Building a 1960 Mercury Park Lane convertible
Compliments of mercs4fun @ http://ford-mel-engine.com
Hello, as this is my first post here on this forum I would like to say that even if I am new here, I am not at all new to MEL cars. A few years ago I did a huge restoration job on a 59 Park Lane convertible that was more or less a pile of rust and dirt when I bought it outside Chicago back in 1999 and that took me about 6 years to finish. Here is a couple of pictures of that car.
The 59 after about a year of body work
The car is mostly done here and looking pretty good.
Back in 2007 I needed to free up some space for other projects and sold the 59. When I bought the 59 I was actually looking for a 60 Park Lane convertible to restore, so in 2002 I found one for sale in Michigan for $2000. Unfortunately that car was terrible rusty as well, (what could I expect for that kind of money?) but since I also had a much better 60 Park Lane 2d ht I decided to go for it and make one car out of both. OK, here are a few pictures of what I managed to do in the summer of 2002.
The convertible just arrived Norway in June 2002
Going down in pieces and becoming a donor car. The lower 8 inches of this car was totally rusted out, but everything above that was in incredible nice condition. Probably caused by the Michigan salty roads?
My hardtop is becoming a convertible. All the convertible parts had been removed from the rusty convertible by drilling out the factory spot welds and then transplanted into the hardtop body so it would be near impossible to see that this car body was a hardtop. Some people would prefer to take the good parts from the hat parts car and transplant them over to the convertible, but in this case I think that would have made a not so good result in the end.
Body conversion almost done
Then nothing happened. Every year I said next car to be restored is my 60, but every time I thought I should get time for it something else came up and the 60 ended up sitting with a heavier and heavier layer of dust covering it.
Here you can see the 60 sitting behind a couple of other cars I've been restoring.
OK, so lets move forward to December 2013
Finally I decided it was time to let something happen with my 60. After all these years it was nice to clean off all the dust and see it without lots of parts for other cars on the top of it.
Now the fun part starts and that is to disassemble the car and it didn't take long before it looked like this. Unlike many others I don't waste my time bagging all the different parts, screws and fastners. I take hundreds of detail pictures, and find that much more helpful when the car is going back together again.
Body is off the frame.
Engine is opened for inspection and looked to be in good condition. It will be taken totally apart, cleaned, honed and get new piston rings and bearings, but there luckily is no need for a total rebuild.
Ready for the not so fun part, and that is to remove all the old dirt and rust protective stuff under the body.
The underside of the car isn't bad at all. The trunk floor had been replaced back in 2002 by the way.
Since the frame I am using originally was for a hardtop it needed to be made into a convertible frame. These frames are basically the same, but the convertible frame have lots of reinforcements and also all the brackets for the body mounts are different and located in different places.
The big X is an obvious extra on the convertible frame. Then there is a tube going across the frame in front of the rear end that needs to be welded in as well. Also the body mount brackets are different due to different body mounts. The ht frame had larger holes that needed to be modified to the smaller holes used on the convertible. In this picture you can see the difference from left to right side.
Solid braces under the frame added. All parts came from the original convertible frame.
Close up of the body mount bracket on the frame. Now the frame is officially declared to be a convertible frame
Time to pay some attention to the body. the 59 and 60 Mercurys are known to be rust buckets. If you study the way they made these cars it becomes pretty obvious that the design team did not plan for these cars to last for 50 years or more. There are lots of places under and inside the car where moisture and dirt can be trapped, and also I suspect that they used cheap sheet metal with less carbon these years to cut cost as the auto industry were suffering from low sales.
Both lower quarter panels needed to be replaced or partly replaced. I also found some rusted areas in the lower wheel well that I replaced before I put on the outer skin. Of course the inside areas are cleaned from surface rust and treated with a rust protective layer of zinc before I put on the outer sheet metal.
Luckily I was able to find a NOS LH quarter panel some years ago, but to ship it in one piece from the US to Norway turned out to be a little on the expensive side, so I decided to have it cut for shipping and just to replace the lower parts.
Front part of the quarter panel is done, here is the inside of the rear welded and ready for the outer skin.
With the NOS sheet metal parts this turned out really nice.
