A Full Custom Mercury Goes from Great 8 to Ridler Winner
By Brian Brennan – Photography By Eric Geisert
It’s time to announce the Don Ridler Memorial Award winner from this year’s Detroit Autorama. The coveted Ridler award is presented to Luigi Deriggi of Toms River, New Jersey for his ’50 Mercury custom. Not only does he receive the well-known Ridler trophy (which his car will be the “topper” for next year) but also a check for $10,000. Built by Pro-Comp Custom out of Pennsylvania they are no strangers to building both amazing hot rods and major award-winning rides.
The chopped custom ’50 Merc rides on an Art Morrison Enterprise chassis that features an Air-Ride suspension, a fully polished and chromed Winters quick-change rearend, and one-off wheels by Chris Boyd. The Ridler winning ’50 Merc is painted in a brilliant candy Root Beer paint over a chopped top. Other specialty touches include a body that features custom modern-era headlights and taillights, a fabricated one-off grille along with custom built and tucked front and rear bumpers.
Under the hood is equally as impressive with a fully detailed (polished and plated) Borla Induction 8-Stack V-8 throttle body EFI system riding atop a modern-day all-aluminum modular Ford Coyote V-8. The Ford V-8 is topped with custom “Mercury” valve covers and one-of-a-kind mandrel bent stainless-steel exhaust.
Inside you will be quick to spot the ’50 Merc’s unique Paul Atkins Custom Auto Interiors stitchwork. Other interior appointments include a custom dash that houses New Vintage gauges, from here a center console wrapped around a Lokar shifter (note the pedals are Lokar as well), and a very special custom steering wheel by Sparc Industries.
Now that the 70th Annual Detroit Autorama sponsored by Meguiar’s and presented by O’Reilly Auto Parts is in the books let’s take a moment to recognize the other BASF Great 8 competitors. These competitors are each amazing builds and representative of creativity, design, craftsmanship, and execution. The remaining Great 8 are: Jim McDaniel from Cuming, Georgia with his ’58 Chevy pickup (black and gold), David and Kenny Snodgrass out of Melbourne, Florida with their ’55 Chevy convertible (blue), Brian Mosbek from Blaine, Minnesota with his ’69 Super Bee (red), Shawn Nichoalds out of Foristell, Missouri, and his ’67 Chevy Nova (silver), George Conrad from Akron, Ohio with his ’78 Ford Mustang King Cobra (black), Rejean Desjardins from Moncton, N.B., Canada, and his ’65 Ford Mustang fastback (black and white), and Tim Hampel of Arlington, Texas with his ’53 Chevy pickup (silver). MR