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Customs Sam Barris Mercury grille question

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Pro Stock John, Jul 7, 2009.

  1. Anyone know offhand if the parts used in the Sam Barris 1949 Mercury grille have been narrowed at all?

    I bought a Ford grille (thanks Mark!) to make one like that for my car, I think I might like that look more than the '55 Desoto grille I bought a while back. I was thinking of trying to mock it up at home and then take it to a local rod shop to finish.

    Pics from Rik's site the best research tool bar none!!

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  2. Rikster
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 5,781

    Rikster
    Member

    John,

    I'm not 100% sure, but this is how I think its made up.

    They two 1951 Ford grilles. The end pieces where not used. and from the second grille only the center piece (chrome and painted ribbed section) where used.
    The first chrome center grille was left as it is. But the second one was cut in three sections. The middle "V" shaped section was not used. But the outside sections where used. But I think they where flipped from side to side. (left side of the cut down second grille was on the right side of the center grille piece of the first grille, and the right side of the cut down grille used on the left side.
    This was done since the grille bar is slightly cone shaped. The grille bar is a bit taller at the center "V" shape than it is at the end.
    So now the new grille bar ends are moving out a bit as well... and flowing into the 1951 Ford bullets.
    Perhaps the new end pieces where cut on the top so that the new extended ribbed section fits... but I'm not sure if that is really needed...

    Perhaps the flipping of the end pieces is not needed.... I cant really tell how much the center grille tapers.

    Here are some photos taken by Rob Radcliffe...

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  3. tommy v
    Joined: Mar 4, 2005
    Posts: 1,974

    tommy v
    Member

    ask bad bob he might know
     
  4. Rikster
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 5,781

    Rikster
    Member

    John,

    I studied it some more and perhaps it can be done with one grille.
    The side pieces next to the Bullets could possibly be used to extend the center piece. And it should line up. My guess is there is an overlap behind the bullet, that gives it some extra length which is not visible in the photo below. The side pieces are shorter in this photo than what you can see on the Sam Barris Merc.

    But to replicate the Sam Barris grille you would still need a second painted center piece for the extra ribs. The Sam Barris grille has 9 ribs while a stock 51 Ford grille has only 5.

    [​IMG]
     

  5. Thanks for the extra info and pics guys. Rik, it does not have to a be 100% copy, I was not sure if the ribs were even used until you posted the pics. Here is what I picked up:

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Yes, the end pieces Rik pointed out and that you have there, Jon, are separate pieces. I bet when you get it all apart, you can drop the big rings out of it and slide the ends in, putting the bullets on the end. The part you might need a second of is the ribbed piece in the back so the ribs come all the way out to the end. The close ups of Sam's grille look like the ribbed piece was extended with another ribbed piece rather than just scooting the smooth and rounded panels in....if that makes any sense. I'm not such a good explainer in writing. LOL
     
  7. So you guys don't think the outer horizontal sections were used, but rather cut sections of another center section? If the stuff I have will be wide enough to look good in the grill opening I'm happy.

    In addition to this '51 Ford grille, I have a '55 Desoto grille, and a '55 Caddy center bar and some dummy spots that would look good as bullets. I should take a picture of all three for comparison.
     
  8. Rikster
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 5,781

    Rikster
    Member

    John,

    Look at the red circled sections of the grille in the photo of the stock 1951 Ford.
    I think those parts are used. And it appears you have them all.

    I would go with the 51 FOrd bullets... much more attractive than dummy spots
     
  9. 00 MACK
    Joined: May 10, 2004
    Posts: 3,682

    00 MACK
    Member

    Hey John , make sure you focus on the modification to the lower half of the grille shell on the Barris car
     
  10. *Sigh.*

    I never really noticed how the bottom corners were rounded until last night.

    This all started when I got the '55 caddy center bar, it looks good but my concern is that it's too narrow and would look small in the opening. I then go the '55 Desoto grille, which would look cool but would make my car look a little newer built to me.

    I like this '51 Ford stuff the most but I'll have to mock it up and see how well it would look with or without the ribbed section in back. I could even have something custom done instead of the ribbed section, like basically a paintable cover for the grille support.
     
  11. I don't think you need to have the ribs go all the way across like Sam's just extend the top piece that you have with some sheet metal with just the step in it at the back and it would look fine. Paint it body color and it will blend right in.

    Sorry maybe you don't have the top piece? I can't tell from your picture.
     
  12. I think I have the ribbed part Ian, I'll check when I get home.

    I'm thinking if I can come up with a plan, then I can drop off the grille components with a local rod shop and have them finish the fabrication so I can get it rechromed soon.
     