For the right side it was pretty much the same process all over again except for that I had to fabricate the sheet metal myself.
The doors are always a problem on the 59 and 60 Mercurys. I had a total of 6 doors to choose from that all looked pretty good, but when I started to examine them one by one they all got problems. There are actually several issues that may cause problems on these doors. First of all, they did not give them any rust protective coating inside from the factory. the next problem is draining holes, that are not in the lowest part of the door, causing dirt and water to be trapped inside the door. Finally the rubber weatherstrip they used back then were probably good for a couple of years, but since they were made out of a spongy rubber material they worked just like a sponge and and soaked up water, which again cased the rust to attach the door not only from the inside, but also from the outside.
Cutting out the rusty bottom of the door.
Transplanted the bottom from another door that had rust in a different area.
Welding it in and the door is as good as it gets. I was considering to drill out all the spot welds to clean the door sheel throughly, but decided not to as this door is not bad all over. Mainly the rust I found on this one was caused by the water in the weather strips and not from inside rust, which is way harder to deal with .
The usual rear corner rust are is cut out....
and replaced with fresh sheet metal. One note about sheet metal. When I replace metal on an old car like this I always use original metal from a similar car. I cut off roof from cars being parted out, hoods, trunk lids and clean up the metal before I use it. Why you may ask? I have found that this metal is more form-able and also that it behaves just like the metal on the car, causing less warping when I weld. Also I think it is a good thing to reuse as much as possible from other cars being parted out.
OK, I guess that was the rust I had to deal with on this one. Nothing makes me more happy than that
There are different ways to clean a body from old paint and surface rust. I prefer to avoid sand blasting the outside sheet metal if I can avoid it. Unfortunately I had some bad experience and also seen cars totally ruined that way. So instead I prefer to sand old paint off using an eccentric or by using the 3M clean and strip discs on a drill. It takes more time, but it is safe and especially under the hood and trunk lid there is no other option anyway if you want to keep the original asphalt inlay.
Now it is ready to get the underside, cowl and the hard to get to areas sand blasted.
Here is another way I clean parts with surface rust. I have a plastic barrel in my garage filled with citrus acid. Before I can put the parts in there they need to be free from fat and grease. Then I have them soaked in there for a day before I flush them with a steamer. Usually I have to repeat this process once or twice depending how much rust there are on the parts but in the end the parts looks like new.
Other parts I just clean and wire brush before they are painted. No I am not using a hand held wire brush, I use my angle grinder with a brush on it.
This is about as far as I have come with the car to date.
Since I bought this car I have had time to change my plans for it several times. Back in 2002 when I first started to work on it my plan was to build a black car with a black top and silver and gray interior. I also wanted to build a loaded car with Air, power everything and dual bullet style mirrors. I wanted to use as many NOS parts as possible and have bought all the NOS parts I have found over the years, and also had the new upholstery in silver gray made. But plans have a tendency to change over years, and now I want to build a 50's style cruiser in a brave, yet classy color, dual spot lights, dual antennas, spinner wheel covers, and most of all, a continental kit. A set of NOS spot lights wasn't too hard to find, but the correct brackets were not so easy. Unfortunately I used my super rare NOS set of factory rear mount antennas on my 59 Mercury, but found a pretty neat and unusual time correct after market set that I will likely use. Spinner wheel covers I have NOS just waiting to be put on the car. Then it was the continental kit
My guess is that very few ordered that as an option to their 60 Mercury, and no one is making a repro or aftermarket kit. I guess that back in 1960 most people considered this to be out of fashion and made the car look like a fifties car, which of course did not appeal to many buyers. But I wanted one, so when nothing is out there to buy there is only one way to make it happen, and that is to fabricate one. So after talking with a friend of mine in Austria, who was restoring his 60 Monterey convertible, he said he wanted one as well, so now I had to fabricate two kits, which makes more sense than to build just one.
I ordered the face plates and the chrome bands around the tires from Continental Enterprises in Canada. The rest was not that easy as I not only wanted a continental kit that looked good, it also had to function like the original.
