Something about a Mercury

“It’s a Merc, you jerk…”  -- “Animal” Jim Feurer

One of the iconic racing brands involved in drag racing is the Mercury from Ford Motor Company. It began in the 1950’s when the Ford Flathead V-8 was the choice of many gearheads, who raced either on the salt and dirt of Bonneville and El Mirage, and the drag racers, who favored the Mercury block for building 300-inch “flatties” for their coupes and dragsters. 

The Mercury brand really became a force in drag racing in the Sixties when factory-backed doorslammers dominated the long-dead NHRA Factory Experimental classes. Mercury racecars, especially those of Jack Chrisman, are credited with starting up the class now referred to as Funny Car. Since the ‘60s the Mercury brand has continued to be a force in doorslammer racing in both the IHRA and NHRA Pro Stock and Pro Modified classes.

But after December of 2010 Ford Motor Company will no longer have a Mercury brand. It will go the way of other Detroit-built cars that were a big part of drag racing such as Pontiac and Oldsmobile.

So in honor of Mercury’s great drag racing history and contribution to the sport of drag racing we dug into the DRO archives and brought out a few photos of some of the Mercury racecars that have made a lasting impression on the sport of drag racing, its competitors, and the fans.
Jack Chrisman had series of fast nitro-burning, factory- backed, Mercury race cars. This topless ’64 Merc Comet is considered could be considered the for-runner of today’s Funny Cars. In 1966 Chrisman ran a 188 mph on a 100% nitro in this car which was bad fast for the era. (Tim Marshall photo)