David Wolk’s Custom 1950 Mercury
David Wolk built his first chopped Mercury in the late-1980s when he was 18 years old, and it was an experience that has influenced his entire adult life. He’s had three other custom Mercs since then, plus many other customs and hot rods built at Wolk Design, the home-based shop he has with his brother, James.
David spotted the beginnings of this 1950 Mercury on a picture board at a swap meet 10 years ago and decided it would be a good foundation for the custom ideas he still had floating around in his mind. “I wanted to build a period-correct car using my own vision,” David says. “I wanted the dash to be the focal point.”
We’ll get to the dash in a minute, but first let’s look at the classic custom touches on the body. The top is chopped 4.5-inches in front and 5-inches in the rear, with custom trim around the door and quarter windows. The front fenders are extended to better flow with the frenched headlights, the hood corners are rounded, and a custom grille bar floats over a DeSoto front pan. Further back you’ll find flush-fit ’51 Merc fender skirts and ’50 Hudson taillights in custom cast bezels. David and James collaborated on the metal mods and bodywork, and then David applied the custom-mixed Nason blue finish, a hue that helps define this custom’s early-’50s appearance.
The dashboard David mentioned is from a ’48 Cadillac. It looks right at home in the Merc and now wears a custom-fabricated waterfall-style center speaker grille for more visual appeal. A Mercury accessory steering wheel sits atop a ’51 Merc column, while a Vintage Air system is tucked up behind the dash. Edwards Brothers get credit for the white vinyl upholstery with black inserts stitched in traditional-style tuck ’n roll. Diamond-stitched floor mats add a perfect period touch.
Things are mostly traditional underneath the Merc, too. The front suspension has dropped uprights and springs and benefits from hidden disc brakes, while the lowered rear suspension supports a 9-inch rearend. It all rolls on 7.10-15 Firestone wide whitewalls from Coker wrapped around 15×6-inch wheels with Cadillac sombrero wheel covers. Power comes from a ’57-vintage 365c.i. Cadillac V8 fed by a Carter WCFB four-barrel carb and breathing through dual Smithy mufflers. A GM TH400 automatic transmission handles shifting duties.
The Merc has been finished for several years now and has won some hefty accolades, including the King of the Mercs title at the 2021 Custom Car Revival. Now David can add Fuel Curve Custom of the Year Finalist to that list. “Having people recognize and appreciate the subtle details makes it all worth doing,” he says.
Photos by John Jackson & Damon Lee