I started with the swing arm mechanism that holds the tire. I studied the function on a few other cars before I started just to find out how it was working. To make it work exactly as it should is kind of hard, as there are lots of elements to take in to consideration as the wheel has not not only swing to the side, it also has to move outward and in a more upright position to clear the trunk lid when it is opened.
Then I had to make the upper surrounding bumper section to fit the wheel.
Cutting the original bumper is kind of a point of no return on this project. But it has to be done. It also took me some time to find the correct angle on the bumper and tire so they would line up nicely to the car.
Starts to look like a continental kit now?
Plates filling the gap between the wheel and the bumper had to be made.
Here is the kit finished and installed on my friends 60 Monterey.
Function is just as it should be. The wheel swings to the side and out of the way to give access to the lid for the gas tank( kind of important on these cars ) and the trunk.
Shelby#18, are we the only two users on this forum? If so that is kind of sad. Oh well, I will keep the updates coming, but if no one reads them I am not so sure about the future.
Yesterday I disassembled my engine block. The engine was running nicely when I bought the car, but had oil leaks here and there. From experience I have learned that even if an engine runs good it can be pretty worn inside. When I lifted off the cylinder heads I could see that the cylinders had little wear and I started hoping that would be the same for the rest of the internal parts. Unfortunately that was not the case. The crank seems to be good, but the rest is so and so. Lets take a look at the pictures
The 430 spread out on my garage floor.
Hydraulic lifters that looks like this is not promising for the condition of the cam shaft.
Sure enough, most of the lobes were worn, some more than others and a couple of them to the point where they did not give much lift at all.
The cylinder block and crank looks to be in very good condition. Also I think it is unusual to open up an old engine that is this clean inside.
I will have to buy a new cam shaft/lifters and otherwise it will just get new rings and bearings. And of course a new oil pump and timing kit
Rick, here is a picture of one of the pistons. From what I can see these are identical to those you pulled out of your wagon?
Otherwise there is mostly kind of boring work going on in my garage now as I am just cleaning dirty, greasy or rusty parts.
I have cleaned and stored away some internal engine parts that didn't need work, like the rocker arms, rods and pistons and the crank.
Here is the rocker arm mechanism, one has been disassembled, cleaned and inspected before it was put back together again with a special protective engine lubricant.
The engine block and cylinder heads are at the machine shop where everything will be cleaned in an acid bath. The block will be honed and decked. The cylinder heads needed some work as well, and will get new valve guides put in and all the valve seats done. I am also going to put in the larger 58 intake valves as my engine builder likes them better. I had a set of NOS 58 valves here so it is good to find some use for them. Then the heads will be decked and the manifold side resurfaced as I hate leaking exhaust manifolds. The engine builder also wanted me to find a 4 bbl intake, but that is easier said than done her in Norway. Most of all I wish I could afford a Super Marauder set up for this car, but that is so out of the range right now. Regarding the worn out cam shaft, I found a NOS cam shaft on eBay for $149, so I decided to go for it and hopefully it is on its way to Norway right now. I don't know if a NOS cam shaft is the best choice today, but it did work pretty good back in 1960 so I guess it will do fine today as well. I am not going to race this car anyway.
That's all for now. Hopefully something more interesting will happen soon.
BTW, I am thinking about the color for the car all the time. What about this one?
I am spending more time in my garage than normal as the weather is just not usable for outdoor activities. The good thing is that I get a lot of dirty boring work done. Parts like this A/C pump needs to be cleaned thoroughly before they can be painted and some of this 50+ year old dirt is pretty stubborn.
Now that the frame is out for sand blasting I have a little more space around me so I spent some time cleaning my garage and to look over parts to find out what to use and if something needs to be replaced. Fortunately I have a lot of extra parts on my garage loft from a couple of 60 Mercurys I have parted out through the years, so when I found that the radiator frame I originally planned to use was no good it was just a short walk up on my loft to find a good one. Actually restoring a rare car like the 59 or 60 Mercury can get very pretty hard and way too expensive if you have to buy parts as you restore the car, so a good parts car (or two) is the way to go.
I don't know if the radiator support usually is a problem on the 59 and 60 Mercurys, but both on the 59 I restored and on this one they were rusted out from the inside and had to be replaced.
