Winfields Jade Idol Sold

 

WINFIELDS JADE IDOL SOLD

 

After having been the caretaker for many years Billy Belmont has just sold the Gene Winfield created 1956 Mercury Jade Idol to a Oregon based new owner.



On September 20th, 2017 the Gene Winfield created 1956 Mercury “Jade Idol” has been loaded onto a transported in Dedham, Massachusetts to be delivered at Gene Winfield’s Mohave Desert Custom Shop for a complete make over for its new owner. Billy Belmont has been the caretaker of the Jade Idol since the late 1980’s, when he bought the car from John D’Agostino. Billy has taken very good care of the car since then and had the car stored in a temperature controlled garage. The car could not have looked any better than it does. The Rodder’s Journal issue #75 featured a full page ad for the Jade Idol being For Sale. The Portland, Oregon based new owner decided he wanted to have the car, and despite the great condition the car is in, to go for a make over by the master, Gene Winfield himself.

The Jade Idol is now on its way from Dedham, Massachusetts, to Gene Winfield’s Shop in the Mohave desert in California. Here Gene will repaint the car in a fade paint job very similar to the first paint job he added to the sectioned ’56 Mercury back in early 1960.

The full page ad in Rodder’s Journal issue #75 The Jade Idol For Sale.
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A brief history on the Jade Idol

Leroy Kemmerer took his newly bought 1956 Mercury 2-door hard-top to Gene Winfield’s shop in 1958. He had Gene Winfield turn the car into a Custom Car Show stopper and had Gene do whatever he needed to do, to create just that. The car was sectioned 4 inches, had ’57 Chrysler New Yorker rear quarter panels added, with complete custom made front and rear. The body was all smoothed and when done, Gene painted it shades of candy green over pearl white with gold, black and probably some others dark shades. Gene had 7 paint guns all ready to go when he started the fade paint job, to create this unique feature. The car was a huge success on the show circuit.

Leroy Kemmerer with the original 1956 Mercury, before he took it to Gene Winfield’s shop.
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After touring he Jade Idol on the West Coast, where it won about every award possible, the car was taken to the east coast to be shown at all the major Custom Car Show there. There it was equally successful bringing a lot of Nation wide fame for Gene Winfield. On the way back to California disaster stuck when the trailer the Jade Idol was transported on flipped and the Mercury was badly damaged. Gene was not insure, so the repair work had to be paid by Gene himself. He replaced the damaged roof with a donor roof, and repaired all the other body damage and repainted the car. The repaired car is missing its distinctive Metal strips on the roof. Gene applied a new paint-job, but different from its original one.

The Jade Idol’s original fade paint-job by Gene Winfield. The car that made Gene the king of fade paint-jobs.
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The Jade Idol was very successful at the early 1960’s Car Shows.
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After having toured California and later the East Coast the car was badly damaged when the trailer it was transported on flipped. Gene repaired the damage by removing the damaged top and replace it with a donor top. The rest of the damage was repaired and the car repainted with a new, but different fade paint job.
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The Jade Idol after Gene Winfield had repaired it.
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After the car had been repaired it was shown in California for about another year, then the car returned to Leroy who wanted to enjoy the car on the road. It turned out the car was not quite street legal according the cops who ticketed Leroy when he drove it around town. Changes where made and after a few year Leroy lost interest in the car and sold it for very little money. After that the history is a little sketchy until Rod Powell finds car at a body shop. Jerry Rehn ends up buying the car and together with Rod Powell the car was restored at Rod’s Salinas Shop. Rod Powell painted the car close to the original colors, but not 100% the same. Later Jerry sold the car to Bob Page, who had the car repainted with the colors the car is still in today. John D’Agostino owned the car for a short period in 1987, and made plans to have the car restored and redone completed into how the car originally looked at Gene Winfield. But before that happened John sold the car to Billy Belmont. Billy has been the caretaker of the Jade Idol ever since and kept it in pristine condition.

