“Special Bird’s Eye Job”
This 1942 Mercury is one of 825 originally produced prior to World War II, and is one of only seven 1942 Mercury Wagons know to remain. In February 1942, all automobile production was halted prematurely so that the Ford plants could be converted to weapon and airplane manufacturing facilities to support the war effort.
This particular car was manufactured in November 1941 for Mr. E. G. Kingsford by a special request of Henry Ford himself. Mr. Kingsford and Mr. Ford were business associates, friends and relatives by marriage, as Mr. Kingsford married Minnie, Ford’s cousin in 1921. Ford also changed the name of his charcoal company “Ford’s Charcoal” to “Kingsford Charcoal” in honor of his friend.
The feature on this car that Mr. Ford requested and is considered “special” is the all “bird’s eye” maple body that was custom built by the Ford woodworkers in Iron Mountain. In 1942, the factory only built one all “bird’s eye” Mercury. Normally, 4 or 5 were built in a model year for dignitaries and vice presidents, but because of the shortened production year, only one was built. The wood is all original except for the gumwood panels which had to be replaced because of damage. Locating gumwood panels alone is a story in itself. The original gumwood panels which were retained, have the words “Special Bird’s Eye Job” written on the inside skin.
The car was completed in September 2010, after a 1 ½ year restoration primarily done by Alexander Restoration with a bit of help from the owner. She drives wonderfully, not real fast, but that just extends the fun of driving her.
Owner: Kelly Owen