Afterglow

Project Quick Facts

Profile ID: 2123
Year: 1940
Make: Mercury
Model: Convertible
Markets: Pro-Touring
Vehicle Type: American

In 1993, noted designer Harry Bradley produced sketches of a modern tribute to the Jimmy Summers Mercury. Bradley teamed up with Donn Lowe of Oregon City, Oregon, to build the car, and in '94 John Babcock of Palatine, Illinois, came on as the project's financier and owner.

Lowe worked with Dave Crook to realize Bradley's vision, modifying all body panels along the way. While he left the firewall in its stock position, Lowe moved the windshield posts, cowl, and passenger compartment rearward three ­inches. He lengthened the largely handmade hood accordingly, flaring it at the bottom to meet the custom-made Buick-shaped grille.

Lowe also chopped the windshield posts three inches and angled them inward 15 degrees. He sectioned the upper portion of the windshield frame 1/2 inch to visually lighten it, and made a removable Carson-style top to fit the reworked body.

The incredible grille was first designed in clay then made into a plaster mold. A fiberglass rendition of the grille was pulled from the mold and Gilbertson Machine used the resulting shape information to cut each of the 23 grille bars from aluminum with a CNC mill. The finished unit weighs 80 pounds.

Lowe finished the front end with thin handmade bumpers, a hand-formed front pan, and headlights custom-made to Bradley's design by Prototype Source in Santa Barbara. The taillights and rear pan were also custom-made.

Along the sides, Lowe angled the tops of the doors upward to sweep into the A-pillars. He lengthened the front fenders three inches, then moved the wheel openings upward 1 1/2 inches and radiused them to match the 205/75R15 Coker Classic tires that would be used. Lowe molded the front and rear fenders into the body, and fit the rears with handmade fender skirts.

Lowe removed the running boards and fabricated new rocker panels. The original had no trim, but Bradley designed tapered trim to complete the profile.

Lowe channel the modern version only 1 1/2 inches and lower the car with Air Ride Technologies airbags and a six-inch kickup at the rear of the frame.

Lowe used contemporary driveline and suspension components. Heidt's tubular independent suspension and Wilwood discbrakes were installed up front. The 4.6-liter V-8, transmission, and rear suspension came from a mid-1990s Lincoln.