Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Paul Bragg Livingston Merc

Every body panel on Frank Livingston’s ’49 Mercury was reworked by metal master Paul Bragg. This article shows what was needed to create this styling masterpiece.

Paul Bragg has been building custom cars for many decades. He is world wide known for his fantastic metal working skills and excellent taste in Custom Car design. Paul combines his metal working skills with an very good eye for proportions, lines and style. Allowing him to modify virtually anything he feels is needed for the perfect custom. Paul has restyled a lot of  ’49 – ’51 Mercury’s, and each of them styled differently, and chopped in way that fits that particular restyled car the best. We will devote several articles about Paul, and the wonderful Custom Cars he creates, stay tuned. This first article is about an extensively restyled 1949 Mercury Paul built for Frank Livingston.

CCC-paul-bragg-livingston-23-wBefore starting to cut up a car, Paul usually makes a few sketches of what he has in mind for a particular car. It helps him to see if all the design elements work together but it also allows the client to see which direction Paul has planned for them.

Frank Livingston is no stranger when itmcomes to Custom Cars. Ever since the mid 1950′s Frank has owned Custom Cars, some of them were famous, made the magazines and even some covers. He showed his car at many famous car shows. And Frank is still at it today, very active promoting and enjoying Custom Cars. In the early 1990′s Frank had his most restyled custom to date, a ’49 Mercury named “Moon Fire” built by some of the top shops in the field, including Paul Bragg Rods & Customs out of Paso Robles in California.

The top

Frank Livingston approuched Paul Bragg for a new custom based on his ’49 Mercury they discussed what could and needed to be done to the car. Paul had a very clear vision how the car should look. He made several sketches to show Frank what he had mind. What Paul had in mind was not your average “basic” custom job. The sketched showed that nearly every body panel would need to be reshaped to match the sketches. When both approved on how the car should end up looking it was time to start cutting up the Mercury body. Paul started with chopping the top, he removed 4.5 inches from the front and nearly 6 inches from the C-pillars. Paul removed the drip rails, and leaned the B-pillars forward. At the back he removed the stock rear window, and most of the surrounding metal. He used an ’49 Chrysler rear window reshaped the rear quarter windows and hand formed the complete rear portion of the roof and turret panel. The end result is an unique shaped top that flows gently towards the trunk and has perfect proportions from every angle you look at it. The Plymouth rear window fitted better with the trunk changes Paul had in mind for the car. Going for the smoothed look Paul decided the belt line trim had to go as well, and the sharp edge was filled in and smoothed. An old trick the Ayala’s and Barris shops also loved to do.

CCC-paul-bragg-livingston-24-wThis photo taken in the early stages shows how Paul incorporated the ’49 Chrysler rear window. And how much new shaped metal was needed to get the desired look. Also not the sharp edge where the belt line trim used to be.

CCC-paul-bragg-livingston-25-wThe metal work on the top portion of the car is all done, and paul is ready to apply the first coats of primer. Take a close look at the flow of this top, and notice the molded in and smoothed belt line.

The sides

With the top portion of the car in primer it was time to move to the lower parts of the car that needed to be restyled. The front wheel openings were lipped using the wheel opening from an ’55 Plymouth. At the rocker panels Paul created a hand shaped panel to extend this lip from the front wheel opening all the way to rear quarters where it would end at the leading edge of a custom made forward angled scoop. The angle of the scoop is set at the same angle as the B-Pillar. Paul originally planned to update the side trim with a much wider ’53 Mercury unit. And shaped the scoop top leading edge to follow the bottom edge of the side trim closely. At a later stage Frank decided he did not like the heavy trim and asked Paul to add a much thinner unit.
Paul wanted flush fitted skirts on the car, but decided they needed to be much longer than on the stock rear wheel opening mercury. So he cut out a little oversized section from the rear quarter panel, he then formed a metal lip to finish the new opening. But before he welded that into place, he used this lip to shape the new flush fit fender skirts first in wire, and later,in sheet metal. Once the skirts were up to Pauls’s standards he welded the lip to the rear quarters. Paul created a set of wonderfully styled larger flish fitting fender skirts.

CCC-paul-bragg-livingston-08-wThe new opening lip for the rear wheel opening was used to shape a wire frame for the new flush fitting skirts. 

CCC-paul-bragg-livingston-07-wThe metal lip has now been welded to the enlarged and reshaped opening. Notice the quarter panel scoop and how the angle matches the B-Pillar.

CCC-paul-bragg-livingston-05-wThe back side of the hand made passenger side fender skirt.

