Once the car was back at Rudy's shop (Fullerton Fabrication) the final reassembly began and the image in his mind took shape. The front bumper was completely deburred and fully massaged. The rear bumper is actually another front one, also fully reworked. The burglar guards, as he likes to call them, were relocated, the overrider was altered, and the Mercury deluxe center cap installed. The stock grille was chrome plated and the center fins were painted flat silver to provide what Rudy describes as "the perfect contrast to make the chrome really stand out". The Mercury hood emblems were removed because the letters were felt to be too "square", and the bullnose was totally hand-filed and reshaped to fit the hood without gaps.
The frontend is lowered by the use of a dropped axle and a monoleaf with original drum brakes kept in use. What really stands out are the wheel covers, which are a combination of handmade ribbed stainless discs (in the spirit of European exotics) and altered stock early Ford center caps. The Kevin Lee (The Jalopy Journal) designed outer rings are reminiscent of lakes-style covers. The whole four-piece combination was then triple-plated and a brass Mercury head installed to complete the wheel.
The front window stainless is one piece. As Rudy put it, "I hate window trim clips. They totally ruin the flow of the front of the car ... it was important to me that the window look seamless." The side window frames, jewel moldings, inside corner piece, and all the garnish moldings were made or altered by Rudy. The glass was handled by The Glass House in Pomona, California.
A true testament to fulfilling the Merc's true conception was the decision to use green leather before the project even started. "I saw the combination once in a Bugatti and I always liked it," Rudy says. "No one does it as bold or as loud as the French did back then, but it all worked so well with the overall theme of the car. I could honestly not think of anything else for this car but green leather." A vintage color sample was used from an Aston Martin and the green hides were ordered-Bill's Auto Upholstery handled all the trim work, which included square-weave German carpet and vintage Mercedes-Benz black cloth headliner.
The dash was freed of its radio but remains essentially factory stock. Since the original Bakelite had since gone stale, Rudy had the dash plastics custom-made and then a unique chroming process was used to make them appear to be made out of metal. The stock steering column was totally dismantled and chrome plated; the steering wheel is circa 1947 though-Mercury, of course-with a '46 Ford horn ring and a '51 Merc horn button. The shift knob was handmade out of aluminum in the likeness of the Fullerton Fabrication logo.
In many ways, you could say this build began when Rudy was a little boy. He collected images and ideas over time until it developed into a completed car in his mind. By starting with the best car available, he was able to focus on the overall design and flow of the project rather than wasting time hunting lost parts. The front end is completely altered, yet remarkably stock. The roof seems to begin, transition, and end as though it was pressed out of a mold at the factory. The doors and side glass all fit as though they were recently built in a modern state-of-the-art factory. The result of all the years of work is a car that is totally Mercury, totally customized, and with the '52 Porsche 356 hood handle on the trunk, totally Rudy.