During its restoration around 1979 at Rod Powell’s Salinas Shop.
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1980, shortly after Rod Powell and Jerry Rehn had restored the car and Rod Powell had repainted it. The new paint job had less black on the sides, and less color sections added to the fading parts as the original paint Gene added.
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At the 46th Oakland Roadster Show.
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This is how the car looked after Bob Page owned the car and had it repainted. The new paint job was still a fade paint-job, but lacked the original dark and black sectioned.
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Studio photos by Steve Coonan when Billy Belmont owned the car.
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The Jade Idol sitting in Billy Belmont’s garage on September 20th, 2010, the car has just been sold to its new Portland, Oregon based Owner and getting ready to be shipped to Gene Winfield for a new Winfield fade paint-job similar to the cars very first Winfield paint-job. (Photo’s by Pete from the HAMB)
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Billy Belmont (right) with the Jade Idol, getting ready to drive it out of the garage.
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Billy Belmont on its way to the truck that will take the car to Winfield’s Mohave desert shop.
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Backing up to get in position to be loaded onto the truck.
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On the lift.
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California… here we come!
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And this is very much as how Gene Winfield will once again paint the Jade Idol wonderful shaded of green, black, gold and white. We will show the result as soon as we get the pictures from the restoration.
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Special thanks to John D’Agostino.




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Larry Watson Line-Up photo

 

WATSON LINE-UP Photo

 

6 wild and brilliant painted mild Customs, all painted by legendary Custom Painter Larry Watson. Lined up for this Watson Line-Up Photo shoot.



This amazing line up photo of 6 Larry Watson outline or panel painted Custom Cars was most likely organized for a magazine photo shoot. Several photo taken during this photo shoot have appear in various magazines including the 1961 Custom Cars Annual the Popular Customs Winter 1963 issue. The photo was taken most likely in 1959, perhaps late 1959. Possibly it was George Barris who took the photos. The photo, including several close up’s of Larry with his ’58 T-Bird taken at this location appeared in the Barris Kustom Techniques of the 50’s Volume 4 book. The location, which so far I have not been able to identify was used for this, but also for several other photo shoots of Larry Watson painted cars. Most likely it was in the neighborhood where Larry had his shop in 1959, Rosecrans Blvd in Bellflower Ca. If anybody recognizes this location, please let us know.

The cars that were picked for this photo-shoot are (from left to right) John Busman’s 1956 Chevy, Unknown owner 1956 Mercury, Unknown owner 1956 Chevy, Jim Doss 1958 Chevy, Bob Mayfield 1959 Chevy, and Larry Watson 1958 Thunderbird. It must have been really fantastic for Larry Watson to see this line up of beautiful painted Custom Cars he had created. So colorful with outlines and panels enhancing the body contours and lines of the cars. Larry was still in the beginning of his long career, but the Rosecrans Blvd shop had already turned out a huge number of trend setting paint-jobs that had put Larry at the top of the field.

By looking at this Line-Up photo you can see that everything was well directed. With the guys all standing next to their cars. The cars are parked in such a way that most of them show up in the picture. The colors of the cars were evenly spread to make sure the contrast between the next car was as large as possible, making it work best for both color fill as well as black and white photography. And this last thing makes me wonder if this shot was also made on color film, since there are individual photos of most of the cars in this photo-shoot taken at this location in full color!

Lets take a closer look at the cars in this special All Larry Watson painted Custom Car Line-Up photo-shoot from 1959.

The Larry Watson painted Custom Car Line-Up photo from around 1959. Photo from the Larry Watson Personal Collection, original possibly taken by George Barris.
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1956 Chevy John Busman

John Busman was a good friend of Larry and Larry painted John’s 1956 Chevy several times. Shown in this photo the car was painted in candy purple and silver. This version of the car shows a brilliant combination of several styled blending into one cars paint-job. Larry combined his famous outlines with scallops and flames into one beautiful design. The silver outlines enhance all the body lines of the car, and make the body look slimmer. The fine silver painted flames were highlighted in pearl white to give them a 3D effect. The car was mildly restyled with shaved hood and trunk, lowered with white wall tires, Spotlights, Lakes pipes, as well as Bellflower tips at the back and Lancer Hubcaps.

Close up from the Line Up photo of John Busman’s 1956 Chevy.
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Printed color photo from the Popular Customs winter 1963 issue show John’s Chevy photographed at the same location as the Line-Up photo. The all white tuck & roll interior looks stunning.
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Another photo of John’s Chevy comes from the Larry Watson Collection and was taken at Larry’s Rosecrans Blvd Shop. It gives a better look at the paint colors. Notice that the body was only mildly shaved, the door handles remained on the car, and Larry even accentuated them with outlining them with paint.
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Unknown 56 Mercury

Unidentified smoothed ’56 Mercury with lowered suspension, lakes pipes and Bellflower tips and Dodge four bar lancer hubcaps with painted root beer centers. Larry Painted the body in a lime gold with wonderful candy root beer panels. Larry created a much larger outline around the body main character lines than he usually did and outlined this in another gold outline. The spotlights and a full white tuck&roll interior make this car a wonderful sample of late 1950‚Äôs customizing.

