1940 MERCURY STARDUST
In 1939 the Mercury Eight was the debut model of the Mercury brand name, slotting in between the Ford Deluxe and Lincoln brands in Ford's lineup. Although there would be many variants of the 'Eight' over the years, the coupe became a favorite for hotrodders looking to customize their rides.
THE BIRTH OF STARDUST
John d'Agostino, the founder of d'Agostino Kustoms & Celebrity Kustoms, is one of the most influential custom creators of our time. Having been born right here in Northern California, he was inspired early by George Barris, Gene Winfield and more of the classic greats.
After he built his 1951 Mercury "Midnight Sensation", he began looking for a 1940's Mercury custom. In 1986 he found a one-owner Mercury Eight Coupe with 35k original miles. He brought the car to Bill Reasoner's Classic Auto Body shop in Walnut Creek to begin the list of modifications. The top of the car was cut 5" in the front and 6" in the back. A '41 Merc rear oval window was incorporated. All four fenders were altered, door hinges were hidden, new running boards were created along with many molding and frenching elements across the car to create the sleek, elegant look. The interior and engine also received custom treatments, more information about all the customizations can be found here.
In a Cars Yeah interview with Mark Greene, John mentioned 'Stardust' as probably his favorite car, having it tour around the country, including a stint on display at the Petersen Museum. You can listen to the podcast here.
In 1995, Stardust was sold to a collector in Seattle. It remained in his private collection and was loaned to the Oakland Museum as part of a display of hot rods and customs, "The Men & Machines of California's Car Culture". There it shared the stage with other fine customs including Billy Gibbons (of ZZ Top Fame) Cadzilla.
In 2007 the current owner acquired Stardust. 21 years after being completed and having spent most of it's time in static displays and shows, he brought Stardust to famed hot rod builder Roy Brizio for a complete mechanical upgrade. Roy's team rebuilt the engine, transmission & front end. Brizio modified the dash and added a custom transparent Lincoln steering wheel with a Mercury button.
After the mechanical work was done, the car went to Darryl Hollenbeck's Vintage Color Studio who painted the car in an amazing Brandywine color. It then went to Sid Chavers who expertly turned the interior and trunk from a custom '80's, look into it's sleek elegant look it wears now.
In 2009, it was re-introduced to the world and immediately won Custom of the Year Award at the Goodguys All American Get-Together. In 2011 it was invited to be displayed at the Customs Then & Now event at the Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona.
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