Bill Layman's 1954 Mercury

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Photo courtesy of Bill Layman.
Photo courtesy of Bill Layman.
Photo courtesy of Bill Layman.
Photo courtesy of Bill Layman.
Photo courtesy of Bill Layman.
Photo courtesy of Bill Layman.
Photo courtesy of Bill Layman.
Photo courtesy of Bill Layman.

1954 Mercury owned by Bill Layman of Bethel Park, Pennsylvania. It was a friend of Bill that started to customize the Merc. He never completed it, and it sat untouched for some years. Bill approached him about the car many times, but he always replied that he was going to finish it someday. A bodyman finally managed to buy it, but he also sat on it for 8 or 9 years. One day, a local ad offered a 1954 Mercury street rod project for sale. It came with a chromed Cadillac engine and all parts to complete. The asking price was $3250.[1]

Bill's friend, who owned it before the bodyman, had nosed and decked the Merc, removed the sidetrim, and the frame and floor had been stripped and painted dark grey. He had also installed a 1954 Cadillac 331 ci V-8 engine.[2]

Bill had Jeff Little and Jack Gottschalk at Jeff's Custom and Performance in McMurray, Pennsylvania restyle the car for him. Inspiration for the build came from Dick Jackson's 1954 Mercury,[2] and Bill had Jeff and Jack chop the top 2 3/4". All body work was metal finished. Aero Plastics in Harrison City, Pennsylvania created an aircraft-quality Plexiglas rear window for the car. The headlights were frenched using the stock rims. The original hood scoop was dechromed and made functional. The door handles were shaved. Bill searched high and low for a set of NOS 1956 Mercury four-bar spinners for the car. He eventually found a set that he fit with a small bullet in each center for a custom touch.

The car was lowered by installing modified front coils up front, and Posies Super Slide rear leafs with reversed eyes. Custom skirts and 1955 Mercury Montclair trim and rocker panels were added. During the build up, all stainless side trim was carefully straightened, buffed and polished. The engine was fit with six Stromberg 97's. The build was completed in 2005.[3]

Magazine Features

The Rodder's Journal 31


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