Ancient mythology tells of a sacred fire bird that, at the end of its life, ignites its nest to be taken up in flames. When the blaze burns down, a new offspring emerges. Chicago-area auto enthusiasts Don and Debbie Wallin have a rolling phoenix that, through hard work and determination, was raised from the ashes to cruise the streets again.
After a complete multiyear overhaul of their 1949 Mercury custom, disaster struck in 2007.
The Illinois couple was cruising to a show in Tennessee and was forced to pull over to the shoulder when a right rear tire blow out just outside of Merrillville, Indiana. Don ran down the interstate to retrieve the ejected fender skirt. When he turned back around, flames were licking out from under the custom Mercury.
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The roadside fire completely destroyed the interior and badly scorched the exterior.
The car was declared totaled, given the nature and extent of the damage.
Don made the call to bring the kustom Merc back to life and even made more body changes and modifications. Dick Scully, of Scully Customs, had been the man behind the first round of mods and returned to assist with the second round of transformation.
Check out our full photo slideshow below for even more photos of this wild ride.
Historical photos courtesy of the Wallin family
** All photos and content by Classic Recollections and may not be used without permission. 2012 © **
Categories: Feature Story