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Projects Seeking advice on my first classic car purchase

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

  1. greybeard360
    Joined: Feb 28, 2008
    Posts: 1,001


    That chopped one looks like it was painted with bedliner right over some not too good of welds.

    Sent from my Moto G Play using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    brad2v, 31Dodger and Just Gary like this.
  2. Qes
    Joined: Mar 5, 2018
    Posts: 15


    Wow, you guys really make this a great forum, thank you all for caring replies!

    Thank you abe lugo - I might just fly down soon, I have some free time for sure!

    Hey, williebill, thank you sir! I've only seen I think 3 Mercury's in person, but didn't get a chance to sit in them.... I don't see too many of these in my province, maybe once in a while, but they probably too expensive or rusty ones in fields.

    Dick Stevens, thank you for sharing your doubts, haha you are right, mechanical issues don't show in photos lol :p

    Squablow, thanks again for your detailed replies :)
    hmm, I will study 1951's a bit more then.
    Swapping the windows sounds like it takes a lot of time eh?
    Would you be able to estimate how many hours and cost for parts?
    --okay, I'm starting to hear you guys, skip the purple one... that's okay ,when I make more money I can have it chopped by professionals :)
    --hmm, okay, I'm not sure on the wiggle room on price, maybe I should fly down...hmm.
    --the sad thing about the green one is it's in a group car storage locker until the spring/summer - so no one can get in until then
    (Thanks again Squablow!)

    Thank you Torana68, I was thinking of having a mobile car pre-purchase inspector to take a look for me first :)

    Hey David Gersic, wow, things do get complex as you move away from stock....
    Thank you for that warning and about looking for something close to me.
    I might be waiting a while, I see rusty ones in farm fields online, but maybe you are right!

    Hey Squablow, thanks again, I'm going to jot this down (about lowering).
    If you take off the sunvisor, I guess there will be holes left over?
    How much do you think the sunvisor is worth? I don't think my car needs a baseball cap :)
    --thanks for warning me about the rebuild costs and cracking failure

    Thanks Straig30weight, that's good advice!

    Thanks grebeard360 - I think it is bedliner...I think I'm definitely shying away from the purple one :)
  3. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 12,883


    A nice early 50's sunvisor like that will bring $200-$300 on eBay. Some visor models have no exposed screw holes, they either clamp onto the drip rail, or they have mounting screw holes only inside the door opening. Hopefully that would be the case on these two but it's hard to say without seeing it. If it is, you won't have to worry about leaving exposed holes, you can just take it off.

    Swapping out a '51 rear window for an earlier one is typically only done during a chop, because laying a '51 rear window forward is more difficult, although it can be done. That, and many others prefer the earlier window, although some diehard '51 builders love the wraparound glass.

    As for cost of swapping, you would have to find a donor car to cut out a large section of the roof to swap into the '51, along with the glass and stainless moldings, plus it would ruin your headliner. The sheetmetal/glass/moldings could easily run $500-$750 and the swap would require an experienced metalworker. I would advise you to only consider doing that as part of a top chop. I might do it on my '51 coupe leaving the roof stock height, but my car has no completed bodywork or interior yet, and I got the roof section many years ago from a car I parted out, so it'll be much easier for me.
  4. cactus1
    Joined: Apr 10, 2006
    Posts: 8,223


    I know it doesn't help or answer your questions but here's my '50...
  5. Torana68
    Joined: Jan 28, 2008
    Posts: 786

    from Australia

    Only if they know old cars (they will say they know cars!) these things have hidden rust that knowledgeable people can spot in a minute...... maybe there is a member near the car that could help out for some sort of consideration?
  6. Qes
    Joined: Mar 5, 2018
    Posts: 15


    Squablow - Great, thanks again for your detailed reply!
    I did notice that, 51 Mercury's having an earlier style window, but they were always chopped, I was hoping that wasn't needed :(

    Cactus1, that is a beautiful vehicle you have there! I hope to be apart of the club one day!