I mentioned that I really wanted a 4 bbl intake for my engine for a friend of mine who is restoring a 58 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser, and he said he might have one and promised me to take a look for it in his storage building this weekend. Yesterday he showed up with this gold painted intake in the trunk of his car. So it turned out that one of the items I thought would be very hard to find wasn't that hard after all.
Sweet looking perfect condition 58/59 430 4 bbl intake.
I had 3 different transmission to choose from. One I knew had a problem with the reverse (slipped) and one that came out of the convertible that I had not driven much but that worked fine 12 years ago, and one from a low miles car that I had not driven at all. Usually I would rebuild the transmission when I restore a car, but for economical reasons I decided to go for the one from the convertible and open it for an inspection and if everything looked good, I would just replace the selector shaft seal and O-ring and the front and rear seals. The first indication of something bad going on in a transmission is the smell of the oil and what you find in the bottom of the oil pan. On this one the oil still had a normal smell and I did not find much dirt or debris in the pan at all. When I remove the oil filter I also noticed that the transmission had been worked on previously, so I assume it has been rebuilt at some point.
Inside of the transmission with the oil filter removed.
Here are the internal parts I need to remove to get access to the shifter selector seals out of the way. I know a lot of people dislike to work on the automatic transmissions, but this operation is pretty much a straight forward job as long as the transmission is out of the car and it takes about an hour or so.
The transmission is back together with the new seals. I painted the oil pan flat silver grey before I put it back on and also cleaned the housing with a wire brush. As you see I prefer to keep the transmission natural cast iron and aluminum just like the factory did.
Finally here is a picture of my garage showing how it looks right now.
Landcruiser, thank you for your comment. It is nice to see that there are people out there appreciating my posts. Regarding the garage, as you can see it is not one of those fancy buildings with posters and all kind of decoration on the walls, it's just a nice place to work and just what I need and want
Today I want to post a couple of pictures of my brake booster(s). I had a couple of them, but none of them were working. I also had a NOS one for years, but stupid as I am I sold it to a guy in Sweden that desperately needed one thinking I would always be able to find another NOS for sale. Well, guess what, I didn't, and now I have to deal with what I got and try to build a functional unit out of the two.
Power brake booster before tearing apart.
No wonder this unit didn't work as it should as it was full of old brake fluid and dirt. The other one was really hard to take apart as everything was rusty and stuck inside and outside. The good thing is that after examining all the internal parts I can't see why I should not be able to build one good unit out of what I have here.
Well, I usually have luck with these, but when I disassembled mine some rubber seals got damaged as they were really dry and brittle. So last night I spent hours searching my parts manual and the internet for rebuild kits, but had no luck for the 59/60 Mercury kit. Then I found that every part I needed also are included in the rebuild kit for the 61 Lincoln brake booster, so I started searching for that and those kits are easier to find. Mark II Enterprises in CA had 5 in stock and and also Lincoln/Mercury Old parts store web site say they have it. BTW, part number for the kit is C1VY-2A154-A.
By the way Rick, I still might have a few NOS parts for 59 Mercury. Nothing really exiting, but at least a pair of tail light lenses, a running light lens for the spear, a windshield wiper cable, a pair of back up light lenses and a few more small things. I used to have so much but gave away most of it when I sold my 59. BTW, what are you using for door weatherstrip for your convertible?
Rick, forget about the not so good reproduction door weather strips from the incredible expensive place in Florida. (I can't even afford to write their name) Order a set (or even better 2) for a Ford Sunliner 1960-1962 Dennis carpenter part number C0AZ-7620530-PR and you are almost there. These are inexpensive and the quality is the best. They will fit perfectly with just very minor modifications. Also for the quarter window to the door glass seal I am using a Ford part from Dennis Carpenter, C3AZ-6530146-PR, and I can go on with exactly what to use from Dennis Carpenter for most everything on your car except for the convertible top seals. I have tried to figure something out there, and 61 Ford is close, but not close enough.
Regarding the parking light lens, are you aware of that there are 2 versions, the one with 59 marking and the later with 62 marking on the lens. Those with 59 on them are getting pretty hard to find, but I might have a set I can let go. (I just need to check that I have a set for my car first) I also have one extra set of the 62 version if you prefer them.
