View Full Version : Customs 1951 Mercury car frame

04-30-2010, 04:50 PM
Is there anyone who knows what kind of frame I can put under my 1951 mercury. Will a 1993 chevy 1500 work or a 1994 Lincoln towncar

04-30-2010, 04:53 PM
Most frame swaps are waaaay harder than they sound and end up looking like shit. Do you not have a frame at all? What is your situation? And, most importiantly, what is your skill level?

Lots of Merc knowledge on this board. Post some more info and pics, and we'll get it figured out.


04-30-2010, 05:11 PM
I do have a frame for my mercury. I wanted to get a better suspention for it. I dont have a great amount of skill, but my uncle has been a body man for 40 years and i have another one that own's a body shop.. Also Im going to lower the car and add air bags under it.

04-30-2010, 05:15 PM
It would be easier and cooler to just clean up and bag the stock suspension?? Just my opinion

04-30-2010, 07:57 PM
There are a couple of ways to go if you have a stock Merc frame. The stock Merc front end actually works pretty well... You can score dropper uprights, lowered A-arms and coils from a few diffrent places. Disk brake kits too.

Or, you can do what I did on mine, a subframe. Lots of guys hate subframes because lot of em look like shit. Too many subframed cars still sit stupid and the front wheels stick out too far...that is mostly because of poor planing and execution. A well though out front clip job actually works very well.

Here are some shots of the 79 Olds Cutlass front clip I put in my 51.

Hit the search button, there are bunches of ways to get your Merc low...just don't cut anything untill you are damn sure you have a solid plan of attack and are SURE you can see it through to the finish.

The power of the HAMB will help you along. -Abone.

04-30-2010, 08:25 PM
Gene Winfield puts em on late 70's olds frames

04-30-2010, 09:05 PM
Mine has been put on a 79 Caddy although I had to shorten it 3 inches.

Pro Stock John
04-30-2010, 09:21 PM
Mine has a late 70's early 80's GM frame supposed to be Pontiac... Looks like a ton of work and I'd avoid it unless you've got fab skills and a totally rotted out car.

Retro Jim
04-30-2010, 09:40 PM
With a full size car you really don't want to try to find a frame that will fit under your car . That just doesn't happen . Keep what you have and just swap a front end or buy a front end conversion . There are a lot of them made out there ! It's not really that bad but just measure and measure and make sure everything is square before you weld it all up .
Goggle on the internet and you will find all kinds of front end swaps for that Ford .

Retro Jim

04-30-2010, 09:49 PM
A rear steer First generation Camaro or rear steer Nova subframe will slip right between the rails if they are cut right behind the stock spring pockets and the back of the subframe will tie into the stock Merc X member making a nice and not cobbled up frame that is really clean. Also it is pretty easy to tie the steering into the rear steer box.
The stock core support will sit right on the Camaro/Nova front crossmember that the sway bar bolts to by drilling a pair of holes and making up some thin rubber cushions.
I put about 100K miles on one with that setup.
On the rear I think I would go with one of the control arm kits that are floating around if I was going to bag it.

I put a 75 Monte Carlo frame under That same 51 Merc because the stock frame had cracked and the left rear leaf spring was broken. I had to stretch the Monte frame about 2-1/2 inches by cutting the welds loose at the back of the side rails and slipping the rear end of the frame back that distance. The guy who bought that car from me is still driving it with a 455 Olds in it. The one thing I didn't like about that setup was the lack of the X in the frame which I thing the early bodies really need unless you put some stiffeners in the floor.

04-30-2010, 10:29 PM
I got these pictures from another web site. This is the Jamco setup that I am planning on going with.

05-01-2010, 12:12 AM
This is the fatman fab Mustang II set up with rack and pinion and slam specialties re6's. Pardon slddnmatts rear end in the pic; he's the brains behind this thing and he nailed it. Good luck to you.

05-01-2010, 12:51 AM
you will find all kinds of front end swaps for that Ford .

Retro Jim

Mine has complete Jag XJ6 front subframe fitted, so you are right.
All kinds are used. :)

05-01-2010, 04:51 AM
The frame swap guys who use the Olds find a solid 77-85 full size GM car with the 119.5" wheelbase - Buick LeSabre, Electra, Olds 98, Caddy Sedan DeVille, possibly Pontiac Bonneville up to '81 - and cut that car down to a bare floorpan, then put the Merc body over like a model car kit body. A few hours of making sure it's level side to side and front to back, then a shitload of welding, building your own firewall, and rewiring from scratch and eventually you have a car.

