John Williamson's 1940 Mercury

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The Merc as it sat while John Williamson owned it. Photo courtesy of John Williamson.
Photo courtesy of John Williamson.
Photo courtesy of John Williamson.
The merc as it sat in 1992 while Jerry Mack of Bend, Oregon owned it. Photo courtesy of Mike Shelley, from Rik Hoving Custom Car Photo Archive.
Glen Hooker comparing chops bewteen his 1939 Mercury on the left, and Gordy's 1940 Mercury Convertible on the right. This photo was taken in the late 1980s, right after Glen had bought his old custom back. While transporting the Merc back to Glen's home in Washington, he and Gordy Brown stopped by Gordy's son's house in North Salt Lake City to compare the two cars. They took the Caribbean off the trailer in order to take these photos. Glen owned Gordy's 1940 Mercury several years after he sold the 1939 Mercury. This was the first time these two Mercs had ever been with each other, and also the first time Glen had been with both cars at the same time. Photo by Gordy Brown.[1]
Gordy with the Mercury after he had cut and replaced the frenched headlights with stock 1939 Mercury headlights. Photo by John Williamson, from the Rik Hoving Custom Car Photo Archive.
Gordy replaced the frenched taillights with a set of 1941 Studebaker taillights. Photo by John Williamson, from the Rik Hoving Custom Car Photo Archive.

1940 Mercury owned by John Williamson of Sunland, California. John found the body of the car behind Richard "Korky" Korkes body shop in Southern California. The body had been brought to Korky for some work, and left without contact or pay from the owner for a long time. John asked Korky why he had it out behind the shop on the railroad easement, and Korky told John the owner hadn't paid him, so he threw it out. Korky gave John the body, and he took it home on a $7 UHaul trailer with the help of his friend Bruce Cox.[2] There was no frame, front end or interior when John bought the car, just the empty body. John trailered the body home, and found a 1956 Chevrolet that was damaged in the rear he could use as donor. He stripped the body off the Chevrolet, and shortened the frame at the front and rear so he could install the Mercury body on it. He kept the motor, transmission and suspension from the donor Chevrolet as well. When John was working on the car he found remnants of both green and maroon colors. The original body work had also been done in lead. John sold the car before it was done, and Glen Hooker eventually wound up with it.[1] Glen had Gene Winfield of Winfield's Custom Shop do some bodywork on the car. As the original hood was badly damaged from kids stomping on it, Glen had Winfield section a new hood for the car. In 1987, Don Siglar found the car at Winfield's shop. Jerry told Gene that if the owner ever wanted to sell it, he was interested in buying it. Glen eventually called Don, and the old custom swapped hands. After Don purchased the car, he had Winfield french the headlights and create new wheel arches. Don owned the car for a couple of years, but when Gene Winfield came out with the fiberglass bodied 1948 Ford customs, he bought one of those instead ans sold the Mercury to Jerry Mack of Bend, Oregon. Jerry was living in California at the time, but later he moved back to Oregon, and he brought the Merc with him.[3] After Jerry had owned the car for about 14 years he put it up for sale again. Gordy Brown of Salt Lake City, Utah bought the old Merc from Jerry. The first time Gordy saw the car someone had installed a Buick V6 into it. By the time Jerry put the car up for sale, he had installed a small block Chevrolet V-8 back in it. Prior to Gordy buying the car, it always had a hot rod kind of look with the big tires not he back and small tires up front. Part of this was due to the 1956 Chevrolet front suspension having a 60 inch wide tracking. The Mercury had a 56 inch wide tracking, causing the tires to rub into the fenders when trying to turn anything than a small tire up front. As Gordy wanted a custom look for the car, he had Fat Man Fabrication make a set of narrowed upper and lower arms to pull the wheels in 3 inches. Gordy then installed 14 inch wheels as he felt these fit the overall profile of the car better, and he had Diamond Back Tires make a set of 14" tires with 2 1/4 inch whitewalls. The suspension was fine tuned to set the car level front to rear. The doors were then sectioned before Gordy built a molded running board look below the doors from 1948 Ford lower door sections. 1948 Ford upper door hinges were turned upside down and reversed side to side to replace the lower outside door hinges. In the rear Gordy installed a 1948 Chevrolet bumper that he fit with 1948 Oldsmobile ends. Up front a 1948 Chevrolet bumper fit with pieces cut from 1953 Lincoln bumpers was installed to match the rear bumper. Front and rear pans were molded. The frenched headlights and taillights were cut and replaced by stock 1939 Mercury headlights and 1941 Studebaker tailight bezels and lenses. As the rear of the car is a little heavy, Gordy plans to run the car without fender skirts. He is working on keeping the balance and flow of the car with what was already done to it when he got it. After buying the 1940 Mercury, Gordy also bought Glen Hooker's 1939 Mercury, The Caribbean.[1]



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