The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by OG lil E, Apr 19, 2016.
Harpers! They live in Holland
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What Ever Happened To..........? number 175.
Owner: Keith Matheson
If you are a big fan of customs like I am, especially '49-'51 Mercurys, it seems like you've seen them all at one time or another. Whether they are in old books or magazines or in online pictures, customs built with some unique features make them easy to identify, even if the look has somewhat changed and the car has a new owner. But, every now and then a car comes along that you only see a few times and then it seems to disappear never to be heard from again. This week's custom falls into that category. This awesome '50 Mercury was built and owned by Keith Matheson of Mankato, Minnesota. He took his Mercury to the 1984 Leadsled Spectacular in Des Moines, Iowa. Rowdie had one of his gals interview Keith in his Merc and he gave a great description of the car. It was there and only there where I saw the car. The Merc was never caught anywhere else on the video.
Mr. Matheson told the interviewer that the Merc was chopped 3 1/2 inches in the front and 5 1/2 in the rear so the car had a real slope back look to it--but not overdone. He went on to say that he painted the car himself. It was painted in a color he mixed himself using a "mixing red with some white added to it." The scallops were the same color as the rest of the car but the paint was mixed lighter. On the video the car looked like it was a dark purple with lighter purple scallops, but it may have leaned more towards the red family after Keith's description of the colors he used to mix it up. One distinctive thing about the paint job is the unique triple tip scallop placed under the rear quarter windows going towards the rear of the car. They matched the scallops on the side of the car under the body line "bump". There is also a frenched antenna on the top of the driver's side rear quarter that is placed just after those scallops end. A lot of unique details that would seem to make this Mercury easy to identify, but boy was I wrong!
As far as body mods go, it had front and rear rolled pans, shaved everything and a Desoto grille. The graininess of the video along with the dark color of the car made it difficult to tell what the taillights were--I couldn't make them out.
The interior was white tuck 'n' roll, but details just couldn't be seen in the video.
My searching for information on this car for many, many months came up empty. Aside from the '84 video, I found nothing else on this car. I'm just glad the gal that did the interview remembered to ask Keith's name and tell where he was from, otherwise we would have another nameless custom to try and identify.
Sorry about the quality of the pics, but the dark paint on this Merc makes the details very hard to make out.
Here's a good shot of Keith during the interview:
And rolling away. What are those taillights?
I hope that someone out there remembers Keith and his Merc. I talked to @PasoJohn about this car and he couldn't place it. This leaves our other resident Minnesota custom expert @Moriarity to try and find this one in the ol' memory banks. Anyone else? Jim (@stanlow69)? @Sancho? Bill (@54delray)? What Ever Happened To Mr. Matheson and his awesome scalloped leadsled Merc? I sure hope we find out more!
Before I take off tonight, I'd like to wish everyone a safe and happy Independence Day. Have fun, but please be careful out there! We want to "see" you all here next Tuesday!
See you then! E
From my vantage point on the main drag of the Iowa State Fairgrounds, 1984 KKOA. Sorry Ed, not a clue of what ever happened to.
Wish I had something other than a front 3/4 shot. I don't recall what the tail lights were/are.
There was an article in the Mankato Free Press that I found online, dated June 15 2008. It had to do with a "lowbrow" art show. A small gathering of hot rods was parked outside the show. It mentions that Kieth Matheson was there with his 1949 Mercury.
Someone smarter than me can post a link. 49 and 50 Mercs are easily confused, but wonder it was the same car in 2008, or if the 50 that Ed posted and the 49 in the article are two different cars??
Thanks for the pictures and the link Bill! What a difference the snapshots make of the way the car looks versus the DVD stills. You can truly tell Keith's Merc was red and not purple.
It is easy to confuse '49 and '50 Mercs, especially if they have been heavily customized. On the '84 DVD interview Keith said that his Merc was a '50. For some reason the picture of the Merc in the linked article doesn't show up on my computer. E
Had computer problems and got them fixed. And a little bit of scanner problems this morning but here a picture of the rear. I know I have at least one more picture and maybe more.
Thanks for the pic Jim (@stanlow69)! Looks like the Merc had '49 or '50 Ford taillights.