I have to think if you're even asking if a half-ton Chevy pickup frame will work, you're better off leaving the stock suspension alone, either drive it as is, sell it and buy a finished one, have someone else do the chassis work, anything.

05-01-2010, 08:53 AM
I dont need to buy someone elses car. I have done my homework the 93 chevy has a 117.5 wheel base the width is within two inchs need to find the tire width. this is why I asked

Pro Stock John
05-01-2010, 10:14 AM
All of the frame/floorpan swaps I have read about on here have used GM car frames and Kevin is doing a towncar frame swap, so you might need to do some research and dig around.

Da Tinman
05-01-2010, 10:26 AM
I dont need to buy someone elses car. I have done my homework the 93 chevy has a 117.5 wheel base the width is within two inchs need to find the tire width. this is why I asked

Is it front steer? If so the steering box and radiator are gonna occupy the same space. Hell it might even hit the front bumper.

I like the fact that even though several kind folks have told you what they used and how well it works but your gonna stick a truck frame under it because you've done your homework.................

05-01-2010, 10:59 AM
Frame swaps are a pain in the ass. Take that old Merc frame and save yourself a ton of headache's by upgrading it. You really don't need to even subframe it. There are a ton of aftermarket parts to support your project. I remember doing my homework too and failing the test. Not to discourage you but there is a ton of work involved in frame swaps.

05-01-2010, 02:21 PM
I just put a Street Rod Engineering frame stub and Mustang II kit on my 51 Merc. It went together well if you follow the directions. Now I have the motor mounts in and the transmission crossmember fabbed for the 700r4--it all fits great. But I've got a shop and all the tools to let a car sit for a few months while working with it. I've still got the Rebel wire kit to install, the brake system, the steering system, the cooling and heating system--another couple months while it's driving time. Plus you'll find little things like cleaning the firewall while the engine bay is open, the lower a-pillar rust fix, might as well install new glass, oh and the dash is out so tear it down and grind it out so 2 inch gauges will fit-etc.etc.

If I was a young gun I'd listen to advise by people who've been there. Put in a motor and trans and enjoy driving the car. If you blow it all apart you're looking at some serious down time,unless you can afford a crew to work full time on your rig. Enjoy the driving season, use the existing front end--then do one project at a time with minimal down time --until winter.

I've got two project cars in my yard (38 chevy master delux , 41 chevy coupe)that someone else thought they could clip--no big deal--they failed and never finished-lack of money,talent, and time. My 2 cents

05-01-2010, 02:45 PM
If you can afford Roseville Rod & Custom has it...Take a look on Street Rodder Magazine!

05-02-2010, 02:39 PM
Thanks to everyone. I didnt say I was going to use a truck frame. It looks as if it would fit with minimal fab.

Fat Cat
05-02-2010, 02:54 PM
Thanks to everyone. I didnt say I was going to use a truck frame. It looks as if it would fit with minimal fab.

And ride just like a truck too!!

05-02-2010, 02:54 PM
The truck frame is all wrong for that car "period". If you were closer the guy who bought my 51 still has the old frame that I subframed. It would probably need the front end rebuilt now and a few hours of work on the rear end section plus new rear springs. Shipping would break the bank though.

I think if you check through archives I think the latest and probably least expensive setup is to use an 82/84 Olds Delta 88 frame and floorpan. That means you cut the body shell off the Olds leaving the whole floor pan and trim and fit the floor of the Merc out so that you have a lip to weld to the outer edge of the Olds floor.

As I said before I used a 75 Monte Carlo frame that I stretched by cutting through the welds where it connects the side rails to the back kickups. I slid the back section back to get my wheelbase right and welded it back up. I had to cut out the kickup over the rear end in the Merc floorboard to clear the frame and If I had it to do over again I would have saved that part of the floorboards out of the doner car and used it.

05-02-2010, 03:59 PM
Anyone ever used a GM B body (Caprice Impala Parisenne etc ?) I know they are only 116" wheelbase....I have a 51 moredoor with about a foot of the orig frame rotted away(along with alot of other rust!) I am more curious about the front track width

Pro Stock John
05-02-2010, 04:06 PM
I'm is supposed to be a 77-85 Pontiac, that would maybe be a Parisienne...

05-02-2010, 04:42 PM
There are two platforms for the full size GM cars from 77-96 - a small one and a big one. The small one was used for Chevrolet, Buick LeSabre, Pontiac Catalina, Olds 88. The big one was Pontiac Bonneville, Buick Electra, Olds 98 and Caddy.

Pontiac dropped the full-size platform entirely in 1981 but people wanted one still so dealers imported the Parisienne from Canada - it's a rebadged Caprice/Impala. It proved popular enough GM got the tooling back out for the '80 Catalina and combined it with the Chevy nose to sell the Parisienne from '83-'86 (Safari wagon lasted to '89).

