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Thread: '68 Mercury Monterey build

  1. #1
    Casual Cruiser

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    '68 Mercury Monterey build

    Well, maybe this is where I need to be. About a month ago, I scored a '68 Mercury Monterey 2 door fastback for $1800. It's a runner and a driver, complete with a 390 4-barrel, cold a/c, and original paint. It also has a little bit of a ratty interior and rust in the quarterpanels, unfortunately. The plan is to make something of a late-60s Custom with it. Sort of a "what would have happened if someone took this thing to Larry Watson" type of build. The 390 will stay unmodified (except for swapping an Edelbrock carb for the Holley and detailing it), the car will get lowered, I'll be painting it myself in good old acrylic lacquer - Candy Red if I get the balls to try shooting a candy job - and the interior will get redone. The goal is to be a daily driver next year. Right now, I'm making a few changes, and then getting the enjoyment of driving it to see the improvements. Here's what I got:





    So far, changes have been limited to maintenance. New KYB shocks made a huge difference in the driving quality. New tie rod ends, front tires, and alignment took out the "death wobble." New master cylinder, turn the brake rotors, and new calipers and hoses make it stop reliably. With every change, I like this thing a little more. More to come...

  2. #2
    Boulevard Bomber

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    That thing has great lines. I love seeing people take cars that normally wouldn't be used and make them bitchen. Having said that I am pretty sure that I have seen one of those in an old mag done up right.
    WHAT WOULD GOOZ DO?

    "eventually we all die, so it don't really matter to me who rules the world, just don't make me drink kool-aid as I die." 62pest

    Keep your word and pay what you owe Fu-Manchu!

  3. #3
    Casual Cruiser

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    There's a '67 on the "cool rides" thread on the main forum here that is pretty inspiring, and there are a handful of others that have been done. But, yeah, the lines were what got me to buy the thing.

  4. #4
    Casual Cruiser

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    OK, a little bit of visual progress for a change. Labor Day Weekend is the biggest hot rodding weekend of the year in KC. The GoodGuys Heartland Nationals takes place at Kansas Speedway (for pre-72 cars), and the Kowtown Greaserama takes place about 10 miles away at the one remaining drive-in movie theater in the city. The Merc is eligible for both, and while there was no chance of getting kicked out for the rust, I wanted the girl to look her best. So, a coat of Meguiar's Cleaner Wax actually put a shine on the 42 year old paint! Some metal polish shined the chrome admirably. A new pair of Firestone whitewalls on the front (plus an alignment) did wonders for both the looks and the driving characteristics. The best two of the remaining Generals were flipped whitewall out and mounted on the rear.

    I went to Plan B on the wheels. Since the original hubcaps wouldn't stay on the wheels (and frankly were more dented than I wanted upon close examination), I decided to go with the steelies with chrome bullet center caps, chrome lug nuts, and beauty rings. The plan was to paint them candy red metal flake before this weekend, but my paint didn't come in on time - and the summer cold I got probably would have prevented me redoing them anyway. So, black wheels it is for now.





    The weekend was a blast. Had a great time at both shows, and actually got some "Hey, you don't see those very often" compliments. Then, I found a guy that had some used rear quarter panels for the thing! Picked them up today. They're not perfect, but a damn sight better than what I have, and will be a great fix. The guy also has the rear bumper I need, and I can go back and get it next weekend after he pulls it. He wasn't willing to negotiate the price with me pulling it, so he'll get the pleasure of pulling it himself.

    This week's plan is to start working on the frame rust issues, and maybe to flake paint the wheels assuming that the paint comes in. Shawnee city car show is next weekend. This is probably close to being as good as the car will look before it hits the paint booth. From this point forward, I'll be bodyworking during the week, fixing dents, removing trim, and the like.

    Oh, and it now has a name - "Whole Lotta Rosie," named after the AC/DC song about a girl of rather, uh, generous proportions - much like the Merc.

  5. #5
    Boulevard Bomber

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    hell yeah pretty clean and AC/DC RULES
    Incomparables CC VP

    RESPECT THOSE WHO RESPECT YOU, WHETHER OR NOT YOU LIKE THE CULTURE, IF SOMEONE SHOWS YOU RESPECT, MAKE SURE YOU SHOW IT BACK.thumbsup:

    Rolling low and burning a bowl

    SABES QUE, IF YOU DON'T LIKE DON'T LOOK AT IT

    --------------------------
    1974 Monte Carlo a.K.a El Monte

  6. #6
    ♠ LBCC So Cal ♠

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    I see tons of potential in that car

  7. #7
    ♠ LBCC High Desert ♠

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    Lookin' better 'n better, man.
    1969 Mercury Montego MX -- ¡Cállate la boca!
    Roach Motel II -- 1968 Fairlane 500 Wagon