Strange, in this picture the Merc looks more towards purple than red like in Bill's (@54delray) picture. Funny how light and camera angles can change things--as well as 35 year old photos (lol)! E
@OG lil E The article only mentioned Keith, no picture that I saw. I only mentioned the article as a reference that the man was still into Mercs in 2008.
Whew! Glad you cleared that up, Bill. At least now I know my computer isn't having issues and I'm not going crazy (lol)! E
Does this mean I can’t call those nice men in the white coats?
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I feel like a bit of a creeper or something, but found a current address online, went to google maps streetview and see one garage door is open. Under a car cover, to me, appears to be a 57/58 Plymouth. Also visible far back in garage appears to be a late 20's early 30's 5 window coupe body. But no Merc
Once a car guy, always a car guy?
I was going to create a new thread for this but since we have covered so much history on the El Camino. 39 years ago today..... Dad, myself at age13 and my little sister left Dayton, Ohio to Paducah, Kentucky for the fourth of July. About 400 miles. Somewhere in a remote stretch of Kentucky highway we get a flat tire on the left front. It is getting dark, we are alone on the road and it is deep in the holiday. In the bed there is a spare tire, some clothes and Dad's Buddy Holly albums. No tools and no fucking jack. My sister starts to cry because this is how all the horror movies start. After some time, someone stops. It was a local fire chief. He loved the car but seemed a bit odd. He apologized for not being able to help and went his way. Later a fella from Texas stopped and had a jack. A 100 year old tractor jack, or so it seemed. It was rusted all to hell. We had to dump a quart of oil on it to get it to move. The car is up, wheel off and then the spare. "What the hell?!" It didn't fit. It turned out to be a ford wheel with artic white paint on it. Mom always said he was an idiot. haha. Now it is dark. Dad packs up my sister, the chrome reversed wheel and heads to town with Tex. I am left alone on the deserted dark highway to protect the kustom from roving biker gangs, natives, wolves and such. My last instructions were "Turn on the taillight if any one comes, I don't want the car to get torn to hell." That sounded like solid logic to a car guy. Mom got mad at that too. After a bit they return with a used tire and we limp the girl to the next small town. We had some hamburgers and shakes and generated a lot of interest to the locals and small town police. They even called the sheriff in from a murder scene. He was older than my Dad and knew about kustoms. He didn't stay long because he joined a high speed pursuit from our location. It was just like smoky and the bandit! We got a hotel room for the night. It was the Hee Haw Hotel. I would consider it a low class fuck joint. Worst fucking place I ever been. The next morning we had a fantastic country breakfast with way to much cholesterol but we were now adventurers and earned it. As the clock struck 9:00 AM we hit the tire shop. The guy had the right tires in stock with the 3/4 inch white wall. We got the last two. What are the chances of getting the last 2 white walls on the far edge of Kentucky on July 5 at 9:00 AM?! After all systems were a go then the super hero came out. I remember this crystal clear.... Dad hit the ignition, the engine roared to 100%, duals were racked once, twice and first gear unleashed. After that everything became a blur. It was like riding with Steve McQueen at light speed. Probably my favorite 4th of July. If I had the garage space I would buy Flash Gordon's Sunday Cruiser back. (previous story). Thanks for the memories Dad.
I would say it is a raspberry
sherbet in color with very light lavender scallopes trimmed in white. .
Nothing wrong with that Bill. You're just doing your homework on the Merc. I tell you one thing, if I ever got into trouble I wouldn't want you and @Sancho after me! E
Awesome story sideswipe! Thanks so much for sharing. Happy Independence Day to you and yours! E
Nice description Jim! I'm sure this car was a treat for the eyes in person. Such a sweet Merc! E
What Ever Happened To..........? number 176.
Owner: Greg Dyke
New Lebanon, Ohio
This week's custom is another head turner that quickly came on to the scene, and as fast as it came along, it disappeared. Greg Dyke built this sweet little Chevy with the help of his Dad at home. The car was completed and Greg took it to the 1985 Leadsled Spectacular in Springfield, Ohio. The car had super proportions with the chop and the way it sat. The purple color choice was great as well. It definitely stood out among the many fine Chevys at the Spectacular that year.
