Jimmy Summers' 1940 Mercury Convertible
1940 Mercury restyled by Jimmy Summers of Hollywood, California. Restyled in 1946, Jimmy's Merc was lowered 8 1/2 inches all around. The entire body was channeled 6 inches. The fenders were kept at their original position, but they were reshaped to fit the altered body. Jimmy sectioned the hood by removing material from its bottom, and the front end was redesigned to house a handmade 1939 Buick-looking grille made from flat stock. The running boards and gravel shields were removed, the chrome shaved, and teardrop skirts added. Jimmy also made some special bumpers holding the license plate. The rear bumper was flanked by tail and stoplights. The deck lid was shaved for its handle and operated by a control from the driver seat. The windshield was chopped 2 1/2 inches and the car featured a tan padded top by Carson Top Shop. The top was finished inside with dark broadcloth. The seats were covered with top-grain steerhide. The instruments were grouped in front of the steering wheel, and the balance of the dashboard was paneled in wood.
The first version of the car was painted Ruby Maroon. The paint job consisted of 60 separate coats of maroon lacquer sprayed on one after the other. Then the finish was sanded with extra-fine sandpaper and a final coat of lacquer thinned out 80 percent sprayed on. This was rubbed down with a fine cleaner, burnished with a dry sheepskin mounted on a high-speed power disk, and waxed.
The Merc was later painted green after Jimmy and Doane Spencer supposedly drove the car down the steps at the state capitol in Sacramento. Jimmy's wife also didn't like the Ruby Maroon color, so she got Jimmy to change colors on the car. The Hubcaps were 1942 Packard units.
Jimmy sold the car to Tex Roberts in 1950. Tex was a colonel in the US Airforce, and the car was shipped around the world while he owned it. After Tex bought the car, Jimmy helped him mold the headlights, shave the door handles, install exhaust tips in the rear pan, and mold a license plate frame ton the trunk.
Dick Page of Tacoma, Washington, who had helped Tex work on the car, bought the car from Tex around 1970. By then the car was complete but unrestored. After Dick bought the car, it was kept in storage for about 40 years. During these 40 years, Dick also sold the car to his friend Jerry Jacobs but ended up buying it back 10 years later. In May of 2010 Dick Page posted a notice on the HAMB telling everyone that the restoration of the Jimmy Summers Merc had started. Since Dick was in a wheelchair, Jerry Jacobs and other friends helped him with the restoration. In July of 2010, restoration shots of the Merc was posted on the HAMB, showing its current state. Restoring the car back to its Ruby Maroon version, Dick was looking for some missing parts such as single bar flipper hubcaps and door handles.
Page began restoring the car. Health issues prevented him from completing what he started, and before he passed away in 2015, he sold the Merc to Kevan Sledge. "I have always loved this car," Kevan told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama. "It was a very radical custom for the time but amazingly well balanced. With all the radical body modifications that were made it's amazing that it looks so well proportioned and classy. This car must have turned a lot of heads in Los Angeles in the 1940s, and I'm sure it was a huge influence on Valley Customs, Barris, The Ayala Brothers, and other builders in the area." In 2020 Kevan was working on the car, restoring it back to its 1946 configuration.
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