1951 Mercury Custom

Apr 26, 2013

Nick Rogers’ 1951 Mercury custom won the Goodguys 2013 Mothers’ Custom of the Year award at the Goodguys 31st All American Get-Together presented by Specialty Sales Classics last month in Pleasanton, Calif.

Rogers’ candy-blue Merc beat out a stellar national field of customs, collecting its second major award this spring. The car also won the coveted Custom d’Elegance crown at February’s Sacramento AutoRama, according to a Goodguys press release.

The ’51 Merc was finished and produced for the show season by Bill Ganahl’s South City Rod & Custom in San Francisco. Ganahl said the Merc started with “humble beginnings.”

“I wanted a $30,000 flat black Merc custom,” said Rogers, a financial advisor on the San Francisco peninsula. “That’s how this car started out. But once things got rolling and I began to dream, the project took on a life of its own. I’ve never really done things half-speed so it’s not too surprising we went all-in. We saw the possibilities of what it could be and Bill was the man to take it there.”

The Mothers’ Custom of the Year winner features perfect 4-inch chops; top, forward-slanted B-pillars; a ’50 Merc rear window along with other subtle cosmetic enhancements artistically executed by Matt Townsend of Townsends Customs & Hot Rods; a DeSoto grille;’49 Merc dash; ’55 Ford side trim; and rich, candy-blue House of Kolor paint sprayed by Joe Compani.

The engine bay has hand-fabricated engine compartment panels that house the painted and lettered “Chevrolac,” a Chevy small-block with custom-made Caddy valve covers. Underneath it all is a full Art Morrison chassis, and inside you’ll find period-perfect, blue-and-white tuck-and-roll upholstery, the release said.

Ganahl, a second-generation hot rodder who spent many years as an apprentice at Roy Brizio Street Rods, drove the Merc 60 miles from his shop in South San Francisco to Pleasanton for the show.

After the win, Ganahl noted: “A lot of talented people had a hand in building this car. In the end, we tried to build a classy, subtle Merc custom that didn’t have flaws. One that could be driven long distances. That became the ultimate focus of this car.”

Nick Rogers, the car’s owner, has quite an agenda in mind for the Merc.

“Oh I’ve got big plans for the car. I plan on loading up the family and cruising the El Camino (Real highway) to go get ice cream.”