Glen Hooker's 1939 Mercury

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Glen's Mercury at the 1955 Los Angeles Motorama, note that the poster besides the car reads '40 Mercury Custom. Photo from the GT350LADY Collection[1]
A photo of Glen's mercury next to Tad Hirai's 1950 Ford and Dick Colarossi's 1940 Ford coupe. Photo by Tad Hirai, courtesy of Valley Custom Shop Facebook Page.
Glen Hooker comparing chops bewteen his 1939 Mercury on the left, and Gordy's 1940 Mercury Convertible on the right. This photo was taken in the late 1980s, right after Glen had bought his old custom back. While transporting the Merc back to Glen's home in Washington, he and Gordy Brown stopped by Gordy's son's house in North Salt Lake City to compare the two cars. They took the Caribbean of the trailer in order to take these photos. Glen owned John's 1940 Mercury several years after he sold the 1939 Mercury. This was the first time these two Mercs had ever been with each other, and also the first time Glen had been with both cars at the same time.[3]

1939 Mercury Convertible restyled by Valley Custom for Glen Hooker of Burbank, California. When Glen neared his driving age, he received the Mercury from his grandfather. The old convertible needed some love and car, and as Neil Emory and Clayton Jensen of Valley Custom were each married to Glen's sisters, Clayton and Neil helped Glen restyled the Merc. Neil and Glen installed a 1940 Mercury front on the car, so chances are big the original one was wrecked or missing.[4] Glen wanted his car to be low, so he and Neil decided to channel it 3 inches over the frame and remove the running boards. As that wasn't low enough for Glen, the frame was also Z-ed in the rear receiving a 5 inch kickup. In order to match the channeling, a 3 inch section had to be removed from the firewall. The section was removed from the base of the firewall at the point where the firewall joins the floorboards. Being a low-budget build, a used Carson Top from Carson Top Shop was found and the windshield was chopped to match the top. The front and rear fenders were radiused for wheel clearance and appearance. Up front, the stock grille and lights were kept. Front and rear bumper, inclusive guards were 1948 Chevrolet units. The trunk was shaved, and the rear fenders were fit with 1941 Studebaker taillights set sideways. The rear fenders were trimmed at the bottoms and the fender seams on the car were welted in chrome. Once completed the car was painted 1954 Buick Titian Red, a very popular color at the time. Widely used on many late 1950s custom cars, the color was as close to a candy color you could come before real candys were being done. The color was very transparent and it could be affected by what was used as a base color underneath it.[3]

The car was finished before Glen got his license. He drove it through high school and a few years later. The car was sold either right before or after it was featured in a B movie titled A Strange Adventure in 1956. After that it was painted refrigerator white before ending up in a California desert wrecking yard. In the late 1980s a vintage car buyer and seller found the car. After finding it, he contacted Glen Hooker to verify it. Glen verified it, and the car was advertised for sale in Hemmings. The sales price was high, and nobody was interested in paying that much for it. The seller eventually called Glen and he offered him the old custom for an high, but affordable price. The car was located in Arizona at the time, and Glen was living in Washington. He called his friend Gordy Brown of Salt Lake City, and asked if he would go with him to pick it up. Gordy agreed, and the old Merc was trailerd to Washington with Gordy's truck and trailer. When Glen bought his old car back, the Carson Top was a bare frame. The original driveline was still in place, and a 1950 Cadillac engine had been placed on a pallet inside the car. When they returned to Washington, Gordy stayed a week to help Glen strip the car to bare metal and spray it in black primer. In the following years, Glen decided to install the Cadillac engine along with a Mustang II front suspension. He did also consult Neil Emory about sectioning the hood about 1 1/2 inches and dropping the cowl/lower windshield to match. Neil agreed, so Glen went to work. In the late 1990s Glen had to leave Washington, so he offered the car as it sat to Gordy Brown. Being a custom enthusiast, Gordy bought the car and brought it with him to Salt Lake City.[4]

Magazine Features

Car Craft January 1954 - How-To-Do Article - Valley Custom Channeling a 1939 Mercury
Car Craft February 1954
Car Craft March 1954
Trend Book 116 Custom Cars 1955 Annual


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