While the term leadsled refers to an overall style of rod, there will always be one image that comes to most people's minds-the '49-51 Mercury. No other single model has ever possessed a more enduring vision of custom than the Merc. Wide whites, chopped top, fender skirts, and ground-hugging stance will always be cool on a 'sled-and frenched headlights are another must.
Frenching the headlights has been a mainstay of the rodding world since the beginning. In the past, setting the headlights back in the fenders required a lot of custom work, shaping sheetmetal, careful measuring, and specialized tools to get the job done, leaving novice builders out of the loop. Then a few enterprising people started making kits that simplified the frenching process. Not only do these kits take out the guesswork, the result is finished off with shiny trim pieces that sparkle.
Installing one of these kits is quite easy, requiring very few tools, and can be completed in a couple of hours. The best part about these frenching kits is that just about any builder can complete the job.
RPPG, formerly Good Times Productions, manufactures several frenching kits, including headlights, antennas, tag, and several versions of taillights. Red River Customs took a set of Custom Beams, the 7-inch headlamp complete french kit, and installed them on its '51 Mercury custom project. The total job took less than two hours and only required a wire-feed welder, grinder, body filler, sandpaper, and some rattle-can primer. The result really adds to the custom look, removing the factory bug-eye and only cost $250.