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Puyallup Motor Company: Rare 1947 Lincoln Mercury New Car Views

The Puyallup Motor Company was located at 202 Pioneer Avenue East and Second Street in Puyallup, Washington. The City is located ten miles southeast of Tacoma, the home of a number of automotive business’ we have covered recently. According to the book “Puyallup a Pioneer Paradise,” the Motor Company celebrated its grand opening in October of 1946. The building has not survived and was later replaced with other structures.

Today’s feature photos dated to the evening of July 19, 1947, by the source, contain views of the inside of the showroom and the outside of the moderne-styled building.

The 1947 Mercury “Eight” featuring a new grille and other smaller changes was a rehash of the pre-war 1942 and ’46 models, which are restyled chrome and stainless steel-laden versions of the all-new 1941 Merc. The 1941 to ’42 and 1946 to ’48 car’s used Ford Body shells to reduce production costs. All of these vehicles were based on a 118″w.b. chassis with a larger version of the Ford “Flathead” V-8 with a 239 c.i.d. engine producing 100-h.p. In addition to the standard three-speed transmission, 1942 and later models were available with the Mercury “Liquidmatic” automatic, a rebranded Ford unit.

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


28 responses to “Puyallup Motor Company: Rare 1947 Lincoln Mercury New Car Views

  1. Wonderful pictures. A couple of thoughts, please.

    1) Imagine how proud and excited they were that opening day.

    2) They don’t know it yet, but their socks will be knocked off when they get the 49 Mercury and 49 Lincolns.

    3) Wonderful to see the parts counter in the showroom. Great way to continue developing customer relationships.

  2. THESE photos are fascinating for me, being a HUGE art-deco and mid-century ‘moderne’ fan!! The gentle curve of the front glass is of a design we’ll probably never see again, unfortunately. I bet this showroom looked especially stunning when the “all new for `52” models came in!

    By `47, my dad told me he was STILL waiting for the chrome bumpers to arrive for his `46 Town & Country cvt. he had, and ended up trading it for what he paid in `46 for a new `47 WITH bumpers!! Go figure.

  3. As usual, a really interesting set of photos. A small point, the Liquimatic or Liqui-Matic transmission was only available in 1942. It was a resounding failure and nearly all were recalled and replaced with manual gearboxes. However, the Borg-Warner Overdrive was an available and useful option.

  4. Well, now I can correct my own mistake. I think the Overdrive was only available on the Lincoln in 1946-1948. Availability in the Mercury did not begin until 1949. Sorry I spoke too soon.

  5. ” `46 Town & Country cvt. he had, and ended up trading it for what he paid in `46 for a new `47 WITH bumpers!! Go figure.”

    I DID go figure -he paid sales taxes TWICE on two (2) new cars to get a pair of chrome bumpers ?


    • I wasn’t there obviously to know, but you’re probably right. All I know is, a whole model year goes by & no chrome bumpers yet. He was offered as much as he paid for the `46 since cars were still rather scarce, and took it. The sales tax angle? Seriously?? Hope your afternoon wasn’t consumed with that mystery…..

  6. I found Jon Lee’s comments about overdrive availability on Lincolns and Mercurys interesting. Our family had a 1947 Ford with overdrive. It was the first car I put many miles on and I well remember actuating the overdrive with a toggle switch on the dash, then pumping the clutch. To shift back down, you pumped the clutch again. A friend challenged me to see how fast the Ford would go in overdrive-low and we blew the clutch plate to smithereens. Anyhow, it seems odd that Ford would have the overdrive in 1947 but the up-market Mercury didn’t get it, along with that snazzy new body, until 1949

    • i think the overdrive you are referring to is the Colombia two speed rear end. The od ratio was in the rear axle and what little I know about I think it was an after market and /or dealer installed item. Perhaps some of the old Ford people can correct me or shed more light on this.

      • I think you’re right, Woody. I Googled ‘Columbia two-speed rear axle’ and one site that came up was for a June 2006 Hemmings magazine article. Not allowed to give you the URL here, but you should have no trouble finding it. Seems like it’s a lot like the two-speed drive axles still used on single axle trucks, though these days they got electric control instead of vacuum.

        • My dad and I were not exactly eye to eye in 1959 . I was 14 and I thought I was 34, and of course he was way too tough on me….or so I thought. He noticed that my favorite hobby was model cars. That was the sign for he too has been a car nut his whole life. He found a 1936 Ford five window coupe (a garage find). One of the neatest things we put in was a Columbia Two Speed axle. Over course of the decades that I spent with that marvelous coupe I think I talked about that Columbia more than any of the many other cool things he and I put in that hot-rod. There is not enough space he to totally give the insight on the Columbia—-all most like having a 6 speed transmission. Coupled with my Zephyr close ratio 3 speed tranny I got a lot of puzzled looks from the races when they thought I was maxed out in 3rd only to hear a drop in the reves and boom- one more gear! Those were the days my fiends.

