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Lot 47 1947 Mercury Series 79M Marmon-Herrington 4x4 Station Wagon OFFERED WITHOUT RESERVE
Selling on Saturday
From the Steelewood Collection
CHASSIS NO: 799A1745612
• Rare opportunity to acquire a hard-to-find prize-winning automobile • One of only six known to exist • Marvelous frame-off restoration completed by Nick Alexander • Pioneering four-wheel drive technology
When one thinks of vintage four-wheel drive automobiles, their first thought is usually a Willys or a Jeep, but long before either of those two came rolling onto the scene, Marmon-Herrington of Indianapolis, Indiana had been producing four-wheel-drive vehicles since 1931. Walter C. Marmon and Arthur W. Herrington took over the old Duesenberg assembly plant and first began fulfilling contracts to build 4x4 and 6x6 trucks for the military. Arthur Herrington was a pioneer when it came to mechanical engineering and was able to construct and patent a vibration-free U-joint that made all-wheel drive practical. Years later, the pair converted Ford vehicles to their patented all-wheel drive systems. Complete Ford and Mercury vehicles would be delivered to the Indianapolis plant, where the body and powertrain were removed then refitted with their four-wheel-drive conversion kits. Within the conversion kit was a four-speed manual truck transmission, 11-inch clutch, a heavy-duty transfer case to allow for on-demand engagement of the front axle, and a reinforced chassis. The plan was received with open arms by Ford, which agreed to market the converted trucks through their dealers. The vehicles sold through the Ford dealers were set at twice the price of the production standard-drive wagons. Almost all hand-built, Marmon-Herrington’s conversion rates were slow and resulted in a small output. Between the slow production rate and high markup, few Marmon-Herrington’s made their way into the public’s hands. None of Marmon-Herrington’s factory production records survived, so the exact number of how many were converted is unknown. Today only six are known to exist and, of those six, just three are Mercurys - a 1946, a 1947, and a 1948. Their rarity cannot be overstated.
Reigning as one of the rarest automobiles coming from the Steelewood Collection is this 1947 Mercury Series 79M Marmon-Herrington 4x4, the only one known to exist, likely making it the only surviving example of its extremely rare breed. When the current owner acquired this vehicle, he knew the restoration could not be completed by just anyone, so he sent it to southern California to have Nick Alexander, a noted woodie expert, perform one of the finest frame-off restorations of this type of vehicle. The outside was painted in Parrot Green that combines nicely with the varnished maple and mahogany wood panels, creating a crisp and stunning appearance. All the chrome work was replated and glimmers beautifully and all the badging has been correctly placed. Like the previous year’s model, the ‘47 model featured a grille that had eight vertical chrome “comb” boxes, with four on each side of the hood. Difficult to find original Ford script glass side windows were sourced for originality and authenticity. The raised stance is credited to the Marmon-Herrington conversion and aggressive size of the omnidirectional blackwall tires.
The inside is fitted with genuine soft and supple leather on all three rows with plenty of room for the driver and seven passengers and the entire interior has been meticulously restored to its factory-correct appearance. During the Marmon-Herrington conversion, a four on the floor manual transmission was added, replacing the factory three-speed on the column. The factory gauges, radio, and heater have also been restored and are in working order. This wagon runs and drives very well, as the original 239-cubic-inch V-8 engine was completely gone through and restored. Other than the new battery, the engine features the factory-correct parts, a bonus for any show it enters.
While this Mercury Marmon-Herrington has yet to garner any show history, the few Marmon-Herrington wagons that have entered the show stage have won some of the most prestigious awards achievable. Woodie wagons in pristine form are known to be valuable, but Marmon-Herringtons such as this take it to a whole new level due to their pioneering 4x4 technology, beautiful looks, and rarity. Quite possibly the only one left of its kind, acquiring this rare and highly sought-after 1947 Mercury Series 79M Marmon-Herrington 4x4 Station Wagon just might be a once in a lifetime opportunity.