    Hey Torana68, oh that is true, I a company and the do claim they know classic cars but you are probably right they are not as good as a company that specializes in classic cars...
    Wow, that would be great if someone experienced in these model cars could take a look (with compensation provided)... I believe the car is located near Austin Texas
    cactus1 likes this.
  7. dan c
    Joined: Jan 30, 2012
    Posts: 1,156

    dan c

    i'm a fan of both. four door looks more like a lincoln and will be thousands cheaper. everyone wants a 2 door because of that james dean movie!
  8. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 12,883


    You're on the right track with asking these questions ahead of time. If you are seriously considering a car that's far away, it might be worth having another HAMB member pre-inspect it before you go to look at it, someone who has experience dealing with 50's cars and knows what to look for. Take the Texas car for example, I'm sure a trip down to Texas to look at it would cost a fair amount of time and money, but for a hundred bucks or so, you could hire out a HAMB member to go and inspect it for you ahead of time, in case it's a real piece of shit, at least the trip won't be wasted then. If it checks out good, then go see it for yourself, it'll be worth the investment.
    mercman@bulldog and Texas57 like this.
  9. Qes
    Joined: Mar 5, 2018
    Posts: 15


    Hey abe lugo,

    Sorry, I missed your detailed great reply!

    That's a lot of great advice and information!
    Thank you kindly Sir!

  10. HellsHotRods
    Joined: Jul 24, 2009
    Posts: 1,181


    This whole thread seems FAKE to me. Who specifically goes after a 4 door and then specifies a 1997 FORD drive train and chassis as their choice when they are talking their first classic car????? Then then mentions a 350/350 ...WTF - there goes the FORD in the drive you at Chevyland..... And he's 5'4" and says a chapped car will be hard to drive.... ANY old car will be hard to drive at 5'4" unless you are sitting on phone books..... This whole thing seems FAKE......
  11. 110%
    Texas57 and Just Gary like this.
  12. Qes,
    You're getting excellent advice.
    I truly hope you take it.
    The old car hobby/sport can be frustrating & risky, but less so when you swallow your pride & listen to those with first hand experience.:)
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  13. slowmotion
    Joined: Nov 21, 2011
    Posts: 2,621


    FWIW, the one painted with the purple bedliner spooks the hell outa me....makes one wonder what else did he cover up.
    Squablow and pat59 like this.
  14. Qes,,,It would be to your advantage to complete your profile what city and state,,your age too...And before you use a term."Classic car" find the true definition...Most cars here would be a "Special interest" but NEVER a classic...unless someone posts up a Duesenberg
    mercman@bulldog likes this.
  15. Chappy444
    Joined: Jan 27, 2012
    Posts: 30

    from Maryland

    Welcome to the fun, exciting, and frustrating world of "old cars" (call them what you like; classics, hot rods, rat rods, street rods, traditional, whatever)
    First things first. Set some reasonable expectations:
    Money: It will cost more than you think. Partly because these things are never "done", you just run out of money. and...You will always want to do the "next" thing to your car
    Time: You will need loads of patients. Nothing happens quickly. Llocating cars and parts, shipping, and order delays will try your patients...this is not Amazon Prime type stuff. Add to that you will need to learn how to repair each specific system on your car at some point and that research also takes time, then when you finally start a job that should take 30 min it will take 4 hours (don't ask me why, it just will). Or you will have to pay someone else to do it (see Money above)
    The Car: I don't care what "old" car you are looking at as your project (and they are all projects in one form or another) it will not drive, perform, sound or smell like your daily driver. and if you want it to drive like your daily car refer to the Money section above.
    Tools: When given the choice to pay someone to do something or use that money to buy the tool, I almost always choose "buy the tool" like my grandfather always told me. "Money spent on tools is money well spent". by doing this you get to learn a new skill, you get a new tool, and you build sweat equity.
    Language: you will learn an entire new language through this process. Some terms are automotive specific, some words are engineering specific, and some terms are slang (I.E. "plus the ride" = shipping costs). You will also master swearing, and I mean you will become a grand master samurai of swearing... you will probably invent new swear words and never before used combinations of swear words... you will also find that your car responds better to certain swear words than others ;)
    Having said all of that lets talk about your first car.
    My general rule: Buy the nicest, most complete car you can afford.
    I your case I might recommend buying a complete 5-10 year old factory stock restoration.
    and this is why:
    1. Someone has already ate the big costs of engine and body work
    2. All of the fasteners have been removed and replaced recently (very important when trying to take a 50+ year old car apart). also, all the soft bits at leak points will be fairly new as well.
    3. All of the parts are there...All Of Them. Someone has already found that hard to get trim piece etc.
    4. These cars are usually mechanically sound, and safe to drive
    5. You have a blank canvas
    6. You can decide if you actually like the car first, and then you can decide what specific modifications you want to make to it.
    7. You get immediate enjoyment of driving the thing while you work on it.

    Lastly, remember, every single person here, and everywhere else, in this hobby were new to this at one point.

