The Vault

Babycakes’ Mercury

Anne Grinney-Colomban Car Feature Tags: , , ,
1950 Mercury

Words: Alan Mayes; Photos: Butch Pate

Model: Tasha “Babycakes” Graham

The cars built by Jason Graham of Portland, Tennessee, have graced the pages and covers of Ol’ Skool Rodz many times over the past nine years, starting with issue #23. That’s because the man is extremely talented and builds some of the coolest hot rods around. Though he’s best known for the rods, he has also built some equally nice customs. This one is sorta special, though. It belongs to his wife and business partner, Tasha (a.k.a. Babycakes).

As Tasha tells us, “When I met Jason, we had many conversations. During one of those we got to talking about favorite cars. I mentioned a ‘50 Merc. He never said anything about having one until about a year after we got married. I wanted to build me a daily driver of something old and he took me to a shed where he had stored some project cars. He gave me the choice of a ‘53 Buick or this ‘50 Merc. Of course, I chose the Merc.

“We spent a few months getting it on the road and over the past four or five years, we gradually did more and more to it, but I kept driving it the whole time. I have done a lot of sanding, bodywork, wet sanding, and interior work myself. Jason has taught me a lot about building. About a year and a half ago, we finally finished it the way it is now. I have put over 45,000 miles on it. She is my baby.”

The body changes are subtle and just right. You’d be hard pressed to find a Merc with a better profile than this one. It’s nosed, decked, and shaved, of course, and the top was chopped 4”. Hood corners were appropriately rounded. A ‘53 Chevy grille with extra teeth leads the way below ‘55 Chevy headlights. History lesson: top customizers in the mid-Fifties (like Bill Hines) loved ’55 Chevy headlights. Look and learn. Likewise a good lesson is the application of ‘49 Lincoln taillights. No other custom lights look as natural.

The Merc is powered by a small block Chevy stroker engine at 383 cubic inches. That’s backed up by a bulletproof Turbo 400 transmission and a 10” Camaro rear-end with highway friendly 3.08 gears. The rear suspension consists of Jamco springs and 3” lowering blocks while the front end rides on a Camaro clip with shortened big block springs and dropped spindles. Such a setup makes for a sweet riding cruiser with reliability and adequate suspension travel while still lookin’ low and cool. Wide whitewall radials are wrapped around painted steelies with inner rings and bullets, sort of “sporty custom.”

The name of the paint is almost as long as the car: PPG Deltron white Crystallance pearl with Sunkissed Gold & Orange-Glo candy flames. It was expertly applied by Jason and then the car was appropriately pinstriped by well-known Nashville area striper, Rick Harris.



Owner: Tasha “Babycakes” Graham

Occupation: Co-owner of Jason Graham Hot Rods

Location: Portland, TN

Car Builder: Owner & husband (Jason Graham)

Vehicle: 1950 Mercury

Chop: 4”

Other Body Mods: Nosed, decked, shaved, smoothed bumpers

Grille: 1953 Chevy w/extra teeth

Paint Color: PPG Deltron white Crystallance pearl w/Sunkissed Gold and Orange-Glo candy flames

Painter: Jason Graham

Pinstriping: Rick Harris

Engine: Chevy 383 stroker

Tranny: Turbo 400

Intake: Edelbrock Performer Endurashine manifold w/Holley 650 carb

Ignition: Accel

Exhaust: Duals w/Flowmaster mufflers, ceramic coated headers

Rear End: 10-bolt Camaro (3.08 gears)

Suspension: F- Camaro clip w/dropped spindles & cut big block springs; R- Jamco lowrider springs & 3” lowering blocks

Brakes: F- Disc; R- Drum

Wheel: 15×6 steelies w/spider rings and bullet caps

Tires: 205/70R15 WWW

Seats: Stock

Upholstery: Maroon & charcoal 2-tone leather tuck & roll

Dashboard: 1949 Merc with Classic Instruments

Steering Column: ididit tilt

Steering Wheel: 1955 Chevy 15”

Headlights: 1955 Chevy

Taillights: 1949 Lincoln

Car Club: Relentless