Per Ivar Kolgrov's 1948 Mercury

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An early photo of Per Ivar's Mercury, taken before it was restyled . Photo from The Ola Hegseth Photo Collection.
A photo of Per Ivar's Mercury taken at Kanonloppet in Karlskoga, Sweden in 1961 or 1962. This version was shaved for side trim. Photo provided by Terje Sæthre.
Per Ivar's Mercury as it looked when it was first restyled around 1963/1964. This photo is taken from the story ViMenn did on the car. Photo by Allan Iversen.
The photos Allen Iversen took of Per Ivar's Mercury for ViMenn were taken in front of Frognerparken in Oslo. Photo by Allan Iversen, courtesy of Lars-Petter Kolkind.
Photo by Allan Iversen, courtesy of Lars-Petter Kolkind.
Photo by Allan Iversen, courtesy of Lars-Petter Kolkind.
Photo by Allan Iversen, courtesy of Lars-Petter Kolkind.
Per Ivar posing next to the hopped up engine. Notice the homemade manifold. Photo by Allan Iversen, courtesy of Lars-Petter Kolkind.
Photo by Allan Iversen, courtesy of Lars-Petter Kolkind.
A later version of Per Ivar's Mercury featuring shaved door handles. Push-buttons for the doors were hidden in the leather-grain vinyl upholstery mounted on the top of the doors. Photo provided by Terje Sæthre.
A late photo of Per Ivar's Mercury taken after it had received "BL" license plates. Norway started using double letters in their license plates in 1971, so this photo has to be taken after 1971. This version of the car featured four 1959 Cadillac taillights instead of the 6 taillights Per Ivar initially installed. Photo from The Ola Hegseth Photo Collection.
The Mercury as it appeared around 1978/1979, when Alf Otto Olsen owned it. It was Rune Skullerud that gave it a metallic red paint job while he owned it. Photo courtesy of Espen Volle.
Photo courtesy of Espen Volle.
Photo courtesy of Espen Volle.
Per Ivar's old Mercury as it sat in 2013.
Per Ivar's old Mercury as it sat in August of 2015, after Espen Volle bought it. Espen is also the owner Levi Lundring's 1949 Mercury convertible, another iconic Norwegian custom car. Photo courtesy of Espen Volle.
Photo courtesy of Espen Volle.

1948 Mercury Convertible restyled by Per Ivar Kolgrov of Oslo, Norway in the 1960s. Per Ivar, who was a butcher by trade, restyled the Mercury around 1963/1964. Per Ivar's Mercury is known as one of the first custom cars of Norway, and once it was completed, it became a local sensation, as nobody understood how such a radical custom could have been approved by the Norwegian vehicle licensing department. When Per Ivar bought the car it was a rust bucket with a bad interior, and a worn out engine. It was painted light blue. He began the build by replacing all off the rusty panels. When the rust was repaired, he went on to fix and replace mechanical parts such as the front suspension and the drive shaft. The rear of the car, including the fenders and the trunk were cut down, before Per Ivar replaced the stock taillights with 6 round taillights sunken into the rear fenders. The backup lights were taken from a Dodge Dart, and the parking lights from a 1957 Ford. The six taillights were trailer lights bought at a gas station. The rear bumper was removed and replaced by chromed pipes. After the rear modifications were done, the gas tank had to be raised a couple of centimeters. The front fenders were cut down as well, and modified to accept a pair of canted quad headlights from a 1964 Fiat 1500. The stock grille was replaced by a homemade tube grille featuring chrome and copper inserts. The car was fit with a removable steel top featuring a Plexiglas sunroof and rear window. Green Plexiglas was used in the sunroof. The top was padded and upholstered in leather-grain vinyl.[1] Inside, Per installed a 1957 Ford dashboard, 1958 Ford steering wheel, Mercedes front chairs and a white and Teal Ford Crown Victoria back seat.[2] The engine, a 1956/1957 Ford 312 CID V-8 had seen better days, so Per Ivar decided to bore it. The stock heads were shaved for better compression, and Per made his own manifold using 3 dual Holley carburetors. According to a featured story on the car published in the Norwegian magazine ViMenn the engine was good for 300 horsepowers. The hopped up engine was hooked to a 1954 Jaguar Mark VII transmission. To improve the road handling the car was lowered 1 inch in the front. Once completed the car was painted white. The build took a little more than one year to complete. As Per Ivar worked as a butcher during the day, all free time was spent restyling the old Ford. It took 10 000 Norwegian kroners to restyle the car.[1] In 2015, Per Ivar told later owner Espen Volle, that he ran a 1956 Ford rear axle in the car. He could also tell Espen that the car ran several different engines and transmissions, both automatic and manual.

When Per Ivar's Mercury was featured in ViMenn it wasn't completely done, and after the car had been featured Per Ivar shaved the door handles. Leather-grain vinyl upholstery was mounted on the top of the doors, and push-buttons operating the doors were hidden inside the upholstery.[3]

Jan Henrik Syversen of Oslo, Norway bought the Mercury from Per Ivar in 1968.[4]

Around 1969-1970 the car owned by Leif Erik Westgård.[5]

Photos of the car from The Ola Hegseth Photo Collection, shows it running "BL" license plates. Norway started using two-letter license plates in 1971. This version featured four 1959 Cadillac taillights instead of the initial 6 that Per Ivar installed.

Later on, the car was owned by Rune Skullerud, who gave the car a red metallic paint job. Knut Hafsengen of Oslo, Norway bought the car from Rune in 1976. Knut ran into problems with the authorities due to the fact that the X-member in the frame was cut.[6]

Around 1978/1979 the Mercury was owned by Alf Otto Olsen of Drøbak. Alf Otto sold the car to Knut Amundsen. Knut owned it for a while before he sold it to Alf Bendiksen of Bergen.[2]

In July of 2009 the car was advertised for sale on AutoDB. It was located in Bergen, Norway, and the asking price was 150 000 NOK.[7] The seller had owned the car since the early 1980s. Espen Volle of Enebakkneset, Norway bought what was left of the old custom in the Summer of 2015. When Espen bought the car, only the body shell was left and most of the old parts were missing. The seller didn't know where they were. Espen is currently trying to locate the missing parts on the car, so if you have any information about where these might have ended up, please get in touch with Kustomrama at

When Espen got the remains of the car, it had received an independent front suspension, and bigger and more modern engines than Per Ivar initially ran. The roof had also been welded to the body, and the seams were leaded over.

Magazine Features

American Cars of Southern Norway Newsletter No. 4 - 1979
V8 Forum Norway Nr.2 - 2009


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