    Good luck, and keep us posted on what you get.
  16. Stay away from that wet purple one. (oh jeeze I just read that it's purple bedliner) The pics of the car wet so it can hide flaws in the body work. The interior is a complete mess. The black one don't look to bad in the pics.
  17. dwest999
    Joined: May 19, 2013
    Posts: 77

    from Katy, TX

    Qes, all good advice here in this string. I would reiterate the importance of (1) get the car that you absolutely love, don't settle (trust me, I know); (2) don't buy sight unseen and make sure a "car guy" looks over your car before you buy (trust me, I know); (3) paypal works for a deposit; however, pay for the car in person to avoid any BS (trust me, I know). Good luck and welcome to the madness.
  18. I would suggest passing on the purple one,and the black on looks pretty good but seems a bit pricey, is the price negotiable? looks like it's about 5 grand overpriced.

    The 51 doesn't look bad,and with engine problem could be bought for less. HRP
  19. Always keep in mind that for every 20 started projects we see on here, only 1 or 2 of them will be a success. Try to get as complete a car as possible and in good condition as possible. First and foremost, it has to be out of the elements for obvious reasons. Tools and experience comes along with time, I've been collecting tools and various parts for 45 years. I learn as I go but do have a 2-year degree in automotive engineering, a huge plus for anyone but not required.

    I know one guy locally, he has one hotrod, but always starts another project and his skill set is not that great. He sold one project a couple of years back, I would have grabbed it if I knew it was going. He was over his head, but not that much. Now he has a vastly more involved project. I would be way over my head with it. That one will probably sold at a loss too.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
    Joined: Dec 14, 2009
    Posts: 319


    Where are you in this great country? The rock ? BC? Somewhere in between ?

    I would be looking closer to home first as this stuff pops up fairly regular, wait another month or so for stuff to come out of winter storage to start looking

    Do you have any mechanical ability ? Not to sound like a dick, but if your going to rely on shops to work on a classic/old/antique whatever you want to call it , either be prepared to pay for it, and all of it or, be ready for shit shack shops that don’t know what they are doing and just want to take your money .

    If it were me, and it’s not, it’s you. Buy the cleanest most complete and original car you can. Starting with someone else’s unfinished and possibly butchered project will suck. Where a stock car will get you driving and as you learn and save money you can modify it as you would like.
    Chappy444 likes this.
  21. nrgwizard
    Joined: Aug 18, 2006
    Posts: 889

    from Minn. uSA

    Chappy nailed it.
  22. mercman@bulldog
    Joined: Mar 16, 2009
    Posts: 247


    Sounds like pretty good advice, I take exception to #6. Buy what you Love. Settle for nothing less and something affordable, I estimate what something will cost, then l triple it, that puts me closer to the real number. Take your time, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Forget about selling it for a’s probably not going to happen. That’s why you got to Love it. The car that I wanted @16 years old took me until 50 years old to buy, and it’s IMG_0405.JPG IMG_0880.JPG almost finished....I’ll be 68 soon. Good luck...enjoy the ride, we only go around once in this life.

    Sent from my iPad using H.A.M.B.
  23. Get the best car you can for the money, drop it put pipes, skirts, shave the hood and trunk and you're done. The whole Merc thing is ridding around in coolness.
    mercman@bulldog likes this.
  24. Qes
    Joined: Mar 5, 2018
    Posts: 15


    Hey guys, wow! I was hoping for one or two comments/words of advice!
    You guys really make this place a special community online, I feel the love :)

    dan c - Do you have a Mercury now? Got any photos to share?

    Squablow - thank you again for your advice! - Do you happen to know anyone in Texas?
    Or how would one locate someone nearby who is a part of the community?

    Hello HellsHotRods - sorry if I seem like fake news :p - I currently drive a Dodge Caravan lol Maybe that says I don't know much about cars or isn't a car guy, but I want to learn!

    Just Gary - I totally agree! I will definitely listen :) I joined these forums to learn and maybe meet car guys!

    Slowmotion - Thank you! - You have me wondering, but I guess purple one is not on the list anymore

    wbrw32 - eeek, sorry I don't know the lingo yet :( - I worked on filling out the profile page as you suggested :) - is a classic car older than a vintage car? This is embarrassing, but humbling :) haha
    Could you designated a 1950 Mercury as an antique car?

