Jerry Lewis had last laugh
Concept car, with funny bits all over, never made the showroom floor but it did end up in a Hollywood comedy
ONE of the least known of Ford’s mid-1950s concept cars is the “Beldone”, or Mercury D-528.
The name D-528 stemmed from the fact it was the 528th experimental “design” project at Ford.
The D-528 was built in 195354 to test advanced ideas for airconditioning, seating layouts, door opening configurations, lighting, interior and exterior crash absorption, four-door pillarless hardtop construction, headlight arrangements and a wind-down rear windscreen.
The cantilever roof was self-supporting because the car had no “A” pillars at the front.
The fuel tank and spare tyre were located in the rear mudguards.
Fully operational, the orange D-528 featured an experimental version of the yet-to-be-released Y block V8 linked to a two-speed automatic.
The car was never seen by the public and remained behind closed doors at Ford until the early 1960s when it was sold to George Barris, the famed Los Angeles car customiser.
Barris convinced Ford he could garner them publicity by having the D-528 appear in movies and TV shows.
In 1964, when Paramount Pictures needed a special car for its Jerry Lewis movie The Patsy, Barris showed them the D-528. Paramount executives said, “Yes, that’s the one we need!” and the car was painted bright red and rechristened as the “Beldone”.
‘The car was never seen by the public
and remained behind closed doors
at Ford until the early 1960s when it was sold to George Barris, the famed Los Angeles car