Super Marauder – Warren Wubker’s Custom ’51 Merc
In the Goodguys world, the line between custom and custom rod can admittedly get a little blurry, as illustrated by the Vintage Air Custom Rod of the Year finalist from the 2022 Nashville Nationals. Warren Wubker’s chopped ’51 Mercury is obviously an impeccable custom with many of the hallmark modifications from the classic ’50s era. Lift the hood and take a peek underneath, though, and you’ll discover a muscular engine and a thoroughly modern chassis injecting contemporary hot rod flavor into this smooth showpiece.
Let’s begin with that foundation, an all-new Art Morrison chassis that incorporates a contemporary IFS with coil-over shocks, and a four-link rear suspension with air springs delivering an adjustable height on the 9-inch rearend. Classic car and traditional custom fans will recognize the gold ’56 Cadillac Sabre wheels adorned with wide whitewall radial tires.
The contemporary chassis is home to some heavy hot rod horsepower – a rare 1958 430c.i. Mercury Marauder V8 that’s dressed to the nines, fed by triple carburetors, and fitted with performance components like a Comp camshaft and electronic MSD ignition. Additional enhancements include a CVF Racing accessory drive system and stainless dual exhaust breathing through Magnaflow mufflers. The engine is backed with a C6 transmission controlled by a PCS electronic shifter with push-button controls in the console.
The Mercury body has been treated to all the classic custom modifications, starting with the 4-inch top chop performed by Alloway’s Hot Rod Shop, with a ’50 Merc rear window. There are also frenched headlights with ’56 Lincoln trim rings, DeSoto grille teeth with driving lights, tucked and modified bumpers, shaved handles and emblems, and flush-fit taillights that almost disappear in the rear quarters. Harbor Auto Restoration gets credit for the incredible bodywork and the RM Unripened Green paint. There are even ultra-subtle ghost flames buried in the finish.
The inside is pure class, with Thunderbird seats stitched in supple two-tone brown leather by Steve Holcomb of Pro Auto Custom Interiors, restored factory gauges in the original dash, and an early-’60s Imperial wheel topping the Ididit tilt column. A Vintage Air system keeps things comfortable.
Warren’s magnificent Merc is undoubtedly a cool custom, with enough performance and contemporary rodding elements incorporated to make it a true modern masterpiece. It already went home with the Best Street Cruiser honor – part of the Triple Crown of Rodding – at 2021’s Shades of the Past show, and it is now a finalist for Goodguys 2022 Custom Rod of the Year, proving that great style defies definition.
Photos by Jason Lubken