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’42 Mercury Woodie Part II: The Big Score

by Dave on May 2, 2015

A couple of weeks ago Carl Bigg’s Mercury woodie came into the shop for a major transplant. If you read our last post, you’ll remember that both the engine and transmission had issues: near-terminal cracks in the block, missing teeth throughout the transmission, etc. While the woodie had lived a long and hearty life, a revitalization was overdue. We set out to hunt down a rebuildable block, and tore into the transmission:

We ordered a new cluster, first and second gear, and a reverse idler, along with all the attendant bearings, bushings, thrust washers and other components we’d need for a full rebuild. By machining a thrust washer shim and massaging the rear bearing retainer we were able to save the case.

We cleaned and detailed all the parts, loaded them in and out of the case (about a dozen times) until we got our tolerances, then buttoned everything up:

Meanwhile, we began hunting down parts for the motor. Offenhauser 2X2 intakes allow a front-mounted generator and can be run on progressive linkage. They also come polished, which was Carl’s preference. Flathead Jack had one on the shelf, along with a pair of polished Offy heads. An order was placed.
The woodie headed back to Carl’s home shop where he’s tackling the detailing of the engine bay. It was ready for some TLC:

The big score came a couple of days later. A year ago, Gary and I looked at a flathead a guy had for sale locally. It had been stripped, machined, and balanced back in 1998, then never assembled. We just wanted the block, but the owner wanted to sell it as a complete package with crank, cam, valves, springs, forged pistons, bearings, etc — all U.S.-made. It would be perfect for Carl, but neither of us could remember the guy’s name. We’d lost his phone number, and we only had a vague recollection of where he even lived.

On a whim, I climbed into the truck and went out searching. I was hoping that if I drove by his place, I might remember it. To make a long story short, I found the house, the guy was home, the flathead was still available, and it’s now in our shop. Check back in, we’ll keep you updated.


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