Glen Hooker's 1939 Mercury
When Glen neared his driving age, he received the Mercury from his father, Oliver Hooker. The old convertible needed some love and care, and as Neil Emory and Clayton Jensen of Valley Custom were each married to Glen's sisters, Clayton and Neil helped Glen restyled the Merc. Neil and Glen installed a 1940 Mercury front on the car, so chances are big the original one was wrecked or missing. The installation included a 1940 Mercury grill, hood and dash.
How low can you go?
Glen wanted his car to be low, so he and Neil decided to channel it 3 inches over the frame and remove the running boards. As that wasn't low enough for Glen, the frame was also Z-ed in the rear, receiving a 5-inch kickup. In order to match the channeling, a 3-inch section had to be removed from the firewall. The section was removed from the base of the firewall at the point where the firewall joins the floorboards.
Second hand Carson Top
Being a low-budget build, a used Carson Top from Carson Top Shop was found, and the windshield was chopped to match the top. The front and rear fenders were radiused for wheel clearance and appearance. Up front, the stock grille and lights were kept. Front and rear bumper, inclusive guards, were 1948 Chevrolet units. The trunk was shaved, and the rear fenders were fitted with 1941 Studebaker taillights set sideways. The rear fenders were trimmed at the bottoms, and the fender seams on the car were welted in chrome.
Once completed, the Merc was painted 1954 Buick Titian Red, a very popular color at the time. Widely used on many late 1950s custom cars, the color was as close to a candy color as you could come before real candys were being done. The color was very transparent, and it could be affected by what was used as a base color underneath it.
High school ride
The car was finished before Glen got his license. He drove it through high school and a few years later. In 2019 Gary Emory told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama that Glenn sold the Merc to Bobby Darren in 1956. "Not sure how long he owned it." The same year, the car was featured in a B movie titled A Strange Adventure.
Ray Pollard's First Hot Rod
Ray Pollard of Pacoima, California, purchased the Caribbean from a family member of Glen. "The Caribbean was my first hot rod," Ray told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama in 2022. Ray bought the car in the Summer or Fall of 1958. "I was driving down a side street in San Fernando or Pacoima and saw the front of the Mercury front facing out back in a garage. I knew the car from seeing it driving around the valley. I stopped and asked the owner of the house if the car was for sale. He said the owner owed him $200.00, and if I would give him that, then I could have it." Ray believes this was after Booby Darren owned it. "I paid the $200. I had to install a new battery and a fuel pump and fill a couple of tires. When I got it home, I installed new breaks and kingpins in the front end." Back then, the car ran a 1953 Mercury Flathead engine and a 3-speed manual transmission. For a while, Ray was going to Washington High School in South West Los Angeles, and he would drive the car on the freeway every morning. "I then started going to Polytechnic in the Valley." Ray was a member of the Casuals of San Fernando Valley and the Hot Heads of San Fernando Valley while he owned the car. In the Spring of 1960, Ray's family moved to Las Vegas. At the end of the semester, he followed, trading the merc for $200 and a 1946 Pontiac fastback.
Shitty White Paint Job
"Some guys were partying one night and were throwing a bowling ball over a garage, and one landed on the hood caving it in," Gary told Kustomrama. "I graduated high school in 1961, and in my senior year, the Merc showed up in Poly High in San Fernando Valley parking lot. It had a shitty white paint job and looked like a herd of cattle ran through it."
In 2019 Al Hickey reached out to Sondre Kvipt, telling him that his dad, Dennis Hickey of Albuquerque, New Mexico, owned the famous custom from 1962 to 1967; "The Merc was a partial trade to Hi-Rock Auto Body for the bodywork and paint on Eddie Corbin's 1939 Chevrolet Pickup," a pickup that was featured in Rod & Custom January 1963. "Corbin purchased the Glen Hooker Mercury around 1962," Hickey told Sondre. "The small-block Chevy powering the Mercury at the time was then used in the 1939 Chevrolet Pickup. Intentions for the Mercury at that time were to install a fresh Desoto Adventurer 345 Cubic inch factory 2 four bbl. Hemi engine, which we still have today. Plans changed and In 1967 the Hickey family moved to Wisconsin and my father sold the'39 Mercury to Bill Liddle who owned a Salvage yard in Albuquerque."
Glen Hooker Buys it Back
In the late 1980s a vintage car buyer and seller found the car. After finding it, he contacted Glen Hooker to verify it. Glen verified it, and the car was advertised for sale in Hemmings. The sales price was high, and nobody was interested in paying that much for it. The seller eventually called Glen, and he offered him the old custom for a high but affordable price. The car was located in Arizona at the time, and Glen was living in Washington. He called his friend Gordy Brown of Salt Lake City and asked if he would go with him to pick it up. Gordy agreed, and the old Merc was trailered to Washington with Gordy's truck and trailer. When Glen bought his old car back, the Carson Top was a bare frame. The original driveline was still in place, and a 1950 Cadillac engine had been placed on a pallet inside the car. When they returned to Washington, Gordy stayed a week to help Glen strip the car to bare metal and spray it in black primer. In the following years, Glen decided to install the Cadillac engine along with a Mustang II front suspension. He did also consult Neil Emory about sectioning the hood about 1 1/2 inches and dropping the cowl/lower windshield to match. Neil agreed, so Glen went to work.
Sold to Gordy Brown
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