The Mothership

Last Christmas, Jenny got a car as a Christmas present from her husband. A remarkable gift in itself. But knowing that it was a Mercury -49, it's almost breath taking.

By. Ulf Forsberg

Growing up in Umeå, Sweden, Jenny Lundgren Strand always had one or more gearheads in her family. Dad drove a motorcycle and her uncle was into old american cars. Eventually, even Jenny and her brothers got closely involved in the car hobby and more and more hours were spent in the garage.

Six years ago, Jenny met her future husband Peter Strand. It may not need to be mentioned that he already was a gearhead with the same interest as Jenny in american V8-machines.

Last spring, when Jenny was 38, she bought a Chevrolet -54.

- It actually was my first american car, Jenny says with a smile.

But even if she felt that the Chevy was a great car, it still just was a stepping stone towards her ultimate dream car. A two-door Mercury 1949-51. Maybe not the easiest car to find for sale, but with the right connections nothing is impossible.

A neat, chopped 49 was found close too next door in Bureå, about 100 km from Umeå. And that´s no distance for anyone living in the north of Sweden. Former owner, Göran Lundmark, had refined the car, but most of all sheet metal work was done in the United States where the former owner bought the Merc near Orlando, Florida. A cool car with a 50s DeSoto grill.

So, last Christmas, Peter surprised his Jenny with this unbeatable Christmas present. The Mercury was perfect. All wrongs Peter presumably had been guilty of doing, or will commit within five years ahead, were all forgotten.

It was just this one thing. The car had a rather odd matte green paint job. Or "ugly light green," as Jenny describes it.

Then perhaps it was a good thing that she worked as a painter at Volvo Trucks. She still works there, but now as an internal consultant

- Yes, but this was actually the first CAR i painted, she says proudly.

Pinstriping on the other hand, is made by VonKarbin from Bureå.

Jenny's Chevy was resold pretty fast while she was getting to grips with the paint on her Mercury. The original side valve V8 had been replaced a long time ago, but a nice Chevy 350 under the hood does the job just fine even during longer trips. And if there ever will be engine trouble, Chevy-parts are always cheap and easy to find. Even in Sweden.

Jenny uses her car frequently during summer. Almost every day to and from work or during trips around her home town. In midsummer the family took a trip to Junsele, and after that to the capitol of Sweden, Stockholm for cruising.

If anyone thought that Peter tries to snatch Jenny Mercury every now and then, they would be wrong. He has his own toys to hold on to.

- Peter has two hot rods. A Ford 29 a and a 33. So when the entire family goes somewhere we always take two cars, says Jenny.

Since the Merc also has a 10-bolt rear axle from an 70's Camaro and the front end of the same car, as well as an 700 automatic transmission, air suspension and A/C, it is really comfortable even during long trips.

- Yes, when we went to Stockholm, it was no problem to cruise in 120-130 km/h, says Jenny.

The dashboard inside the car is a modern digital one from Dakota Digital. As soon as the car gets started the panel lights up like some kind of rocket shíp. Then the name "The Mothership", which vonKarbin has pinstriped to the tailgate, suddenly sounds very fitting.

All tuck n´roll car seats have allready been finished by the former owner, so this winter, the car will just get a few small adjustments made. Like flamethrowers from the exhaust pipes and hidden manual door levers. Otherwise the doors only open by remote control.

Jennys Mercury has been exhibited on a few occasions too and won some prices.

Next summer, the "mother ship" will go back to being used extensively. But any scandinavians driving around Umeå and being overtaken by a green led slead, can comfort themselves by remembering that it's a lot of Camaro under the shell. And the only lead actually is in Jenny right foot.