Back in 1989, Larry Kramer’s Custom Cars built this subtle-but-sweet, 1950 Mercury Coupe, appropriately called, “Heavens to Mercatroid.” It’s chameleon paint gives it a look that would’ve been terrifyingly sinister by early-1950s standards, yet utilizes a 388 Chevy/700R4 motor-trans combination that far exceeds the old Flathead mill in power, and you could imagine that the shifting points in this “sinister rod” are far more aggressive than anything that could’ve ever been done in front of the old A & W drive-thru, or out on a country road where no cows or cops could be found.
Mercury cars from the late ’40s through the early ’50s, no matter how you try to slice-and-dice them, no matter how many different ways and directions a rod builder may try to stretch its already-advanced bodylines, have and will always exist as the most choice platform for building a full-custom, early-era shoebox build. With the early-era Mercs, the conversions of the cars seem to go in either direction: clean and simple with plenty of wax, or over-the-top with detailed artwork within the paint. In the case of “Heavens to Mercatroid,” the custom build was a delicate balance of both.
Even the one-of-a-kind, 388 motor is a hot rodding rarity in that it’s being fed fuel through a tri-power induction setup, an arrangement you seldom see today on contemporary hot rods, but something that, without a doubt, would’ve been gladly featured in a late ’50s to early ’60s copy of a Hot Rod magazine. Two things that “Heavens to Mercatroid” possesses that few do: a clean finish with a more than tough attitude.