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Titus Motor Company Ford Sales and Service Tacoma Washington

This installment is the last post in the series covering the Titus Motor Company and the Titus Manufacturing Company. Today we end up with the lead image of the service department above and an overall view of the building below.

The Motor Company opened in 1938, and the lead photo contains a 1939 Mercury sedan in the shop having its headlight alignment checked. In the picture below taken during the 1940 model run the showroom on the left is filled with the then current models and on the far-right are the service entrance and the service department.

Share with us what you find of interest in these photographs courtesy of the Tacoma Public Library.


18 responses to “Titus Motor Company Ford Sales and Service Tacoma Washington

    • Mercury marketing and sales terminology did not use “Fordor” or “Tudor” in the U.S. product sales literature. This model is referred to as the “Town Sedan”. The 2 door model was simply “Sedan”.

      All Mercurys were 4″ longer wheel base than Ford stock models. 116″ vs. 112″ in 1939-1941, The ’42-’48 models were 118″ vs. 114″. This was accomplished in front of the cowl so that running gear could be shared easily with the Fords. Mercurys came with longer frames as a result (frontal extensio) and front clip extended further out. This gave a bit more “ride” comfort. Mercurys also came stock with “taller” ratio rear axle gearing of 3.54:1 compared to Ford stock ratio of 3.78:1. The Mercury gave excellent fuel economy and less engine roar at cruising speed and no special transmission gear ratios were needed or available.

      Dealers were authorized to sell and install (could not factory order) Columbia two speed overdrive axles for both Ford and Mercury except not for 1942 models (new wider track width in 1942 and Columbia was already making only truck and military axles then). Columbia came out with new version post war for 1946-1948 for Ford/Mercury dealer sales and installtion.

      The new 1939 Mercury club coupe (with a roofline allowing comfortable full head and leg room rear seating), was called a “Sedan-Coupe”, and was not available in Ford bodies again until 1941. The Mercury Sedan-Coupe had full surround bright metal (stainless) side window frame trim directly onto the glass just like the convertible club coupe. It had a narrow B pillar, so it was not a “hardtop convertible”. The side window trim and rear quarter windows were borrowed directly from the Mercury convertible coupe.

      The first year ’39 Mercs shared no body panels, hood, doors, rear deck lid, or fenders with the Fords. (no field upgrading by shade-tree body shops). That changed for 1940 to better suit mass production, so the body shells (only) were same in both Ford and Mercury through 1948. Hoods and all fenders were still different. Most trim (interior and exterior), instrument panels, gauges, steering wheels, columns were totally different since it was so cosmetic and helped to identify with the customer’s visual taste.

      There wasn’t a short door coupe (so-called 3 window) until 1941 and 1942 (only). It WAS NEVER referred to as a Busiiness Coupe, since that inferred a low end trim level as with a Ford similar model. All Mercurys were one level of trim (hligher than Ford Deluxe models). The Mercury near equivalent 3W coupe (only available in 1941 and 1942) was known as a “Three Passenger Coupe” and they did not come with a package tray, just upholstered rear compartment sides and floor with no optional seating. They are rarest and possibly best looking of all Mercury coupes with less than 1,000 made each of only two years. The body shell and doors (only) were the same as Ford 3W coupe.

      Mercury V8s were the 239 24 stud block version adapted from the optional 1939 “239” heavy duty truck engine for Mercury passenger cars with variations in cylinder heads to increase HP slightly. The cylinders were 3-3/16″bore x 3-3/4″ stroke. The Ford passenger car V8s were 221 cu. in. with 3-1/16″ bore x 3-3/4″ stroke bore with sleeved construction. Best of the lot were model 29A engines for the 1942 Mercs. Connecting rods were the beefy 29A forged type. Stock heads are clearly marked “29AL” and “29AR”. Blocks were factory “relieved” at valve area (same as truck blocks).

  1. They sure marketed the heck out of that V8 engine – I see at least four logos for it in the various windows, and only one sign for Mercury.

    The grill on the Mercury 99A (and the next year’s 09A) always looks odd to me, because it’s so low.

  2. The 1939 Mercury was a hit and the five passenger coupe was said to be the first “hardtop”. The last sedan in the second picture must be “deluxe” with white wall tires and an accessory front bumper guard. The Mercury engine was prized for years by hot rodders for its increased horsepower with plenty of speed equipment available.
    The 1940 convertible was very handsome with the top down but not when up, as with the 1940 Ford. The flathead Ford era is long gone but a great time for those of us of a certain age.

  3. Very neat photos ! I now have a renewal of sellers remorse however, that big FORD oval sign out front…. I had one identical to that, it completely filled the back of my truck when I took it home. We sold it a few years later to a really good friend that just kept showing me more “Benjamins”, ha ! Thanks so much for all your wonderful stories and photos David, and you’re not late to me here in Hawaii, I just got up !

  4. The dealership structure is rather ornate, and almost has an ‘old english’ look to it! I wonder if this building still exists?

  5. The clock in the first photo reads 7:10, so the photo shoot was probably before or after normal service hours.

  6. The Mercury on the right in the second photo looks like the same one having its headlights checked. The whitewall tires, distinctive accessory lights and bumper guard set it apart. Also the radio antenna above the windshield.


  7. I had a 1940 oldsmobile “60” 4 door. Optional WW tires were WW on both sides (6;00-16 OR 6:50-16) eight cylinder cars, “90” had 7:00-15 and WW only on one side.

  8. It looks like the service tech on the right is indicating to the owner that his car has “passed” the braking balance test. (And not just because he didn’t crash into the headlight aligner.) A similar brake testing device was featured a few months ago set up on some town’s main drag for a safety inspection.

  9. The 39 Merc. was the last year for Ford’s “aero-dynamic recessed” headlamps and steering column mounted headlight switch. The 6 Volt bulbs were the flanged, ( pre-focused type) in parabolic reflectors behind the lens . The “pitch” and “yaw ” of each lamp was done by 2 adjusting screws on the lamp’s chrome bezel . The Electrical Technician is posed behind the white with black marked lines for Beam(s) alignment. Sealed beams were next year, as was a lo-hi beam switch on the floor,— and a dashboard mounted headlight switch . The Westinghouse (Main) Sealed Beam plant was in Fairmont , West Virginia.

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