The unknown owner of the car is standing behind the Merc on the left side of the photo. Anybody knows who he is?
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A beautiful color slide was made of the Mercury during the photo-shoot. This very sharp photo shows the Mercury in all its beauty. The Mercury was still a mild Custom, although it had some more work done than John’s Chevy next to it. All the emblems and handles were shaved of the car, combines with the outline paint job and Larry’s excellent eye for design the car looks so much longer than when it had been painted in just one color.
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This snapshot is from my own collection and its very interesting, not only because it shows the Merc from a different angle, but it also hows Jim Doss’s ’58Chevy and Bob Mayfield’s ’59 Chevy in the background at the location. Not sure who took this photo, but more than likely one of the car owners, or possibly a friend that joined them to the photo-shoot.
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Unknown 56 Chevy Sedan

Many of the cars Larry painted in his career are sadly unidentified. They came to the shop, Larry painted them and the next day they were gone. Same thing happened with this great looking 1956 Chevy Sedan in white and candy teal-green outlines pinstriped in gold. The scallop on the trunk shows how genius Larry was. Hiding the trunk lock in the end of the scallop. Before Larry got to work on this one, the Chevy was mildly restyled with an ’53 Chevy grille with added teeth, removal of all emblems and door handles for an super smooth look, Lowered suspension, lakes pipes, three bar spinner hubcaps and Custom lenses on the taillights. One very smooth Sedan.

The unknown owner posing behind the Chevy on the far left of the photo.
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Snapshot from my personal collection shows the Chevy with the ’55 Merc and Jim Doss’s ’58 Chevy parked next to it at the Line-Up photo location. The addition of the older ’53 Chevy grille (or ’54 units) was a very popular option for ’56 Chevy’s.
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This photo of the unidentified Chevy taken at Larry Watson’s Rosecrans Blvd shop shows the brilliant design of the outlines on this car. The way Larry designed the layout the car’s body looks almost sectioned.
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Jim Doss 1958 Chevy

The ’58 Chevy in the Line-Up photo belongs to Jim Doss of Bakersfield, Ca. The car had been shaved of all its handles and trim including the fake rear quarter scoops. The front bulbous portion of the side trim was replacing with the rear portion. This gives an elegant feel to the side of the body that you really wonder why they had not thought about that at the factory. The rocker panel trim was also removed and to help lowering the body a set of lakes pipes was installed. At the back the taillight were replaced with a taillight unit from a 1959 Pontiac Catalina. The roof scoop was modified with the chrome trim removal and the addition of a small peek to the leading edge. The car was lowered and four bar lancers hubcaps were installed on perfect size white wall tires. All body work was performed by Walker’s Body Shop from Bakersfield Ca. ‚Äď the home town of Jim Doss. Larry painted the car in candy green with lime gold outlines pinstriped in white. Jim’s car has been published a lot over the years, and is still one of the most recognizable and well known outline painted cars from Larry Watson.

Jim Doss in vertical striped shirt posing next to his deep candy green and lime gold ’58 Chevy.
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Published photo from the Popular Customs Winter 1963 issue shows the car at the same photo location as the Line-Up photo shoot.
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This photo of Jim Doss’s ’58 Chevy taken at the Rosecrans Blvd. Watson Shop shows how gorgeous the car is with the super slick outline paint job in candy green and lime gold.
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Bob Mayfield 1959 Chevy

Bob’s 1959 Chevrolet Impala was just as Jim Doss’s ’58 Chevy restyled by Walker’s Custom Shop in Bakersfield. Bob Mayfield also lived in Bakersfield, California. Bob’s Chevy had perhaps the most actual body work done to it from all the cars in the Line Up photo. The hood “eye-brows” were filled-in while extending the hood. All emblems as well as the door handles were shaved. The taillights were removed, new shaped metal added and two ’59 Cadillac taillights added on both sides, into custom made pods. The stock grille was replaced with an tube grille, very popular on mild customs at the time. A set of spotlights and side pipes were installed and the car was lowered by cutting the coils wide whites were added with Dodge Lancer four bar hubcaps with gold center on gold painted wheels. With the body work completed Bob drove the car to Larry Watson’s Rosecrans Blvd shop for a Pearl white paint job with flowing scallops in lavender and purple pinstriped in gold.

