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'40 Mercury Convertible mild custom rod


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I’ve always had an affection for the ‘39/’40 Mercury convertibles….a little longer, chubbier, and heavier than the ’40 Fords, with a lower, softer rear fender opening and a nicely shaped soft top.
In the early ‘60s, ITC made a 1/25 plastic kit of a ’40 Merc, but anyone who’s looked at those kits knows that the model is terribly disproportionate with very few useable parts or accessories. It was marketed as a remote-control model with no chassis to speak of and very rudimentary interior and engine compartment.
I do enjoy a challenge, and with this ongoing pandemic and time on my hands, I decided to try my hand at ‘making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear’. After spending a lot of time reproportioning the main body, I decided to open and hinge the doors and trunk lid, and build a detailed, longer Merc chassis from a ’40 Ford version. I used stainless wire to form most of the body trim, a Revell parts-pack Cadillac motor (modified with a 3-2bbl intake and a ‘Replicas and Miniatures’ Cadillac air filter), chrome wheels from Pegasus with parts bin tires, and I added my usual fabricated brass rad, an aluminum fuel tank, aluminum strip transverse springs/shackles, polished aluminum exhaust system, and poseable steering front axle. I've even made the wire door handles to turn to open or latch the doors.
Virtually every part on this model is either scratchbuilt or heavily modified.
Paint is automotive basecoat/clearcoat custom mixed purple over a pearle base































Edited by traditional
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WOW!! What a beautiful looking Mercury! This is something you rarely, if ever, see built! I'm always impressed with your scratch building and attention to the little details that make a huge difference. Excellent work Cliff! It's a stunner!

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I enjoyed watching your build and seeing all of the effort you put into the body and chassis. I like how you represented some of your work here. The color is very striking and the surface looks perfect. So many details that really make this a great display piece..  

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So, you take a piece of disproportionate plastic and simply sand, slice and saw away anything that doesn't look like a '40 Mercury convertible? Sounds simple enough, but I have to be able to see the inaccuracies and know where to cut before I can fix them. That's the trick. I'm very impressed (but not surprised) at how smooth and seamless this model turned out, given how extensive the body work was. 

I've said this before, but how you can scratch build a chassis like this and have all four wheels touching the ground and the stance spot-on too is beyond me. I'm a big fan of chrome reverse wheels and wide white wall tires, they're a perfect choice for this car.

Another unique and superb build Cliff. Thanks for including all the in-progress photos!


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9 hours ago, Perspective Customs said:

Masterpiece! I'd like a bit more info on how you shaped the seat with Renshape.

Hi Jay,  Renshape is relatively easy to shape....it sands like soft wood but without the grain or moisture instability.  In this case, I used a jeweler's saw to achieve the very basic form /size, and then used coarse sandpaper followed by 400 grit sandpaper. A bench grinder or a small bench belt-sander makes forming more major projects even easier.  There's a lot of dust created, so wear a mask for safety (any fine dust can be harmful to your lungs, etc.).

I made the bench seat in the three basic parts , then drilled and inserted short lengths of stiff wire to fasten the back-rests to the main base.  The Renshape grade that I use (I got mine second-hand so I don't have the grade specs) is very durable with no airgaps, etc.

Edited by traditional
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