Photos courtesy AACA Museum.
We’ll stick our neck out here and salivate that this is one of most gorgeous modern customs we’ve laid eyes on in years. This incredible 1940 Mercury coupe is owned by Jack and Carolyn Kiely of Rumson, New Jersey, and it’s going to be on limited display at the Antique Automobile Club Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, until January 6, 2017. The Kielys commissioned Rob Ida Concepts of Morganville, New Jersey, to build it, a shop that’s spun out more than its share of SEMA shockers and other specialty cars over the years.
The accolades this Mercury has won roll like dice: Best in Show at SEMA, World’s Most Beautiful Custom, Crown Jewel at the Race of Gentlemen, and most recently, first place in Hot Rod Custom and Best Engineered during car week at Monterey, California.
Even a casual look at the Mercury reveals that it significantly departs from its stock Ford-based contours. The Kielys wanted the custom to reflect what might have happened if Mercury creator Edsel Ford might have gone to a French coachbuilder such as Figoni et Falaschi to create a production prototype. To that end, yes, the car began with a 1940 Mercury business coupe, but Ida swung for the fences from that point. The hood, decklid and most of the roofline were fabricated from scratch. The front wheel spats turn in conjunction with the wheels to prevent tire rub, steering at a ratio of 2.6:1. There’s a touch sensor in each headlamp lens that allows the front spat to be removed.
Beyond that, there’s a Rootes-supercharged Ford engine from a 2009 Shelby GT500 – only it’s been dressed with Ardun-style valve covers and leather-wrapped plug wires to give it a correct period look. Raise the trunk lid, and you’ll see fitted, handmade luggage clad in the same leather that adorns the car’s interior.
For more information on the exhibit, visit AACAMuseum.org.