I had to laugh when reading the Lead East thread this year. Every year it's a similar spread, and every year it's the same mixed reactions from this board. The guys on the east working off their 4 day benders say "what a great time, helluva party", and the guys on the west scoff at the custom cars. I guess it's something that's been brewing longer than paper vs. plastic, and even Clapton vs. Hendrix. Maaaaybe Billie vs. Ella. Anyway, so that was the idea with the title of this thread, hoping it doesn't get grouped into the cars you guys scoff at! The story behind this car began a year or two ago, I judge that by what crappy tow vehicle I had at the time, being an 80s one ton Chevy that huffed crazy oil, that was two trucks ago. I got this car in a package of two Mercs from Mazdaslam, and really only bought this one for the bumpers/grill/turn signals and rear lights as they were in pretty amazing shape for such a poor car, plus the other Merc yielded perfect rear quarters for a '50 coupe I had that needed them. It was a huge score, and if you ever deal with him, Kevin is the man! I pulled all the trim and whatnot, and finally having a decent piece of land, just put it in the back of the yard for a someday project, or more realistically, for just the roof. The car was rocked. So, a while passes and Edgar contacts me, he has another 50 Merc 4 door I tooled around with a few years ago (the thread is here http://jalopyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=294184 ) and he said he is now stationed in Japan for a while and wants me to look into building him a daily driver. He has a pretty limited budget, so he was automatically thinking a shoebox as a Merc would be totally out of reach. I started a thread looking for a clean car, nothing really came of it lead wise, and I got to thinking. Edgar is a great guy, and since about 18 has been serving our country, been overseas to the "sandbox" as he called it I dont know, 5 times or better? I knew he really wanted a Merc but couldn't afford it, and I knew I had a really really shitty Merc that I didn't want to build, but figured eh...what the hell right? So we talk, and he's of course uber thrilled, and we go forward. This car sucked. I ended up getting it in here and there to start doing work and the more I saw he worse it got. So, started cutting the floors out, replaced them as well as inner rockers/yadi yadi, and then some of the fun work began. Here are some pics of the journey thusfar. The drip rails are shaved as the direction we are taking it is really, really early 50's SoCal look, the tail lights are filled and going to be relocated to the bumper guards, and either 49 or 54 Merc headlights are going to be used. Its going to sit lower in the rear, but eventually be bagged (rear only) if we decide to go that route and need more drop or adjustment. Door tops and bottoms radiused, as well as hood corners. Its got a Chevy in it (still need to adjust the final position of it when the car is sitting where it should) and getting an 8.8 rear out of some kinda 80s full size Mercury. It's going to be a driver in black primer but hopefully as time allows in a year or so, be a dark color gloss, but that is neither here nor there. Well, dats about it. Here goes. Here she is without the pretty chrome on it, started pulling the front end off. Ended up using mostly a sawzall, very little rust. Right after the Chevy went in, here is my friend Ryan's ex four door leaving and Edgar's Merc going in to get taken apart. Lets see how bad it could be? Badness. I am involved, we're all involved. A Merc died tonight. Mo' betta. New inner rockers, floors, blah blah. Lower a pillars were wiped out, halfway up to be exact. Lower b pillar area etc. Redo all that. Then comes the process....cut the doors apart, do undersides, mad rot. Don't really have much in the way of pics, but you get the idea. Then the fun part, chop chop! The chop is 3 3/4" up front (taped), 4" rear , so all in all it will yield a little over a 1/2" slope to the roof. The quarter window radiuses are tighter out back since I kinda like to mimic whats going on opposing it (roof side) and it squeeks out some extra length in the quarter window overall. The rear window is just tipped forward, not moved up, and the roof is paneled with two shoebox Ford roof patches, as I donated my last 4 door Merc roof to Ryan's chop. Then some more fun stuff, finding all the little rot areas and dealing with em one by one. A pillar where it meets the roof. The a pillars fell apart when I started the chop. Heres why. Rot rot. This is why I tell my woman it is of the utmost importance we purchase beer, I of course don't like the taste, yet need the bendable boxes for my studies. Fill some tail lights, fill some gas door. The panel has some surface rust, but the whole car is getting stripped and probably parts blasted before body/prime, and this gas door is a helluva curve to work with. It was more roof and some hammer action, fit really really well. You get the idea. Hoping to have this done soon, mixing this up with my '51 coupe project. Im hoping to finish stripping a 79 Olds 98 today, been working a few hours here and there, and my Merc is going to go on that soon. What a friggin job that's been so far, but it keeps both projects fresh.