What happens when you combine a car with seventy five years of class, ad an interior that’s sleek clean and elegant, toss on an overwhelming attention to detail, then top it all off by letting the top down? Well you’d get Mark Jaynes Majestic 1940 Mercury Convertible. Mark’s majestic Merc came to be through hard luck, a bit of chance, a stunning trip across the United States, sheer determination, and good old fashion sweat of the brow.Mark had started with a 1940 Merc convertible that he got on an even trade for his 34 Ford. The Merc was brought up from Florida and Mark immediately tore it down and sent the body to have it stripped. Much to Mark’s dismay what he got back from the strippers wasn’t much worth saving. But Mark not being one to let setbacks discourage him, setbacks like the body not really being a body but more like projector panels for a planetarium, he set off repairing the old Merc saving it from the fate that should have bestowed it many years ago.
With the Merc body nearly a complete body once again, Mark got a phone call from his mother-in-law about another 40 Merc convertible. Marks mother-in-law is the editor for a Model A club in Spokane and seen the ad for a 40 Mercury convertible in an affiliate clubs newsletter so she called Mark to let him know about the car. Mark, still with a bad taste in his mouth from the 40 Merc Convertible he just re-bodied, found himself faced with the decision of whether or not he wanted to own another one.
The Washington Merc was in Yakima and unfortunately for it and for Mark it had been in a fire. So to aid Mark in his decision he called his brother-in-law to ask if he would go and look at the car for him. Marks brother-in-law confirmed the car had indeed been in a substantial fire but there were no signs of the body being warped or misshapen. The car was not without fire damage though as most of the lead was melted out, the paint burnt off in areas and all of the pot metal items caught in the fire where now melted and destroyed. Yet the interior and a few other pieces had not been in the fire at all. After having his brother-in law go look at the car for him, Mark decided he would take a chance on it. He wired his brother-in-law the money and sent him to buy the car and haul it back to his mother-in-laws house in Spokane. A few weeks later Mark and his friend Russ Speelman headed west from Ohio out to Washington. Mark said the journey was surreal and felt majestic in a way, as the route they were taking took them through some of the most beautiful places in the United States. So when they arrived in Spokane and Mark got to physically see the car for the first time he felt good about the purchase, but still cautious. He could tell by what he was looking at that this Merc was a far better car than the one he had at home. So they loaded the car and headed back east with it in tow.
Once home Mark disassembled theWashington Merc, and with fingers crossed and praying to avoid a déjà vu moment, he sent the body to be stripped. What he got back was astonishing. The body was perfect. It looked as though it had just been put together on the assembly line. No rust, not even a pinhole. So he put the Florida Merc up for sale and began building his 40 Merc Convertible street rod from the near perfect car from Washington. And from that point it was all about the details.
Mark started with the stock chassis, boxing critical areas, and installing a Fat-Man’s IFS front suspension. He then suspended a Lincoln Versailles rear end in back via a triangulated four link. Mark wanted the adjustability of an Air Ride suspension with the control, and handling of a coil sprung suspension. So to control the ride and the altitude of the Merc, Mark installed an Air-Ride system pluming all four corners and left the dampening and rebound control to a set of QA1 18 way adjustable shocks on all four corners. The chassis started out rolling on American Racing Torque Thrust wheels but Mark felt it needed a wheel with a bit more elegance so it now sets on Billet Specialties Turbine wheels. The fronts are 17’s while the rears are larger 18’s to give it that street rod stance. Mark had to notch the factory center x-member to clear and mount the 700R4 transmission and then of course he located the motor mounts so the small block Chevy 350 cubic inch engine could be installed. The small block was warmed over with a Comp Cam, 202 heads, aluminum intake and several polished goodies to again show that Mark’s attention to detail was going to be followed through on every part of the car. In fact all of the chassis received Marks unprecedented attention to detail so every piece of the car from top to bottom, inside and out has a well-built classiness about it.
