Ted Steven’s 1940 Mercury Coupe was awarded the 2009 Goodguys West Coast Custom of the Year this weekend at the 27th All American Get-Together in Pleasanton. Stevens’ Merc, a lifelong obsession, was recently restored and freshened by Roy Brizio Street Rods in South San Francisco.
Originally built by John D’Agostino and Bill Reasoner as a tribute car to the Barris-built Nick Matranga ’40 Merc, the sleek custom was campaigned on the indoor show circuit by D’Agostino through the late 80s and early 90s. The car changed hands several times before Stevens bought the car in August of 2007 at auction during the Pebble Beach Concourse festivities. Texas collector Wayne Davis brought the car to auction.
For Stevens, the Merc represented a decades old love affair. “I loved ’40 Mercs when I was kid,” he said. “I always wanted one – especially a chopped one. I used to carry around a picture of a chopped ’40 Merc in my wallet dreaming of owning one some day. When I saw this car at auction in Pebble Beach I knew I had to have it. But I also wanted to drive the car so I knew it had to be done by Roy and his team at Brizio’s.”
The Brizio Street Rods crew completely restored every aspect of the Merc including the H & H Flathead engine, transmission, rear end, front end, paint work (by Darryl Hollenbeck) and upholstery by Sid Chavers. The understated, yet elegant custom has all the earmarks of a 50s era car including the chopped top, removed door handles, smoothed trim and the signature rear fender skirts. The color is PPG Brandywine. Appleton dual spots and ‘49 Caddy “Sombrero” hubcaps with Coker white walls round out the car’s look.
“Aesthetically, the car was perfect when we got it,” Brizio said. We didn’t have to worry about moving things around on the car at all. John D’Agostino builds some of the world’s most beautiful customs so it was styled to perfection. It’s a very traditional car, so we honored that by making it look as best as we could and made the car road worthy.”
The Goodguys West Coast Custom of the Year award is presented annually at the Goodguys All American Get-Together and is open to customs 1936 through 1964 vintage. The award is designed to honor an exceptional custom car and is open to all styles and genres of customs (from traditional to modern).
This year’s top five award finalists included James Hetfield (1937 Ford), Robert Gallery (1954 Cadillac), Frank DeRosa Jr (1952 Cadillac), Ted Stevens (1940 Merc) and Joe Faso (1950 Henry J).