Winter snows always bring me memories of The Blue Shadow! Oh God what a great time in my life that was. It was 1960 I was 19, my immortality was just beginning, my whole life was ahead of me.
The Blue Shadow was the name of my baby blue 1953 Mercury Monterey two door. White two inch letters emblazed THE BLUE SHADOW on the rear quarter panels proved it so. It was in vogue for ‘car’ people to name and letter their daily cherished street cars back then.
My more experienced friend suggested the Blue Shadow name. The Blue Shadow was also the name of a well-known ‘bawdy’ house in Peoria, Illinois. Peoria is 60 miles southwest from my home town of LaSalle, Peru. The Blue Shadow was perfect name for a smart-ass teen with a baby blue car.
This is amazingly close to the Blue Shadow's look and color. Only it was a 2 door sedan post. Not a hard top.
For a seven year old car, the Blue Shadow was in great shape. It would rate in today's car guide ratings of 1 to 6 conditions between a 2 and strong 3 and, of course, The Blue Shadow was a V8 flathead, dual carbs and exhaust with three on the tree and overdrive.
I had removed the hood ornament and other badging in lieu of producing a mild ‘bull nose’ custom look. I still had my cool customized ‘51 Mercury but could not help but to modify and smooth the ‘53 Merc Blue Shadow's looks also.
Winter time was always a challenge to underage drinking teens. Hiding and partying with the illicit local Star Model brew on country roads, choice secluded parks and picnic spots were threatened during heavy snows. During those heavy snow falls we illegal drinkers did not want to get stuck and call attention by engaging a tow truck. Those emergency folks worked too close with the state, county and local police.
(L) Exact replica of my 53 Olds. Except mine had Starfire Hub Caps
(R) 1953 Orig. Star Fire hubcaps my 53 Olds had. Back in the 50s and early 60s fancy custom wheels did not exist.
Chrome with baby moons was the biggy. But fancy hubcaps, like StarFires or Lancers were hot !
Our big break through to counter the snow situation was in 1959 when I got my ‘53 Olds four door Rocket 88 with a rare three on the tree. Most GM luxury cars like Olds, Pontiacs, Buicks and Cadillac's had automatic transmissions by then.
That winter snow tires became very popular. I got a huge pair of Atlas 9.00X15 Bucrons for the Olds. My first ever snow tires. Wow! They were fantastic. I would brag, "I can go anywhere with my Bucron Snow Tires!" Now our winter beer parties were not threatened by snowy weather any more. Even if someone at the party got stuck, my big powerful Olds with the huge Bucron snow tires could pull them free, no tow truck needed.
My 51 custom Merc looked much like this only in arctic white with tasteful Jerry Soens lavender pinstripes.
By the next winter I had my Blue Shadow ‘53 Merc instead of the Olds and of course I still had my custom ‘51 Mercury for fair weather cruising. Both cars were pretty nice. Both those Mercs also had some tasteful pin striping courtesy of the incomparable Jerry Soens. I went to LaSalle Peru high school with Jerry. He was an amazing striper, all freehand. Never even drew lines with pencil or plotted the design. Soens just picked up that sword striper brush and went to work with his ‘one shot’ striper paint.