Monday, March 12
Very Rare 1923 Chevrolet Superior Mercury Body Sportabout
'Mercury Body Corporation of Lexington, Kentucky was organized in early 1920 and submitted a speedster body design to the US patent office which was approved in November of that year. The sleek prototype speedster was well received and the firm was capitalized with an announcement that production of five bodies per day would commence on September 1st, 1920 in the firm’s Cincinnati, Ohio manufacturing facility. They also planned on producing a “closed body for winter use”. Plans for the Cincinnati plant fell through and in early 1921 a new factory was located in Louisville, Kentucky.
In 1921 a western sales branch was established in Los Angeles. Organized as Pulliam & Pulliam Motor West, announced that the firm was Los Angeles latest entry in the growing automotive manufacturing field. Period advertising stated that Pulliam & Pulliam were the manufacturers of the Mercury Sport Body:
“IT’S A FORD! WITH A PULLIAM & PULLIAM MERCURY SPORT BODY!”
In 1923 Pulliam & Pulliam sponsored Frank Gegoux and his Mercury Speedster "Desert Pal", in a record-breaking 7-day trip from Los Angeles to New York.
Mercury’s two-passenger speedster body was originally designed for the Ford Model T chassis, but in 1923 they introduced a slightly modified version for use on Chevrolet 490 or Superior chassis. Although McCormick’s original design did not include any doors, the firm's Super Sportabout line included a passenger side door in response to customer requests. Mercury’s products were sold either direct or via regional Ford and Chevrolet dealers in the Untied States and Canada.
Over time, the demand for Mercury’s Speedster body declined and the firm turned to producing commercial bodies.
The firm was sold and reorganized in 1926 as the Jackson Body Company, but soon after withdrew from buisness.
DETAILS ABOUT THIS SPECIFIC CAR...
As detailed above, the majority of these bodies were manufactured in small numbers for the Ford Model T. It was not until late in the company’s existence that they began to make these bodies for Chevrolets.
This body is one specifically designed for a Chevrolet and has not been adapted from a Model T body. The main differences between this body, and those made for the Model T, is that this is a full-fendered car making it a “sportabout” rather than a “speedster”. This body was designed specifically for the Chevrolet exterior body parts (hood, fenders, etc.) and includes a single “suicide” door on the passenger side. The car also was also designed specifically for Chevrolet interior features such as gauges, steering, etc. This mercury body sportabout is one of only three known to exist in the world that was originally sold specifically for a Chevrolet Superior Chassis.
Because the 1923 through 1926 4 cylinder Chevys transformed into these Mercury Body Sportabouts and how rare they are explains the reason for inclusion here. It is my understanding that this car was purchased in 1923 at a Chevrolet dealer in Los Angeles and never left the area. This is supported by the fact that the car was complete and in excellent, rust free, condition when purchased from him in 1990.'
'There are very few Mercury Body cars that still exist, the majoirty of which are speedsters made to fit on a Ford Model "T" frame. This Chevrolet Mercury Sportabout is much more rare, one of only three known still to exist that was manufactured to specifcially sold as a Chevy. One of the others in partially restored in the Northwest, and the other was purchased by Chevrolet for their collection several years ago and is stored in a warehouse.
This Chevrolet Mercury Sportabout has underwent a complete body off first class restoration to original condition. This car is mechanically perfect and a great driver.'