One of my favorite design puzzles to play around with is: What would classic cars look like if they were designed today? This '49 Mercury is a work in progress, but reflects my thinking along these lines. Now, I know messing with an icon is dangerous because no matter what you do, someone isn't going to be happy with it. I wanted a design solution that was still a Mercury passenger car, not a rocket ship or a two-place roadster. So here we go.
Up front, I deliberately avoided the common use of the Mercedes headlights, deciding on the Toyota approach instead. I have the lights under glass, but close to the edge of the fenders, climbing up the hood surface. The fenders are reinterpreted as fender blades to keep the massive look of the original car.
I wanted the hood to be well above the fender line and the grille opening to be the same basic shape, with the '49-style texture in place. These design elements are needed to keep its "Merc-ness." The side character line is the same, but crisper-and leads back to a faceted rear plane that accentuates the round '49 trunk and keeps the taillights in the same relative position (but facing outward slightly).
The roof line is typical of the classic, but lower, with a high beltline, reflecting the current thinking at Ford and Chrysler-a built-in chopped top, if you will. The rear skirts are a matter of personal taste. I think they look appropriate on this car. I went with modern wide whites, and wheels designed to resemble the original hubcaps. Most of the small details are represented in a more modern form. Of course, the finished design begs the question, what would guys like Gene Winfield do with this car?