CCC-paul-bragg-livingston-06-wThe finished skirts in place.

The rear

Paul then moved further back and started there with the rear bumper. Paul used a 1951 Mercury front bumper and reshaped it to fit flush with the body. He used a narrowed 1955 Pontiac license plate cover and molded that onto the bumper. Next he created a flush fitting splash pan that followed the shape of the bumper  including the raised center section. This raised center section would be the base for the recessed section on the trunk The top portion of the recess was shaped into a scoop with similar styling as the quarter panel scoops. The shape of the molded in splash pan was extended to the sides of the body where they would follow the ends pieces of the ’51 Mercury bumper. The Mercury body line extending from the front fenders was extended horizontal towards the rear where it falls down to the bottom on a stock Mercury. This extended section was the base for the hand shaped three part taillights. Paul also moved the so called “dog leg” dip in the doors towards the back of the door. Making the dip much less pronounced.
CCC-paul-bragg-livingston-04-wMost of the hard body work on the rear section is completed in this photo. The trunk was heavily reshaped with rounded corners and cut out to folow the shape of the custom bumper. This bumper will fit flush in the new opening created for it.

The front

The body work done so far was prepped and a few coats of primer were added to seal the work. It was now time to move to the front of the car. Here a lot of work was needed to make Paul’s ideas come to live in metal. Paul started with narrowing a ’51 Mercury bumper and move it forward from the stock bumper position. This forward position of the bumper would be the base for everything else done on the front of the car. Paul welded the headlight bezels to the front fenders a few inches forward from its stock position. He then used cardboard to figure out the metal shapes he needed to create for the new extended fender shapes. The section below the headlights was angled forward at the same angle as the B-Pillar. A new splash pan was created that would fit on top of the bumper. The splash pan would folow the shape of the bumper in a similar way as was done on the rear bumper and would flow nicely into the new lipped front wheel openings.
Paul hand made a new grille opening with shapes inspired from the Hirohata Mercury. The hood was extended down and would incorporate the lipped grille opening center section. At the back of the hood the ends were cut of and welded to the front fenders and top of the cowl. All corners on the car were rounded and with all the new elements roughed in shape it was time to metal finish the last sections of the car before Paul would add more primer to the whole car.
CCC-paul-bragg-livingston-09-wThe forward mounted narrowed ’1951 mercury front bumper. The ’55 Plymouth lipped front wheel openings are already in place here. The Plymouth lipped opening have a more gentle curve than the often used 1952-54 Mercury units.

CCC-paul-bragg-livingston-10-wThe front fenders were extended by welding the headlight bezels to wire rods welded to the fenders. The cardboard templates were later transferred to sheet metal which were shaped to fit. The center section of the new splash pan can also be seen in this photo. Notice how it overlaps the front bumper, and how a nice rolled end was already created for a nice finish look.

CCC-paul-bragg-livingston-12-wHalf of the new shaped front section of the front fenders is in place now.

CCC-paul-bragg-livingston-11-wAll body work on the mercury was hammer welded and metal finished.

CCC-paul-bragg-livingston-13-wWith the work on the extended fenders done it was time to start shaping the new grille opening. In this photo the bottom portion is already welded in place. The top portion is shaped, but not in place yet.
CCC-paul-bragg-livingston-26-wThe top portion is now in place and the hood section is cut of and the ends filled in.

CCC-paul-bragg-livingston-17-wThe whole restyled front end is finished and now its time for lead and metal finish to perfection.

CCC-paul-bragg-livingston-16-wLeaded and sanded smooth. Notice the wonderful curves and shaped of the restyled elements.

This photo shows the work done on the back side of the hood as well as the work on the rocker panels that flow into the lipped front wheel opening on the front and the scoop at the rear.

The finished car

After Paul Bragg’s work on Frank’s Mercury was finished and the car was in primer Frank took the car to Bill Reasoner in Walnut Creek, for the pearl aqua blue paint job Paul created a custom grille from bumper guards and 1953 Mercury bullets and customized a set of 1953 Cadillac hubcaps. After Bill Reasoner was done painting the car, Frank took the car to Jerry Sahagon for a custom interior.The Finished mercury is a great example of wonderful custom restyling. Basically no panel was left untouched to create this Paul Bragg masterpiece. It hints to the early Customizers Ayala and Barris brothers, but also incorporates Paul Bragg’s personal styling elements and modern details. The Paul Bragg Livingston Merc is a true masterpiece.

