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40's-50's built '39-40 Mercury Custom Cars

© see info on the photos. (Rik Hoving Kustoms)
1939 Mercury Convertible Padded Top

Does anybody know any history on this 1939 Mercury Convertible custom with Padded Top.
The car look ...more

s to be an early custom with a single Appleton Spotlight. Shortened side trim and chopped top with possibly a Carson or Hall padded top. Bumpers are 37 DeSoto with stock bumper guards and the taillights are stock 1939 Mercury units. So all in all this is a very mild custom probably built before or during WWII

If you have any information about this custom, please leave comment at one of the photos, or email me at

Album was created 10 years 8 months ago and modified 3 years 9 months ago
  • © see info on the photos. (Rik Hoving Kustoms)
    1940 Merc Conv '53 Buick headlights

    (2007)Lanny Pearson of Colorado bought the car before an auction in the '70's and owned it for quite ...more

    some time before it changed hands several times.

    The Rod Powell pictures were taken the day car arrived at his shop over 20 years ago.
    John Gimelli the owner had us re- chop the windshield to make the front header fit better. We straightened up some of the bodywork he had already done, block sanded it and painted it Purple. Jesse Cruz was working with me then and he ended up painting the car.
    The car had an original Carson style top that was old but still intact. When the outer canvas was pulled back we found written on the padding.

    11-1-1949, American Top Shop , 10847 Dury?? Lane, Lynwood, Cal

    It looks like it was chopped in 1949 and ended up at the Barris shop for an update between 1954 and 1957.
    The first few black and white photos show the car sitting in the background (rear fender is showing on the right) and Sam Barris can be seen working on a Lake Style 34 Ford coupe.

    The later model bumpers, headlights, tailights and scoops were what was popular at the time they were done. Most of the custom shops were doing this kind of work. Custom cars were always being changed to keep up with the latest trends. A couple of years or even months later they were old stuff.
    Rod heard that the original owner was a businessman from Colorado who wanted a Barris custom. Apparently he did not use it much after it was finished. I wouldn't consider it one of Barris' best efforts but it certainly wasn't the worst. It had a style that looks better to me today than it did in the fifties.

    John had Rod Powell change the shape of the windshield because the original wooden top bow was breaking on the peak in the center when it was tightened down. The original chop was done quick and dirty and you might say so was our fix. The top disappeared when it left our place. It was pretty rough under the padding.
    Tom Cutino did the windshield modification.

    in 2006-7 the car was "updated" once again. Now with airride suspention and new paint and interior.

    Album was created 11 years 8 months ago and modified 5 years 9 months ago
  • © see info on the photos. (Rik Hoving Kustoms)
    1940 Merc Convertible East Coast Custom

    My brother told me about a 1940 Mercury Custom .He found out he went to high school with the girl wh ...more

    o ownes it.She was given the car from her dad on her 16th birthday 45 years ago.I went over to see the car because she didn't know a lot of what was done to the car.The following mods were done as far as i can tell.Pie cut hood,i believe frazier grill and front bumper,52 ford taillamps with modified rear fenders,running boards removed with new lower panels added,chrome removed with filled holes,and possible rear trunk area sectioned.The drivetrain appears to be all original.The car does not run or drive and i am not sure what it would take to get it drivable but the car does need a total resto.I will try to get some pics up on here.I now know the thrill you other guys get when you see these barn finds.If you love the East Coast style Customs this car you would love.I found a dash plaque on the dash from a rallye in 1959.I believe the car was built in the fifties.

    From the HAMB:

    Album was created 9 years 2 months ago and modified 4 years 4 months ago
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    1940 Merc Coupe Fade Away Fenders
    Album was created 9 years 1 month ago and modified 9 years 1 month ago
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    1940 Mercury - Cunningham Bros
    Album was created 6 years 7 months ago and modified 4 years 4 months ago
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    1940 Mercury Gale Morris
    Album was created 6 years ago and modified 6 years ago
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    1940 Mercury Roadster Max King

    Words from:

    This 1940 Mercury convertible, a true convertible- not the chop ...more

    ped down version, was bought new by Maximilian King of Morristown NJ. The car was customized in ‘46 at Meeker Auto Body also in Morristown. The Merc sported a full race flathead, ‘36 Cord windshield, lift off steel tonneau cover, dropped front axle and z’d frame. This car must have been the envy of the road in ’46.

    Around ‘55 the Merc was bought by Ray Henyon of Washington NJ and the flathead was replaced by a full race thunderbird motor. The most recent modifications were completed in 1960 by Dick Corky’s body shop in Morristown, NJ. Corky added the nerf bars, frenched Lincoln headlights, frenched '58 Chevy tail lights, and scallops. He added a Stewart and Warner Hollywood dash panel, Vortex mag, Stromberg 97’s, '57 Lincoln wheel, cut down crown vic seats. He also put in Lucas headlamps, which were outlawed in the 50’s because they were too bright.