  7. I know some people may will want to kill me after this comments but that Mercury coupe is the only Ford product I ever liked .I find all other models since Ford T´s till today so uggly… .

  8. I don’t share Jose’s taste in Ford products – to me, the ’49 Ford remains a timeless design – but in 1951, one of his favourite ’48 Mercs came within one position of roaring into history in the Carrera Panamericana. Here’s a brief account I wrote about it:

    In 1951, Ferrari showed up with two V12 Berlinettas, basically beefed up Formula 1 cars with Vignale bodies. Predictably, the purpose-built cars finished 1-2. In third place was a ’51 Chrysler with its brand-new Hemi V8 engine. Then, ahead of all the ohv V8 Cadillacs, Chryslers, Oldsmobiles and big-displacement LIncolns,, came a three-year-old Mercury coupe driven by Indy winner Troy Ruttman, with Clay Smith as co-driver. How did they do it?

    Smith, an acknowledged Ford wizard, chose well. No one knew flathead V8’s better than Clay Smith, who designed and sold his own range of racing camshafts. If Ruttman hadn’t caught a case of ‘Montezuma’s Revenge,’ they could have scored a podium finish.

  9. I recall the ’47 Mercury I learned to drive on had a locking steering column – the first and oldest I have ever encountered. It was a simple bolt that slid through the actual steering shaft, and was thrown by turning the “ignition” key one entire revolution. I say “ignition” because the starter was still button-operated…

  10. The 1948 Mercury was definitely not a good seller for the company as they only sold around 50,000 models that year compared to around 85,000 the two previous years. But the next year the car was a sensation, as the 1949 Mercury sold around 300,000 models and continued to average that amount for the next couple of years – which must have made a lot of dealers quite happy. I like the soap saddle shoes that the young girl is wearing. They were very common back then; but you have to wonder, what’s she doing at the desk of an auto dealership as she sure wasn’t about buying anything!

  11. My ’47 Ford had a steering lock and as far as I know, it had been a feature on Ford products since before the war. It was good for preventing thefts, but only if the thief had to turn a corner. As every Ford owner knew, you could short the ignition by placing a metal object – a coin would do – behind the ignition switch. Then hit the starter button and away you’d go, but only in a straight line.

  12. The COLUMBIA two speed REAR axle Overdrive was a Ford option up to 1948 on all Ford products, to my knowledge. It was on my Grandfather;s 1936 Ford. To my knowledge, (I do NOT know everything!) 1949 was the first Ford year for Borg Warner Overdrive (driveshaft installed ) directly behind the transmission. Most of all Overdrives are that type, then, and later on, because of ease of installation, repair, – and how simply it operates! Edwin W. NOTE: By adding a special switch & wires —“HILL Holder ” and 6 speeds forward , manually, are available — for you “Gear Heads” !!! (Not just: (high gear) Overdrive! Second gear Overdrive can be very handy in the mountains!

  13. Steering locks started on 1932 Fords. I always get a kick out of one of my favorite movies, Bonny and Clyde. Clyde picks up the hood on the 34 sedan does a short move then closes the hood and they drive off. As stated, you could short out the exposed the back of the switch a coin and start the engine but you are not going very far. To disable the steering lock you had to drill out the pin under the cylinder than remove it. There was a collar on the shaft the lock engaged, you could not force it by turning the steering wheel.

    Thanks for another very interesting edition of The Old Motor


  14. My grandfather bought a new ’47 Mercury 4-door in metallic ‘pea green’, as he called it. One of the prettiest cars I ever saw. I remember waxing the thing with Johnson’s Car Plate, one of the early wipe-on-wipe-off polishes.

  15. I guess the answer to my question would be: “Because we had to put those lights somewhere!” Sorry, but those are just completely unattractive….

  16. Interesting to me how much the two door Lincoln looks like my Volvo 544. The one i have was producee in 1961.

    I really enjoy these articles.


  17. The low production figure for the ’48 Mercury is not due to lack of popularity. The 1948 model year was only about 5 months long as the ’49 had a very early introduction (April 29, 1948). The 1949 model year lasted about 19 months rather than the usual 12, so that accounts for the very high production figures for ’49 (along with the popularity of the all-new model).

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