- Offered from the Estate of Frank Ricciardelli
- A true American automotive icon sporting appealing modifications
- Flathead V-8 upgraded with Offenhauser intake and heads; column-shift manual transmission
- Custom touches include Cadillac wheel covers, deleted badging, and dual spotlights
- Lake pipe caps feature Kustoms of America badges
Ford products have always been popular targets for customization, but when Ford’s Mercury division debuted the all-new Eight for 1949, it was unveiling a car that looked sleek and modified right from the factory. Of course, this did little to stop artisans like Gene Winfield and George Barris from going even further, chopping, shaving, and lowering their way to the radical “lead sled” look that is still popular today.
This 1951 Eight Coupe is an excellent example of how these unforgettable Mercurys can be tastefully customized without resorting to the saw and blowtorch, creating a beautiful, period-inspired feel without compromising usability. Its blue exterior is enhanced by subtle pinstriping on the nose and decklid, which has had its badging removed for a cleaner look; dual spotlights and Cadillac wheel covers add a touch of flash. Inside, the neatly trimmed two-tone blue interior retains a period appearance, although there is a Pioneer stereo unit tucked unobtrusively in the glove compartment.
Beneath the hood, the flathead V-8 remains, but it has been upgraded with Offenhauser heads and an a Offenhauser intake. Additional cosmetic bits of vintage-style speed equipment, such as a finned oil fill cap, contribute to the period look of the build. An alternator has been installed for improved electrical system performance.
In addition to the dual-exit rear exhaust, a pair of side-exit “lake pipes” tucked below the rocker panels make the car—already modified to sit lower than stock—appear even closer to the ground. The “Kustoms of America” badges found on the lake pipes’ caps reference the club founded by the legendary George Barris, a nice nod to custom car history.
This American icon is now offered from the Estate of Frank Ricciardelli, a longtime friend of RM Sotheby’s and noted collector. Projecting effortless cool in a way few other cars can, this 1951 Mercury Eight Coupe custom would enhance most any collection.