  13. A few weeks ago, I was working on a custom grille for my Hudson. I have an almost complete 51 Ford grille, and was roking on mocking it up. I Think Rikster is correct in thinking that the center, the two outside pieces and the 2 bullets are used. Just so you know, if you do go that route, the grille pieces will take quite a bit of massaging, hammering, and shaping to get all the flanges to line up...at least mine did.
     
  14. I do agree with Rik, I do think the outside pieces are attached to the center bar. And from just looking over the parts, etc., I think some work will be needed to get the sections looking nice and even. And the ends might need to be bent concave a bit to get the bullets to mate up decently.
     
  15. SKRTCHSR
    Joined: Feb 1, 2007
    Posts: 483

    SKRTCHSR
    Member
    from Cincinnati

    John, if I had some time I could have come up with something before I shipped it. Still block sanding hope it turns out for ya.
    Mike
     
  16. showrod
    Joined: Feb 8, 2007
    Posts: 722

    showrod
    Member

    John, thanks for the post I have pondered this myself but never came up with the right parts. next we need a post on the bettencort/zupan grille its a real brain teaser.
     
  17. Nobody knows the measurements of the Barris grille do they? If the grille is bolted together I should be able to take it apart between now and Saturday to get the measurements. Thanks again Mike, this grille really fits the vision I have for the car, that's riding around in my head. Between this grilel and the Studebake hubcaps I bought, the car should look pretty era correct.
     
  18. Show rod you have a Merc right? Could you measure the grill opening width for me?
     
  19. Hey John the inside measurement where the cuved pieces go straight across again is 44"
     
  20. Thx bigtime, I'll see if I can take some measurements tonite.
     
  21. Rikster
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 5,781

    Rikster
    Member

    The Bettancourt/Zupan Mercury Barris grille was made from two 1952 Ford grille bars (one set turned upside down) with end pieces from a 1951 Ford grille assembly and grille teeth from a Mercury (I think from a 1953 Mercury).

    [​IMG]

    Probably one of the best grilles ever made.

    This photo is from the Barry Mazza made near clone. Barry told me he had to create this grille twice. The first grille was warped by the chrome plater while polishing it between bath... The 52 Ford grilles are made of thin metal.

    [​IMG]
     
  22. I took the Ford grille apart, it was just held by a bunch of 5/16 nuts.

    I took some pics to show what I'm working with. One pic has that '55 Caddy center that I have, would look nice in a different car I think:

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  23. Observations:

    -I have the pan behind each part of the grill bars.
    -The end pans would look fine welded to the center pan. In fact the diagonal piece looks like part of the pan in one of the pic's that Rik posted, yah?
    -Overall setup, end to end, is 43-45 inches long. I can't get it all to line up nice since the bar ends are not all evenly made. So I'm guessing that the grill on the Barris car has the ends cut off, and then the bar sections are all welded together. Makes sense since the ends are too oddly shaped to mate up.
    -Ian posted that the grill opening is approximately 44 inches wide. If I assume at least a two inch gap on the sides, the floating grille can end up no more than 40 inches wide. I can imagine that a 3 inch gap might be better, but i'll only know once I take a bullet and hold it next to the grille opening.
    -The '55 Caddy center bar and the bullets looks quite nice, and I bet someone would really like how it looks. Even better, it looks like it does not need to be narrowed it would work as is. Who sells good bullets, maybe I'll get a set and put that grille together too and we can have a grille contest poll. :)
     
  24. 'Mo
    Joined: Sep 26, 2007
    Posts: 7,432

    'Mo
    Member

    John,
    Maybe your Caddy grille would respond to the addition of some small teeth, as in this Barris offering.

    [​IMG]
     
  25. I think you are right about the caddy grill. Too thin. I think it would look good on a merc that had a grill opening like the Bettancourt Merc where another surround was used upside down to round the lower corners. I think you are really going to need the added body of the one you are working on now. IMO
     
  26. Yup I totally agree. The Caddy bar is way too thin for a stock grille opening though it's pretty darn cool.

    I might be by the car this Friday and then I could decide how would it might need to be, though it feels risky to fab the grille without the car close by.
     
  27. How much room do you guys think I should leave around the sides of the grille... 2, 3, or 4 inches? Anthony, Ian, Rik? I'm thinking 2.5-3.0 inches on each side but am wondering on what you guys would suggest. Thanks.
     
  28. showrod
    Joined: Feb 8, 2007
    Posts: 722

    showrod
    Member

    thanks Rickster, you make that bettencourt/zupan grille sound easy :eek:

    John, when I look at the pics of Sams merc. the grille looks nicely centered
    equal distance top, bottom and left and right. sure would be easier if your car was nearby when you do this.
     
  29. Hard to say but it looks on Sam's car that the y have left about half the width of the bullet from the edge of the bullet to the outside edge of the curve on the grill surround. Tough without your car.
     
  30. Yeah equidistant would look best I think too. Can't wait to get the car back!
     

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