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Projects Seeking advice on my first classic car purchase

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by Qes, Mar 5, 2018.

  1. Qes
    Joined: Mar 5, 2018
    Posts: 26

    Qes
    Member

    Greetings HAMB community,

    My name is Kevin and I'm seeking advice on purchasing my first classic car.

    Well, I've been saving my pennies for quite some time now and I think I'm ready to purchase the oldest car on my dream car list, the 1949-1951 Mercury 4 Door Sedan.

    Would you guys recommend getting a chopped one with a 1997 ford drive train/chassis, shaved door handles (has holes you poke your finger in), custom grill, shaved trim,

    or...

    One with a 350/350 combo setup, everything else looks stock.

    My fear is that being 5'4", sitting a in chopped one will be hard to drive with good visibility. I also, feel bad to alter a complete stock looking car.

    While, I do love how the chopped Mercury completely alters the feel and look,
    the car looks longer, and you really start to notice the lines.

    But I'm happy to drive an unchopped one with a very mild custom build ...something like..

    [​IMG] [​IMG]


    Well thanks everyone for reading this, and thanks in advance for your advice!

    Sincerely,
    Kevin H.
     
  2. Slopok
    Joined: Jan 30, 2012
    Posts: 1,992

    Slopok
    Member

    Since you asked, Look for an unchopped 2 door is what I'd do.
     
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  3. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
    Posts: 5,525

    seb fontana
    Member
    from ct

    5' 4" tall I don't think a chopped top would be an issue...I'd do 2 door what ever catches your heart..
     
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  4. The 2 door is the one I would go for,the 4 door mercury is to street roddy for my liking and the style is not very desirable. HRP
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2018
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  5. Qes
    Joined: Mar 5, 2018
    Posts: 26

    Qes
    Member

    Hey peoples,
    Thanks so much for the fast replies!

    Sorry, I should have mentioned....I'm really dead set on a 4 door.
    I just love the look of suicide doors.

    Both asking prices are around $15,000 USD

    Would it be shameful to customize a stock Mercury?
    Is it frowned upon by the community?

    I wish I could sit in a chopped one and see how it feels to look around.

    Thanks again everyone!
    Have a great night and awesome week!
    Cheers,
    Kevin
     
  6. 'Mo
    Joined: Sep 26, 2007
    Posts: 5,529

    'Mo
    Member

    "Sorry, I should have mentioned....I'm really dead set on a 4 door."
    Well, there's your answer.
    "Would it be shameful to customize a stock Mercury?"
    No.
    "My fear is that being 5'4", sitting a in chopped one will be hard to drive with good visibility."
    Are you yanking our chain? :rolleyes:o_O
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2018
  7. Sorry,but IMHO that black one is as ugly as a mud fence,the wheels do not work,the windshield is too modern with the divider bar removed,all the side window trim that defines a Mercury painted out and those goofy looking side mirrors look like they were removed from a Indianapolis 500 race car. HRP
     
  8. Qes
    Joined: Mar 5, 2018
    Posts: 26

    Qes
    Member

    Hey 'Mo,
    Sorry, answer to what?
    Both the Mercury's I'm looking at are 4 door, just one is chopped and has parts shaved, and I think frenched head lights.

    Sorry if my posts are confusing, I am not yanking yer chain :)

    Cheers,
    Kevin
     
  9. Slopok
    Joined: Jan 30, 2012
    Posts: 1,992

    Slopok
    Member

    It will be hard to find a Mercury that hasn't be customized in some shape or form!o_O
     
    Qes likes this.
  10. Qes
    Joined: Mar 5, 2018
    Posts: 26

    Qes
    Member

    Hey Hotrodprimer,

    Sorry, the photos are just to show what I would like to do to the "stock-ish" Mercury I found for sale with the 350/350 setup.


    Thanks :)
    Cheers,
    Kevin


     
  11. Qes
    Joined: Mar 5, 2018
    Posts: 26

    Qes
    Member

    Hey,

    Okay, how about this, are there aftermarket parts companies that sell steering and suspension parts (or other parts that need attention after many miles of driving) for a stock 1950 Mercury?

    Or should I just get used to driving a chopped one, and get the one with the Ford chassis/drive train?

    Thanks again everyone!
    Cheers,
    Kevin
     
  12. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 13,348

    Squablow
    Member

    So NEITHER of the pictures you posted are the actual cars you're interested in, correct? Just making sure we're clear, I think previous posters are picking between the two pictures.

    One on a '97 Ford chassis could be a complete abortion unless the builder was a master fabricator, and at $15K I kinda doubt they were. Chassis swaps like that are generally ill-advised.

    A totally bone-stock one but with a 350 Chevy swapped in it would be a good place to start. $15K could be a reasonable asking price, or way over-priced, depending on condition and where you're located, which you don't mention, but I assume you're not in the US, correct?

    I love this era Mercury and I have a '51 myself, so I will tell you that before you make your purchase, inspect the inner rocker panel area very carefully, as well as the floorpan from underneath and the body mounts just below the firewall. These are common rust out areas and if they are in poor shape, or repaired poorly, it will be costly to fix.

