Club pub shares revelations from Mercury concept car rehab
Tom Maruska could write a book about his project, and maybe he will. The second of his installments on the Mercury XM-Turnpike Cruiser concept car recently surfaced in Quicksilver (spring 2019 edition), official publication of the International Mercury Owners Association, P.O. Box 1245 Northbrook, IL 60065-1245 (firstname.lastname@example.org). Todd Haefer serves the club as editor.
What Maruska obtained was a hulk able to move only because its suspension parts were kept intact. Beyond that, disassembly had taken place even before 1983, and severe rust had taken a toll. Still, it was a concept car, one of the rare type that mystified onlookers at bygone auto shows and which contributed in some degree to subsequent production advancements, as was the case with more than a few such vehicles.
The 1956 show car had a hidden surprise, according to Maruska. “The nuts and bolts that hold the car together are all metric.” That in itself was odd for an American show car in the 1950s. Or, was it?"
Said Maruska, “You may recall that Ford had Carrozeria Ghia in Turin, Italy, build the body. The bolts on the chassis are all SAE, as Ford sent the chassis and running gear, along with body hardware (hinges and latches), to Ghia to use as a platform....”
Then came another revelation. “Nearly all of the parts to be chromed are fabricated from brass, as it’s much easier to work with than other harder metals. Some of the trim pieces on the XM-800 were also made from brass. The only parts that are steel are the front and rear bumpers.”
To prove the power of the press, Maruska added this insight, which may be instructional for readers. “I ran across a vendor’s advertisement in Old Cars Weekly magazine. It was AIH Chrome Plating in Dubuque, Iowa. They advertised that if you sent them your parts so they could quote you a price for the plating, and you didn’t like the price, they would ship the parts back to you at their expense.”
Maruska tried it. He sent key parts on his project. Back came the quote. He gave it a whirl to see the results. “I’ve been using AIH ever since.”
At the time of his writing, he had hauled 193 parts to that plater. “It’s a much larger operation than I thought it would be and it was neat and clean and well organized, unlike other chrome shops I’ve visited.”
Maruska provides more insights on his project at www.tommaruskacars.us. It is worth the visit!