A car for Johnny Depp has to have some swagger. We knew someone had done a bad chop on this 1951 Ford Mercury Depp owned when he was on 21 Jump Street in the late 1980s. Repairing this chop was just the beginning, though. This Merc needed some major TLC after sitting in storage for several years.
Of course Mercury would appeal to this silver screen star. Mercs have appeared in several films, including Rebel Without a Cause, American Graffiti and Grease. More recently, the character, Sheriff, from Cars was a 1949 Mercury Police Cruiser, and that same model was used as the Batmobile for the Batman and Robin serial.
Initially, the goal was to repair the chop and put in a split window in the back. When we removed the headliner, rear seat and carpet, it was obvious the job was much more involved. We had to replace most of the floorboard and much more rot. Once we were approached about an episode of Hot Rod TV, we did much more to bring this Merc up to speed.
Depp’s ride received a new Ride Tech air-ride suspension and shocks. A new Ford crate 302 Crate motor went under the hood, and this 5-liter, 300-horsepower engine provides the get up and go to make this full-sized cruiser haul. The heavy duty C6 automatic transmission provides the torque to move this behemoth down the road. Designed to use the Borg-Warner flexible shift band, the transmission has disc clutch plates rather than bands on the low and reverse gears. The valving and composite plates give it the ability to handle 475 foot-pounds of torque.
Vintage Air keeps the Merc climate controlled for cruising in any season. The 2.5 stainless-steel Magnaflow exhaust provide the power and sound worthy of this classic car.
Eric Thorn upholstery classes up the interior. The car was painted a very dark green that almost looked black. The paint has green pearl in the black basecoat and a couple of coats of Kandy Organic Green to intensify the color. When in the sun, the car reflects the green. Mike Lavalle added custom artwork including skulls and eagle wings that provides the style one would expect from a car for a swashbuckler. The flames from the front fenders down the sides make the car look as fast as it drives.
Taking this car from rat-eaten to drag worthy was a challenge, but the result is well worth the effort.