The key to the Mercury’s emblematic stature is, of course, the altered aspect—i.e., it’s chopped top. Many have attempted this massive maneuver; many have failed.
Ain’t nothin’ worse than a bad haircut, whether follicular or metallurgical. That’s what rodder Bill Springer found out when rescuing a ’49 Merc with a bad chop.
Many a ’49-’51 Mercs have gone AWOL when a builder wound up over their head trying to get a chop right. Nailing the proportions from every angle is tough and even harder when starting with someone else’s mistakes. That was the conundrum for Riverside, CA based builder Matt Townsend when Springer dropped off this ’49 rescued from the automotive barber shop from hell.
After the bones of the car were shored up, the guys delicately laid on some jewelry without goin’ all David Lee Roth. The body is smoothed and shaved with frenched headlights, DeSoto grille teeth and handmade tail lights molded into the rear bumper guards.Power is provided via a small-block Chevy 350/Turbo 350 automatic and a slush box and rolls on Fatman suspension bits, Firestone airbag system and Caddy hubcaps and wide whites. Nothing fancy—aside from the detailing, that is—but everything does just what it’s intended to do … regularly and reliably. Inside, the oxblood and cream interior stitched by Dan Miller is thankfully more deco than billet. Be sure and check out the VERY cool door panels and court jester hat shifter knob. The best part is this ’49 was sorted out and saved. Kudos to Springer and his cast of characters for bringing this old Merc back to life.