Rowdie managed to catch up with Greg and had one of his gals do an interview. The gal that did the interview asked how such a young guy had a nice custom that looked like it was from the 50s. Greg did look young on the video. He was a tall and lanky guy that looked to be in his early 20s wearing some jogging shorts and no shirt. He looked like he could have been a surfer!
In the interview Greg said that the big influence on building the car was his Dad. Apparently Dad was a custom guy from the good ol' days and he convinced Greg to make his little Chevy project car a custom. Well, Dad was right as the car turned out great!
Greg decided to keep the car in true 50s style complete with dual frenched antennas, and a single '59 Caddy taillight frenched in on each side. The taillights were frenched into what appears to be a home built tube that had a unique shape to it.
The old time theme continued into the interior where Greg had white tuck 'n' roll installed with purple piping that matched the paint color on the car. Very nice work!
For the icing on the cake, Greg and his Dad decided to keep the six cylinder power plant. In the interview Greg mentioned that it was a 235 that had been "warmed up a little bit", and had Fenton headers that "sounded good when you rack them off." You can also see that the stovebolt had three one barrels. Doesn't get much cooler than that!
I searched extensively for information on this Chevy and I came up empty. No magazine coverage and no internet pictures. You would think such a cool custom received some ink somewhere. Maybe it did, but I found nothing in my library.
Also, it seems that Greg only took the sled to the '85 Spectacular. I didn't find it on any of my other videos. Did Greg sell the car and head for California in search of a professional surfing career? Did the car change hands and get completely changed so it was unrecognizable as this version? It seems like some of you Midwest custom faithful may know something of this car, especially you Ohio folks as it has always been a big custom state. I hope more turns up on this mysterious beauty!
I hope everyone had a super Independence Day. I did, but the weather here in Denver was pretty soggy. I'm hoping things dry out and we get a decent summer before fall finds its way back again. To me, the 4th has always seemed like the unofficial mid way point of summer. Hard to believe it's already in the rear view mirror. The next big upcoming event in my summer schedule is the Leadsled Spectacular. Who all will be there this year? I hope you all plan to attend!
'Til next Tuesday, catch ya' later! E
Check out the tail lights and antennas.
Grill is different, as is intake...
Old purple paint:
Those photos are from 2016.
I think that is it Sancho. The tail lights are spot on. In that link you posted, the same car is listed again under "1950 Chevrolet Styline Base Sedan" It has an interior shot that seems to confirm your find. Also inside trunk shot, and a rear 3/4 that shows those unique set-in tail lights. I have pics of this car in Des Moines Goodguys probably 10 years ago or more. I specifically remember the detailed engine. Normally not something I care so much about on a custom. With the 55 DeSoto grille, it had that classic custom Merc look to it.
Probably swapped out the three singles for a dual setup. The three carb setup was a royal pain in the a$$ to tune....
I am saddened to hear that Brock Irwin has passed away, and almost 15 years ago. I lived in Glouster/Trimble/Jacksonville back in the '80's, and though I had forgotten about his El Meano, it sure was nice to see it posted here. I think he may have sold it about the time he got in the auto sales business, probably in the late '80's. He was a nice, pleasant man, Rest in Peace, Brock.
I think you found it Sancho! The thing that nails it for me are the front turn signals. I know it's hard to see in my grainy video freeze photos, but there is a sculpted "bump" around the lights that are still on the car in your photos. I wonder why the grille was changed out. E
Nice picture Bill! So we know this Chevy was still around about ten years ago. Looks like the same paint from when Greg built it. I noticed that in Sancho's pictures it has single tip lakes on it, and on your pictures it has triples. Little changes over the years. E
We are always disappointed to hear that one of the custom folks that built and cruised these cars has passed away. Happens way too much.
Brock seemed like a very nice guy that would have been a pleasure to know. Always hard to hear about an old friend passing away.
Thanks for stopping in @s55mercury66! E
Compare with photos from the second listing that @54delray pointed out:
A little grainy, but I blew this one up to show the detail around the turn signals.
Meaning no disrespect, three properly selected singles are a bunch easier to tune on the 235 than any duals, and have the added benefit of actually working, rather than just eye candy. Check the 235 port configuration.
