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Kevan Sledge RJ cover


A long lasting dream for many hot rodder and custom car guy is to make it onto the cover of the Rodder’s Journal. Kevan Sledge’s amazing 1940 Mercury is on the cover of issue #65, and nobody deserved it more than Kevan.

Kevan’s 1940 Mercury has been in the making for many years. Build by Kevan Sledge with the help of his good friends Rob Radcliff, Octavio Chavez and Vic Jimenez. The car has progressed over the years from having air-bags, mailbox size windshield with black primer to a piece of art, a study in Traditional Custom. Obviously influenced by the Barris Kustoms built Nick Matranga 1940 Merc, Kevan set out to built the ultimate 1940 Custom Car. The styling, detail and overall flow and looks are absolutely stunning.

Kevan and his friends worked hours, days, weeks on getting the chop on this Mercury as perfect as possible. As mentioned before, it was influenced by the Nick Matranga Mercury, but if you compare the two cars, especially when it comes to the chop, Kevan’s version is just absolutely perfect. The flow from the front to the rear is so nice, this really is a good sample of how these cars should have come from the factory.

I saw Kevan’s Mercury in person in 2009, when the car was invited to be part of the Sacramento Autorama Mercury Gathering. I spend many hours looking at that car that weekend, I could just not keep my eyes off the flowing lines of that chop. And back then, the car was far from finished. It was in fresh green primer, and a lot of details were still missing. In the following years, Kevan started his own body shop, Sledge Customs, in Auburn, California, and spend many hours after work finishing his own Mercury. Each time when Kevan showed new updates it became evident that this was THE 1940 mercury. When the car debuting in paint, at the 2014 West Coast Kustom, everybody was talking about this car. The color Kevan had picked for this car was the just like everything else, right on the money. And then it became evident, this car needed to be featured by the best magazine in the field. The Rodder’s Journal.

In the summer of 2014 Steve Coonan and Geoff Miles from the Rodder’s journal invited Kevan for a photo-shoot for a full magazine feature on the car. Another real Traditional Custom to be featured again in the magazine. The car was photographed on location, as well as in the RJ Studio. But it turned out that the dark green paint did not work well with the studio lighting and turned almost completely black. So those photos never ended up in the magazine. Issue #65 from the Rodder’s Journal is now printed and getting ready to be shipped to the distributor and subscribers all around the world. And the best thing, Kevan’s 1940 Mercury was used for one of the two Cover Photos… And it looks absolutely stunning.
Congratulations Kevan Sledge.

While at the Rodder’s Journal Studio for the photo-shoot, Kevan took several photos in the dark studio’s. The RJ Team was setting up reflection board and getting everything ready for the photo shoot. These snapshots Kevan took show that the car looked very dark, and the RJ professional camera apparently could not bring the brightness in the color either. So the photos that were taken were never used. But we have Kevan’s Snapshot to show, and it does show the amazing reflections on the perfectly restyled 1940 mercury.
CCC-kevan-sledge-rj-cover-01Overview of the studio with the Mercury in the overhead studio light, the reflection boards on the left and the Rodder’s Journal archives on the right.
CCC-kevan-sledge-rj-cover-02I think that is Geoff Miles walking with one of the refection boards.
CCC-kevan-sledge-rj-cover-05Low angle rear 3/4 view with the Lincoln Bumper Guard taillight turned on. What a great view.
CCC-kevan-sledge-rj-cover-03Getting ready for some engine detail shots.
CCC-kevan-sledge-rj-cover-06Openings spread of the article on Kevan’s Mercury. The article is written by Curt Iseli, and the photos taken by Steve Coonan. Photo of the advance copy of the Rodder’s Journal issue #65.




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)

9 thoughts on “Kevan Sledge RJ cover

  • Congratulations, Kevan, on having your ’40 Merc on the cover of Rodder’s Journal. It is certainly worthy of all the recognition that the car is receiving. You got every detail perfect!

  • Wow. I love that green. Imagine the “good fright” you’d get finding that in your garage in the morning. Stunning and an inspiration for all us guys toiling away the hours. . . Thinking “am I ever gonna get there”. Handwork, dedication, a skilled team and a clear, single goal.

  • John Rose

    I’m a fan of Rob Radcliffe’s work.He is leaving his mark on the Kustoms scene.

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