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The Sportsman was an automobile made by Mercury in 1946.

The Mercury Sportsman was a grand idea, but being a woody ­convertible and being sold in a fragile post-war economy, it did not sell well.

Most Detroit automakers didn't bother with new designs right after World War II instead they sold reworked 1942 model cars. Some companies thought they could do even better business by offering something that rivals didn't such as a convertible with structural wood bodywork.

Chrysler had glamorized the woody wagon with its pre-war Town & Countrys, and this likely inspired off-and-on thoughts of woody convertibles during the war at Ford Motor Company. Many ideas were floated, but only the Mercury Sportsman and a similar Ford Super DeLuxe model made it to showrooms.

Both Sportsmans wore solid maple or yellow birch framing and mahogany insert panels. The framing was not only structural at the rear, but beautifully mitred and varnished to lend a welcome touch of class to the familiar 1942 styling. Otherwise, the Sportsman was like any other '46 Merc: 118-inch wheelbase, antique transverse leaf springs at each end, 239 flathead V-8 with 100 horsepower, and rather busy "big Ford" looks. Trouble was, the Sportsman's wood required lots of hand finishing, and that made for a steep price: $2209, nearly $500 more than Mercury's all-steel ragtop and $200 more than the Ford Sportsman. That was a tough sell, so Mercury moved just 205 Sportsmans, too few to justify continuing the model beyond this one year.

Somewhat better sales gave Ford's Sportsman a three-year run: 1209 copies for 1946, 2250 for 1947, and just 28 for the abbreviated 1948 model year. But whether Mercury or Ford, these convertibles are highly valued today, not only as rarities but for their unique elegance. At a time when dark clouds hovered over the future of Ford Motor Company, the Sportsman provided a hopeful ray of sunshine.