59 lens to the left, 62 lens to the right.
58-Pagoda, thanks for posting that picture of the 60 Cadillac convertible. The car pictured also has a silver interior so it made me even more sure that the Heather color is right for my car
I've been doing a lot of boring dirty work this week, so the pile of parts ready for paint is growing every day. Here are the inner fenders, radiator support, battery tray and a lot of other parts for the front of the car stripped from undercoating, old paint and surface rust.
Then I have a ton of old bolts, nuts, clips, brackets and all the other parts from my car that were electro plated originally and that needs to be restored. They were sorted into what used to be silver, gold and black, and on Monday I will ship these to a company that used to plate all the bolts and such for Saab and they will make these look like new.
I also had to take apart the power seat mechanism so the seat tracks can be restored at the same time. Originally I planned to use a memory seat from a 59 that I restored a few years ago, but the problem is that the memory seat wasn't on the option list for 60 so there is no matching switch bezel available for the 60 Mercury dash. So I will install a regular 4 way power seat, just like it would have been from the factory.
Yes, there are two power seats in the picture. I decided to take both apart and then pick the best parts to make the best one possible.
I have also pulled my power window set up down from the garage loft to inspect what I have and to take off the plated parts that needs to be restored. Otherwise these seems to be in really good condition and they should be easy to restore back to new condition.
Finally I have one part that bothers me and that is the old transmission mount. I have not been able to locate a NOS one, and there is no reproduction on the market. I guess I need to find someone who can restore it, but so far I have not found someone here that can do it. Any advice is welcome.
I guess it's time for some updates on the progress now. I have spent a lot of time cleaning all the parts that needed to be painted semi gloss black.
Then I have painted all the parts, first a layer of epoxy primer....
....then some heavy coats with good old fashion acrylic paint. So far I think I have had about 120 different parts painted black, then there are parts painted cast iron gray and then some to be painted other colors like the cooling fan, air cleaner and valve covers.
After a week of painting black parts it is nice to do a different color
Here are most of the fresh repainted parts up on my garage loft resting and curing while I am working on other things.
It sure took a long time to get the frame back from the sand blaster guy, but in a way it was good to not have it here for a while as my space is very limited. Anyway, this is how it looked when I got it back home.
So with all the new bolts and boxes full of new parts it is time to get a few things back together. Before the rear axle housing was painted I removed all internal parts for inspection. Even if the car ran pretty good with no rear end or wheel bearing noise I found by closer inspection that I needed a set of new wheel bearings and seals. It also felt pretty good to get the 54 year old differential oil removed as it looked more like tar than oil.
Before I installed the differential and the drive shafts I also replaced old seals and checked the alignment of the pinion and ring gear. The ratio on the differential I decided to use is 2.91:1 which is OK for mixed driving.
Theo, I can't get it, if there are thousands to read this tread why does the hit view counter as I write this show 373? Also the number of new posts the recent years shows more or less that this is a forum with extremely low activity. Most treads had their last activity 2 or 3 years ago, or even more. Compared with some other forums I frequently visit there is next to no activity here at all. Yes, the forum shows up in all search engines all the time, and that might also be the reason why you have so many hits, as a lot of people are likely pointed to this forum without the intention to be here. Long before I became a member this forum showed up in my searches for information not even remotely connected to what I was looking for. Very often when I am here there are usually 2 or 3 users visiting, now and then a couple more. Unfortunately most of these "visitors" are google Bot, Yahoo bot, and other search engines scanning the forum.
I am not writing this to make you feel bad or because the forum is no good, as it is a fantastic place for highly valued information about the MEL engines, I just want you to know how I see it. Maybe the problem is the extremely vast amount of sections and treads that makes it hard to actually find what you are looking for? I don't know, but I used hours on this forum before I found the mercury restoration section, which I found interesting just because of Rick's posts, and which also made me want to share what I am doing with my 60 Mercury.
So Theo, It 's not a dark nowhere, but it's for sure lonely here.
Time for a few updates on the progress again. First out is the steering.