CCC-paul-bragg-livingston-01-wPaul reshaped the ’51 Mercury front bumper by narrowing it to fit flush with the fnders and adding a new center section created for a second ’51 Mercury bumper. The grille is a work of art in itself as well. (Frank Paul photo)

CCC-paul-bragg-livingston-03-wThe flow of the new top, the reshaped rear quarter windows and angled forward B-Pillars look particularly nice from this rear 3/4 angle. (Frank Paul photo)

CCC-paul-bragg-livingston-02-wPaul even restyled the ’53 Cadillac hubcaps with custom made center sections. (Frank Paul photo)

CCC-paul-bragg-livingston-22-wA good look at the rear of the car showed the wonderful reshaped ’51 Mercury front bumper and how its shape extends into the rear quarter panels.This photo also shows how the lip of the front wheel opening flows into the rocker panel.

CCC-paul-bragg-livingston-21-wEverything on Frank’s Mercury flows and all the lines are there for a reason.

CCC-paul-bragg-livingston-20-wThe Mercury at the Sacramento Autorama where the car was a huge crowd pleaser. 

CCC-paul-bragg-livingston-19-wFrank Livingston polishing and detailing the grille on set up day of the Sacramento Autorama. 

Source: customcarchronicles.com

Kevin Sledge Merc Is Finished

After driving his perfectly styled 1940 Mercury in suede for many years. Kevan Sledge debuted his finished 1940 Mercury at the 2014 Santa Maria WCK show.

Kevan Sledge of Sledge Customs in Auburn, Ca. has created one of the most striking 1940 Mercury coupes ever built. The way the top was chopped with the reshaped c-pillar, the raised top of the windshield and many other fine, subtile and not so subtile details makes his Mercury an true custom car icon. Obviously inspired by the Barris-built Matranga Mercury, but improved with his personal styling ideas. The car has been in the works for many years by Kevan, and was created with the help of many others including Rob Radcliff, Octavio Chavez, Mark Idzardi, Anthony Casteneda, Victor Jimenez, Joe Bufardi and Jason Haskins.
And now in 2014 Kevan has finally finished, or at least nearly finished his 1940 Mercury. There are still a few small details that need to be address. But still we can called his 1940 Mercury finished. We plan on doing an full article on Kevan’s mercury soon. But here are a few photos of the finished car and a fe from its long journey.
CCC_Sledge-40-merc-painted-06Kevan’s Merc in black primer, plex mailslot windshield at Viva Las Vegas.
CCC_Sledge-40-merc-painted-07The Merc at King Kustoms workshop for some fine tuning work by Rob Radcliffe.
CCC_Sledge-40-merc-painted-05Kevan’s Mercury was invited to the prestigious Mercury Gathering at the 2009 Sacramento Autorama.
CCC_Sledge-40-merc-painted-01In November 2013, Kevan hired Rik Hoving Kustoms to visualize a few gloss colors on his satin Merc. It was time for a deep geen glossy paintjob. Here is one of the digital gloss color proposals.
CCC_Sledge-40-merc-painted-02In the paint booth getting ready for the final color.
CCC_Sledge-40-merc-painted-04And we have color and shine.
CCC_Sledge-40-merc-painted-09Howard Bond photo at the 2014,Santa Maria West Coast Kustoms show where Kevan debuted his finished Mercury. (May 24, 2014)
A few more photos of Kevan’s mercury an be seen in the CCC-Forum post on the West Coast Kustoms show in Santa Maria. Check it out HERE.

Source: customcarchronicle.com

Friday, June 20, 2014

Older Mercurys

1951 Mercury With Merc-o-matic

Full Line Edsel Ad 1958

1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser

1939 Mercury 8 

1939-40 Mercury Billboard 

The New 1949 Mercury 

1949 Mercury 

1958 Edsels

1949 Chinese Mercury Billboard

Pre-Production Mustang with proposed "Cougar" Emblem

1957 Mercury 

1958 Mercury Colony Park 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Mercury Eight

Mercury 8
Green 1939 Ford Mercury.jpg
Manufacturer Mercury
Production 1938–1951
Assembly Los Angeles, California USA
Dearborn, Michigan USA
Wayne, Michigan USA
St. Louis Missouri USA
Metuchen, New Jersey USA
Body and chassis
Class Full-size
Layout FR layout
Successor Mercury Monterey
The Mercury Eight was the first model of the Ford Motor Company's Mercury marque and was produced from the 1939 through the 1951 model years. It was the only model offered by Mercury until the marque starting producing multiple series in the 1952 model year, at which point it was dropped as a model designation.