Mark knew he wanted to leave the body stock and unaltered to preserve the clean lines of the Merc. He did smooth and fill holes in the firewall and inner fender skirts that weren’t needed so the detail under the hood would be as clean and smooth as elsewhere on the car. Because Mark had all of the trim and original bright works for the Merc it seemed foolish in Marks eye’s not to use some of it, so he made the decision to use nearly all of it. Next for Mark it was time to mock up the body and do any fabrication that was needed for the build. Mark fitted up the body to the chassis, and fitted all the parts to check alignment and soon learned just how nice the 40 Merc body really was. The doors practically fell into place. All the panels fit nice and lined up with ease. Mark found himself soon prepping the body for paint.
Mark was as critical in picking the body colors as he was in choosing and doing all the other little details of the build. Mark found the lower color choice for the forty on a car that he literally chased down on the highway just so he could get a mental note of what make and model car it was. That car Mark chased down was a 2005 Jaguar painted in sea-frost mica green. At the time sea-frost mica was going to be the only color on the car, until one day at a car show Mark spotted a 37 Ford cabriolet in the same color with a dark green top on it. Mark hated the lite color directly against the dark green top. He felt it was a bit too much lite green and that it didn’t quite flow well, being next to the dark green top. So he decided to break up the two by two toning the Merc. He chose late model Cadillac polo green for the upper color to break up the liter green from the dark green of the top, and in my opinion he chose well. These two colors give this Merc the rich elegant classy look it so justly deserves.
Though the exterior was left stock the interior got the full monty. Mark smoothed the dash removing all exposed knobs, holes and switches moving them under the dash out of sight. He installed Vintage Air A/C, a power cowl vent, and power windows. Marks good friend Russ Speelman made the aluminum dash trim that goes across the central portion of the dash. Russ paid close attention to every detail when making the panels assuring that the ball milled inlays line up with the slots in the A/C vents. To house the A/C controls Mark used a 1939 Pontiac headlight bucket as a center console under the dash. Take a minute and look! You know you want to. I personally love cool ideas like that one.
As the paint went on the details continued. The two tone lines were meticulously laid out to flow around the firewall, through the door jams, and even though the interior. The paint lines were chosen to best accentuate the Merc’s body lines. Mark and friend Jim Zehring sprayed the R&M paint and the Lizard Skin that was sprayed in critical areas to control road noise and heat. Once the paint was finished the car was reassembled and Mark ran the wiring. Mark installed the VDO gauges behind the stock bezels, while Pinstriper Mike Smith, from New Carlisle, Ohio laid down the clean tasteful licks that adorn the body and dash.
The Merc was then loaded up and hauled to Mad Dragon Auto Trim in Richmond, Indiana to get the top and upholstery done. There the Wise Guys full power heated front seat and factory rear seat were covered. Mad Dragon also made the sweet clean looking door cards and laid out the plush carpet in the car. The details continue from the interior into the trunk, where you’ll find the panels and carpet match everything up front. They covered the top with Mercedes Haartz cloth, and laid the rear top bow back as per Marks request to lower the profile of the convertible top. This little trick de-hunchbacks the big Merc’s drop top when it is up. The icing on the proverbial cake is a clear acrylic Mercury head shifter knob. It’s the cherry on top of this 1940 Merc detail shake! Now at this point this classic clean little Merc drop top is pretty much ready for the road. So to the road it went.
Mark has no issues driving the Merc just about anywhere. The car has been from Ohio to Florida, a couple times, and has made a nice jaunt out west back to Washington. Mark has no issues with him and his wife Randy hopping in dropping the top and heading out. And even though it is a driver, it has that attention to detail that has landed the car some very solid wins at shows over the years. With the Merc going in its tenth year being on the road, it is still able to turn heads, drop jaws, and inspire everyone to take a closer look. A closer look at what is, in my opinion, the most Majestic 1940 Mercury convertible ever made into a street rod.