In 2006, California hotrod builder Rudy Rodriguez began the transformation of a near perfect low mile original 1940 Mercury into his interpretation of a factory show car. Rudy's influences for this car came from European art deco styling of the 1930's & 1940's. The 1940 Mercury came from the factory with art deco styling touches and those elements were embraced rather than removed. His goal was to break from tradition yet remain completely traditional. This car balances the aggressiveness of it's roof line and stance with subtlety, restraint, and elegance.
It was recently completed and debuted in the main hall of the Grand National Roadster Show in January.
Nearly every panel of the car was altered. Some alterations are slight while others are complete design makeovers. The roof was almost entirely hand made. The side window opening was extended to allow it to not look too small as the roof came down. The window frames were made from two complete sets of originals and the inside radius was hand made. The immaculate body work and black paint were done by "Top Gun" award winner Hotrods and Hobbies in Signal Hill California.
The bumpers and bumper brackets were chrome plated. The grille was chromed with the fins being painted flat silver for contrast. The hood latch was hand made and the bullnose was reworked to fit the hood perfectly. The hood emblems were removed and portions of the side moldings were hand made. The front window stainless trim is one piece and uses no clips.
The window frames on custom 1940 Mercury coupes are often made with "C" channel and are plagued with fit issues. On this car, Rudy spent hundreds of hours forming each original frame to the contour of the new roof as if it were built by the factory. The fit and finish are like none before it.
Here, with the door open, the door garnish moldings can be seen totally altered from stock with wing window removed and chrome plated. The stainless window frames are attached to the door as from the factory with the jewel molding remaining on the body of the car.
The stock three speed steering column was chrome plated. The 1946 wheel has a Ford horn ring and a modified Mercury horn button. The dash plastics were custom made out of resin and chrome plated. The radio was removed and all interior window garnish moldings were custom fit and chrome plated. The headliner is vintage Mercedes-Benz black wool.
The stock Mercury Flathead and original three speed powers this car. The show quality restoration was intended to look factory stock. The Columbia two speed rear end is c-notched into the frame with a three position spring settup for ride height. The car drives comfortably at 75 mph and the suspension has full comfortable travel. There are no airbags.
Stock Mercury moldings finish the back of the car with original tail lights. The door and panel gaps on the entire car were tediously reworked. The gas filler was moved into the trunk.
The ultimate goal after four years of alterations, is that nothing looks touched at all.