1957 Mercury Mercette 4-stroke Moped

1957 Mercury Mercette 4-stroke 50cc

MOT and tax. DVLA registered. In Running Order

The Mercette is one of the rarest British cyclemotors, and this example – believed one of only four to have survived – is in good original condition.

The paintwork is unrestored, an ‘oily rag.’ It starts and runs.







The thing that surprised me most about this motorcycle when I first saw it was how big it is. It’s bigger than all other 1950s mopeds I’ve come across, more like the size of a small motorcycle.

This one is in lovely original condition, oozing patina out of every crack and crevice.




Search for MERCURY MERCETTE on youtube

or use this link:





After the Earls Court Show in 1955, the Mercette became recorded in manufacturers’ lists from February 1956 but didn’t actually start arriving in showrooms till July, so most of the first sales season had been missed. This delay must be credited to engine supply.

The motor’s only identification was the mark of “Mercury Industries” moulded into the dipstick cap, but its true origin would not become apparent to the motor cycling public until April 1957 when the Hounslow perambulator manufacturer Dunkley announced their Whippet 60.

Dunkley built several kick-start variations on their little 4-stroke engine theme, but the pedal-start Mercette motor was uniquely made for Mercury, and few parts were compatible between the types.

Dunkley and Mercury seemed to share many common parts on their machines, petrol tanks, front forks, and even paint.  It was sometimes hard to tell where one company ended and the other began.

Mercette frame serials ran from 100 to 765 by October 1957, at which time Mercury were getting into trouble.  By the next month, the reduced workforce was on short time, and what resources the factory had in the ‘motorised division’ were probably being concentrated toward the new Pippin Scooter.

The Palace of Cards collapsed on March 1st 1958 and all production at Mercury ceased on this date.  With massive debts, Mercury Industries entered into voluntary liquidation on the 20th March.  The brief flight by the winged messenger of Roman Gods was over.

The buying public never did take to the Mercette, and who could blame them?  It was a user-unfriendly monstrosity that developed an unpleasant mechanical reputation for dropping its valve seats out of the cylinder head!

There is little evidence to suggest any more Mercettes were completed beyond the 665 October figure, and the four rare and invaluable survivors leave just a tiny window to glimpse back into the Lost World of Mercury.

Dunkley continued briefly, introducing their 49cc Popular Scooter in August 1958, followed by the 65cc Popular Major Scooter in December, but by spring of the next year had been taken over by M.G.Holdings, who also swallowed up Dayton Cycles, and in May transferred all production to the Park Royal site. This was probably no more than an exercise of building out acquisition stock, since the Dunkley range was dropped at the end of 1959, followed by Dayton models also going out of production after the 1960 season.

My favourite automotive journalist is Mark Daniels. He’s also a Mercury specialist. The above is extracted from an article he wrote called ‘The Lost World.’ You can read the complete article here:




Below, you can see some of the mo-peds on display at the 1956 Earls Court Show, including the Mercette. (The word mo-ped had only recently come into usage).

[If you print out both of the above pictures, you can join them together side by side]





As it says above: “BUY BRITISH AND BE PROUD OF IT”

Though in this case, I might add: ‘…but break down more often than if you had an NSU Quickly?’

Published on February 5, 2009 at 6:26 am  Leave a Comment  

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