Here's sort of a mini update on the '49 Chevy Fastback for those of you that have been clamoring for a new update. Please note the original '51 Merc bumper guards in the pic below: They look kinda tall, don't they? I'm using a narrowed '51 Merc front bumper on the '49 Chevy I'm building. The '51 bumper has a couple of weird bumps underneath the guards that make it difficult to effectively smooth out the bumper...so I decided to keep the guards, but they needed some alteration to fit the proportions of the rest of the car. The first car I really noticed that had sectioned bumper guards was Terry Hegman's excellent Merc: (Photo courtesy Don Dillard) I really liked the idea of the cut down guards, but I felt like the ones on the Hegman Merc were a little more cut down than I needed for the Chevy. I did a little further research to see if I could find another example of a '51 with sectioned guards, and I was suprised to find that the Hirohata Merc had them. (Photo courtesy of Rikster) Funny thing is, I'd studied the Hirohata Merc countless times and never noticed that the bumper guards were sectioned. Turns out that when it was first completed it had uncut stock bumper guards, and somewhere around the time it was shot for Hop Up in '53 it had the guards sectioned. The Hirohata's guards were supposedly sectioned 2", and I felt like that would be a little closer to what I needed to take out for the Chevy. First thing I needed to do before cutting was to weld the bottom side of the top bumper guard mount. The reason for doing this is that the mount is only welded on the top, and the section with the weld will end up getting removed. This is the easiest way to keep the mount in the right place. Now I could move on to laying out the cuts. I ended up going with a 1.5"section, which seemed about right. I actually think the Hirohata is closer to 1.5" than 2", but it's hard to tell from photos. Anyway, the goal is to take the section out of the part of the guard that is 'flattest'. Two strips of 3/4" masking tape butted together make it easy to create a guide for cutting. Here's the guard after cutting.. Take care not to make any gouges in the piece that you are removing, because you are going to need it later. Now's the time to check and make sure the amount taken out is going to be satisfactory. It's also a good time to check the gap between the top and bottom pieces before welding. You can also see how much difference the section is going to make in the look of the front bumper. Looks good to me, so now it's time to put it back together. Make sure you have the two pieces aligned as accurately as possible then tack them. You need to be absolutely certain that there are no high or low places where they meet, because filler is out of the question here. When you have it tacked where it needs to be, start welding using short bursts and skipping around: I'm using a TIG, but a MIG or Oxy-acetyline should work as well. If you are using a TIG like me, then add a little more filler rod than usual, and don't worry about trying to make it too pretty...it's all going to get ground off. After it's welded, I use a 36 grit Roloc on a right angle die grinder to knock down the weld. Take care not to put any deep scratches in the surrounding metal...just get the weld close to flush. After it is close, I go in with a 'brown' Scotchbrite Roloc and polish the weld. Then I finish it off with 80 grit on the D/A, and hand sand with an old used piece of 80. This is where the extra time spent fitting the two pieces before welding really pays off. Looks good, but there's still that gap at the back that needs to be addressed. I could just whack off those "ears" left at the bottom...but that would make the guard stop way before it hit the back edge of the bumper, and that's not going to look right. The solution is in the piece that was removed.... I made a template to create the new back edge of the guard and marked the piece for cutting. I should note that I made all the cuts with a pneumatic cut-off tool, but a bandsaw or even hacksaw would also work. I fit the filler piece to the back of the guard then clamp and weld... After grinding and polishing the weld, here's the finished product: It's a subtle change, but a big improvement over the original bumper guard height. Besides, good customs are all about subtle changes. Ever sit and look at a car like the Hirohata Merc or one of Cole Foster's cars, and wonder what it is that's been changed that makes it look so good? More often than not, it's a host of little changes that give it the look, rather than one big change. Thanks for looking, and I hope that some of you can get something out of this post. It's a pretty specific topic I know, but still it's a subtle mod that could be applied to many other cars.