Last Call: Mermaid Edition

134_0503_01z+1957_Mercury_Monterey_Mermaid+Front_Side_Parked
This is an exacting replica of of Bill Stroppe’s 1957 Mercury Mermaid, a car that the Mercury performance expert had built for the Daytona Beach Speed Trials. Stripped down to a single oval cockpit and featuring a jet-age fin behind that, the Mermaid was powered by a 387-CID Lincoln V8, to which had been added a Hilborn injection system, Headman headers, and Scintilla magneto.
This replica was built by Royce Brechler of Steven’s Point, Wisconsin. The original didn’t make much of a name for itself on the track, eventually ending up on a used car lot, and then parts unknown.  Imagine driving down the block and seeing this poking out of a dealer’s lot with a “Low Down Payment” sign positioned under its raised hood!
Last Call indicates the end of Hooniverse’s broadcast day. It’s meant to be an open forum for anyone and anything. Thread jacking is not only accepted, it’s encouraged. 
Image: Jalopy Journal
 

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  1. I was born in Chicago, but spent most of my growing up in Michigan. In 1998 I moved to New Jersey where I still live. My parents and my dad’s family still is mostly in Michigan and the Chicagoland-area so I travel back there often to see them. This means driving I-80, a lot.
    I have gotten comfortable with the road thanks to the countless trips I have made on it in all forms of weather. I know where the sign that tells of Mile Run, PA being a scant 2 miles away stands. I giggle at the seemingly nonsensical “MILE RUN 2 miles” and make the same comment, “I would hate to take gym class in that town,” that my wife groans to every time. I know where the cheap gas is. But there was always one thing I never knew…
    The speed limit after the Eastpoint tolls in Indiana before you reached I-69 in Angola, IN.
    You see, when you enter the tolls, the speed limit is shown as 45 mph, as with all previous toll booths in Ohio (the worst state ever.) However, there were no speed limit signs upon leaving the toll booths that tell you differently. The Indiana Toll Road is typically 70 mph, and the sizable difference in speed between 70 and 45 is both not safe, in this Potbelly’s opinion, as well as a hefty ticket should you be pulled over for doing 70 in a 45. I sent an email to the Indiana Department of Transportation’s manger of the ITR asking for information as it had bothered me for years. He responded quickly and cordially:

    Unless posted otherwise, the speed limit on the Indiana Toll Road is 70 miles per hour (mph) for motor vehicles having a declared gross weight of not more than twenty-six thousand (26,000) pounds. Vehicles over twenty-six thousand (26,000) have a maximum limit of 65 mph unless they are “oversized” and those vehicles are 55 mph unless otherwise posted. Typically speed limits are reduced approaching toll road barriers, construction or work zones and in other urban areas on the western portion of the Indiana Toll Road.


    So it would be safe to assume that this section would be 70 mph, except for the clause of “unless otherwise posted.” You see, going into the tolls, it’s 45 and there are no signs after to the contrary for the nearly 22 miles to your first exit for I-69.
    Thankfully, the ITR Manager at INDOT sent my query to the Chief Engineer who oversees the everyday maintenance of the ITR and he forwarded my question internally to the people who could help. I will say, for all intents and purposes, I never expected a response to my question. I really just sent it to get it off of my chest.
    Today I received an email from the ITR Public Relations Manager stating that I had found something that had never been noticed in 30+ years. There is no sign between Eastpoint and Angola because there is no entrance ramp between Eastpoint and Angola.

    Hi Mr. [Potbelly],
    [The Chief Engineer] passed your message onto me so I could coordinate with some different departments to address your question.
    Interestingly, you picked up on something that people who have been working here for 30+ years hadn’t noticed: There is not a 70/65 mph speed limit sign westbound after the Eastpoint plaza until Angola, as you observed. Upon reviewing our sign inventory on the road, we have posted speed limit signs placed after each entry ramp and mainline toll plaza … except for Eastpoint.
    As [The INDOT Manager] stated previously, the speed limit is 70 mph for passenger vehicles and 65 mph for heavy trucks, and approaching and leaving mainline toll plazas it becomes 45 mph. There is a technicality here, because the westbound speed limit does become 70 mph (for passenger cars) about a quarter of a mile after the Eastpoint plaza; however since the previous westbound posted speed limit sign after the Eastpoint plaza is 45 mph, the State Police could technically enforce that speed limit as it’s the last posted sign.
    So to address this issue of missing signage, we will be installing posted 70mph/65mph speed limit signs as soon as possible. Our maintenance department is working on the project submission, and in the future having those installed will clear up any ambiguities as to speed limits in that area.
    Please let me know if you have further questions, and I’d like to extend our gratitude for you pointing out this issue.
    Thanks again,
    PRM ITR


    So it was always supposed to be 70 mph, but due to an oversight of no entrance ramps it has remained 45. Thanks to my inquiry, they will be correcting it. I asked if I could claim the sign as mine and the PR manager laughingly said yes, I could call it, “my sign.”
    Consider for the moment 22 miles at 45 mph versus 70 mph is just over a 10 minute difference.
    You’re welcome. Haha.

    1. you have done God’s work. I believe this entitles you to free beers at the bar, for life.

    2. Great job, surprising that it worked its way through the bureaucracy to actual action.

    3. You may have inadvertently touched off a rather embarrassing situation for the State Police. Anyone who got a speeding ticket in that stretch can get it voided or knocked down.
      In a similar case there road that divides my development from the next one was always 25 while growing up. Some enterprising lawyer got nailed for speeding. Doing what enterprising lawyers do, he researched and found that the street is actually a county road and unless other wise posted (ours was not) it is a 45 mph zone. If a town needs it changed they must petition the county to change it which our town never did. Every ticket written for a 10 year period in that stretch of road was refunded by the town (ouch!) by order of the State.

      1. Wow, that sounds costly – and I can imagine the human resources cost, too. Going through ten years of tickets is no small job; people have moved, married, died. It hurts my civil servant’s heart.

    4. There should be a NASCAR race held in your honor on that stretch of road. It should be named the “Potbelly 70”. 😉

    1. Wow. I haven’t considered the Tubes in many, many years. This song has aged awfully well, unlike some of their later work.
      And damn, have the guys in Cake ever cited the Tubes as an influence?

    1. Imagine similarly prepared one seaters with today’s cars…there’d be lots of similarities, too.

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