Custom Car Chronicle

1936 Mercury Concept




What would have happened if Mercury had started production in 1936 instead of 1939. Imagine 3 inch longer wheelbase 36, with more streamlined top…

This Digital project started when Palle Johansen came across a nice 1936 Ford three window coupe project car. We started to talk about what could be done with the project. Palle wanted it to be a period Custom, but he was also interested in doing something a bit different. We started to discuss the chop of the coupe. And decided that unlike most chops this particular one should start with the actual window opening. Once that was right the rest of the top would need to be shaped accordingly. I had a few very nice side view images of Jon Fisher’s amazing 1936 Ford coupe chopped by Scott Guildner, so it made sense to start with that. The chop on Jon’s 36 Ford is perfect the way it is, but both Palle and me wanted to try something just a little different.

CCC-digital-restyling-36-mercury-base-01This is the photo that I used as a base. Jon Fisher’s 1936 Ford coupe chopped by Scott Guildner.

However along the way… I started to think some more about what we had talked about, doing something different with the 1936 Ford. On one of my early morning walks with our dog I came up with an interesting though. What if Mercury would have started producing cars in 1936. Then the wheel base of the car would have been 3 inches longer, the nose could be made longer, which always helps the looks on Custom Car. I did a quick Digital Restyling to show Palle, and he loved the idea. At first I worked with the basic shapes of the 1936 Ford, with extended front end including the front fenders. But soon I had added flush fit Lincoln teardrop skirts, which Palle wanted to incorporate, smooth running boards, longer GM headlights and smooth hood sides.

CCC-digital-restyling-36-mercury-01The first version of the Concept 1936 Mercury was rather “simple”. The hood, hood sides and front fenders were extended by 3 inches. I used an 1938 LaSalle grille and the feners where extended down a little at the end for a better flowing line. The chop has been modified with a reshaped side window opening and a few inches extended behind the B-Pillars, to compensate for the longer hood.

CCC-digital-restyling-36-mercury-02Similar as the number 1, but now with Lincoln fender skirts, side trim and Black Wall tires.

CCC-digital-restyling-36-mercury-03For version number 3 I added the Nash grille and used 1937 Ford hood side inserts.

After that I started to think about replacing the door window frames with units shapes similar to an 1939-40 Mercury, and raking the windshield back a little, just as the 39-40 Mercury has compared to the same year Fords. When I added the new door side window frames the coupe belt line did not look right anymore, so I changed it to look more like a 1936 Ford roadster, and convertible combined. At the time I was doing this Digital Restyling I had been very much in love with the Nash grille Kipp Winward was using on his 1936 Ford 5-Window Ford. So I found a picture of that which I could use. The nice rounded shape of the grille extended the nose a little more, which looked really good with the longer wheel base. Next phase was trying out a few different tire and hubcap variations and side trim and hood side options.


CCC-digital-restyling-36-mercury-04For version number 4 things really started to look like the concept Mercury I had in mind. A lot of work was needed to make the new door window frames work with the top. The top itself was chopped some more to get in balance with the rest of the body. Auburn hubcaps were added.

CCC-digital-restyling-36-mercury-05Variation of the hood sides.

After having done a few variations, I wanted to take the car one step further. I leaned back the windshield a little further, and thinned down the rather heavy 1936 Ford top. I found a nice side view photo of a 1939 Mercury and used a new window frame to create even smoother and more streamlined side window openings. I also reshaped the front fenders to make them a little more bulbous and shaped them a bit more like the rear fenders, or perhas like the 1937-38 Ford fenders look like. But the section where they meet the running boards would still remain very much 36 Ford. I used a modified 1939 Ford Standard side trim on the hood sides.

CCC-digital-restyling-36-mercury-06For the number 6 concept I changed the whole top once again. Leaned back windshield and completely reshaped side window opening. The front fenders have more bulge added at the rear section and a nice u-turn side trim styled after a 1939 Ford was added. I also added 1939 Mercury bumpers to fit the theme a little better.

Digital-restyling-36-mercury-07aThe last idea I wanted to see for myself was a 5-window body styled with elements of the Matranga 1940 Mercury. I wanted to keep the longer coupe doors instead of the shorter 5-window doors which required an extended and reshaped top, with a smaller trunk opening. Interesting, but perhaps not as elegant as the three window coupe version from number 6.

Not to long after receiving the project 1936 Ford at his home in Denmark, Palle decided that it would be better to concentrate on the projects he already has going. 1947 Cadillac convertible and the Jack Stewart Ford restoration, so the hard decision to let go of the ’36 Ford Coupe was made. The car is now in Sweden and will be turned into a period Custom Car, but not as the 1936 Concept Mercury as we see in this article. Perhaps at one point Palle will find another 36 Ford, possibly a 5-window coupe, or sedan that could be turned in the 1936 Mercury Coupe Custom…


Rik Hoving



Are you day dreaming about your own perfect dream custom?

  • Do you wonder what your precious car would (or could!) look like, even before you start cutting on it?
  • Would you like to see different paint variations and styled on your custom car before you even start to mask the car, or order that expensive new paint?
  • Or would you like to see the difference of a 2, 3 or 4 inch chop and see the impact it will have on the rest of the car?
  • Maybe you want to see any other modification done to your custom car, without having to actually perform that modification and find out a different modification would have worked better with the rest of your car?

Do you suddenly see all the possibilities? Perhaps now is a good time to contact Rik Hoving and ask him about the possibilities of his digital Restyling options. Request are free of any obligations.



(this article is sponsored by)







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)

8 thoughts on “1936 Mercury Concept

  • I love this idea and it´s too bad Palle sold the car. I think the front fenders flows with the rear fenders in a better way in version #5 than in #6 so therefore I like #5 best.
    I know the guy who bought it from Palle and he´s in the progress of taking out the interior and all the glass for a nice chop right now.

  • Rik Hoving at his very best, working off a quintessential hot rod base. Love the progression of “what if’s” as the styling juices started flowing. Back in the day, pretty much chrome and stainless were removed for that smooooth look. Today, looking back through Rik’s studied eye, we can see really creative contributions just the right amount of trim can contribute as accents. I love the lengthening, and the added roundness, but especially the thinning of the top to achieve better balance. Chopping a bulbous top beyond that balance point so often leaves a very “heavy” lid, way out of proportion.

    Just saying. Love it!!
    Larry Pointer

  • No. 6 is just perfect…All comes together and leaves the eye pleased. My personal plan for this wonderful design would be to use a ’36 Cabriolet and have the steel top be removable. Everything else is just as it should be. Keep them coming Rik.

  • Hey Rik that idea was amazing, The fact so many things have been done and copied, Especially with the 1939 1940 Merc it is just awesome that you came up with something I don’t think may have been thought of yet, This is how new customs can be created well done Rik………….

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