Named after the Roman god known for his speed and fashionable winged sandals, this particular car brand is the brain child of Ford Motor Company that was looking for a car brand to fill the gap between Ford and Lincoln as far as price went. These cars would also be stylish and elegant but would be cheaper and more economical.
The name Mercury actually seems to be of good augury, considering that the main line of activity of the Roman god Mercury was commerce. So you could say that in giving this name to the brand, Ford was trying to appease the gods and make it big in the car business.
The first design, of course made by Ford's development department, was the Mercury Eight or the Super Ford, which had a 95hp engine and a design that was hailed as being the most aerodynamic of its time. This was the first car which was first designed using a clay model. From 1930 when it was first launched and up until 1938, production already reached 17,000 units.
This radical increase in production was the result of an unexpected rise in demand, so much so in fact, that by 1940, Ford was struggling to keep up. Figures reached the 155,000 mark. But pretty soon things were going to come to a screeching halt due to WWII, during 1942 and 1945.
In 1946, production resumed but with a slightly modified version of the 1942 model Eight. By 1950, there were 1 million Mercurys rolling on the roads. It was now time to push things forward from an innovative point of view, and this is why Mercury launched its first automatic transmission, the Merc-O-Matic on all its models starting with 1951. Cars also underwent a few stylish changes, like "frenched” headlamps with sheet metal surround or behind grille, airfoil bumpers, jet scoop hoods and instrument gauges aviation style.
During the mid 50s, Mercury cars were just about the wickedest things on the road, and a testament of that is the fact that a customized Mercury was featured in the movie "Rebel Without a Cause” starring James Dean. Towards the end of the decade, Mercury also entered the racetrack circuit.
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