    That's not to say a rusty one isn't worth fixing, but it does mean your asking price will need to reflect the work it needs, and it's a substantial thing to fix.

    As for if it's wrong to customize a stock one, of course it's not, that's what this site is all about! Just do it in a historically-accurate manner, leave the big inch wheels and giant side mirrors and late model interior seats off of your version.
     
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  13. 325w
    Joined: Feb 18, 2008
    Posts: 5,017

    325w
    Member
    from texas

    If that four door has the later drive train I'd run from it. The front track looks dumb.
    But, I'm old.
     
  14. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 13,348

    Squablow
    Member

    Yes, you can buy all new suspension bushings, brake parts, and other replacement bits to keep a stock Mercury suspension and steering in tip-top shape. If you prefer, there are kits to convert to dual chamber/power master cylinders and disc brakes without needing to chop up the original frame, and an original chassis in good shape will ride and drive very nice. In my opinion, this is the much better way.
     
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  15. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 13,348

    Squablow
    Member

    Can you post pictures of the actual cars you're interested in, instead of the "example" cars above? It's very possible we will be able to better assess the value of the cars you're interested in if we can see pictures of them. Also, we need to know your location, that makes a huge difference in value.

    I'm sure they're harder to find in Europe/Australia, (Canada?) but there was a pretty darned decent looking '49 4 door sedan with a 350 and older paint but otherwise very clean and stock looking for sale here in Wisconsin last year for around $9K US, it would have been perfect for you, based on what you're telling us.

    4 door Mercs typically sell for about half or maybe 1/3rd of the price of a comperable coupe, which is great news for you if you prefer the 4 door, just so you don't overpay for it.
     
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  16. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 20,612

    Jalopy Joker
    Member

    So, what is your mechanical background? Have you owmed a modified car before? After spending $15K on a car do you have more money to do repairs/upgrades?


    Sent from my SM-G930V using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  17. I like the grey one alot more. That black one looks goofy.
     
  18. Qes,
    Where are you? What country?
     
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  19. Qes
    Joined: Mar 5, 2018
    Posts: 26

    Qes
    Member

    [​IMG] Hello Squablow,

    Sorry, I'll post some photos at the end of this post.

    Okay, thank you very much for warning on chassis swaps.
    Yes, the seller said her ex-husband did the swap for her.

    Oh yes, sorry, I should have mentioned I'm from Canada .... eh? :)

    Great, awesome points to watch out for! I was going to have a classic car appraisal/pre-purchase inspector to take a look at the ones I wanted as they are both in the USA.

    Also, thanks again... "historically-accurate manner" makes a lot of sense, I like that philosophy.

    Thank you for your reply, much appreciated!

    ---------------------------------------------------------

     

    Attached Files:

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  20. abe lugo
    Joined: Nov 8, 2002
    Posts: 1,992

    abe lugo
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    If you are paying about that amount you say, try to get something that is at least somewhat driveable. Find one that needs the least amount of bodywork. It should be as complete as possible.

    Do some research on do's or don'ts for Merc suspension updates and stuff. Know what correctly installed chassis parts should look and ride like.

    I would recommend to find some classic car swapmeets or shows and talk to owners of similar (chopped/stock) cars and ask to see if you can sit in them. Ask them about modifications they have on their ride.

    There is no shortage of 4 door Mercs, you just have to find the one that fills the most check marks, and matches what you have saved up for.

    There are a few in the Classifieds here. Really nice ones, I would not mind driving.
    Do your research and figure out what you think you can do yourself if you need to tear into it.

    Personally I would not go with a chopped top unless I know I could see the metalwork underneath and it was finished with all the small details done. You DO NOT want to end up with someone else's failed dream.

    That is why I always say get a old car, get it running nice, get comfortable with it. Then modify it.
    Good luck.

    Also note that there is some amount of "dirty" work involved with any old car. Most all old cars are going to be a money pit, because of needed regular maintenance. So read some threads here and get some tools.
     
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  21. Qes
    Joined: Mar 5, 2018
    Posts: 26

    Qes
    Member

    Hello Jalopy Joker,

    Sadly, I have almost enough to buy one of them, ship, pay for brokerage fee's, pay the government taxes, pay for licensing (safety certificate, plates, stickers) and insurance.
    But I can put aside around 500 dollars a month towards the car.

    Sadly, I never had a space or tools to work on cars. Sorry, I'm really a noob :(
    But my Father now as a new home with a drive way/garage, so I would love to learn some basic things to begin with.

    Thanks for your reply!

     
  22. Qes
    Joined: Mar 5, 2018
    Posts: 26

    Qes
    Member

    Oh hey people!
    My friend said I should buy this one, but I really like more the 1950 year model (the back window is round and the tail end is rounder with out the early fin look).

    The seller says it's mostly stock with some engine trouble but is only asking $9500 Canadian dollars.
     

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  23. abe lugo
    Joined: Nov 8, 2002
    Posts: 1,992

    abe lugo
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    JUST A REMINDER- DO not wire money to anyone via Walmart or anything else, CASH or just do a Paypal deposit to hold it then go pay cash. It seems you have so many questions you may as well check the local scams also. There are few threads about it here.
     
