Maximus Mercury wins the 2023 Ridler Award

Blinged-out Mercury takes out the most prestigious prize for elite show cars on earth


The 1949-1951 Mercury coupe has been the rolled gold standard for custom cars builds since the time the damn things were brand new, with the likes of Sam Barris and the Alaya brothers creating archetypes that custom lovers drool over seven decades later.

Despite the Merc’s unrivalled status as the ultimate basis of a custom car, not a single example has ever won the most-coveted prize for customised cars on the planet – the Detroit Autrama’s Don Ridler Memorial Award.

That is, until now, with Luigi Deriggi’s 1950 Mercury taking out the Ridler over the weekend.

Dubbed Maximus and built by Pro Comp Customs (who also screwed together last year’s winner), Mario’s Merc is a very modern taken on the theme. The car sits on an Art Morrison chassis, with Air Ride suspension slamming it down hard over Chris Boyd 20 and 22in rims.

Under the bonnet is a Coyote V8 with Borla injection and custom rocker covers, backed by an AOD trans and quick change rear. The bling and detail underneath are next level.

Bodywise, the Merc has all the usual mods, including a 5in roof chop, shaved everything and moulded bumpers, adding a neat custom grille and headlights reminicent of Australia’s own V10-powered Merculese.

Whole whole lot is covered in Candy Root Beer duco, complete with wild graphics.

Inside is a full-length console, custom dash filled with Classic Instruments and a one-off tiller by Sparc Industries.