1954 Mercury XM-800
Mercury XM-800, 1954 - Interior
Images: www.sharonhollow.com; RM Auctions
1954 XM-800 was presented at Detroit Automobile show. The body was made of fiberglass, and the car was 5 inch wider than the regular 1954 production model. The interior offered four bucket seats, separated with stationary armrests.
Mercury’s fabulous XM-800 dream car was a true glimpse into future automotive designs. It was lower, wider and longer than any previous Mercury. Though the XM-800 did not see production, its profile, forward-slanted hooded headlights, covered front wheels and slender, canted taillight rear bumper/exhaust combo were reinterpreted onto the 1956 Lincoln. The XM-800’s styling also featured a concave front grille, wide wrap around windshield, and flush type door handles. Both exterior and interior were finished in pearlescent white and copper tones. For passenger comfort, the individual-contoured seats had stationary armrests, and contained controls for various functions.
A Ford Motor concept car. Designed in the Mercury pre-production studio by John Najjar (studio manager) and Elwood Engle (consultant assigned to Ford by George Walker"s design firm). Built for Ford by Creative Industries, Detroit, it was first shown to the public at the 1954 Detroit Auto Show.
Promoted as an "advanced design, engineered to go into volume production" , Benson Ford proposed building the XM 800 as a second Mercury car line, something to compete with Buick, Oldsmobile and Pontiac offerings. Plans were scrapped when the Davis committee recommended making Mercury into a distinct mid-sized car produced by a separate Mercury division and when a second new division was set up producing what became the Edsel.
The XM 800 traveled the auto show circuit through out the 1954 season. It made a brief appearance in the 1954 20th Century Fox film - Woman"s World, starring Clifton Webb, Van Heflin, Cornel Wilde, Fred MacMurray, June Allyson and Lauren Bacall. The car was also immortalized as what has become one of the most sought after automotive cereal box premiums from the 1950s. A small scale model of the car, produced by the F & F Mold Company, was offered in boxes of Post"s Grape Nuts Flakes.
In 1957 Ford Motor Company gifted the XM 800 to the University of Michigan"s Automotive Engineering Lab for use in training "future" automotive engineers. Later sold at auction, its whereabouts were unknown for many years. In the early 1980s Dan Brooks discovered the XM 800 in a farmer"s barnyard in a small rural town about 50 miles west of Detroit. The car is currently in the Bortz Dream Car Collection.