The models move around a little bit through the early 80s and it's too much to try to explain here - Buick went to all the large platform, I'm not sure what Olds did.

You have two or three wheelbases - 115" for the Chevrolets and the Pontiac Parisienne, 115" or 116" for the early LeSabre and Catalina, and 119.5" for the big cars (and I believe all wagons).

The best way to tell them apart if you don't want to measure wheelbase is the wheel bolt pattern - the smaller platform has Chevy 4 3/4"x5 wheels and the big one runs 5x5" full size GM wheels.

The big one will work under a Merc with no need to alter the wheelbase. The track is about the same for all of them. I had an Electa rearend under a '51 Chevy and it fit, but the track is too wide for the front of the Chevrolet - the Merc is the same width body more or less at both ends, so there's enough room to still be able to turn the wheels with the late frame.

Pro Stock John
05-02-2010, 04:47 PM
Interesting. I'm running a 5x4.75 bolt pattern.

05-02-2010, 05:55 PM
Interesting. I'm running a 5x4.75 bolt pattern.

Do you know if your car has the stock118" Merc wheelbase John? If it does can you tell if the frame has been modified to fit the car or , car modified to fit the frame?

Pro Stock John
05-02-2010, 06:01 PM
I'll have to look it over, we never really looked into that aspect of the car.

05-02-2010, 06:29 PM
I used 2x4 rectangular tubing and used 95 lincoln Mark 8 suspension front and rear i also channeled the body 2 inches and used the licoln floorpan to drop the floor for headspace due to the chopped top worked out very well but was a ton of work

05-02-2010, 10:45 PM
I measured my old Merc front end today and it is about 59 1/2 inches from the hub to hub (i.e. the surface where you would bolt on the wheel )

Hope this helps

Dustmite Dragster
05-02-2010, 11:20 PM
Jim Weimer Sells A Whole Mustang II Stub For The Merc. Now. Ive Sold 2 of them. They are simple, effective and easy to install. I work at Minnesota Hot Rod Hardware if your Interested

05-03-2010, 05:58 AM
I measured my old Merc front end today and it is about 59 1/2 inches from the hub to hub (i.e. the surface where you would bolt on the wheel )

Hope this helps


05-03-2010, 06:43 AM
I have the specs for the 49-51 mercury if anyone is interested. My uncle owns a body shop and has a lot of frame specs from aboout 76-84, 91-00 my thought was to find a frame that had the same or close enough wheelbase wide enough and close on the tread width. the reason was to find one in the junkyard in tallahassee, Fl.. cheap and close. The 94 towncar was the closes wheelbase at 117 13/16 width forgot but have the specs at the shop. I'll probably just modify the frame I have Though the leaf springs are rusted out and I need to put the merc on a lift to see the rest of the frame. Thanks

Pro Stock John
05-03-2010, 08:55 AM
...And if you look, you can find stock frames too. I'll tell you that with my car, some of the stuff we fixed came from the frame swap. Some stuff was not supported properly.

05-03-2010, 09:17 AM
this is the stock frame with Fatman bolt ons and bags all under this merc.

05-03-2010, 09:34 AM
perfect did you notch out the rear for the axle?

05-03-2010, 09:42 AM
Mine is on a 79 malibu

joel torres
05-03-2010, 09:49 AM
hey tally your getting some really great info here. and glad to hear the one sided views hasn't deterred you , i speak with experince i did about a year of research on my own before i started. anythng can be done right the first time if you plan ahead we have a group for people who swap frames so there are allot of guys who can help ya probably
i used a 86 chevy monte carlo for $600 and streched it i was going to use my 85 caprice but its to mint to cut up good luck with your project

05-03-2010, 10:29 AM
Theres alot of way to make the stock merc frame drive as nice of better than most late model frame swap that will be way easier to do. It all dependes on your budget and skill level that works best for you. I do not recomend you put any money into trying to rebuild the stock link king pin front suspension as it will never drive very nice no matter how much money you through at it. If you are skilled I would recomend a camaro / nova clip, rear or front steer works very well. Front steer is a little harder to do as the steering box gets in the way of the core suport but they handle very well if installed correctly. I am not a fan of the mustang II under a big merc but some people like them. If you are aginst doing a clip and can aford it there are some a-arm kits avail that use newer ball joint with improved suspension geometry. The rear suspension is good as is just replace any woren parts. like new springs and bushings. If you plan to lower it try not to use any lowering blocks just have the spring made to your desired ride height. Rick Erickson