NOVEMBER 2017: A 1949 MERCURY LEAD SLED STAYS TRUE TO THE OLD SCHOOL

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Most people are well aware of the legendary custom builder George Barris.

 

George billed himself as the King of the Kustoms and lived up to his billing because he built some of the most famous custom cars in the history of the hobby.

 

The most famous Barris car would likely be the Batmobile  George built for the campy Batman TV series.

 

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One part of the Barris legacy that may not be as well known is that George’s brother Sam built one of the first lead sleds when he took a 1949 Mercury he purchased brand new and gave it a famous custom makeover.

 

Sam Barris transformed a stock ‘49 Mercury two-door sedan into a trailblazing custom ride by chopping, molding, lowering, and frenching it in all the right places.

 

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The 1949-51 Mercury lead sled is still considered to be a high water mark in the custom hobby.

 

Curtiss Lund is the proud owner of a 1949 Mercury that shares a common customized lead sled bond with Sam Barris’s ’49 custom Merc.

 

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Curtiss’s ’49 has two more doors than Sam’s, but they are factory suicide doors and the reverse-opening doors only add to the cool factor on his Merc.

 

The car began its customization process in 1968 when it got a new interior and was transformed a show car by the early 70s. Its then-new green paint job prompted the owner to call it Green Envy, but Curtiss’s wife Mary gave it a new name (49 Lizzy) when she and Curtiss became its owners.

 

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The second last owner added a few more custom touches to the car when he frenched the lights and put custom side pipes on the Merc.

 

The car sports a 350 Chevy with an automatic tranny riding on a Camaro front clip to smooth out the bumps and curves on the road for the 68-year-old car.

 

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Curtiss and Mary purchased the car last December and he spent the winter underneath the car when he did the entire undercarriage of the car. Curtiss will continue to tinker with the car this upcoming winter but this past summer was reserved for fun on the open road for him and Mary.

 

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Curtiss said the car “cruises nice” and added that he’s “gotta steer it” on the road. He is OK with the steering part as long as he doesn’t “chew up those expensive new wide whitewall tires”, in his words.

 

Curtis also noted that “she’s old-but she’s got a lot of kick”. He has no trouble keeping up with traffic in his custom Merc.

 

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He also mentioned the car still has its vacuum wiper system and no heat or air conditioning. However, it does have four vent windows for front and back passengers to get fresh air on the road.

 

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The final word on their lead sled goes to Mary. She said “I love going to car shows and they will be even more fun with our own car”.

 

It turns out Curtiss also married the perfect woman.

 

Jim Sutherland

 

 

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