Bob Mayfield with his checkered shirt behind his Chevy.
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Snapshot of Bob’s ’59 Chevy at the Line-Up photo location. The paint style on Bob’s Chevy it totally different from all the other cars in the Line-Up. Very light, and elegant with a lot of “motion”.
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Larry Watson 1958 Thunderbird

The last car of the line up, all the way to the right is Larry Watson’s personal car, his ’58 Thunderbird. Shown in this photo is the second outline, or panel paint job on the car. In 1958 Larry bought his car brand new and drove it to be lowered at Lindy’s Muffler Shop, then next it went to Barris where Bill Hines shaved the door handles and ornaments. Bill DeCarr nosed and decked the car. Then Larry painted the car in the brightest silver platinum pearl. The ultra bright paint made the lowered car look to bolt, and it was way to bright. So Larry figured he could outlined all the body contours and then added Candy Burgundy over the pearl silver. The candy paint looked absolutely amazing, and the effect was just what the car needed. The car looked a lot thinner with the new paint job, and the thin lines of pearl silver accenting the body lines added an extra custom touch to the car. It was almost like doing Custom Restyling, but then with nothing more than paint. Larry pin-striped the candy burgundy panels in lavender, which slightly softened the hard edge between the silver and burgundy.

The custom paint that was available back in the later part of the 1950’s and early 1960’s was very bright, colorful, and the hues very brilliant, but most of these products were experimental and not tested very good. In fact Larry helped develop a lot of new custom paint products, and was testing material for his suppliers. It turned out that a lot of these early custom paints started to fade or crack after just a few month in the sun. This also happened with Larry’s ’58 T-Bird, so after half a year the Candy Burgundy had faded so badly, that he really needed to re-paint the whole car. But he thought about it and decided to add some more panels on top of the faded paint. He taped of the panels with 2 inch tape, and sanded the inside as smooth as he could, then added a fine silver base. Then taped off the outside half inch and fogged in candy grape. When he removed the tape the new panels had a 2 inch burgundy border (from the original paint job), then an half inch silver outline and the main panel was candy grape fogged over the silver. The paint job looked stunning and it brought Larry a lot of new customers who wanted a similar paint job on their cars. This is the version of the car that shows in the Line-Up photo.

Proud Larry Watson posting with his “Vino Paisano” 1958 Thunderbird.
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Close up of Larry with his ’58 T-Bird at the Photo-Shoot location. The color photo on the right, from a 80’s Hot Rod magazine publication, shows Larry’s car in color at the photo location.
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And here is a photo, to show off the colors a bit better, taken at the Rosecrans Blvd. Watson Shop.
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Can you imagine to drive by this location at the time this photo-shoot was going one, seeing all the wild brilliant colorful Customs outside in the sun gathered together at this parking lot. Or having to stop at a stoplight seeing these cars just leaving the scene, in a convoy back to Larry’s place, or up to the drive in for some local cruising.





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Ray Cress 56 Mercury

 

RAY CRESS 56 MERCURY

 

Designed by Jim Roten and built, mostly by the Riley Colins Custom shop for owner Ray Cress, this uniquely restyled Mercury was published frequently and could be seen on several magazine covers in the late 1950’s.



(Special thanks to Mike Roten, Jim’s son for scanning his father’s photos and illustrations)


[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he first time I saw a photo of the Ray Cress ’56 Mercury was in Pat Ganahl’s the American Custom Car book in 2001. I was very impressed with this mild but well restyled Custom. And especially the color, lime gold with subtile gold scallops made a huge impression on me. There were two photos in the book. One, full spread on the title page and a smaller one inside. Both scanned from nice color slides. The photo caption mentioned the car was built by Riley Custom Shop in Chico, California. I have to admit that back then I had never heard of this Custom Shop. But later I sure would find out much more about it.

¬†Ray’s Mercury

Ray Cress took his near new ’56 Mercury Hardtop to the Ray’s Custom Shop in Chico California. Here the back pat of the car was roughly restyled. Later Ray Cress took the car to Riley Collins in Chico California (Chico is around 75 miles north of Sacramento). Ray wanted a full custom, but still on the mild side, not chop, but with new front and rear and many other body restyling. Close friend and shop employee of Riley, Jim Rotan was asked to make some design sketches of what the Owner had asked for and Jim¬†came up with together with Riley. A wonderful low creation with some new body lines and a very elegant redesigned front end. Ray approved the final design for his new Custom, and Riley went to work.¬†The approved sketch¬†Jim Roten made in 1957 can be seen below.