    Mark Conforth of Sussex NJ bought the Merc from Ray in ’83 and still owns the car today. The car had been sitting in a garage since 1961. Since she hadn’t been looked after for so long it needed a little freshening up. The brakes were re-done, the car was re-wired, the stuck motor was rebuilt, the green chrome was polished up along with everything else and the car was once again gleaming.

    The way the car sits today is the exact way she sat in 1960, besides a few cracks in the old paint. Everything is original; the car runs and drives perfectly. Mark, only the third owner of the car has enjoyed putting thousands of miles on the car over the past 24 years.

    Album was created 13 years 1 month ago and modified 5 years 9 months ago
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    40's Build 40 Merc with fadeaway fenders

    Dave Christensen in Redlands, East LA found this custom in the mid 60´s and today his grandson owns ...more

    the car and has it on the road again. The car was owned and customized by Lawrence Garrison from Massachusetts. Possebly a set of Jimmy Summers fade away fender kits where used on the car when the car was shipped to San Diego during WWI. A 47 Chevy front bumper and 47 Buick rear bumper where added and possebly this indicated that 1947 is the year the car was possebly finished. Painted Ruby Marron dressed with wide white wals and custom hubcaps. Wonderfully styled side windows and a posseble padded top this one was a great custom on the streets in the late 40's. Hopefully some old photo's of this one will show up sooner or later. There is also some rumors that Valley Customs have been working on this sectioned 40 Mercury. But no real evidence can be found of that.

    Album was created 15 years 1 month ago and modified 3 years 9 months ago
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    40's-50's build 39-40 Mercury customs
    Album was created 14 years 5 months ago and modified 3 years 9 months ago
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    Albrecht Goertz 1940 Mercury Fastback
    Album was created 14 years 3 months ago and modified 8 years 1 month ago
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    Bertolucci-Ohanesian 40 Merc

    More photo's of this car can be seen here:

    Album was created 15 years 1 month ago and modified 3 years 9 months ago
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    Bob Armstrong 1940 Mercury convertible
    Album was created 5 years 4 months ago and modified 5 years 4 months ago
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    Charlie Mars - 1940 Convertible Custom

    This is an Original Southern California Custom , purchased new by Gerry Huth (the muffler Huth) . De ...more

    livered in 1939 , Huth had the top chopped when it was less than 2 weeks old . Driven and used for years in Cali. , it changed hands several times , was owned by a Charlie Mars then ended up with its last owner , Carl Morton . Carl bought and owned Valley Customs , purchased from Clayton Jensen in about 1961 . The car is still titled in Carl's name at the Valley Customs address.

    Interior work on the restoration was done by Guy's interior restorations, in Portland.

    Info from

    A historically significant pre-WWII LA Custom by Charles Marr and Gerry Huth
    1940 Mercury Series 09A Custom Coupe
    Chassis no. 99A121762
    During the late 1940s, Los Angeles publisher 'Pete' Petersen's Hot Rod magazine introduced California-style custom cars to fresh eyes around the rest of the country. By the '50s, "customizing" was going on wherever there were both young people and automobiles. Few knew that a nascent custom car movement had existed in the Golden State even before World War II.

    Only a handful of genuinely 'pre-war' California customs survives today—and among them, almost none exist as originally executed. A marvelous exception is this striking chopped-top 1940 Mercury. Customized right after it was delivered to its first owner in late 1939, this was the first 1940 custom Merc convert in the greater Los Angeles area. It was later stored, with its original custom metal work intact, for decades. After reemerging in 2005, the car has very recently been delightfully restored, in exacting and authentic detail, to its circa 1940-41 custom appearance and configuration.

    Certainly, few cars ever lent themselves better to customizing than the muscularly bulbous 1940 Mercury. Ford Motor Co. had introduced Mercury just the year before, in a move to fill the void that existed between the low-priced everyman's Ford V-8 and the luxurious, expensive and exclusive Lincoln Zephyr V-12. Marketing intentions aside, the sleek and fast '40 Mercury V-8 convertible simply radiated 'attitude' and from the moment it first appeared, the style was especially coveted by car-savvy youths.

    Original owner Charlie Marr, of Burbank, California received his new 1940 Mercury Convertible in November 1939. Within two weeks, Marr and friend Gerry Huth had chopped the windshield three inches. A Carson removable padded top was added soon after, making the car the first '40 Merc ever to be so equipped.

