In the late 1950s, legendary San Jose-based customizer Joe Wilhelm started work on a project based on a 1936 Ford coupe. It started out fairly simple, with handmade grille and fenders on a still-recognizable Ford body, but became far more radical within a few years. By 1965, the car- called the Mark I Mist- sat on a Jaguar XK140 frame, with quad-carbed Buick nailhead and a wild European-influenced body. It was a big hit at the car shows and made the covers of Car Craft, Rod & Custom, etc. Then the car disappeared, not to be seen again for decades... when Black Metal V8olvo crew chief Hellhammer (aka Junkyard Dave) tracked it down.

The Buick engine was gone, but otherwise the Mark Mist was in pretty good shape.

The gauges still have their 24-karat gold plating, and the upholstery has held up very well. In fact, all the car really needs is a new engine and a general mechanical going-over to be ready to roll again. This car is a time capsule!

It's a love-it-or-hate-it design; some will cringe at the Edsel-esque face, but there's no arguing with the quality of the fabrication and craftsmanship here. No body filler, everything handmade.

A Buick engine awaits installation, and the Mark I Mist should roar back to life soon. Dave will likely sell it and move on to the next project once it's finished- he's already got a '57 Ford project in the early stages- but not before he makes jaws drop at a few shows and cruises with this thought-to-be-gone-forever classic.