Sexy Blonde Merc – A Sleek Chopped ’40 Merc With All the Right Curves
There are some curves so graceful and lines so sensual that you never forget them. Hey! We’re talking about cars here. Get your mind out of the gutter!
As we were saying, the flow and shape of some cars will etch themselves in your mind. And for fans of early-style customs, it’s difficult to top the curves of a tastefully chopped ’39 or ’40 Mercury coupe. These cars make natural customs, in part because the original roofline is so upright, the tops are practically begging to be lowered to improve the flow and match the soft shapes on the rest of the body.
David Trent was struck by the beauty of a chopped Mercury years ago and kept that vision in his mind while he searched for one to call his own. The ’40 coupe he found online had already had its top chopped, so David figured he was halfway toward achieving his dream. Only after getting it home and enlisting the help of Jason Graham Hot Rods did he discover how much help that existing work needed. Fortunately, he’d come to the right place to give the car proper attention and the cosmetic surgery necessary to make it a stunning beauty.
Jason Graham says the car was very solid when it arrived at his Tennessee-based shop, but the top needed some attention. “I decided to be able to fix the roof, it would be easier to cut and chop it further, resulting in a one-of-a-kind hardtop-style three-window coupe,” Jason says. “When laying the roof down further, the original flat-profile rear window didn’t flow correctly, so it was replaced with a more curved ’41 Ford window.”
To accommodate the updated chop, Graham built custom window frames and eliminated the front vent windows. The body lines were further refined with a custom grille, ’39 Ford headlights, a shaved hood, smooth running boards, flush-fit fender skirts, frenched ’59 Cadillac taillights, and a shaved trunk. A modified ’46 Chevy rear bumper and custom front bumperettes capped the ends. The crowning touch was the color, though – a beautiful custom PPG tri-coat pearl yellow blend laid down by Graham. David dubbed it Blonde Pearl, leading to the car’s nickname, Sexy Blonde Merc.
This blonde’s beauty is more than skin deep, too. Her chassis got plenty of attention, with a dropped front axle raised and lowered by RideTech Shockwaves, and a custom four-link rear suspension and RideTech air springs supporting a GM 10-bolt rearend, with a C-notch on the frame for extra clearance. Chrome artillery-style wheels wrapped in Coker 6.00-15 wide whitewalls complement the curvy body.
Under the hood is where you’ll find the real jewelry – a ’50 Merc Flathead topped with Edelbrock heads and a polished intake with dual Stromberg carbs. Matt Werksman at Fox Valley Hot Rods gets credit for the rebuild, which included an MSD distributor and Red’s Headers leading to dual Smithy mufflers. A C4 automatic transmission is connected to the original column shifter.
With a body like this, you might expect lace inside. Instead, you’ll find white square-pleat vinyl stitched over a bench seat and custom side panels, all handled by Sewn Tight Custom Interiors. The Mercury dash, column, and steering wheel were painted and detailed, helping to retain the car’s classic allure. Tan square-weave carpet covers the floor and an American Autowire harness keeps the electricity flowing.
When it’s closed up and aired out, this Sexy Blonde Merc certainly has a shape that will lure you in. Longtime readers may remember the Mercury from Goodguys event coverage several years ago – or the event-scene cover image from the October 2016 Gazette. Yes, she’s a mature Merc, and she even moved on from David Trent’s garage after he downsized his collection. But like any true beauty, the Sexy Blonde Merc is aging gracefully. After all, nice curves never go out of style.
Photos by John Jackson