Here's a new combined JDH Rod & Custom and Keith Sim Metalcraft project. Being as we're busy at JDH working on 4 other cars, I decided to send my 51 Mercury Coupe to Keith to do the metal work on. Keith's work is amongst the best in the business, so I knew the coupe would be in good hands. This is the first time I've subcontracted metal work to another shop. In a role reversal, JDH this time will look after the assembly, engine rebuilding, and paintwork. Usually we do the metal restoration and fabrication. This has the makings of being a fun and interesting project. We started work on the car in June of 2008. From the start I had a very clear idea in my mind of how I wanted the final concept to look. I have always admired the Sam Barris and Hirohata Mercs, along with the build of Terry Hegman's car. I set a definitive course for the vehicle and decided to build something that would have fit in during the 1950s. For the sake of definition, I chose 1955 as my cut off point. Over the course of the following posts, I will take fellow HAMBers on a mini tour of the build. The ultimate destination for the vehicle will be an unveiling at the 2010 Detroit Autorama. Hopefully with a little luck we'll make it. It's still a long road to travel, so why don't we get started. This first group of photos show the initial inspection after the shell came back from the sandblasters. Upon first buying the car, it appeared it was really quite sound. Boy was that impression inaccurate! The car required full floor pans, outter rockers on the passenger side, and inner/outter rockers on the driver side. But I am getting ahead of myself. Here is a photo taken from the driver side after the body had been mounted on the frame, and the frame had been mounted to the transport cart. The shell had just returned from being sandblasted and was undergoing initial inspection to assess what work was going to be required. Frontal view of the shell mounted on the frame. Damage is visible around the steering column opening. Someone had cut away the lower support bar to make installation of the late model GM steering column possible. Pseudo 3/4 rear view taken from the driver side. Notice installation of the mounting location for the 1950 Lincoln tailights. Also the lower trunk lid pan has rust pin holing along the face by the driver side quarter. Full view of the rear of the shell. Again showing crude 1950 Lincoln taillight installation and rust on lower trunk lid pan. 3/4 view taken from the passenger side. Closeup of the driver side rocker panel. While this side was affected by some rust pin holing, we were to discover there was also some inner rocker panel rusting as well. A photo of the passenger side floor pan with extensive rust through. Notice there is some rust damage on the top of the rocker panel as well. As an item of interest, this Mercury was originally a Monterey model. You can determine this by the lip along the windshield on the roof. This lip was used to tuck the vinyl roof under. The Monterey was the upscale Mercury model.