1939 Mercury Eight billboard


1939 Mercury 8 Sedan Coupe
First generation
Mercury Convertible 1939.jpg
1939 Mercury 8 Sport Convertible
Model years 1939–1940
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
2-door convertible
2-door sedan
4-door sedan
4-door convertible
Engine 239 cu in (3.9 L) Flathead V8
Wheelbase 116.0 in (2,946 mm)
Length 196.0 in (4,978 mm)

1939 Mercury 8 Town-Sedan
The advertisements for this car declared it to be "The car that truly dares to ask 'Why?'", referring to the idea that a big car couldn't also be economical. The Mercury was priced in the thousand dollar range, several hundred dollars more than the Ford V-8, several hundred less than the Lincoln-Zephyr and about the same as the upper range Oldsmobile and Dodges and the lower-range Buicks and Chryslers, sales from all of which, it was hoped, the new Mercury would usurp. Its engine was a 95 hp version of the Ford flathead V8 engine, its styling was inspired by the Zephyr, and it had hydraulic brakes from the beginning. With a wheelbase of 116.0 in (2,946 mm) and an overall length of 196.0 in (4,978 mm), it was a good sized car, which the Ford company advertised extensively, together with its up-to-20 mpg performance-"few cars of any size can equal such economy." Double sun visors became standard in 1940. Braking was via 12 inch drums.

Although "Eight" script would not appear on the front of the hood until the 1941 model year, sales literature prominently referred to the car as the "Mercury Eight" from the very beginning. This is no doubt because the actual series names, 99A in 1939 and 09A in 1940, were somewhat less enticing. A 1940 09A model has the words "Mercury Eight" in an emblem that runs from front to rear alongside the top hood lines on both sides. It appears as chrome wording on top of a double red bar.

By the end of 1940 Mercury could run with the headline "It's made 150,000 owners change cars!"


1941 Mercury Eight station wagon - stuck in the mud with race car designer John Crosthwaite (standing)
Second generation
Mercury Club Convertible 1941.jpg
Model years 1941–1948
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
2-door convertible
4-door sedan
4-door station wagon
2-door Sportsman convertible
Engine 239 cu in (3.9 L) Flathead V8
Wheelbase 118.0 in (2,997 mm)
Length 1941-46: 201.6 in (5,121 mm)
1947-48: 201.8 in (5,126 mm)
Curb weight 3,400–3,800 lb (1,500–1,700 kg)

1946 Mercury Eight sedan

1947 Mercury Eight

1948 Mercury Eight convertible rear
The 1941 Mercury Eight got all-new styling and some engineering improvements. The Mercury now shared its bodyshell with Ford, probably to lower Mercury production costs. Mercury's wheelbase was expanded by 2.0 in (51 mm) to 118.0 in (2,997 mm). There were many chassis refinements, including improved spring lengths, rates, and deflections, plus changes in shackling, shocks, and an improved stabilizer bar, but the old fashioned transverse springs were still used. The new body featured door bottoms that flared out over the running boards, allowing for wider seats and interiors. The car had 2.0 in (51 mm) more headroom, two-piece front fenders (three-piece at first), and more glass area. The front pillars were made slimmer and the windshield was widened, deepened, and angled more steeply. Parking lights were separate and set atop the fenders for greater visibility. Headlight bezels were redesigned. In all closed Mercurys the rear-quarter windows opened out. Front vent wings were now crank-operated, and in closed cars the ventilation wing support bars rolled down with the windows. The 4-door convertible, offered in 1940, was gone, but a station wagon was added. The woodie wagon's body behind the engine cowl was identical to Ford's, and produced at the company's Iron Mountain plant in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The "Eight" script was moved to the rear of the hood. 90,556 Mercury Eights were sold in the 1941 model year.

In 1942 the Mercury Eight's slender bullet parking lights were replaced with rectangular units placed high on the fenders inboard of the headlights. Running boards were now completely concealed under flared door bottoms. The instrument panel now features two identical circles for speedometer and clock with gauges to the left of the speedometer, a glove compartment to the right of the clock, and a large radio speaker cover in the center. The grille looked more like that of the Lincoln-Zephyr and Continental. The "Eight" script was gone but an "8" appeared at the top of the grille center. Horsepower was increased to 100. Mercury's biggest engineering news for 1942 was "Liquamatic," Ford's first semiautomatic transmission. It wasn't much of a success and Mercury wouldn't have another automatic transmission until Merc-O-Matic appeared in 1951, which was of course a true automatic. Mercury production for the short 1942 model year totaled only 1,902. Output was halted in February 1942 as American auto plants were converted to the exclusive production of war material.

