This chopped-top '51 Mercury Custom Coupe could be the most gangsta car on sale
Is this the perfect car for crime-lords?
‘Chopping the top’. Nope, this isn’t a codeword for the underworld mafia to cut people in half but rather an automotive custom styling slang, meant to denote custom lowered rooflines. The term was made famous in the 1950s when hot rods were given a similar treatment to make them appear sleek and racier. The same got applied to Mercury cars from a similar timeline, and that came across as one of the most storied custom car stylings of automotive history. And now, one such example is up for sale.
Online auction website Startas Auctions has listed this 1951 Mercury Custom Coupe on sale. Just two days remain for the bidding to end and the highest bid at the time of writing stands at $15,000. That’s $500 shy of the minimum bid to reserve the same, and that’s a shame as the car has travelled a mere 1,860 miles since modification completion.
This particular example has been made by famous one-stop rod shop Arizona Street Rods in Phoenix. The Mercury owner, Steve Silver, grew up with the tuner shop owner, Rod Palmer, and is said to have built a ’32 Roadster together before deciding to build ‘the chopped top Mercury of their youths’. It took almost 50 years for Silver to realise his childhood dream, but boy did the duo build a gangster-mobile!
This Custom Coupe features numerous modifications with the sleek no-resistance bodywork being carried out by Arizona Street Rods. The no-resistance mention was deliberate as this Custom Coupe doesn’t feature a single bodywork protrusion such as door handles or even brand emblems. All in the effort to keep the body sleek and streamlined.
The exterior sees an amalgamation of the best bits from the vintage American car lineage. The list comprises of the 1952 DeSoto grille and extra teeth, the chromed side trim from a 1953 Buick, restyled bumpers, flush fit fender skirts on the rear wheels and 1954 Mercury taillights. And not to forget the chopped off top and lowered springs to lend the car a ‘racy’ look.
Underneath that classic power bulged hood lies the original flathead V8 engine with a host of improvements such as aluminium heads, Edelbrock dual intake manifold, 2-barrel carburettors and steel pack mufflers. This elegant looking V8 is mated to a three-speed manual transmission with no word on power figures.
Step inside, and you’ll find the interiors inspired or rather mimicked of the Hirohata Mercury but with tan and black leather. For the unaware, Hirohata Mercury was often referred to as “the most famous custom of the classic era”. Additionally, modern creature comforts such as power steering, a Vintage Air system, a Pioneer sound system along with a Dakota Digital instrumentation and upgraded electrical supply were also installed in this Custom Coupe.
If you knew a local gangster or aimed to be one in the future, this chopped top Mercury Coupe seems ideal to validate your villain image. The only downside being its not exactly the best car to keep a low profile.