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47 imgp4486Cars have always been built on a caste system where buyers could make a choice between basic rides and full-on luxury, depending upon the size of the customer’s check.

Most buyers chose baseline cars because of budget constraints, but some moved up to the next level.

Ford offered three model levels for its customers in 1947.

47 imgp2525Most people chose the Ford because they had already invested in large families. Some affluent buyers headed straight for the Lincoln models because money was less of an obstacle for them.

Sandwiched in between the Ford and Lincoln was the Mercury, a car which occupied the middle ground for buyers. The Mercs were a comfortable choice for buyers with a little extra disposable income- just not enough to buy a Lincoln.

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Dwayne Tester was the proud owner of a 1947 Mercury when he was 15 years old. His Merc was not new by any means, but it fit well within his meager teenaged budget at the time.

Unfortunately Dwayne’s first Merc also required a ton of work well beyond his financial means and skill set at 15.

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Dwayne took a different adolescent approach to the problem: he couldn’t fix it so he and his buddies shot it full of holes. Dwayne always regretted his decision and carried some guilt through his entire life.

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The car left a big impression on Dwayne and he wanted to make amends for the untimely end of his first car, so he began a long search for another 1947 Merc decades later in his life. He spotted a ’47 in great shape but the price was a little steep for Dwayne.

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Then he spotted the car again at the Portland Swap Meet and cut a deal with its owner. The Merc had undergone an extensive restoration with plenty of documentation and Dwayne knew he had to make a move on the car.

Dwayne described the car as a driver quality car. He had found a car right in the middle of his car quality scale where “top flight cars are too much money and low end cars are too much work”, in his opinion.

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Almost sounds like his financial assessment is similar to the Mercury’s position as the middle choice for Ford buyers in 1947.

Our assessment is a little more generous than Dwayne’s because his car is a winner in restoration builds. The Merc has a 260 small block engine and a full-synchro 3-on-the-tree manual tranny that Dwayne can drive at highway speeds all day.

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He started with short trips in his Merc to determine how it will perform on longer journeys because Dwayne loves to drive his cars. The car has new upholstery on the original seats and Dwayne describes them as “bouncy in a do your seatbelt up” kind of way.

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Dwayne also describes the interior color as “yellow Lab hair”, a choice not likely found in the Ford description of the hue back in ’47.

We are happy Dwayne was finally able to find a way to get rid of all that teenaged guilt when he bought his 1947 Mercury and are pretty confident he won’t shoot this one.

Jim Sutherland

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