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David Conrad shared some neat pictures he took in the 60s and 70s. Interesting and sometimes abandoned Custom Cars he came across while on the road.

In July 2018 I shared a photo of an early 1940’s restyled 1940 Mercury ones owned by the mr. Williams and later owned by Marsh Baldwin. I was wondering what had happened to the restoration on the care when David Conrad shared a few photos of some old 60’s and 70’s road trips with including one of an Mercury that looked a bit similar. The picture David shared, of a greene padded topped Mercury at a car lot in San Diego in 1963, had a very similar very heavy chop, but it looked to be a ’39 and not the ’40 I was looking for. But the photo was very interesting, and the ’39 Mercury looked vaguely familiar, reminding me a bit at the James Etter ’39 Mercury restored in the late  1970’s, early 1980’s by Karl Jonasson. But I did not pay much attention to that at the time.

When David shared the photos he mentioned that he took some photos back in 1963 when he and a friend towed David’s 31 Model A pickup to San Diego to the Model A Restorers Club national meet. On the way they stopped at several locations and David took some photos of interesting cars he saw on their way.

David saw this 1940 Mercury with some Ayala Inspiration at the Easy Jack’s junk yard in Kansas in 1963. He always wondered what happened to it. Anybody knows?

The rear shows an interesting Panoramic rear window treatment on the chopped canvas covered top, as well as ’48-49 Cadillac rear fenders molded into the body. I wonder if the car was ever finished and on the road, or if it was an abandoned project?

David took this ’40 Ford convertible in the early 70s in a friends back yard. He has no idea what ever happened to it. This is in St Louis, mo.

It appears to be an channeled ’40 Ford convertible with a much molded body that was done in the late 1950’s, early 1960’s. Perhaps it evolved over the years.

In November 2018, the photo David had shared of the 1963 San Diego was shared again on Facebook. Anthony White made a comment on it. “Tried to make a case for it being the James Etter car but that’s a long stretch”. Anthony’s comment brought me back to the original thought I had when looking at that picture, and I started to look into it a bit more. I had recently discussed the Etter Mercury with Henrik Forss, and things look like they are falling into place, and the car in the picture David took might be the Jim Etter Mercury. David mentioned this about the Green Mercury photo. “I saw this Merc. on a used car lot in 1963 in San Diego. It had real heavy green metalflake paint on it. Paint was very thick.”

David took this very neat picture of a green metalflake ’39 Mercury at an unknown used car lot in San Diego in 1963.

In an old Swedish Wheels Magazine article on the ’39 Mercury that Karl restored it was mentioned that the car had a green metalflake paint job under the primer. It also showed that the rear had a ’41 Ford bumper mounted. When David took the photo in 1963, it looks like the Mercury had ’41 Ford bumpers and it also looks like the running boards were shortened, just as the Jim Etter Mercury has. We are now trying to see if we can get a better scan, or info from David if he can see on the original slide if the hood has the characteristic scoop on the side, and the louver’s cut in the hood. All other details on the San Diego Mercury seem to match with the Jim Etter Mercury…

The original scan from the color slide David shared is not very big, therefor the details are rather blurry. This is the best I could do blowing up the image to have a better look at the car. It does appear to have the hood side scoop… but because the scan is so blurry, that could be just shadow and an optical illusion.

This is how the car looked that Karl got to restore in the late 1970’s. Notice all the similarities with the Green one David photographed.

Part if the Wheels Magazine article showing some more details, including the ’41 Ford rear bumper.

This is how most people will recognize the James Etter 1939 Mercury from the 1980’s. The heavy chop, the shortened running boards, and molded in headlights. Karl added the exhausts behind the running boards and the ’49 Plymouth bumper. The Barris Crest on the front fender is an replica added after Karl restored the car.

To be continued…..



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)

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