    Chappy444 - awesome, thanks for this!
    Money: I'm not uber rich but I can put aside money every month for sure, which sort of leads to time, if I can't afford it now, I can wait. The Car: Good points, thank you! I drive a Dodge Caravan right now, would it similar to a Mercury? The weight is similar, the length is similar...Oh I didn't' mention the Mercury (black one) doesn't have power steering, but looks like from my research, it will cost me around 1000 usd for a kit (but other parts might need to be sourced, also some kits say the engine doesn't have to come out...I'm not sure on both counts). Tools: you had a great Grand Father, I like the philosophy a lot! My Father's new place has a garage but I think the Mercury is too long to fit in it and the drive way is inclined a bit, so I guess I could work on it on the street...not sure what the laws are. Language: Thank you, words are how we communicate and understand the world, so I can see learning new words that pertain to cars makes sense and is important.... Oh, I swear too much as it is :) :). My General Rule: 1. Ahh that makes sense, 2. Never thought of that! 3. Great point 4. Very good point. 5. This is why I wanted to shy away from the purple chopped one. 6. Ok thank you. 7. Yeeesss!
    Lastly: Good point, being a noobie is exciting as hell!

    pat59 - Thank you for your comments :)

    dwest999 - Thank you for your re-cap! I really like the black and green one. The green one is nice in that it's a good price so I can swap in the engine I want the most now, and probably be able to afford it now. Would it be advisable to give a trusted shipper the money in cash to give to the seller?
    People already think I'm crazy so I hope I fit in here :)

    HOTRODPRIMER - thank you :) - I agree, pass on the purple. Really eh? You think it's that much over priced... Thank you for this...if the seller doesn't budge more, I may have to skip on it then, and just be patient and wait for the right one to pop up.

    bobss396 - Thank you for the warning Sir - if I went with the green one, I think I would have done an engine swap, maybe a LS engine or maybe even a diesel engine to be different and for mileagle/durability....I really want to drive my first Mercury around as much as possible (in regards to weather/season).

    VANDENPLAS - hello fellow Ontarian lol - I'm in the Greater Toronto Area (Scarborough to be exact). Really eh? That's good news! If the black one turns out isn't a good buy (condition and/or price) then I will definitely keep watching kijiji. Thank you for the warning. I would like to learn some aspects of maintaining an old car but I don't mind saving up money to pay someone.
    Thanks again, noted (buy the most complete car) - Maybe if the black one doesn't happen the green one in Brantford would be a good one, I fairly certain I can afford an engine swap now.
    Do you have any trusted classic car garages in our area of Southern Ontario?
    I was emailing RPM customs in Oshawa.

    nrgwizard - thank you for concluded on Chappy's detailed reply!

    mercman@bulldog - thank you for your reply, I think I could be happy with either the green or black one. I am dreaming of a diesel swap for durability and mileage, maybe some vegetable oil one day lol
    Thank you, yes, we only live once! I could really need some happiness in my life, I think the car would help :) - Are those both your Mercury's? I think it maybe the angle of the photography, but the blue flamed one, is the bottom trim still there for the back windshield? I think I could be happy in a '51 if the bottom of the trim was not as thick (vertically)... is that something that can be worked on, or does the trim server more purposes? Sorry for my noob questions :)

    John Lee Willamson - Thank you Sir! Those mods/custom work sound perfect in terms of what I want the vehicle to look like at the beginning :)

    Thanks again everyone!

    Cheers everyone!
    Kevin H.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
  25. Dick Stevens
    Joined: Aug 7, 2012
    Posts: 2,012

    Dick Stevens

    One thing you need to realize is that the HAMB is dedicated to traditional hot rods and customs (pre 65) and the talk of LS or diesel swaps are definitely not in line with the HAMB and should not be talked about or pictures of said stuff should not be posted or they will be deleted by the moderators! The green one with engine problems does present the possibility to do a swap but should be with an engine within the guidelines such as a 283 or 327 Chev, Ford FE, Olds or Cad V8.
  26. Gearhead Graphics
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 2,743

    Gearhead Graphics
    from Denver Co

    At 5 4 youre gonna fit in anything. Buy whatever you like
  27. Qes
    Joined: Mar 5, 2018
    Posts: 15


    Hey Dick Steve, oh sorry, I must have missed that when reading the sticky posts!
    Sorry, and thank you for the warning! :)

    Thanks Gearhead Graphics, my current car allows me to sit high so I can have a good view....I guess worst case scenario I can have the Mercury seat lift a bit.
    Thanks :)

  28. Slopok
    Joined: Jan 30, 2012
    Posts: 1,734


    Now that we've answered most of your questions, how about answering one for me? What does Qes mean???o_O
  29. Dick Stevens
    Joined: Aug 7, 2012
    Posts: 2,012

    Dick Stevens

    Queen Elizabeth School?

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