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Lead Sled: 1950 Mercury Custom

1950 Mercury Custom

Update 5/17/16 – The owner just mentioned in the comments that they will throw in a flathead V8 if someone buys the car soon!

From 5/9/16 – This one takes me back! When I was a kid, a ’50 Merc was the car to have if you wanted to build a custom cruiser. In fact, there were a few in my small hometown that looked exactly like this one. Sure, the paint color may have been different, but the shaved trim, louvered hood, and 350 V8 were all the same. It makes sense though because the owner of this one claims that it was built in the ’80s. They have owned the car since 1997 and it needs some refreshing, but looks pretty good in the photos. Guess it should though since they are asking $30k here on craigslist. That may seem high, but I doubt you could replicate it for less.

Custom 350

Custom “Dice Man” valve covers and lots of chrome really dress up the engine. The A/C system would be a welcome feature to have during those hot summer car shows and cruise-ins. It’s funny how tastes change over time. This thing may not be “in style” today, but it was killer when it was built. The Moon hubcaps and turned down spotlights are period prefect. It just needs some lake pipes and furry dice to complete the look.

Custom Interior

Oh wait, there’s the furry dice! This puppy even a custom dice shifter and bus driver handle. I’m not sure why, but people born during a certain period really like those silly dice. My own father loved them so much that he bought a pair for my ’50 Chevy when I was in high school. They went on the rear-view mirror for about a day until I realized that they just made it harder to see out of the already low windshield. There must be some good drive-in memories attached to those furry things?


Ah, and my favorite part! What happens when you wire up a spark plug to the tailpipe? Flamethrower baby! This is a sight I have not seen for a long time. I always wanted to rig my car up to do this, but I was afraid that the rich running carb would cause the whole car to catch fire. I wanted to add one of those bars that would scrap and throw sparks when I dropped the rear air suspension. Oh, the indiscretions of youth! This car proves that the fun doesn’t have the end just because you are getting older. It does prove that your bank account had better keep up though.


  1. jimbosidecar

    The (stock) look is so different from the shoebox style of the 1950 Fords. Later on Mercury and Ford were differentiated by subtle trim items but these 2 don’t look like they are made by the same company.

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  2. grant

    It’s a cool car but dated by the “diceman” reference. That won’t be too hard to take care of when you remove the bastardized power plant and drop in something with the proper dna. Love the spark plug exhaust my uncles have told me about that trick from back in “the day.”

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    • Rob

      Whoa whoa whoa, slow down. Didn’t you read the listing? 😃

      The seller is keeping the Dice Man valve covers, front club plate and rear plate frame.😮

      Saves you the trouble of yanking…😉

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      • grant

        No it doesnt. Gives me an excuse to sell a SBC to finance a flathead build ;-)

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    • Al K

      A y-block would be old school cool…

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  3. Mark S

    I have to agree with you Grant get that GM motor outta there, I’ve always been of the school of thought that if you customize a car you at least need to stick with the same blood line, if you get my drift. Personally I’d go with a late 60’s 390 CID and 4 speed stick, I’d also go with some 3.50 gears in the back. Finally all references to dice would be gone, replace by custom machined brass shifter knob, door handles etc. I like the big wheel discs and I’d probably keep them. Nice find looks to be in good shape, excellent potential.

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    • grant

      390 would work, or a nicely warmed over 351. Personally, I would go old school, flathead with headers and a tri power Offenhauser intake, if you can scrounge one up.

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  4. Howard A Member

    Jesse, what did you call a “bus driver’s handle”? Did you mean the steering wheel spinner or “necker knob”? There’s a bunch of names for that accessory, which I heard are illegal in some places, but never heard “bus driver’s handle”. While I’m not a fan of resto-mods, the lead-sled Merc has always been my favorite custom car. They were so popular, seeing a stock Mercury is almost unusual. While I agree with the power choice, flathead 8’s can be dressed up so nice, somebody did an outstanding job on this car. Flames out the exhaust, act your age, will you? ( I had cars that did that without any assist). Very cool car.

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  5. JW

    Looking at this beautiful car I can’t help but think of Stallone in the movie “Cobra”. Nice car but yes it needs a Ford motor to be super cool !!!

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  6. DENIS

    Love those olds Mercs. Sorry Boys, Olds or Cad power is as good as it gets……

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  7. Steven C

    Early chrysler hemi is what it needs.

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  8. Rando

    I’d take it as is, Kustomize to my preferences and enjoy the crap out of it.

    If I had $30K…LOVE IT!

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    Worth every penny of that 30k. I had a buddy who’s dad customized mercs, he had some really cool ones that were semi famous. This one is a mild customization but very cool.

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  10. JPj

    Looks great because it’s not chopped & kept close to original !

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  11. Jim Wulzen

    Just like the cars of my time, I was born in 1939. For the most part these cars were show cars but a few of them had very strong engines and were quick. They were called lead sleads because lead came before bondo and was an art in itself to blend into body work with a wood paddle. Loved the work that was done. I was from Alameda California in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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  12. Chuck Foster Chuck F 55chevy

    Change the engine? Seriously? Some keyboard cowboy always has to complain about something that they really don’t have the means to do themselves, where is your Ford powered custom? A 350 Chevy engine is reliable, compared to the original Fecal Oblong Rectal Deposit power plant, not to mention the AC, good luck putting that on an original flathead. Nice car, if you have $30k plus go and buy it and change the engine.

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    • Mark S

      Anyone can put in a GM 350 into a car like this, shows no imagination we’re not all keyboard cow boys as you say some of us are qualified mechanics and would have the skill to keep a fomoco custom all fomoco. As I said up above I’d put in a 390 CID which would out run that GM 350. As for the AC any good welder fabricator could make the brackets to mount that AC compressor to a Ford block. Every one and their dog puts those Chevy 350’s in because they’re cheep. Ford is not my favorite brand I just think if your doing up a Ford you stay with Ford parts, like wise with GM or any other brand. JMO.

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  13. j.boyd

    Love the “SUICIDE” knob on the steering wheel. Black & Blue wrist, oh the memories.

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  14. MDW66

    Im working on a 52 Chev sedan delivery which I installed a 455 Olds into. Could not stand another SBC. It was the Olds or a 440 Chrysler. I didnt have a SBC on hand.Love the Merc engine not so much.

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  15. Ron Low

    Hey guys, Diceman here. I have a complete running Flat Head engine that I will throw in for the $30K if anyone is interested. But, you better hurry. If it doesn’t sell soon I am going to make it my next project and redo it myself.


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    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Wow, thanks for letting us know Ron. That should sweeten the deal for someone!

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  16. blaine horne

    I’m surprised you don’t know the story about the dice. In world War 2 the pilots that flew the sortys hung dice over the instrument cluster for good luck. When the war was over they hung dice from the mirror. that is why everbody hung dice from their mirror in the late 40s and early 50s. I have a 1950 Mercury street rod with 96 Impala SS running gear. It has dice and spot lights. The spot light on the left has Mercury on it.

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