The steering components on the car seemed to work all right back when I last drove it about 10 years ago, but since I think that a total restoration deserves all new parts I decided to rebuild or replace everything. First out was the power steering valve. Luckily the large rebuild kits for a 60's Mustang (there are at least one large and one small on the market) has everything you need to bring these back to new condition. Just to make sure I had all the correct parts needed I also had a NOS kit with the original seals at hand, but these are getting old and I would prefer to use newer seals, and that worked out fine this time. BTW, the 59 and 60 valves are not the same, and the seals from the Mustang kit does not fit a 59 and earlier valve unit.
Her I have just disassembled the unit.
Thanks, I am always concerned about the details, just like you are Just to tell a short story, my cousin who also is into old car restoration looked at one of the cars I had just finished some time ago and said " it looks brand new, what do you do to make it look like that?" I looked at him and told him it is really easy. You just tear the car you are restoring totally apart, then when the frame looks like brand new you can start to reassembly the car, but you have to make sure that every single part you put on it from there looks brand new and then when you are finished the car looks new. He replied, of course you are right, but how do you make all the old parts look brand new? I said, that's the hard and expensive part of it
Oh well, talking about looking brand new, today I picked up 90 lbs bolts and nuts power seat parts, ash trays and all kind of hardware that has been at the plater to be restored and to get back that fresh new look. As usual they did a fantastic job and now it will be fun to put things back together.
Moving forward is exactly what I have been doing as next up is to get the front suspension in place.
The old coil springs looked worn and the car was way too low in the front so I decided to get a new set of front springs. At first I thought I should go for the expensive hand made springs from Detroit spring, but changed my minds and decided to go for a set of TRW generic springs that is about 1/3rd of the cost. When I restored my 59 Park Lane I bought the more expensive springs but ended up cutting them down as they made the car ride far too high for my taste.
Front brakes installed.
In an earlier post I told that I needed an overhaul kit for my power brake booster. I thought that it would be easy, but not so. Both Lincoln Old part store and Mark II enterprises refused to sell this kit to me and told me to send in my old booster so they could rebuild it for me. That is not really an option when you live in Norway as shipping is expensive and also the taxes makes this very expensive. So then I had to put that to rest for a while and try to figure out what to do. Luckily I was sitting searching eBay for brake booster overhaul kit one morning, and there I found a kit for a Cadillac, and it turned out to be the same. It was kind of expensive, but that made me think that there might be other cars that used the same Bendix brake booster, so I started to search for a rebuild kit for that instead of something for a specific car. So instead of paying hundreds of $$$ to someone I ended up with a NOS brake booster and master cylinder seal kit for $40 that had all the parts I needed.
UNfortunately I forgot to take picutres of the rebuild process of the booster, but it is a pretty straight forward job. Nothing really hard to do or interesting going on inside these.
I had nothing but problems with the NOS cam shaft I bought on eBay. First the seller refused to ship to Norway, so a friend offered me to help and gave me an address to a friend of him I could ship to and this person there would. Well, guess what, this person did not ship it, I was waiting for weeks, but nothing happened. Finally I got a helping hand from someone living not too far from the person I shipped it to and he drove there and picked it up and shipped it to me. After some time he got it back in the mail as USPS made a mistake and shipped it back to him instead of me. He went back to the postal office and resent it and this time it made it to Norway, but unfortunately in two pieces The seller did not wrap it in bubble plastic like I asked him to do so it did not get much protection from the tube it was shipped in. I guess this camshaft never was meant to go in my engine after all. So sad, and a lot of wasted time and money. Now I am waiting for a new one from Falcon Global. Hopefully it will arrive in one piece.
While I am waiting for my new camshaft to arrive from the US I decided to get the underside of the body painted. The original plan was to take the body to the sand blaster guy and let him make it clean and nice, but since my budget is limited and I've got some unfortunate extra expenses I decided to clean it myself with whatever hand tools I have. But first of all I needed to clean of all the remains of the undercoating with white spirit. It's a dirty job, but someone's gotta do it is what they say. Too bad that someone turned out to be me. Oh well, about 1.5 gallon of white spirit and 100 yards of paper towels later it was as clean as it gets. In this picture I have just started and got the upper front area cleaned.
