I think it is time to start the build threads for this project. Some interest has been expressed in replies to various posts I have made trying to find a proper part or procedure from other HAMB members, and I really appreciate all the help that HAMB members have given me, so here it goes. We are calling this project Flashback 50 as the results should bear some resemblance to my first 50 Ford customization project which I started in 1954 at age 14. I had acquired a 50 Ford and decided to do some customizing and mechanical upgrades while I waited for my drivers license. That project body work was based on epoxy resin bonded fiberglass which was commonly available in the old days with all body work done in the yard next to my house. The results, in 1956 became my daily driver till I went into the Air Force in October of 1958. I had replaced the original 6 cylinder engine with a 1952 Mercury V8 which I had done some porting and relieving and fine tuning in general so it was a fast car as well as a good looker. I sold the car and understand that within two years the guy had crunched it up a couple of times and sold it to a local race driver to use on Saturday nights for the main races. That car, in the following pictures, was first of four customs that I had a reasonable part in before life got too busy. Well, here I am 57 years later, retired from a 60 to 70 hour a week job and needing something to help me readjust to a normal life. After 6 months of driving my wife crazy I was reintroduced to the vintage car activities of others in this area and decided to look around. I joined the HAMB and in a few months found the Lakewood 50. We planned to work systematically from front to back replacing all metal that was rotten or too tangled from previous damage to be worth straightening and filling and then commence with the custom modifications that were the goal of this project. Before sending the car to the body shop, I was busy working on design and implementation details for the front end. The original car had a 53 Chevrolet grille bar and the old George Barris style ominous mouth treatment. I wanted to stay with a toothed grille but with a less prominent center grille bar. I chose the 57 Corvette grille for this project with the intent of building style matching parking lights into frenching buckets on the grille/headlight centerline intersections. With the car partially tore down, I borrowed a 56 Corvette grille from the body shop that was to do the major restoration work and did some show and tell exercises to see how much and how different it would have to be. I decided that the grille bar and teeth would work fine but the chrome surround trim would not. It seemed that it would be better to make a form for creating the grille surround and chrome trim pieces that will bolt in to maintain serviceability of the radiator, transmission and AC heat exchanger cores. By creating a custom surround trim arrangement it would be possible to make a more integrated transition between the peaked hood shape of the Ford and the rounded base shape of the grille. It was clear that the Corvette surround trim would stick out reasonably at the sides but would be difficult to merge into the body metal around center since it would be well under the lip of the hood, even if we rounded the hood a bunch. The following pictures were taken while we were figuring out the shape and form needed for this work. While considering those factors it seemed that the chrome surround trim should not be as heavy as the trim on the Corvette was since there would be other items of significance in the front and the heavier chrome trim would seem to distract from the grille teeth effects and isolate them instead of integrate them. All that in mind I started on the layout and design of the grille surround and a pattern on which the grille surround and surround chrome trim could be built and checked. At this point in the project it seemed we needed some concept sketching to make sure everyone was on the same page and getting the same image in their mind. And, as soon as I drew the hooded headlights I realized that there would be some issues with the conversion from frenched to frenched and hooded so I continued the concept sketching to try and express the desired results as an image instead of a lot of hand waving. \ For parking lights I wanted to continue the toothed style and found some truck marker lights that did a reasonable job of transitioning while keeping the style. I had to make some conversion plugs to get the two brightness levels out of a marker light but that worked out well and then I found some universal sockets for dual circuit bulbs that fit the frenching bucket perfectly The car was moved to the garage and basic recovery and restoration work began. Finally, after a few months of intense body panel replacement and basic restoration it was time to tackle the front end and see if the wooden pattern and all that sketch work would pay off. The surround shell, to be welded into the body metal, was built up on the pattern, mounting brackets for the grille bar spotted on the shell and the entire assembly clamped in place and some trial bridge pieces formed and placed into position, to see where we were with the whole idea. The initial results were gratifying so work commenced to finish up the mounting brackets, form the bridge pieces, weld them into place, and grind off the weld beads in prep for final finishing and prime work. While this work is in process, we are also trying to work our way through the hooded and frenched headlight stying and metal forming. A couple of attempts at stick building did not seem to be yielding the results we were expecting so we did some research and decided to try some 1955 Chevrolet headlight hood patches. It seems that with some mild modification work these will bring the proper form and attitude to the headlight hoods. I will return with updates when the headlight hoods and parkling light buckets are in place.