Jimmy Summers' 1940 Mercury Convertible

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A construction photo of Summers' Merc. Running 1945 plates, you can see that plywood is used behind the rear seat in the car. The back seat was made from scratch to provide better space after the body had been channeled. The lettering on the deck lid reads, "Summers." Summers made a similar emblem for Earl Bruce's 1940 Ford Coupe. The emblem on the coupe read “Bruce.” Photo from The Jimmy Summers Photo Collection.
A rare color photo of Jimmy with his second wife Janet. This first iteration of the Merc was painted deep red. Photo courtesy of Jack Butler.
Another early photo of the Merc, showing the initial Ruby Maroon iteration.[1]
Jimmy with Lee in front of the Merc. Photo from The Jimmy Summers Photo Collection.
An early front end shot of the Mercury. Kris told Sondre that Jim only drove Buicks in the 1950s and the 1960s, so it probably wasn't a coincidence that the Mercury received a handmade 1939 Buick-looking grille that Summers made from flat stock. Photo from The Jimmy Summers Photo Collection.
Dan Post used a cropped version of the photo above in his California Custom Car Photo Album in 1947.
Two photos of the Summers Merc, taken outside the Melrose Avenue shop, were published in California Timing News February 1947. Veda Orr snapped the photos, and according to the caption, the Merc was Maroon when she stopped by. Four photos of the Frank Kurtis built Bill Hughes' Roadster was published on the same page, and Veda credits Summers as the owner of the car. Also painted maroon, the roadster featured a stock engine when Veda photographed it; "This was originally equipped with a Miller Front-drive engine, the type used in 1935 at Indianapolis." According to Veda, Summers was by 1947 known throughout Southern California for his special bodywork and paint jobs. Photo courtesy of California Timing News.
A photo of Jimmy with the Merc from the Popular Mechanics May 1947 story.
A rare color photo of the green version of Jimmy's Mercury from Lee’s collection. Jane did not like the Ruby Maroon color on the Mercury. So after Jimmy and Doane Spencer had an accident where they drove it down the steps at the state capitol in Sacramento, she got Jimmy to repaint it green. Photo from The Jimmy Summers Photo Collection.
A photo of the Merc taken after it had been repainted green. 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.
A photo of the car taken while Dick Page owned it. Photo by Donn Lowe.
Photo by Donn Lowe
Photo by Donn Lowe
Photo by Donn Lowe.
The car as it appeared in July, 2010 showing the partly stripped and molded headlight. Photo by Dick Page, provided by Rik Hoving.
Photo showing the inside of the fender. Photo by Dick Page, provided by Rik Hoving.
The marking on this photo shows where the headlight and fender line was filled in by Jimmy Summers in the 1950s.
A photo of Kevan Sledge with the Mercury taken in March of 2019. Health issues prevented Dick Page from completing the restoration of the car, and before he passed away in 2015, he sold the Merc to Kevan. Photo by Sondre Kvipt - Kustomrama.

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.[2]

Ruby Maroon

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.[2]

Repainted Green

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.[2]

Tex Roberts

Jimmy sold the car to Tex Roberts[3] 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.[3]

Dick Page

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.[2] 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.[3]

Kevan Sledge

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.[4]

Magazine Features and Appearances

California Timing News February 1947
Popular Mechanics May 1947
Hop Up March 1952



The American Custom Car
Hotrods Online
Street Rodder Magazine


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