    Around 1962—shortly after he took over the former Valley Customs shop in Burbank from Clay Jensen—custom-builder Carl Morton acquired the tired, but still essentially as-built, old Marr/Huth car. Morton appreciated that the venerable Merc had been one of the first customs to come out of the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, an area that had become a hotbed of custom car culture after WWII. (Valley Customs itself had been founded by Jensen and partner Neil Emory in 1948.) He also knew both Charlie Marr and Gerry Huth—the latter had become the proprietor of a well-known Burbank muffler shop specializing in custom exhausts, and was the inventor of the Huth automated exhaust-pipe bender.

    For more than four decades, Morton kept the car in storage. As several other '40 Mercury projects came and went, he set aside original parts from Charlie's old custom, while also accumulating new old stock for a planned redo. Thanks to Morton's diligence, all of the original customized body parts, including the fenders, doors, hood and trunk lid—plus smaller pieces, such as the window frames, vent windows, dash and windshield trim—remained with the car.

    The vendor became the historic custom's third owner when he obtained the car, still in unrestored condition, during 2005. A thorough restoration was performed in 2008-2009, during which every possible effort was made to use only authentic pre-World War II era parts. After the car was totally disassembled and dipped, all bodywork was done in lead before the epoxy primer went on. Custom Sikkens Autocryl green metallic paint replicated a hand-rubbed multi-coat lacquer finish. Paul Reichling of Cedardale Upholstery recreated the original Carson top, while Guy's Interior Restorations of Portland did the two-tone interior—which is period-custom correct right down to the column shift, ivory-colored 1940 Buick steering wheel and matching knobs.

    Additional early '40s custom touches include the '37 DeSoto 'ripple' bumpers; '41 Studebaker taillights, teardrop skirts and 'flipper' hubcaps. The unusual above-the-bumper dual exhausts are the way they were, as are the dual Appleton spotlights.

    A 1940 flat-head V-8 block was bored and stroked to 276 cubic inches for the Merc. The ported and relieved engine runs an Isky 3/4 cam. Authentic pre-war speed equipment includes the chromed cylinder heads, Weiand dual-carb set-up and modified Lincoln-Zephyr V-12 dual-coil ignition. Also in the hot-rod tradition, the Merc's three-speed manual transmission has Zephyr gears and a Zephyr two-speed overdrive rear axle.

    The frame is "C'd" over the rear axle, while a Zephyr hypoid differential allowed the car to set lower without reshaping the factory-shape driveshaft tunnel. Zephyr self-energizing hydraulic brakes provide stopping power. "All of these period modifications make for a very nice driving car that can cruise comfortably at highway speeds," the vendor states.

    The freshly completed and beautifully detailed '40 was featured at the 2009 Sacramento Autorama, in a special non-judged "Merc room" exhibit honoring 70 years of Mercury customs.

    Seven decades ago, Charlie Marr's custom Mercury Convertible essentially defined for the very first time everything we've come to consider a proper custom 'lead sled' Merc should be. The car is nothing less today than a historically important and wonderfully gorgeous work of art—and there no doubt it will be treasured as such all the more so with the continuing passage of time.

    The Mercury is still registered to the old Valley Customs business address in Burbank.

    Album was created 10 years 6 months ago and modified 3 years 9 months ago
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    Jerry Yatch '40 Mercury convertible

    "This Merc was originally built by Dick Rheaume of Dearborn, Michigan as it appeared in the first De ...more

    troit Autorama in 1953. I purchased the car in late 1954 and proceeded to do a complete cosmetic and mechanical restoration. All new metal work and paint was done by Bill Hines at that time. This car has always been attributed to me because of its high show profile in the mid to late 50's and its extraordinary fit and finish provided by Bill Hines in 1955. My thanks and appreciation go out to Harry McAuliffe and the current owners, the Meyers, for their outstanding contributions. I missed the car at Pebble Beach and would love to once more sit behind the wheel and reflect. Regards, Jerry Yatch"

    Album was created 13 years 8 months ago and modified 3 years 9 months ago
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    Jim Foran / Bob Davenport 1940 Mercury Convertible
    Album was created 7 years 5 months ago and modified 6 years 2 months ago
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    Marsh Baldwin 1940 Mercury

    Super RARE 1940 Mercury Convertible. Car originally bought in Lakewood, CA the original owner choppe ...more

    d the top in 1941 putting a Carson Top on it. This was one of the first done in Southern CA. The car was used to pull Sprint cars to the races all over CA. Original owners last name was Williams. I purchased this car approximately 10 years ago from Greg Snyder from Minn, MN. Car was 99% rust-free, to date all metal work done and in primer, has "fatman" frontend, Lincoln Versailles disc brakes, rearend, has 302 Ford built motor.

    Album was created 7 years 2 months ago and modified 7 years 2 months ago
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