- I like to paint the underside of the fenders in a color similar to the original red-brown factory primer.
- Finished and ready to be put on the car when time comes.
- AC cold air outlet integrated in the dash.
PM fixed, message read, thank you Rick and Theo.
I Just painted the underside of the body. Luckily I have several liters with old fashion acrylic paint from back when it was super quality, cheap and easy to find. By mixing some leftover colors from previous restorations I managed to make a color pretty close to what originally had been used under this car. I call the color chocolate milk brown Some people seems to think that one specific color is correct for the underside of these old cars, but that is not so since they used whatever leftover paint that was available and mixed it together to use on the car where color wasn't important. At least that's what I've been told from someone that worked at Ford back then. I've seen grey, light blue, green , pink, brown and yellow under the body up until 1964. When I restore the car I always try to paint the underside in the same color as it came from factory.
I have been pretty eager for a while to find the color to use for the Mercury and paint an area so I can see how it will look.
As a result I decided to do the firewall ready for paint. I did pretty much the same here as under the car, removed all old paint and surface rust and then epoxy primer, but then also sprayed a few layers of surfacer to remove scratches and imperfections.
Got another down trip today as I placed the body back on the frame and took the car out in daylight to check the color on the firewall. As you can see there is not much violet in this color, so that means I have to lift the body again and repaint with a different color.
Rick, you should absolutely try something else than white. For a 59 Mercury white is IMHO, well you said it, boring. There are a few really nice colors for the year that I think will make your car look so much classier. One thing is for sure, my 60 Mercury is not going to get a boring color . After looking through thousands of different color chips I finally came down to a few that I wanted to test spray, but none of them were a perfect hit, so then I had to mix colors myself, test spray, adjust the mix and after doing this over a few times I finally have the color right.
Beside of working with the color for the car I have not done much to it lately. I got the valve covers and air cleaner painted tonight, but that's about it. Not much will happen in the near future either as I have a few other cars that needs my attention. But when something is going on I will of course keep you updated.
Theo, thanks for your concern but I am not looking for the most authentic paint job on this car as I first of all want a color that was not available for the year. And even if my choice was one of the original metallic colors for 1960 the 1 stage enamel paint they used back then has been obsolete for years and years. Even when I restored my first car some 35 years ago I had a hard time to find the 1 stage enamel paint for the authentic look. The metallic paint back then wasn't a great paint and had very little shine to it, even when new. Because it had no clear coat is lost all shine shortly and looked almost like a semi gloss paint unless the owner polished the car frequently. Also the metal particles were extremely small and reflected light in a very limited way. Very few would even consider to paint a car with this type of paint today, even if it was available.
When it comes to metallic paint today there are two options available, old fashion acrylic base coat /clear coat (getting hard to find) and the common environmental friendly water based base coat / clear coat used by all paint shops today. None of these paints will ever look like the original paint, but I think the acrylic base captures the way the original paint reflects the light in a more old fashion way than the water based base coats.
For years I've been doing concourse correct restorations being extremely truthful to how the car left factory. I am done with that for a while. Call it a custom if you like, but this car will be built just like I would have ordered it from the factory.
It sure has been a long pause since my last post about my 60 Mercury restoration. Anyway, that does not mean that the nothing is going on here. After waiting for a long time for my engine to come back from the machine show, I finally got it back last fall. So at least I got it assembled and painted before I once again had to pause the project for a long time. Here are some pictures.
While the body is off the frame again I have also installed the engine, transmission and new exhaust system.
Rick, I am doing fine and I hope you are too. I am looking forward to see some updates on your 59 Park lane as well.
Regarding the exhaust installation, for more common cars there are reproduction exhaust hangers out there. For a 60 Mercury it is not so easy so I restored some old hangers I had. The metal was re plated and rubber replaced using rubber cut out from old tires. I also decided to go for a dual exhaust on my car, even if they only came with single exhaust that year. That means I had to order a exhaust system for a 59 Park lane and cut the rear pipes to fit the 60 as the 60 is a shorter car.
