SUMMERS MERC CURRENT CONDITION
This is the third and last part of the series on the Jimmy Summers 1940 Mercury. In this last article we will show you how the car looked when Dick Page acquired it, and how it looks today, October, 2013.
With special thanks to Dick Page for all his help on these three articles.
By Dick Page
This photo of the black primered Mercury, sitting on jack stands, was taken in Jerry’s warehouse on the day Dick Page bought it, and took it home. This photo shows the fiberglass 1940 fender skirts that were put on the car by Jerry. The original Buick units were missing. If you look carefully, you can see the double exhausts exiting from the bottom of the roll pan.
In part one of this series, we told you about a 22 year old Dick Page seeing the Jimmy Summers Mercury for the first time in his live, at Tex Roberts house in 1964. Dick Page was shocked. Such an important car, sitting outside under a tarp, instead of safely sitting in a warm garage, not affected by the elements. Right there Dick decided to transport the Mercury to his brand new garage, thus making sure the car would be saved for the future.
When Dick Page first saw that Mercury it appeared to have the same look as he knew from several publications. But upon close inspection he noticed all the extra work that was done by Jimmy Summers in 1953 and in later years by Tex Roberts. The changes from the version we are familiar with, included molded fenders, molded in headlights. Molded in and smoothed hood peak, trunk mounted club plaque surround which was molded in, shaved door handles, and a few other changes. All this work was done with excellent craftsmanship in metal and lead, and can be considered as just mild updates from the original 1946 version. But for the restoration Dick decided that the car should go back to this 1946 version. So these extra elements will have to go.
Dick Page took the Jimmy Summers Mercury home in 1970. At the time he was building his new home shop, and the car was parked in it to ensure it was save, dry, and well protected. During the mid 1970’s, Tex Roberts came and picked up the Mercury several times. He would work on the car in his own race car shop. Each time he was done with the car, he brought it back to Dick Page. Until the car left the car for the very last time. Tex wanted to add the Columbia two speed rear, and add all new brake lines. But Tex passed away while the car was in his shop. And once again the Mercury was left in his shop. It was still in black primer guide coat when it was bought by Jerry Jacobs. As far as Dick can tell Jerry never worked on the car, or had work done on it by somebody else.
Over the years, several custom car fans have searched for the Jimmy Summers Mercury, hoping they would find a lead that will end up in finding this custom car icon. This half page article, trying to generate leads that would lead to find the car, was ran in an early 1980’s rod magazine. Dick Page saw the ad, but never told the people looking for it, the car was sitting in his basement in relatively perfect condition.
In August 1990 Rod & Custom magazine listed their Top 20 all-time Rods & Customs in a large centerfold poster. The list was conducted by Pat Ganahl, and the number one custom car on the list was…. the Jimmy Summers 1940 Mercury. On the poster Jimmy’s Mercury was positioned below the Doane Spencer 1932 Ford… Close together like the real cars were a lot in the 1940’s.
The whereabouts of the Jimmy Summers 1940 Mercury, have always been a kind of ‘Worlds Best Held Secret’, for many decades. Few insiders knew the car was still around, and in relatively good condition. Even less people knew who owned the car, or in which state it was. But the insiders were asked not to talk about it, until the time was right.
The time was right in 2005, when the Rodder’s Journal did a one page article on the Jimmy Summers Mercury in issue #28. The article included photos that Donn Lowe had taken at Dick Pages basement, while researching the Summers Mercury for a project he was working on. Pat Ganahl was responsible for the story. This was the first time the public could read about the car, and how it had survived. It however did not tell the current owners name.
The Mercury was temporary stored at Dick’s friend Denny Halls place when this photo was taken. The Carson top structure is all there, but the original padding is long gone. This photo shows the reshaped rear wheel openings.
The photo above shows the raised floor, the reshaped inner fender panels that made sure there was enough travel room for the rear wheels and the inboard gas filler. The photo also gives us a nice look at the front of the top.
Inside the headlight Dick found some old paint. The dark blue paint is actual black primer, on top of that several coats of the second time the car was painted ruby maroon. When Dick saw the car the first time the car was in white primer which can also be seen here.
Work in progress. Removing the lead from the molded headlights, as well as the molded in and smoothed hood peak to get all this to 1946 specs. Notice how nice the hand made grille opening is finished. And if you look good you can see the high position of the frame rails on the right of the grille opening. This photo also shows that the bumper mounts on the frame needed to be lowered to make them line up with the holes in the fenders.
Different paint colors on the Jimmy Summers 1940 Mercury
- 1946 Jimmy Summers build the car and paints it 1941 GM Ruby Maroon
- 1947 Jimmy repainted the car in Sherwood Green a 1947 Buick color
- 1953 Jimmy updated the car for Tex Roberts. Most likely he repainted it in Ruby Maroon again that time
- We know the car was maroon for a secant time, but the exact year it was repainted is unsure.
- Tex Roberts stripped the car back to bare metal and added white primer to protect the body metal from the elements. Not sure when this was done, but by 1964, when Dick saw it for the first time the car was in primer.
- Early 1970’s Dick paints the car in black primer, which is still on the car today.
Sources and more info:
- Dan Post Blue book of Custom Restyling
- Popular Mechanics, May 1947
- Rod & Custom magazine, August 1990
- The Rodder’s Journal, Issue #28