Cruisin' the Coast

Car of the Day: 1950 Mercury

Owners: Joe and Carolyn Wright of Winona, Texas

What's it got in it?: 1994 LT1 Z-28 350 Camaro engine mated to a 4L60E transmission

What's been done to it?: The car took eight years to build. "I've built several cars over the years," Joe Wright said, "but I started this one with an idea in mind. I changed a few things along the way and came up with this orange Mercury."

"A few" changes would be an understatement. The Mercury body now rests on a '77 Oldsmobile chassis. The body was originally a four-door. He extended the door openings to accept the longer doors from a two-door Mercury. The car features a '52 DeSoto grille, '53 Buick side trim and frenched-in headlights and '49 Plymouth bumpers that are frenched in. The dashboard is from a 1958 Ford, and the instrument cluster from a '94 Z28 Camaro. The front seats and wrap-around rear seat are from a '65 Thunderbird. Wright louvered the Mercury hood himself and built a custom steering wheel from a '53 Buick as well.

Lest you Mercury fans feel slighted by all the changes, Wright kept mandarin-pearl orange Mercury's original taillight lenses.

The car received a Gene Winfield award, presented by Gene Winfield himself, at the 2014 Lone Star Roundup in Austin, Texas.

The Wrights have cruised the car to New Jersey, Los Angeles, Kansas several times, and have brought the Mercury to Cruisin' The Coast several times.

-- Lawrence Wheeler, Special to the Sun Herald