While some readers may breathe a sigh of relief upon seeing this headline, the non-Chevy reference is not an intentional, self-deprecating jab at our Chevy Craft reputation. Instead, it is paraphrased from a quote from Bruce Aherns, owner of this great-looking Mercury. "After building Chevys, this car was a challenge. It is a lot easier to find parts for Chevys."
Bruce's favorite car is the '65 Impala. At one point he owned 10 of them, which is probably some sort of record. Now, his daily driver in the summer months is a big-block convertible. One of his brothers, Bob, is the Ford guy of the family, and he bought this Mercury and two Torino Talladegas at an auction a few years ago. Bruce is good at sheetmetal work, so his brother asked him to fix up the cars. Realizing the amount of work involved in renovating the Cyclone, Bruce ultimately bought it from his brother and restored it to the condition you see here.
Though the car was actually in good shape, Bruce decided to fully disassemble it and have the body media blasted. Most of the sheetmetal was usable, but the quarter-panels were full of rust. Bruce fixed them by taking the wheel openings from a pair of front fenders of a Cyclone donor car, shaping them to match the quarter-panel openings, and welding them to flat pieces of sheetmetal that he then formed to match the shape of the rusty metal he cut out. We admit to being envious of Bruce's skills with a welder and a body hammer.
The drivetrain is original save for the C6 transmission, which was replaced sometime before Bruce's brother bought it. Bruce had the engine rebuilt with Edelbrock cylinder heads and a Comp cam, freeing up some horsepower and shedding some weight in the process. On the engine dyno, the 428 generated a thundering 514 hp and 508 lb-ft.
The rest of the build was straightforward but time consuming. Bruce says half the work was searching for parts. "Many sleepless nights were spent searching eBay for glass, grille, trim, and lenses." All told, this restoration took about four years. After all that labor, Bruce is probably happy to get back to building Impalas.