CCC-ray-cress-56-mercury-06The original Jim Roten design sketch from 1957. This version was approved by Ray Cress.
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Starting at the front Riley removed the stock bumpers and replaced them with an ’56 Oldsmobile bumper. The lower grille opening in the Old bumper dictated the shape of the new grille opening on the top, which was created from bended round tubing welded and molded to the front fenders and lower hood section. The front lower hood section was welded to the fenders, and a new higher hood line was cut , in the process the corners were rounded for a more elegant look. The front fenders were extended and a new opening was created using round tubing for an “hooded” effect. The original headlights was set in a chrome plated mesh screen. A new grille was created according Jim’s designs. Chrome expanded metal was used as a background, and in front of that hand shaped chrome tubing was used. On the lower corners two small diameter chrome bullets were added.



CCC-ray-cress-56-mercury-14Parked in front of the Riley Collins Custom Shop in Chico is the freshly painted and assembled Mercury. Still missing are the gold scallops at this point Jim took this photo.
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CCC-ray-cress-56-mercury-12Jim Roten took this photo of the nearly completed Mercury. The expanded metal and the two bullets are still missing from the grille and so are the Olds parking light.
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CCC-ray-cress-56-mercury-13Again parked at Riley’s shop, but now the gold scallops have been added.
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At the rear,¬†Ray’s Body Shop had previously installed a set of ’56 Packard taillights in extended rear fenders. Below the Packard taillights Riley used 1954 Cadillac bumper ends and routed the exhaust from the mercury to fit the new Cadillac bumper end exhaust tips. The center section of the bumper was replaced with an body colored splash pan/roll pan. Round tubing was used to made an double roll on this panel that optically leads to the license plate on the back. Moving to the side of the car we can see that Jim had re-disigned the quarter panels to have working scoops front and rear, and long fender skirts. Riley removed the chrome from the quarter panels and cut out the top leading edge and created the¬†elegantly¬†shaped scoops. He reworked a set of 1957 Mercury¬†cruiser skirts to fit the ’56 Mercury. A¬†1957 Ford side trim was cut down at the back and used instead of the stock unit.




CCC-ray-cress-56-mercury-11Completely finished with new completed grille and scallops.
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All handles and emblems were shaved and Riley sprayed the car in a wonderful lime gold color. Later followed by scallops, designed and taped by Jim Roten, in metallic gold. The scallops were outlined in dark gold by Jim. The car was lowered to the max and a set of wide white wall tires with chrome reverse wheels with¬†custom hubcaps and¬†chrome fake knock-offs was added. To make the car look even lower a set of full length lake pipes was added.¬†Luckinbill‚Äôs Custom Upholstery Shop in Chico is responsible for the fine white and lime gold tuck & roll interior.¬†Ray’s mercury¬†was on the cover of the May 1958 Motor Life magazine and Custom Cars magazine Jan, 1959 (small photo) with two pages inside. The car was also feature in the May 1959 issue of¬†Car Craft¬†magazine and a full page with three photos in the Trend Book 181 Custom Show-Cars published in 1959.



CCC-ray-cress-56-mercury-02In 1958 Ray’s Mercury was nominated as one of 28 “Top Customs of the Year” in Motor Life July 1958, and a photo of the car was featured on the cover of the magazine. Ray’s Mercury ended at the third place, not bad at all.
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CCC-ray-cress-56-mercury-05A closer look at the ’54 Cadillac bumper ends, ’56 Packard taillights and hand made scoops. Notice how the lower edge of the scoop swoops into the bottom of the Packard taillight and top of the Caddy bumper. Nice touch.
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CCC-ray-cress-56-mercury-151957 Ford side trim was cut off so it would fit the Mercury body and disappear in the custom scoop. 
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The Stan Duncan Version

After showing the car for a few seasons Ray Cress sold the Mercury to Stan Duncan. Stan had the car repainted in a deep tangerine with different shaped scallops than before done in gold fades and gold outlines. The car in the Stan Duncan version appeared on the cover of the March 1959 and had a full spread on the inside.



CCC-ray-cress-56-mercury-01The new tangerine paint with gold fading scallops. The rest of the car remained as Ray had it first.
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CCC-ray-cress-56-mercury-10Stan nick-named the Mercury the “Golden Touch”.
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CCC-ray-cress-56-mercury-09 CCC-ray-cress-56-mercury-08Car Speed and Style magazine spread.
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Resources and more info

  • Motor Life, magazine July 1958
  • Custom Cars, magazine Januari 1959
  • Car Speed and Style, magazine March 1959
  • Car Craft, magazine May 1959
  • Custom Show-Cars, booklet Trend Book 181 ¬†published in 1959
  • Classic & Custom, magazine Jan, 1984
  • American Custom Car, book Pat Ganahl, 2001


 

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