    "Two on the street is worth more than 20 on the board." -- 64sled

  8. #8
    Boulevard Bomber

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    Steamboatimagery.com

  9. #9
    Harvey's Front Row

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    Dude that is goin to be a sweet cruiser. Whats funny is that there were none of them until a coupla months ago, and now theres 2 already! Waitin for the 3rd now! knowsw how they say: there isnt 2 w/out 3.
    Sent from my ouiji board with black magic powers

    - I Bomb Mes3 -

  10. #10
    Casual Cruiser

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    Well, time for an update, no pics though (at least none at the moment). After I got the Merc home and gave it a good underneath inspection, I found a LOT of frame rust. The bottoms of the torque boxes were pretty eaten up, and the bottoms of the frame rails under the rockers were completely GONE. Ordinarily, I'd consider a body-off type of fix for it. But this isn't a body-off type of car; the idea is an inexpensive cruiser and a simple car that is only disabled for short periods of time. A body-off would kill that, and to be honest, my shop is already full of body-off type builds. So, I decided to take a different tack on fixing the rust.

    Now, part of the problem was that the body sagged enough for the doors to be difficult to open and close when it just sat there. I had to fix that, but I felt that the only way to make the body "unsag" was to support it under the torque boxes and let the weight of the engine and rear end allow the body to flex back to its normal orientation. But, the rusted torque boxes couldn't be used as jacking points. Hence, rebuild the boxes first while supporting the car under the suspension, then resupport it under the torque boxes and fix the rails. So, I bought some 3/16 steel plate, some 2x2x3/16 square tubing, and some POR-15. First, I cut plates to fit on the bottom of each torque box to reinforce them. Welded them on using high heat on my Snap-On 220 MIG. So far, so good. When I blew the crap out of the rails and torque boxes, I had enough pea gravel to build my own gravel road! I had to rebuild the bottoms of the rear frame kickups too, so I used some scrap 1/8 plate formed and cut to rebuild it. Worked nicely, and I cut some small pieces of angle iron to act as gussets between the torque boxes and the rails, just to tie everything together well.

    Part One complete. Resupport the car under the torque boxes. Now open and shut the driver's door. My plan is working so far; it opens and shuts like a new one. Cut away the bad metal on the rails until I get to good steel. Then, I cut pieces of the square tubing (ended up being 36" on the driver's side and 33" on the passenger's), and slide it into the rails. I had drilled the rails, so I plug welded the holes, then welded the ends to the frame rails, then welded as much side rail as I could to the tubing. Then I sprayed a little primer over it.

    Got it done in time for the Blues Cruise at BB's Lawnside BBQ in Kansas City on Sunday. The wife and I drove it over there, and I was thinking to myself that it felt more solid, but that could be wishful thinking. About that time the wife popped up and said, "You know, it really made a big difference. It doesn't feel like I'm riding in a big piece of linguini anymore." OK, so it's not my imagination. The car did feel much more solid, tracked better, and was quieter on the road. Now that I know it worked, I'm going to add a bit of fishplating to my weld joints on the rails, grind and dress the welds nicely, and then POR-15 over all of it. I have some Eastwood Internal Frame Coating ordered, and I'll spray the hell out of the inside of the rails with it.

    Like I said, no pics for now, but I have to tell you that this is a big step. Up till now I wasn't confident that an on-car frame repair would work as badly as the frame had rusted. Now I know it works and I can move on to the fun stuff; i.e. bodywork. Next up - repair the rear quarterpanels, and then start dechroming.

  11. #11
    Casual Cruiser

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    Man, those mid 60's big Mercs are cool, yours included. I saw your post about Greaserama, they actually let you in with the '68? You got lucky. I drove 200+ plus miles and got turned around at the street by a dude who didn't even know what year my car was at first, but said it was "too new". I've got a '69 Chrysler, it's low buck and slammed, just like the Kowtown website/flyer said was A-OK. Cut to him mumbling about, "We're too full man, ya know... it's 1965 or older." Get inside - empty spaces and cars newer than mine. Hmmmmmmm. It's been a good show, but I'll definitely think twice about spending any dough there next year.
    Good luck with your Merc, hope to see you at one of the shows here in the Midwest.
    Mike

  12. #12
    Casual Cruiser

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    Thanks, Mike. I preregistered for Greaserama, which is probably why I got in. Last year I went and saw several newer (post 65) cars there, so that's why I figured they'd take me. I live 15 minutes from the Drive-In where it is held. I'll be honest, I don't know if I'd drive a long distance to go to it anymore. Too much outright junk sitting around, and some of the people with said junk were more what I would consider "kulture people" rather than "car people," without appropriate respect for other people's cars. I saw one near-fight when a guy came back to his '61 Ford to see said "kulture people" sitting on the front end. If it had been me, it wouldn't have been a near-fight. People put down shows like Goodguys, but at Goodguys and other high-end shows you don't see people treating other people's cars like furniture.

