Mercury Custom Coupe by Rick Dore
The gleaming, iridescent finish on this Mercury Custom Coupe is unmistakably the work of Rick Dore – it’s his signature. Under the hood is a lusty, 327 cubic inch Chevrolet V8 linked to a 350 Turbo-Hydramatic transmission. “This was Johnny Loper’s Merc,” Dore says. “He owned several custom shops in the Southwest. I built it to be a driver; the new owner can take it cross-country with confidence.”
The project itself was inspired by Nick Matranga’s severely lowered, hardtop ’40 Mercury, which has long been acclaimed as a cult classic. Former Rod & Custom editor Pat Ganahl called it “the most copied custom of all time.” The completed coupe was featured in a few magazines before Matranga sold it in 1952. The next owner totaled the hardtop, and it was lost forever.
Premier custom craftsman Rick Dore, of Glendale, Arizona, has been elected to four Custom Car Halls of Fame and has won countless awards. Dore subtly elaborates on classic themes, enhancing them with his own blend of past and future. With the hindsight of history, and his own inspired vision, Rick Dore has created a tribute to the past that is totally contemporary and perfectly roadworthy. It currently has about 6,800 miles on the odometer.
Starting with a 1940 Mercury, Dore chopped the top four inches in front and six inches in the rear, then reshaped the entire roof, creating a smooth rearward sweep. In front, he elevated the windshield’s height one inch and trimmed the crown of the roof to eliminate the Matranga car’s “lowered eyeshade appearance.” It’s perfect. The chrome sidespear was re-sculpted and seductively shortened for a cleaner profile. The front and rear fenders have been molded; the running boards were trimmed, and the skirts are flush-fitted, with discrete lower edge flares. The bodywork is all metal, as you’d expect on a Rick Dore custom. Inside, inviting front bucket and rear bench seats were trimmed in soft Italian white pearl leather, complemented by a console accented to match the exterior.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in March of 2010 at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida.
300 hp, 327 cu. in. Chevrolet V8, 350 Turbo-Hydramatic transmission, posi-traction rear end, suspension by drop axle in front with air bags at the rear, four-wheel drum brakes.
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel