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History Nick Matranga - That Illustrious Sanguine '40 Merc!

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by Michelley, Feb 1, 2014.

  1. J.B.
    Joined: Jan 7, 2005
    Posts: 1,246

    from Sweden

    Wonderful reading. So much work put in to that! THANKS!

    Now I am really looking forward to see some pics of Davids project. It was a few years since I saw it. I hope the measurements I did on my car some years back helped out. Must come and see you when I am in Vegas next time. :)
  2. David Zivot
    Joined: Jul 12, 2009
    Posts: 37

    David Zivot

    Always a pleasure to hear from you.
    Firstly, your ’29 Model A lakes job is first-class,
    and as usual, very accurate.
    I also admire Bill Likes hop up,
    but have always favored the pre-War 1928-29 roadster
    that Jack Mickelson ran out at Harper dry lake.
    Secondly, your ’40 LaSalle ragtop is a standout,
    seldom seen and appreciated.
    Are future plans to include a Carson-Hall padded top,
    a chop, tasteful de-chrome,
    and a deep opalescent paint job?
    The medium to large sized General Motors cars of that era
    are very impressive and roadable.
    Lastly, when the smoke cleared,
    I discarded all measurements, templates, and suggestions,
    on my ’40 Merc project.
    The vehicle is vastly different since you saw it,
    we had to start over twice.
    We proceeded to use a process I call indexing,
    which established proper proportions
    by using instinctual interpretation,
    taking into account distortion
    and other factors.
    Bottom line,
    we would make tiny incremental alterations,
    stand back,
    look at it from every conceivable angle,
    until it just looked right.
    As in all human endeavor,
    there’s no such thing as perfection.
    I hope I did it justice.
    Last edited: May 16, 2014
  3. Thanks Michelle for taking the time to share this awesome piece of history with us. Its these posts which make the HAMB the greatest place on earth for those that weren't there 'back in the day'. Truly amazing!

    I loved the part about Don Rackemann smoking Clark Gable at the lights! Priceless!!
  4. J.B.
    Joined: Jan 7, 2005
    Posts: 1,246

    from Sweden

    Hi, David!

    Thanks for your nice words!
    The new dry lake build is a 1928 roadster on a 1932 frame. With a Halibrand QC it lands on the late 1940's in style. The Mickelson strict A-V8 car is outstanding! Hope to have my car ready for its first run within a few months

    The 1940 LaSalle is coming up next and will be a wonderful project to start with. Only 425 built. I am a Gaylord fan of tops and not so much on the Carson/Hall for this type of build. The Herb Ogden/Pisano brothers and the George Barris 1941 Buicks both ran Gaylord tops since Carson refused to do that low tops, according to the rumors. My car will have a period build era of 1947/48 California kustom with period parts and kustom styling. Including a dressed flathead Cadillac engine and driveline.

    Too bad to hear that you have had to start the Matranga-project over two times. :( When we checked some measurements on mine, we did measure some things on the car to get a proper size index. But photos can be deceiving depending on angles, lighting, camera type etc. Luckily, I wasn't building an exact model from the Matranga and have done other modifications than the Matranga car. Really looking forward to see your progress on the car. I am certain that you will succeed with your mission!

    All my very best
  5. cuznbrucie
    Joined: May 1, 2005
    Posts: 2,567


    "Holy Mack'l Andy!" This has to be the most authoritative article on the Nick Matranga Merc, and the early California Custom scne I have ever read! Wonderful details and anecdotes from the esteemed cast of *Custom Characters* of the era and later on!

    Kudos to you, Michelle and David for providing this exhaustive narrative on the people and the era that truly defines the term, *traditional custom cars*......

    Just the best!

    Last edited: Feb 27, 2014
  6. Michelley
    Joined: May 6, 2011
    Posts: 104


    Amos...Dats ridicuhlis!
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2014
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  7. devilscustom
    Joined: Feb 22, 2007
    Posts: 286

    from Sweden

    Any chance someone have some ,pics on engine or what color they engine was paint?
  8. David Zivot
    Joined: Jul 12, 2009
    Posts: 37

    David Zivot

    Well, devilscustom,
    have never personally come across a period photograph
    of the engine compartment of Nick’s car.
    Perhaps one exists somewhere.
    In Nick’s recollections to me,
    he related how he
    painted the engine block ivory
    to complement the interior
    and trunk upholstery.
    The polished Weiand speed equipment
    was also Nick’s preference.
    Here are a few quick pics I just made for you
    of my re-creation as it stands now.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: May 16, 2014
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  9. sanfordsotherson
    Joined: Mar 21, 2005
    Posts: 955

    from So. Cal.

  10. jivin jer
    Joined: Sep 14, 2008
    Posts: 3,074

    jivin jer

    David, it's stuff like this that will "slay 'em in the aisle's".
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2014
  11. OLLIN
    Joined: Aug 25, 2006
    Posts: 3,076


    Whoa. That engine looks amazing!

    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App!
  12. devilscustom
    Joined: Feb 22, 2007
    Posts: 286

    from Sweden

    Thank you so much David, your engine looks fantastic !

    Regards Tomas
  13. vonpahrkur
    Joined: Apr 21, 2005
    Posts: 921


    Engine looks great, looking forward to seeing the rest of the merc!
  14. paul hayes
    Joined: Feb 4, 2007
    Posts: 11

    paul hayes
    from Santee, CA

    Iconic... lots of imitations have come and gone but none will surpass this immortal example of early custom craftsmanship.
  15. TRUK50
    Joined: Jun 28, 2005
    Posts: 3


    Hi, David--
    Thank you for sending me the heads-up on michelle's matranga article. This is surely the definitive article on the man and the car. Getting input from all the guys who were there made it a genuine time trip, what would we give to have been there during those years? Obtaining those interviews and recording the lengthy monologues shows that she and you put in long hours and great effort to put it all together. Now's the time, right? We are losing these guys at an alarming rate.
    I will look up michell's other articles, i am pleased to have become aware of them. Talk to you soon.
    Best regards, Kustom Kurt McCormick
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  16. BACK TO THE TOP !!!!!!!
  17. jivin jer
    Joined: Sep 14, 2008
    Posts: 3,074

    jivin jer


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