The Carbking doesn't have that name for nothing. He knows his stuff. Jon actually helped me out with a rebuild kit for an old AFB Carter 400. Which, by the way, I am running on my 235 via a Clifford 4bbl intake. I figured I was dumb enough to mess up the set up on a dual carb, let alone triples.
Runs like a top, although I technically should have it mounted one quarter turn, so it delivers fuel more evenly accross the ports. Not that I want to start a carburetor discussion in the middle of a Kustom thread, I just thought it was cool to see Jon chime in
@Sancho Thanks for posting the pics from the other link.
The Dyke family. Greg the young man with the chopped chevy is the son of Larry, Mild to Wild shoebox. They would visit my Dad periodically for kustom inspiration and BS. I was in mid teens and Greg was 18 to 20 back then. Greg is the young man who helped Howard Henry lay out the scallops on the El Camino that my Dad wound up with. Larry thought it would do his son some good to learn something kool. haha. Small world......
What Ever Happened To..........? number 177.
1950 Dodge Wayfarer
Owner: Doug Shoemaker
This week's custom is one of those cars that you just don't see built as a sled very often. Questionable styling has always plagued Mopars of the early 50s, but many loyal Mopar people forge forward and build some neat ones.
Doug Shoemaker was good friends with Ernie Baker, and both guys liked the ol' Mopars. Over the years Ernie helped a number of folks build some cool customs. You may remember Ernie's '49 Dodge Wayfarer featured in this thread (W.E.H.T. #76). Along with Doug's help, Ernie transformed Doug's Dodge into a kool custom.
Doug's Dodge was chopped 6 inches, and then the whole top assembly had to be moved forward a whopping 9 inches to make up the difference for the chop. The real work was getting the fastback top back on and looking right, not always easy on any fastback car.
Aside from the chop, I didn't find much more information about the car. The information about the chop came from an interview by one of Rowdie's gals at the '84 Leadsled Spectacular. Doug gave a quick rundown on the work done to the top. In '84 it was in gray primer. You'll notice the door handles were shaved.
Here's Doug "hisself" on camera during the interview:
In 1985 Doug once again dragged his sled to Springfield, Ohio for the Spectacular. The car looked pretty much unchanged with the exception of a primer color change. The car did look like more bodywork had been done as it looked straighter than in '84.
In '86, Doug took the Dodge to Springfield, Missouri for that year's version of the show. Some wild flames had been added in gray primer. It was at the '86 Spectacular where Doug was interviewed again. Doug was sitting in the Dodge and Rowdie's gal noted how low the Dodge was. She then asked him if it had hydraulics. Doug responded no, "but we can make it bounce though". Doug and his car load of passengers then proceeded to bounce up and down in their seats and it made the car move up and down a little bit. This was a funny scene. It had the interviewer cracking up and you could even hear Rowdie laughing behind the camera!
After the '86 Spectacular I found no more on the Dodge. I don't know if the car was ever completed or what happened to it. I do know Doug personally and see him from time to time at the Leadsled. The first time I met him was at the 20th in Wichita and I immediately recognized him from the "hopping" in the '86 video. I went up to him and asked "Aren't you the guy that was "hopping" in the primered '50 Dodge on the '86 Leadsled video?" He chuckled and told me yes, and that people asked him that all the time. He's a nice guy and we hit it off right away. We talked a little, but I'm ashamed to say I never asked about his Dodge. I was pretty taken with the Ford shoebox he had at the Spectacular that year--but that is another story.
I do still see Doug at the Spectacular most years. I was all set to ask him about the Dodge last year at the show, but he didn't make it. If he goes this year, I will ask about the Dodge.
Unfortunately Doug has moved on from customs and is heavy into riding his Harley these days. Always a bummer to lose a custom guy in one way or another. But, who knows, maybe the custom bug will get to Doug again and he'll drag out another old car and get to work.
I hope you all had a good week. I've been very busy trying to get all my loose ends tied up before we take off for Salina next week. I hope you are hard at it too as it would be nice to see many of you there.
Until next Tuesday, take it easy! E
@stanlow69's photo from page 50 of this thread:
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