around.

Just across Granada Boulevard from the Ormond Garage.

Mercury only made 792 of them in 1942, and as of 2004, there were reportedly only 10 left with just 3 of them restored, 2 of them in Southern California. One sold in 2000, at auction, for $75,000.00. That was 11 years ago.

This one is pristine. A couple paint issues, but just a beautiful longroof. Definitely the rarest vehicle I have ever seen on the street.  Although the Kid and I saw this woodie nearly two years ago, I still see it out and about being driven by a distinguished looking gentleman and he is always smoking a pipe.  I can’t wait to have the opportunity to speak with him.  Know that when I do, my fellow Curb Dwellers will be the first to hear about it.