Blame James Dean, Batman, Sam Barris or just plain good design but 49-51 Fords and Mercurys seem to have been gifted with a universal appeal few cars possess. When one gets turned into the quintessential lead sled like this 1951 Mercury, that appeal goes through the roof. The recipient of a comprehensive frame off restoration, this Merc features unbelievable paint and body work, a potent Ford V8 and a custom interior that most cars dream of having. With numerous awards including Koolest Kustom at Goodguys Ft. Worth, this ’51 easily navigates the line between awesome driver and crowd pleaser. If you’re in the market for a shoebox that delivers on every possible front, don’t miss out on this one.
When a car comes together as well as the Merc, it’s easy to take for granted just how much work went into the build. Starting out with an all original steel body, every piece was carefully crafted into the final product we have today. At the front, a nosed ’49 Mercury hood sits between a pair of ’49 Mercury fenders for a subtlety custom look. Up top, two and a half inches were removed from the roofline to create a sleeker profile. During the build, a new firewall, inner fenders, floor, rockers and rear quarters were also added to replace unusable original pieces. Once all those sheet metal modifications were blended and all panels were laser straight, the body was shot with an even coat of gloss black. The depth is unbelievable and all reflections are mirror like. Naturally, panel fitment is excellent as well with nearly perfect gaps all around.
In true hot-rodding tradition, the brightwork comes from a wide variety of cars. The front grille originally came off of a ’57 Buick and has been reworked to incorporate a 1949 Mercury centerpiece. Underneath that grille, three bumpers were used in the creation of the slick smoothed front bumper. At the corners, Buick headlights borrowed from a ’53 Skylark were frenched in for a modern look. Unlike many custom front ends, this one flows perfectly without making a fuss about how much work went into creating it. At the sides, Lincoln Zephyr push-button door openers replace the factory handles, offering the shaved look without losing functionality. Above the buttons, new tinted glass, rubber and window felt button up details many overlook. Under the rockers, decorative side pipes offers some nostalgic flair. Out back, the sloping trunk lid features a hand-painted white pinstripe framed by a pair of ’56 Packard taillights. To accommodate those taillights, the ends of the rear bumper were chopped approximately two inches on both sides. All modifications were obviously well-thought out and executed at the highest level possible.
Under the sleek hood, this sled remains Ford-powered thanks to a completely rebuilt 390cid V8. Under the trick dual scoop chrome air cleaner, a Demon 625 carburetor sends atomized fuel in a factory Ford intake that’s been powder coated silver. At the sides, cast iron heads are dressed with chrome Mercury valve covers. Below those valve covers, billet wire looms neatly route MSD spark plug wires from the distributor which is concealed under a Ford branded leather cover. At the front, a power coated water pump, chrome alternator, polished Sanden air conditioning compressor and fan all reside behind the five-core aluminum Griffin radiator. The engine breathes through cast iron exhaust manifolds that exhale into a true-dual exhaust system. Presentation is excellent with gobs of chrome right down to the bolts. Best of all, the 390 starts immediately, runs cool and gets a reported 15.5 miles per gallon at cruising speed.
Crawl underneath and you’ll find a clean chassis coated in durable Rhino Liner. Backing the 390 is a fully rebuilt C6 automatic transmission with braided steel lines and a 24” finned aluminum cooler for some functional style. From there, power is channeled to a Ford 9-inch rear housing 3.50 gears. The ground scraping stance comes courtesy of a double A-arms with coilovers up front and a 4-link with coilovers out back. When the roads get twisty, a rack and pinion setup reduces steering effort while power front disc brakes and rear drums handle stopping. If you’re looking for the brake booster in the those engine shots, you won’t find it – it’s been relocated to underneath the dash. At the corners, steel wheels are topped with hubcaps from a late 50s Dodge Lancer and wrapped in Coker wide white wall tires.
Press one of the Zephyr push buttons and you’ll find a jaw dropping white interior. A set of custom chrome door sill plates welcomes you inside while offering a place to tuck the edges of the fresh black carpet. Above them, restored bucket seats make room for driver and passenger alike. If those seats look familiar, they’re out of a 1964 Ford Galaxie. The rear window tray was extended approximately five inches to accommodate the Galaxie rear seat which still features its XL logo. The sweeping center console is also out of Galaxie and features tons of storage behind the shifter. Wrapped in chalk white naugahyde, Ford parts blend in seamlessly to the retro interior. All aluminum seat trim and garnish moldings have been chromed and show brilliantly. From the driver’s seat, a 1961 Cadillac steering wheel sits atop a chrome tilt steering column. Behind it, a surprisingly original dash painted body color houses Dakota Digital gauges and a host of modern amenities including controls for the under-dash air conditioning system. In the glove box, a Kenwood head unit with integrated satellite radio sends signal to updated speakers including a 10” sub hidden in the trunk. To the sides, custom door panels retain their vintage Mercury look, updated with the same white naugahyde. Up top, a white headliner is the final piece that rounds out this glowing cabin. Behind the backseat, the trunk features black carpeting and custom white panels that mirror the interior scheme. The battery is hidden behind one of the panels while a custom enclosure in the center conceals the gas filler neck.
Documentation for this car includes manuals for nearly every installed component. There is also a spec sheet that covers most of the modifications.
Amazing to look at, comfortable to ride in, fun to drive and built better than some modern luxury cars, this Merc is the total package in every way possible. If you’re ready to own the very definition of American cool, don’t miss out on this incredible 1951 Mercury. It won’t be here long.