The Don Ridler Memorial Award, also known as the Ridler, is awarded each year at the Detroit Autorama. Custom car builders from around the world converge on the Motor City and present their best work to the judges in an attempt to capture the prestigious award. This year, Luigi Deriggi’s 1950 Mercury “Maximus” built by Pro-Comp Custom brought home the Ridler.
Pro-Comp Custom has now established itself as one of the top shops in the country. Last year’s Ridler-winning 1931 Chevy coupe “ShoBird” was also built by Pro-Comp Custom. The shop once again showed its building prowess by bringing Deriggi’s vision of the classic lead sled to life.
The foundation for Maximus is a custom chassis from Art Morrison that has been paired with a full air ride suspension. The custom Chris Boyd wheels are attached to the front of the Mercury via a one-off suspension, and a fully chromed Winters quick change-style rearend out back. When you put all of these modifications together, you get a perfect low-slung stance that gives Maximus some serious attitude.
If you build a classic Mercury, you’d better be ready to massage the body to make it look right. Pro-Comp Custom threw the kitchen sink at Maximus by chopping the Mercury’s top, creating a custom grill, changing the headlights, and tucking the bumpers into the body’s lines. Under the hood, the firewall and inner fender wells were heavily modified to match the rest of Maximus. Finally, a deep shade of candy Root Beer and stylish graphics were added to Maximus. This level of work that goes into a paint job like this isn’t measured in hours, it’s measured in months.
Maximus is powered by a Ford Coyote mill that has received plenty of attention. The aluminum V8 has been adorned with plenty of chrome and polished parts to make it stand out perfectly under the hood of the Mercury. A Borla Induction EFI throttle body system tops off the engine, along with a set of custom valve covers. Pro-Comp Custom created the exhaust system that’s tucked away under Maximus with pipe and parts from Kooks.
The interior of Maximus was created by Paul Atkins Custom Auto Interiors. Pro-Comp Custom fabricated a unique dash to hold a full set of Woodward Series gauges from New Vintage USA. The stylish center console is home to the car’s climate and entertainment controls, along with a Lokar shifter. A Spark Industries custom steering wheel is the cherry on top of the interior.
Pro-Comp Custom really did a great job building a unique car for Luigi Deriggi. Maximus has everything you’d expect to see in a custom 1950 Mercury and so much more. Make sure you check out our coverage of the Great 8 to see the cars that Maximus beat out in order to win the 2023 Ridler.