Custom Car Chronicle
custom carsmodel cars

Building a 49 Mercury model in the eighties


This model’49 Mercury Sedan Delivery custom was build around 1987. Mercury never produced a Sedan Delivery with the 1949-51 models. They created a Woody in those years. But those bodies are very tall with a raised roof and are hard to customize with the right proportions.

After chopping and customizing three 49 Mercury sedans, I was looking for something different. Let say…more challenging. So I decided to design my own 1949 Mercury Sedan Delivery based on an AMT 1949 Coupe model kit. When I built this model car in the 1980’s I never did take any photos of the in progress work. Something I really regret now.


Starting with the AMT 49 Mercury the rear of the roof was cut off behind the B pillars and above the body the beltline to the sharp character line on the lower rear quarters. After the front section of the top was chopped, I created the delivery body from 1 mm sheet styrene for the body sides and 3 mm sheet styrene for the top. The complexed round corners at the rear of the body where made from small sections of sheet styrene bend in shape. I wanted all doors on this model to open, so the rear door was made as a separate part from several pieces of sheet styrene, shaped and glued into one unit. The rear window moldings where made from stretched sprue.


At the rear I wanted a spare wheel cover which was made from a 36 Ford with Merc hubcap center added. A set of 59 Cadillac taillights where tunneled into the rear quarters, and a small lip made from stretched sprue around the opening blends it into the character line on the quarter panels. Back when I built this custom I thought ’59 Cadillac taillights looked good on everything, plus they were included in the kit. Now I would have never used them. New, more in scale and thinner,  fender skirts where made from sheet styrene with a lip added using stretched sprue.


I cut the doors open, and made the door jambs from sheet styrene. The door frames where filed on the inside to create a more realistic and in scale look. Hinges where made from brass wire and tubing.


At the front I was very much inspired by the Hirohata Merc. the headlights of a 57 Ford (they are perfect for an instant extended and frenched look) where molded into further extended front fenders. A new grille opening was made from sheet styrene and the upper grille surround was moved forward and molded to the hood. The surrounding area’s where all blended in using small pieces of sheet styrene and a little filler. The grille was made from the two custom bumpers from the old issue of the AMT 57 Ford kit. The ends where cut and glued together in a slight V shape. The center panel and teeth where made from sheet styrene. Side pipes where made from bent aluminum tubing which rest in custom made (sheet styrene) housings.


In the interior I scribed tuck & roll panels in the stock merc bench. The door side panels were made from sheet styrene and the chrome separation line is a piece of silver colored metal wire. All handles where home made. The dashboard was made using a 41 Lincoln (Monogram kit) dash panel combined with the stock 49 Mercury unit and lots of small pieces from the scrap box, to create a jukebox style dash. The center section of the stock merc grille is now the speaker grille in the lower section of the dash. The cargo bay was covered with real wood covered in many clear coats, for a high gloss look. The rest of the interior was upholster using tissue paper and shaped sheet styrene.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPaint is custom mixed Humbrol enamel dark maroon, engine bay is gloss black and all was covered in a slightly gold colored clear coat. To top the custom off I added Modelhaus white wall tires (a later addition, at first they where white wall painted stock tires) and RMCM Caddy Sombrero hubcaps with clear red Caddy crests.



Rik Hoving

Rik is the CCC editor in chief. As a custom car historian he is researching custom car history for many years. In 2004 he started the Custom Car Photo Archive that has become a place of joy for many custom car enthousiasts. Here at CCC Rik will bring you inspiring articles on the history of custom cars and builders. Like a true photo detective he will show us what's going on in all those amazing photos. He will write stories about everything you want to know in the realm of customizing. In daily life Rik is a Graphic Designer. He is married to the CCC webmaster and the father of a 10 year old son (they are both very happy with his excellent cooking skills)

2 thoughts on “Building a 49 Mercury model in the eighties

  • There are so many good things about this car that go relatively unnoticed because they are so nicely done. The windshield & window moldings are so nice, & the fit of the “glass” is perfect. How about that ribbed rear view mirror? I surely don’t see those too often in a model. Hand scribed tuck & roll?? Man, what patience! I could go on forever about the subtleties, but let’s not forget the fit of the opening panels. That’s another thing I practically never see: opening panels that look just as good when they are closed as when they are open! What a fantasic build!

  • This model is about as perfect as you could imaging. The fit and finish are superb and the minute details are so real. Nothing to pick at on this one, Rik!!! Thank you for sharing.

Leave a Reply