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Projects My 1951 Mercury Restoration

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Pro Stock John, Sep 2, 2008.

  1. I've been poring over pics in magazines and Rik's website and yes, I have just a few more build questions for my car. To refresh, I'm redoing a 1951 Mercury custom that was already chopped and complete. I'm redoing it as an early 50's custom, and I'm striving for a classic look. I like Mercs like Sam Barris' '49, and the Quesnal Merc for example.

    1) Headlights. I see some headlights are flush with the opening, and some are recessed a good inch or more. If I flush mounted them, is the usual approach to make the removable from the inside to change them? Looks like flush-mount is more trad for early stuff.

    2) '51 vs. 49-50 rear window. Just a direct question, would the be car worth more with a 49-50 rear window, apprecialbly more?

    3) I can't find the pics now, but I've seen a side trim where it's a two piece, and the part on the front fender has a little part that angles down... Know what I mean? I can't find that dang pic now! I thought it was '49 caddy but when I google that it's not the one I saw.

    4) Is early 50's when taildragger Mercs are most common, ie. is that when that trend started?

    5) I've seen some cars that have flush-mounted skirts in back, Jesse James' '51 is one of them. Is that correct for an early 50's, I'm thinking not? There is a car on the cover of that small customs magazine, a red one, that also has this treatment.

    6) Jesse James car has beauty rings and those center covers like Speedway sells, kinda looks nice but that look is not correct at all, that's more like a 60's look if anything at all? I've only seen that stock on trucks I think.

    7) Where in the heck do you buy reproduction sombrero '49 Caddy hub caps?

    8) Would you consider that Dave Bugarin Merc grille to be more mid 50's, that Chrysler one?

    12.14.10 EDIT:

    Starting point:



    In my possession:




    Rik Hoving Photoshop rendering:

    Last edited: Nov 7, 2011
  2. Dago Red
    Joined: May 22, 2002
    Posts: 314

    Dago Red
    from Delaware

    I can't answer all your questions, but I think the trim you're looking for is '52 Packard.

    If you're looking to build it early-style, search Rikster's site for these Mercs:
    Wally Welch
    Jerry Quesnel
    Sam Barris
    Fred Rowe
    Ayala/Bettancourt (esp. the early version)
    and maybe Buddy Alcorn

    To me, those (and maybe a couple more that are escaping me at the moment) are the premier examples of early-style Mercs.

    I think the Hirohata and Bugarin cars have more in common with the next generation of custom Mercs.
  3. UnIOnViLLEHauNT
    Joined: Jun 22, 2004
    Posts: 4,814


    Yes for early early style stuff, the flush mount 49/50 headlite ring is the more sound choice. Ive actually been thinking about this a lot lately as Im trying to plan out a future 49/50 project. You would see that basically on something early 50s, but more than not on a pre 51. 51 doesnt have the stainless ring, but steps off teh fender more and IMO looks ugly. I think they are pot metal anyways but ppl make 51 lookalikes out of steel which are equally ugly I think, they surface on ebay now and then.

    49/50 rear window is definately more common on a 51 chop than a 51 rear window is. My 51 2 dr has a 50 back window in it. To change it is a pain without cheating and pushing it allll the way up to where its almost above the rear of the quarter window opening. But if you are more concerned with a "look" than a budget, Id look around for one of those windows. Lay it down in the stock location (says my taste) instead of pushing it up tho. That said, your car has a nice chop with that current rear window.

    Flush mount skirts. I dont know if they are period for what you are looking for, but do look kickass! :D
  4. Not '52 Packard but thank you for trying to help figure it out. The chrome I can't find a pic of has a little extra angle coming out of it on the front piece, I think I saw it on a red car. I looked for that 49-51 Merc super pic thread because I think I saw it in there but I cannot find the thread using search.

    Flush-mounted skirts look cool but make the car look more Hudson like or something... Not a negative per se but I can't find any early examples with flushed skirts so I'm not doing it.

    Do you guys know if particular head lights are used to flush mount them like that?
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  5. Are you taling about Buick side trim? As for the caps you are talking about they are spider caps and rings and started showing up on cars around 1960. I love sombreros on a good looking Merc. Are you re-paining the car? Any thoughts on colors? I
  6. t-town-track-t
    Joined: Jan 11, 2006
    Posts: 884

    from Tulsa

    I second the buick trim based on your description.
  7. buckeye_01
    Joined: Jun 20, 2005
    Posts: 1,441


    The Buick trim is 3 pc, not 2 pc like hes talking about.
  8. atomickustom
    Joined: Aug 30, 2005
    Posts: 3,157


    1. Yes, flush-frenched headlights are more early 1950s. Mount buckets from behind, lead in the original '49-50 merc rings.
    2. Would not have a major effect on value - the Hirohata Merc has the '51 rear glass and is probably the most valuable kustom in the world.
    3. No idea from that description. I thought you were talking about Packard, too. Find that photo and I'll tell you what it's from.
    4. Based on my old magazines I'd say the taildragger stance was early-mid 1950s. But there were still level kustoms during the same era. It was a taste issue.
    5. Flush or standard, to your preference. (But stock-type external skirts were definitely more common at the time.) Again, the Hirohata Merc has flush skirts and was built in 1952.
    6. I have never seen a single photo from the early or mid-1950s with that setup. Not one.
    7. eBay? Good luck
    8. I'll get back to you after I look at a photo of it.
  9. I am repainting the car, the car is stripped and some areas are getting fixed. I am thinking either black or red.
  10. atomickustom
    Joined: Aug 30, 2005
    Posts: 3,157