    At the early Greaseramas, it was different. Less cars, but all of them had a reason to be there. Even the rat rods were well built and had car people there with them. But that's just my opinion.

    By the way, I love those old C-body Mopars. I've got a '67 Charger torn down to the nuts in the shop (B-body, smaller), and I actually looked for a decent full size Mope before I settled in this Mercury.

    Troy

  13. #13
    Casual Cruiser

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    I know where you're coming from. I can appreciate any traditional rod or kustom, but lately shows like Greaserama are getting kinda ridculous with the rat rod theme taken to the extreme, (read that as "junk", yeah, that would be some of the "kulture people"). Some very cool stuff there, but I know why I see trucks with trailers parked off site, some people bag on the trailer queens at GG shows, but for all the "hardcore" posture some of the rat rods give, they are doing the same thing. Hell, there were cars there that shouldn't be driven down the driveway, let alone a public street. Love the furniture analogy, you're spot on there, the car people respect the cars, some of the sideshow kulture freaks don't get it. Hey, I saw a fight there too, now that you mention it, but it was just some dirty drunks with their jacked up Ford Bronco having a drunk guy flail/wrestling match, not over a car. At least it was entertaining.
    Rasputin put a photo of my Chrysler on the LBCC blog and I've got a couple posted on my Intro post, check it out and see what you think.
    Mike

  14. #14
    Casual Cruiser

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    Hey, I remember seeing your Chrysler (and pointing it out to the wife) at Goodguys! I also remember the Montego that's parked behind you on pit road; he signed in right behind me. You have a helluva sweet road barge there, my friend.

  15. #15
    Casual Cruiser

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    Thanks! Hard not to miss a 20-foot long green Chrysler with a blue sombrero in the back window! That Montego belongs to my buddy Mark here DSM, I found the car for him at an estate sale, he picked it up for a Grand, but spent some $ on the wheels, brakes and exhaust. Pretty neat car that runs and drives great and he's still in it cheap. Heck, I probably signed up at GG right in front of you, since we were there in front of him, weird! Thanks for the compliments, keep on rollin' with Rosie, that will be a killer crusier.

  16. #16
    Casual Cruiser

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    Well, I haven't posted for quite awhile because I've been driving the Merc and doing general non-visual maintenance type stuff. But I'm the type of person that needs visual inspiration from time to time, so I decided to remove some trim today. I haven't filled the holes, but this at least looks like I'm moving towards building a custom, huh?

    The "before" of the front end, complete with nasty emblem and Mercury script.



    The "after" sans emblems. I like it. Lets the lines of the car show through.



    Same deal on the rear. I really dislike the aluminum trim piece that fills the lower cove.



    Now the "after." I like the smoother trunk, but I'm mixed on the lower cove. I may do some metalwork and fill that area; make it a straight drop from the horizontal crease in the deck lid.



    Now it's time to fill holes, and maybe metalwork the trunk area. Next weekend, I'll blast and paint the wheels candy red with some flake. I also plan - soon - on installing new balljoints and then cutting the coils about 1/2 to 1 full coil. I'm looking for a 2" drop.

    Then - at some point - I'll attack the rusty quarters, since I do have metal to put in. I really would like to get her shining in Kandy red this year. The ugly-assed side trim will go away soon too. I'm undecided yet on the fender top trim. I'd like to do something with the headlight/park light area that eliminates the fender-mounted park lights and smooths that whole area, but if I do, that means a lot of metalwork and trim elimination. We'll see where that goes.

  17. #17
    In Heaven, TCB

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    does that hood, front end swap out with any other years?
    Outside of society, they're waitin' for me.

    http://faceoffumanchu.blogspot.com/

    "Fuck that! I'm not scared. I'll go cruising by myself!"
    -eric

  18. #18
    Harvey's Front Row

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    looks like you're making some good progress. It's always good to be able to drive your car while you're building it. Looking forward to seeing where you go with it.

  19. #19
    Casual Cruiser

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    Quote Originally Posted by F-U Manchu! View Post
    does that hood, front end swap out with any other years?
    Yes, the '67, which does not have the fender mounted park lights. But from experience, finding 67-68 Merc sheetmetal is like finding hen's teeth.

  20. #20
    ♠ LBCC High Desert ♠

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    That's a sweet lookin ride man!

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