By Israel Acosta
For this installment of Cars Corner, we’ll admire Trent Szydlowski’s 1939 Mercury ‘Eight’ and its touching generational history. Szydlowski is a Senior in the Automotive Restoration Program who learned the basics of restoration on this beautiful ‘39 Mercury.
The car’s owner is Szydlowski’s grandpa, who hot-rodded the Mercury in the ‘50s when hot-rodding was in its infancy, and he has since gifted the car to Szydlowski to restore and maintain, an honor Szydlowski holds dearly. Through spending time working on the mercury together, Szydlowski and his grandfather formed an irreplaceable relationship that Szydlowski described as “one in a million” for all of the guidance as a mechanic and a man. One of the key things he learned in all those hours was to keep the car old, especially when it comes to keeping a Flathead V8 in it. This engine was revolutionary for the era, so it is still highly respected and appreciated in the restoration community.
To complete the Cars Corner interviews from this point forward, I’ll be asking my peers, “What are the three things you feel from owning and driving your car?” to deliver the emotional connections that come with our obsessions of vintage cars. Szydlowski answered that driving the Mercury quiets down his mind, giving him a sense of peace as he goes out for cruises and car shows. All the while, he is still very involved while driving because “it’s an 80-year-old car, you gotta listen to it when you drive it.” He also feels proud to own the car currently because this Mercury was his grandfather’s final project car due to a health condition, and he was chosen by his grandfather to take care of it for him. Szydlowski also said he felt included in the car community through the car with our peers in the program and the older generations who appreciate it when he takes the car out.
Szydlowski’s story is touching and a reminder of how much passion can be attached to a classic car. I hope this gives some insight into why the Automotive Restoration Program is what it is.