    Those are from a 1956 Chrysler, so they are definitely not "correct" early 1950s style. If you're just shopping around for something you like the looks of, try flipping through something like "The Ultimate Car Spotter's Guide 1946-1969" or "Cars of the Fabulous Fifties" and see what you like from 1949-1953?
    And of course Barris kustoms almost always blended elements of different grilles of the era to produce something "new." (Not to beat the Hirohata examples to death, but I am in my office looking right at a poster of the car. The clean bar grille was actually made from pieces from a 1951 Ford grille.)
  11. Yeah I am planning to get someone to make a me floating grille but will also strip my current grille and see what can done with it. Problem is that it's too wide.
  12. This is the side trim I was referring to:

  13. that's 51 packard trim.

  14. Headlights could be frenched (flush) or tunnelled. One of if not the greatest mercs ever built, the Bettancourt merc, had slightly tunnelled headlights and it was arguably the first one ever customized. If you go throught the Barris section of Riksters site you will see that they are about 50/50 as to whether the were flush or tunnelled on mercs.
  15. In answer to "where to find Sombrero hubcaps?"Check out
    1-800-808-1147....Might be a little pricy tho.............
  16. i hear that book "Trad Mercs for dummies" is good. Try that
  17. Kustom7777
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 5,171


    the trim is 51/52 packard,,and pretty hard to find...
    mcveys reproduces the sombrero caps and medallions...
    flush frenched headlights look best in my opinion..
    49/50 rear windows look the best,,again,,just my opinion..
  18. flamedabone
    Joined: Aug 3, 2001
    Posts: 4,384


    Remember, the Cad caps only like to fit the Cad wheel. You CAN do the old trim ring-to-cad-cap modification trick, which is easier on the 53s.

    Also, I still wonder why your grill doesn't fit in the's stock..that sucker oughta fit right on in there.

    Love that Packard side trim and love that suede Merc.

  19. 51Gringo
    Joined: Jul 22, 2006
    Posts: 652

    from Nor Cal

    That is '51 Packard, although, I cut and welded the trim, then capped the now fender end and angle cut the door piece and capped that too. Also, one more word of advice, make sure you adjust the door catch to stop in time before it smashes the trim, an idoit at work opened the door (while in progress) and made more work for me.
  20. The headlights flushed or recessed,either way is cool.
    Skirts flush mounted-I think it is more of a taste thing.
    The red Merc on the cover of that magazine is my friend Jeffs. It's a Dick Dean car. It's really nice!
    The rear window-many guys put 50 rear windows on 51's,but I think the 51 looks great,if done right.
  21. When you're done sucking Tom Selliks dick,maybe you should read it! FN FNG!!!
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2008
  22. buckeye_01
    Joined: Jun 20, 2005
    Posts: 1,441


    That was a fuckin zinger!! :D:D
  23. Hey! You have Magnumb PI for your avatar. You have "O" credibility. Non. Zip. Nada.

    So, ya know, shaddup.
  24. Haha Bob wow.

    Abone, I roll on a late model Caprice/Bonne frame, so I am running GM wheels.

    So maybe I can mount my stock grille back more, we'll look into it but floating grilles give me the tingles so I am not super motivated to try it with mine.

    I like the flush-mounted lights, I just have to see what it will take to modify my current setup.

    I'm keeping the '51 rear window looks like a ton of work to switch and the project is already behind as it is.

    I'll check into the hubcap referrals thanks very much.

    I'm going to go for a taildragger look at part of phase II. Phase I is body, paint and bumpers. Phase II will be grille, work on the suspension. Phase III will be the interior.... something like that.

    My '50 rear overrider does not have bolt holes that correspond to my '51 rear bumper, can I drill the holes in my bumper after it's chromed or will the chrome get messed up?

    For those running the stock chrome piece right below the windows, do you have factory holes in your sheetmetal or did you change how the trim is mounted?

    For those doing custom trim down low, are you mounting the trim like newer stuff, with rivets or doing it the older way with those pinchy things that go in the holes?

    I'm going to paint my rims copper someone here or on chromeczars suggested it.
  25. 'Mo
    Joined: Sep 26, 2007
    Posts: 6,867


    Hi, John.
    I see you're still doing your homework. Your patience will be well rewarded, as that Merc
    is sure to be one nice ride! I think you made the right choice in keeping the rear window.

    Here is a link to an in process, amateur, custom grille project. Maybe nothing of use to you,
    but you may find it interesting. And it could be food for thought.

    Also, remember what I said about using a '59 Chevy bumper over-ride bar. Properly narrowed and Vee-d and with the right parking lights attached underneath, it makes a beautiful grille for the Merc opening; as a stand-alone piece, or as a component. (I'm sorry
    I don't have pictures.)
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2008
  26. I'll look into your '59 Chevy grille suggestion right now, thanks again you've been super helpful with my questions about the older builds.

    I'll look into the '51 Packard trim, thanks for the info.
  27. John, I gotta say, I'm totally impressed with your homework on this deal. You are going to have a seriously good looking ride and I can hardly wait to see it.

    My votes...that have no weight to them whatsoever......I like a 51 back window, tunneled headlights and flush skirts. I think any of the floating grille ideas will look killer, too.
  28. for the trim both under the windows and the lower middle of the door - I would suggest using original clips and NOT rivets. They are cheap enough through plenty of places.

  29. Ha ha. Yowch!

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