Don Reinsch's rare post-war '46 Mercury is the culmination of his quest to replicate a '47 Mercury he owned many years ago. "This is probably the most ambitious project I've ever taken on," says Reinsch, who has been building hod rods for 55 years.
Reinsch chose a low-key approach to the rolling stock, going with chrome reverse rims, baby moons and blackwall radial tires. The front suspension was converted to a Mustang II unit, complete with power disc brakes.
Reinsch found the factory dashboard "too busy" with its twin instrument clusters and waterfall chrome trim, so he fabricated his own leaner panel and filled it with Auto Meter black-faced gauges. That's a Southern Air air-conditioning unit tucked under the dash.
The 1946 Mercury "waterfall grille" marked a major break from the pre-war models. Mercury had only been in business since 1939 when World War II erupted; only a handful of 1942 models rolled off the assembly line. Slightly more than 24,000 coupes were built in 1946 at a cost of just under $1,500 a copy.
Reinsch said he always loved the lines of the '46-'47 Mercuries and this angle shows why. He had to painstakingly straighten out virtually all of the stainless steel trim, which had been flattened by time and weather.
Keeping it all in the family, Reinsch opted to power his unusual Mercury coupe with a 302 Ford V-8 that he built himself. It runs a Crane roller cam, Edelbrock carb on a Speedway intake and chrome Summit headers. The power plant is linked to a Ford automatic overdrive transmission with a shift kit to keep things lively.