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Saturday, August 20, 2016

Epic Journey In The 52 Mercury

Ok, it was only 28 miles round trip but it was the longest drive for me and the Merc since 1969 when the car was unofficially retired. I'd had hopes of taking the Merc to the local museum car show for quite a while but was not sure it would happen right up til the actual day. A week of damp and rainy weather left little hope. I didn't want to drive the rusty old car on muddy gravel roads.
The day dawned sunny and clear with a wind drying up the somewhat damp roads. I had a volunteer willing to drive the "new" Chevy II along as a support vehicle. Not everybody can drive a "three on the tree" nowadays.
I loaded up the Chevy's trunk with tools, spare gas, tow rope, and assorted other stuff for whatever possible problems might occur and we set out.
Is that 40+ year old fuel pump going to fail? Fall victim to that old flathead malady of vapour lock? Yes, I had a pail of water along for that problem too. Were the loose rear wheel bearing and whining rear axle going to pile up on the trip? That leak in the radiator going to get worse?
And how about the five gallon fuel tank? Enough to drive 13 miles surely?
With all the improvements to make it street legal I still had not got the "teapot" carburetor working as it should. It requires  judicious pumping of the gas pedal to accelerate without stalling. And you never know when the 14 year old tractor battery under the hood is going to give up the ghost. But keep the pedal down and the old flathead ran smooth and steady once up to speed. I watched that heat gauge pretty closely and it did run higher than I'd seen it on my short runs, but not enough to cause trouble.
The well used oversize Michelins rode pretty well with only a hint of wander in gravel. With no working speedometer I could only guess but found out later I'd been crusing around 50 mph a lot of the time. Not bad. Averaged over 15 mpg too which really surprised me.
At the destination we parked among the rest of the antiques and looked right at home. Although that nice shiny Fairlane beside me made the old Merc look a little weathered and worn.
 No, I did not win any of the people's choice awards and that was no surprise as there were a lot of very nicely restored cars and trucks there. Got a few comments on the very smooth idle of the old flathead V8.
The trip home was uneventful and the road was dry enough that I was getting a little dust in the interior through the various rust holes not yet patched.
For those that are not yet tired of viewing this old Mercury I have a few minutes of video uploaded at youtube showing the trip.
Meanwhile I have a bit  more summerfallow to finish, hay to rake and bale, and the last field of canola is almost ready to swath. Weather permitting, hopefully, all within the next 48 hours. 

4 comments:

  1. Your description makes it sound like only the grace of God holds the poor thing together! lol

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  2. Ok, I'll go out and put the Studebaker on the battery charger...

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    Replies
    1. Great! Just be sure to video it. Inquiring minds want to see it I'm sure.

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