1951 Mercury Custom'Lead Sled' Custom
Year of manufacture1951
This beautiful traditional "lead sled" was built by former owner Red Spence of Salinas, California, with bodywork by Hot Rod Hall of Fame inductee Rod Powell, also of Salinas, and enamel paint by D.J.’s Auto Body of Canoga Park. It is powered by a 1965 Cadillac 429-cubic inch V-8 and automatic transmission, as well as a Positraction rear axle. The body incorporates a 1953 DeSoto grille, 1951 Kaiser bumper guards that protect the stock Mercury bumpers, 1953 Ford headlights, Volkswagen Beetle reverse lights employed as the front turn signals, Chevrolet Vega mirrors, genuine 1950s Appleton spotlights, a 1940 Chrysler rear window, and frenched 1956 Buick taillights. Wheels are genuine Kelsey-Hayes units from a 1953 Buick Skylark, with the rears hidden behind fender skirts from a 1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser.
With the body chopped and smoothed, it has a long, low, sleek appearance, with clean lines created by the removal of virtually all exterior trim hardware; the trunk lid is opened and closed by a solenoid. Creating the ground-hugging look, a C-frame was used in the rear with 3 1/2-inch blocks and flattened springs. Mr. Mitosinka states that it had been previously owned by H.B. “Toby” Halicki of Gone in 60 Seconds fame.
Mr. Mitosinka acquired the car on October 20, 1998; it has been preserved with its original finishes, now showing considerable patina, with the paint exhibiting extensive cracking. The lush purple Naugahyde used throughout the interior has held up extremely well; seats remain deep and comfortable to ride upon, facing an elaborately pinstriped dashboard with a modern radio tucked into the glove box. Included in the file, in addition to numerous maintenance receipts, is a copy of Andy Southard, Jr.’s Hot Rods & Customs of the 1970s, in which this car is pictured near its completion.
A true California cruiser, this car awaits freshening and a new life on the show and cruise circuit.
To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/mt20.