Although Mercury's prewar history was short, the Mercury Eight had already earned for itself the image of being a fine performer in mph as well as mpg, this "hot car" image quite in keeping with its name, chosen by Edsel Ford, that of the fleet-footed messenger of the gods of Roman mythology. The Mercury Eight was strongly identified as an upmarket Ford during this period. In 1945 the Lincoln-Mercury division would be established to change that.

A new grille was the most noticeable difference between the 1942 and 1946 Mercurys. It had thin vertical bars surrounded by a trim piece painted the same color as the car. An "Eight" script now appeared down its center. The Liquimatic automatic transmission option was eliminated. The most distinctive new Mercury was the Sportsman convertible. It featured wood body panels. Only 205 examples of it were produced and it was discontinued the following model year. Mercury Eight sales totaled 86,603.

Styling changes were slight in 1947. The Mercury name was placed on the side of the hood. Different hubcaps were used. The border around the grille was chrome plated. The "Eight" script still ran down its center. There was also new trunk trim. More chrome was used on the interior and the dash dial faces were redesigned. The convertible and station wagon came with leather upholstery. The other body styles used fabric. The wood paneled Sportsman convertible was gone. 86,363 Mercury Eights were sold.
For all practical purposes the 1948 Mercury Eights were identical to the 1947's. The major changes consisted of different dial faces and no steering column lock. 50,268 Mercury Eights were sold.


1950 Mercury Eight station wagon
Third generation
Mercury 8 Convertible 130PS 1950 2.jpg
Model years 1949–1951
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
2-door Monterey coupe
2-door convertible
4-door sedan
2-door station wagon
Related Lincoln EL-series
Engine 255 cu in (4.2 L) Flathead V8
Wheelbase 118.0 in (2,997 mm)
Length 206.8 in (5,253 mm)
Curb weight 3,500–4,000 lb (1,600–1,800 kg)

1951 Mercury Eight coupe

1951 Mercury Eight
The first postwar Mercury was introduced in the 1949 model year. The engine was a flathead V8 that produced slightly more power than the then also newly designed 1949 Ford. A new overdrive system was optional, activated by a handle under the dash. The styling of the Mercury Eight, when it was released in 1949, adopted the "ponton" appearance, and was successful in both ending the monotony of warmed-over pre-war style, and differentiating Mercury from its comparable Ford cousin, a trick that spelled sales success. Sales figures for both Ford and Mercury broke records in 1949. The new approach to styling was also evident on the completely redesigned Lincoln and the all new Lincoln Cosmopolitan. The Mercury Eight used full instrumentation. An 8 tube radio as an option. The 4-door station wagon was replaced with a 2-door model. Although the wagon now featured an all-metal roof, its sides still consisted of wood panels.

Within its era and beyond, the Mercury Eight was popular with customizers. In 1949, Sam Barris built the first lead sled from a 1949 Mercury Eight; the Eight became the definitive lead sled, much as the Ford V-8 (as the "deuce") was becoming the definitive hot rod. The Eights were among the first models to receive an aftermarket OHV engine swap, since Oldsmobile and Cadillac developed the first high-compression OHV V8 engines in 1949, whereas Ford was still using a sidevalve engine. Sam and George Barris also used the 1949 body style to build "the most famous custom car ever", the Hirohata Merc, for customer Bob Hirohata in 1953. Setting a style and an attitude, it had a "momentous effect" on custom car builders,appeared in several magazines at the time, and reappeared numerous times since, earning an honorable mention on Rod & Custom's "Twenty Best of All Time" list in 1991. The Eight remains a very popular subject for car modellers.

Fiberglass replicas of the Eight, inspired by Sam Barris's car, are still in production and are popular with custom and rod enthusiasts.

In 1950, a high-end two-door Monterey coupe was introduced in the same vein as the Ford Crestliner, the Lincoln Lido coupe and the Lincoln Cosmopolitan Capri coupe in order to compete with the hardtop coupes General Motors had introduced the previous model year. The front suspension was independent with stabilizer bars. In 1952 the Monterey would become its own series.

In 1990, Mattel Hot Wheels created a model of 1949 Mercury with a chopped top. It is called Purple Passion. Purple Passion is one of most desirable and priciest Hot Wheels to ever be cast.

The car makes notable appearances in five films: Rebel Without a Cause (1955), American Graffiti (1973), Badlands (1973), Grease (1978) and Cobra (film) (1986). ("Cobra" would use one of the first all-fiberglass copies.) A customized 1949 Mercury was also used to play the Batmobile in the Batman and Robin serial. The character Sheriff from Cars was a 1949 Mercury Police Cruiser.

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