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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Brand New: 1938

Brand New: 1938

November 23, 1938. Washington, D.C. "Ford Motor Co., Union Station." For the 1939 model year, Ford debuted a new brand called Mercury. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Dad's Merc

First car I remember was my dad's black 1939 Mercury convertible. Kept it through the war years and wouldn't put the top down for fear that it would crack or tear. Wish I had that car now.

Also went with my dad to see the locomotive that crashed through the Station floor in 1953. Brakes failed and it would only stop when it crashed through the floor.

Looks more like

Paul Newman than Paul Newman does. I still can't get over the locomotive weighing 90 times an automobile of that day.

The Runaway Federal!

This photo was taken about 100 feet from the place (Track 16) where the runaway train #173 crashed through the gates shown in the background and proceeded to fall through the concourse floor on January 15, 1953. The 477,000-pound locomotive was cut into sections, removed from the basement and reassembled! I was in this area in 1970 before any major renovations, and you could plainly see where the floor had been repaired.

Tudor Fordor

Ford continued with that Tudor/Fordor business up until the early 1950s, so they must have thought it had some marketing value. As a car-crazy kid, already in my precocity aware of the true meaning of "Tudor," I thought it was incredibly lame.

[The name cried out for a half-timbered station wagon. - Dave]

Do they take rubles for

The Ford Fordor Dostoyevsky?

Newman's own

The guy in the middle with his hands in his pockets looks just like Paul Newman.


The car in the middle of the dismal Aliquippa winter pic

is a '39 Merc. Recognizable immediately from the rear by its weird sideways-pointing taillights. No car before or since had them.

I like the ForDor!

Never seen a sign for a "fordor" car "befor" - so now I see that there is a sedan with tudor, and the fordor with four. Nothng to do with Mordor I trust.

is a fordor with mordors a fivedor?

Sweet shape, anyway,


Grandpa had one

Check out some of the photos I submitted, mostly the ones from Yosemite Park, plus a different one my grandma is leaning on. Really awesome cars.

Crazy 'bout a Mercury

Well if i had money
Tell you what I'd do
I'd go downtown and buy a Mercury or two
Crazy 'bout a Mercury
Lord I'm crazy 'bout a Mercury
I'm gonna buy me a Mercury
And cruise it up and down the road

I'll take the Merc!

In marooon, please. With whitewalls!!

My dad was a real car buff, and he used to talk a lot about these big cars. I'm sure he would've loved to see one of these parked in his garage! (and me, too!) He used to tell me that his first car was precisely a Mercury, vintage 1946 or 1947, bought used in the late '50s, after he married my mom. Pretty much the same body shell as these, but with different grille. It's great seeing how they looked when new, definitely attractive cars!

That sign

Heck with the cars -- I'm really into that "restaurant" sign.

Strangely Empty

It looks like Union Station was under renovation when this display was mounted, it looks very empty at this point.

[There are more people (at least three more) than you might think in this time exposure. Similar to this seemingly depopulated photo of the same space. - Dave]


Hey, I'm an old-timer, but I can't imagine driving a car without outside rear-view mirrors!

Now That's a Beauty

Any juvenile lusting we boys have expressed for the feminine beauties that have appeared on Shorpy is nothing compared with our desire for that '39 Ford.

The Bowery Boys!

What is Huntz Hall looking at in the back seat of the Merc?

Shops there now

That area of Union Station is now filled with two levels of mall shops:

Mercury 8

Have you seen the most talked about
car in America?

(click to enlarge)

Preston and Eliot

I think I see Preston Tucker and Eliot Ness discussing the features of this Merc. See, they're right there in the middle of the two cars wearing the sharp suits and fedoras (and Tucker with an overcoat).

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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