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RUBY SLIPPER – COZ GEORGIOU 1950 MERCURY

“You’re the disease, and I’m the cure.” If you can remember this infamous quote from Zombi Squad leader Marion Cobretti (code name Cobra) back in 1986, you’ll understand why Coz Georgiou finally cured his affliction to own a killer Mercury coupe.

“I remember walking out of the cinema saying to my wife that I’m going to buy that car one day! But I was never allowed to have one,” he recalls with a fair helping of disdain.

The car that Coz was referring to was a modified 1950 Mercury Monterey piloted by big screen star Sylvester Stallone. As well as the lead male star, Sly is also credited as the film writer, and the upstaging Merc was one of his own personal vehicles. 

About six years ago Coz found himself in a position to do what he liked. “Divorce does that,” he chuckles. 

With newfound freedom he trolled the internet in search of a likely candidate to fulfill his Hollywood dream car desire. He located a potential vehicle in Oregon, USA that had been customised back in the 60s and had only come up for sale because of the owner’s age. 

“I bought the car from an 80 year old man who rebuilt the car in 1960. He said to me, ‘it’s a manual with no power steering and I can’t turn it, park it or drive it anymore. It’s time to get rid of it!’”

Using the knowledge of ‘buyer beware’, Coz enlisted the services of a reputable car buyer in California to give the Merc a thorough inspection before transferring any hard earned Aussie dollars. With the car ticking all the right boxes the deal was done and it was shipped back to Melbourne. 

Although it was given a clean bill of health, Coz wasn’t entirely happy with the car. “It was mainly the paint,” he explains, “it had a fair amount crows feet in it and it was really showing its age.” 

On the plus side the Merc had been tastefully chopped 4½ inches with frenched headlights and custom Caddy bullets out back. Under the nosed hood a toothy new grille bar was liberated from a Desoto to carry on the time honoured custom appointments. Moon discs, Appletons and rear fender skirts rounded out the cool kemp and it was registered lickety split.

Two years on and Coz decided that he really wanted to do something about that ageing paintwork. He had the car completely stripped before calling upon Armstrong & Son Panel Beaters & Painters for a revamp. With the crusty blue hue long gone and the body prepped, Lindsay laid down a wicked coat of Ruby Slipper from the House Of Kolor range.

Ecstatic with the result, Coz was less enthusiastic about refitting the existing and tatty trim to his sweet new shell. “That’s when it really snowballed,” Coz confesses, “once I decided to redo the inside we redid everything!” 

To keep up with the schmick exterior, Ben at Scene Motor trimming was given the nod to stitch up a worthy interior that retains the character of an early custom. The dash was refreshed with new paint and now includes an underdash panel to house air conditioning. All the bright work was repolished and completes the package nicely while power windows and door poppers add ease to the ensemble. 

While the soft furnishings were being attended to, Coz focused his attention under the hood, hopping up the rebuilt flathead with a stroker crank, Fisher Blower and a quartet of side draft Webers feeding the fuel. Tommy Eastern gets the kudos for fitting all the new internals while Chris at CC Electrical receives credit for giving it life. 

“I wanted the blower but I didn’t want to cut the hood up,” Coz empathises, “it took us a while and a few different carbies but we managed to fit the whole concoction under there without clearance issues. Once it was tuned by ALL-TEK Automotives it ran sweet as.”  

To harness the extra horses under the de-snorkled hood, Coz slipped in a bulletproof two speed Powerglide and a Ford nine inch diff. Hiding behind the quartet of four bar flipper caps are disc brakes at both ends of the curvaceous custom. Coz also enhanced the Mercury’s curb appeal by adding a full complement of air bags from Air Ride Suspension. Capping of the extensive rebuild Coz attached a pair of real side pipes for a cinematic surround soundtrack.

What stared out as a simple “hey lets refresh the old paint”, turned into a three year sentence of blood, sweat and beers. Coz would like to take this opportunity to thank all involved, his Lincoln and Mercury Car Club members who have finally seen it in the flesh and to his bride in waiting Kerrie, for being patient for five years as he promised to get married when it’s finished.” 

“It’s almost done Kerrie… I promise!”

BY DALE HABERFIELD, PHOTOS GRANT FINDLAY, FULL FEATURE CRUZIN #171
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