  24. williebill
    Joined: Mar 1, 2004
    Posts: 2,179

    williebill
    Member

    Slow down a little. No need to hurry and then realize you made a mistake. Decide what you want. Go to shows and look at cars, and talk to their owners. Ask questions, a lot of questions.
    Too much rushed enthusiasm can result in a real clusterfuck.
     
  25. Dick Stevens
    Joined: Aug 7, 2012
    Posts: 2,181

    Dick Stevens
    Member

    From what I see in the photos, I would shy away from the chopped one! I have serious doubts about the quality of the work done on it! The black one looks pretty solid but mechanical issues don't show in pictures!
     
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  26. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 13,348

    Squablow
    Member

    That '51 doesn't look bad at all, and the price is very reasonable if it's as nice as it looks. I have a '51 and I also prefer the earlier round rear window, which I plan to swap into my car, but on a 4 door I think the wraparound window looks good, eats up some of the giant C pillar and it matches the slope of the back door frame nicely.

    Historically, customizers loved the revised '51 rear bumper and quarter panels, many 49-50 Merc customs gained the '51 quarters and bumpers during customization. Something to consider.

    As for the chopped one, I'm not in love with the work done on the roof. It's not bad, I've certainly seen worse, but I wonder why it looks like the B pillars and door tops look blistered, that does not appear to be wetness, looks like lumpy/pitted sheetmetal to me. Also note the body line at the base of the C pillar, that body line isn't very crisp, points to some sloppy bodywork there (although it could be just the picture). Also I dislike the modern looking interior very much.

    So for me, the chopped one is not a favorite. Not for me, at least.

    The black one is pretty, and looks to have nice paint and chrome, nicer than the '51 even, which is a plus, and you said you prefer the 49/50 rear window and tail so that is also a plus (hold out for the one you want, which is not necessarily always the best deal). Also it has Texas plates, if it's a lifelong Texas car, it could be very rust free and that would be worth the price bump over the Canadian '51 if the '51 is not as clean (that's near impossible to tell without an inspection on both cars).

    At $15K I'd like it to have wide whitewalls and hopefully some negotation room, but if that car is a rust free Texas car, well maintained and with the 350 swap done properly, and if the price could be negotiated down a bit, that one looks pretty appealing.

    the '51 could be a good deal too, but I'd inspect it very close for rust issues (obvious ones or covered up/improperly repaired), would be worth checking out though.
     
  27. Torana68
    Joined: Jan 28, 2008
    Posts: 928

    Torana68
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Australia

    That looks nice BUT take a car guy with you to look for poor body repairs and hidden rust.....
     
  28. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 10,188

    DDDenny
    Member
    from oregon

    Totally unrelated but funny nonetheless.
    Many years ago a friend of mine flat towed a Merc four door from San Diego to Portland with a sign on it that read "Got this for my wife, pretty good trade huh"!
     
  29. David Gersic
    Joined: Feb 15, 2015
    Posts: 1,549

    David Gersic
    Member
    from DeKalb, IL

    I wouldn’t buy anything, from anybody, that I couldn’t sit in, drive around the block, and get a good look at from all angles. Even if it limits your search, getting something within driving distance lets you check it out first. If you’re not already familiar with owning and maintaining an old car, do you have a friend that can help evaluate a prospective purchase?

    As much as this site is about modified old cars, be aware that the more modifications from bone stock, the more you’re going to need to know. Even basic maintenance gets harder when the first task is to figure out what parts the last guy used.

    A couple of years ago, I bought my first, so I kinda know where you’re at. I’ve been working on cars for 30 years or so, but having something completely non stock is adventure in itself.

    As an example, brakes. Mine, I know now, are composed of a 69 Chevelle master cylinder, 69 Chevelle front calipers, 72 GMC pickup front hoses, 78 Malibu drums, and a 69 Camaro rear hose. The brake pedal assembly is from Diety knows what, and has been modified to move the pushrod attachment point. This is all in a 37 Chevy, with a 74 Chevelle 350 and a 700R4 from something else, sitting on a 78 M-II front suspension. So walking in to the parts store, needing Part X, they always ask what car it’s for, so they can type it in to the computer search. I just laugh at that point.

    That all said, look at your options, and get the one you just have to have. If it turns your crank, it’s the right one for you. Get your budget lined up, save a bit for unexpected new expenses, and go for it.



    Sent from my iPad using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  30. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 13,348

    Squablow
    Member

    If you do get a stocker, you can use Aerostar minivan coil springs in front, gives a 3" lowering, rides nice and they cost less than $60 a pair. That, some shorter front shocks, and lowering blocks in the back, give a nice mild lowering for very little cost.

    As for customizing, if I got my hands on the black one, I'd lower it, get some proper WWW tires for it, and probably sell off the sunvisor. I'd also swap off those goofy window cranks/door handles. Otherwise, I'd be pretty happy with that one as-is.

    The '51 would get the same lowering and visor removal, and that's probably it. I'd be worried what "some engine trouble" means though. A rebuild on a flathead can get pricey real fast, and many blocks are discovered to be cracked during a teardown.
     
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