Jack Arnold's 1956 Mercury

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Photo by Jim Potter.
Photo by Jim Potter.
Photo by Jim Potter.
Photo from the Larry Watson photo collection, courtesy of Rik Hoving.[1]

1956 Mercury restyled by George Branson of Branson's Custom Shop for Norwalk Coachmen member Jack Arnold of Norwalk, California. Jack bought the Mercury off the showroom floor in 1956. He was 18 years old at the time, and brought the Mercury straight to Branson's for a restyling. Jack remembers that his dad was so mad at him for buying a car and making monthly payments without actually having the car. George Branson did all the custom body and paintwork on the Merc, and Larry Watson of Watson's House of Style painted scallops on the car in Tahitian Red Metallic.[2] The scallops were tipped with gold powder and pinstriped in black.[3] It took 7 months before Jack got to drive the car, but it was well worth the wait. Watson horse-traded the paint-job for a set of Appleton teardrop spotlights for his Chevrolet, the Grapevine. Some Jerk had stolen Larry's spotlights the day before a car show. Jack had a set of baby spotlights laying around, so a trade was good for both parts. According to Jack, the Merc was so low you could not get a pack of cigarettes under the drive shaft tips he used as exhaust tips and the street. A short chrome strip mounted underneath the fake chrome air scoop on the quarte panel was used to open the door. The strip was insulated and had 12 volts wired to it, so when Jack shortened it with his pinkie ring to the chrome strip on the door it would pop the door open. Jack remembers that no one could figure out how to get in the car if he didn't show them. Jack and his friends used to cruise up to Hollywood with the car.[2]

Magazine Features

Car Speed and Style April 1958
Car Speed and Style June 1958


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