On old cars the door hinges are always worn, even if you can't feel it when the hinges are off the car, they are. So there is no way getting around rebuilding them. You can search all the catalogs in the world, but no one seems to list bushings and pins for these cars, so I just order a few different types for Ford hinges, and then I use the ones I think will work the best. For these hinges the outer diameter on the brass bushings are just a little too small so just to make sure they will sit as they should I also add a very thin coat of metal glue to them when I put them in. That will for sure hold them in place.
Last year I spent a lot of energy trying to decide what color to put on my car. Since then I began to doubt my own judgment on the color choice I had made and decided to go a new round with the options. I painted a few test sheets with silver, gray metallic and black metallic and put them on the side of the car and walked around it for days and weeks trying to make up my mind. Some days I was wondering if I would ever be able to make up my mind, but finally I decided to just stay with my initial decision and go for the violet metallic color I made last year. So I went to the paint store to have a quart of paint made to paint the inside of the body and firewall. Well, it turned out to be not as easy as I thought as they had deleted the mixing recipe from their files So I was basically back on scratch and had to start over again and make a new recipe. Yesterday I had the fender skirts test painted with the new color, and to my satisfaction, it seems like we nailed it. The color is probably a little more lilac than the one I had last year, and that just makes it a little more vibrant, especially in the sun. I love it, hope you do too
Here is another thing that always needs attention on these cars, and that is the baffles inside the air ducts. The rubber seals inside them are usually rotten, if they are present at all. There is only one way to do this, and that is to take everything apart and use the old seal as a template to make new ones. I have found that a rubber hose from a truck wheel has the correct thickness for this, so that's what I used. When I installed the new rubber I used pop rivets to put the baffles back together, as I find them more convenient that the staples used originally. In this case, where nothing ever will be visible after installation I go for function over originality.
7-29-2015Today I painted the inside of the body and the firewall. The lighting in my garage makes the color look slightly brighter and more lilac than it actually is.
So I got the body back on the frame so I can put the doors on and do some final adjustments to the sheet metal if needed before I start the paint prep work.
The Mercury is now painted and ready to be re assembled.
I decided to go for black carpet, black dash and dash pad and a black convertible top.
The back seat had some rust in the lower part, so some of the rods had to be replaced before it went to the sand blaster and then to the powder coater. Now it is ready for new upholstery.
The convertible top bows turned out to be in much worse condition than I remembered from when I disassembled the car. Just to take everything apart was a battle, and unfortunately I found that I have some serious problems here, but hopefully they can be solved.
I've been playing with the interior door/side panels for the last couple of days. The old door panel fiber boards were not in the best shape, and the metal parts were rather rusty and ugly as well. So the metal was removed from the old door panels and sand blasted before they got new black paint. Then I cut out new panels from the best quality fiber board I could find. There is a lot of work involved in this because of all the holes that has to be made for the trim and fasteners. Then I put the metal pieces back on the fiber boards with a glue and pop rivets. Now the only thing left to do is to put on the new vinyl, polish all the trim and then some.....
It is amazing how fast time flies. It is nearly 2 years since my last update on the 60 Mercury, and to be honest I really thought the car would have been done by now 2 years ago. Unfortunately there has been some major bumps in the road, and I've also been busy working on other cars a lot of the time. Anyway, I have made some progress, and I will try to catch up on these now.
After the car was painted the first thing I wanted to install was the wiper system, wiring systems for power windows and seat, and then of course the heater and AC. Unfortunately one of my hard drives quit working at that time, so I don't have much pictures to show from that, but I was lucky to find a couple.
Next up was to install the new windshield. That's when the big problems started. When we installed the windshield it just cracked for what we believed to be no reason what so ever. As most people can imagine these windshields are not cheap, so it was a bad situation for me. And then all went from bad to worse when I removed the cracked windshield and the gasket tore apart. For me that was just too much, and I decided to put the project on hold until I had the money to buy a new windshield and gasket.
While the car itself has been sitting quietly in the garage, I have restored some parts that did not take much money to do so they would be ready to install in the future. First out was the power seat mechanism that I took totally apart, cleaned everything, then re plated the parts that was supposed to be so and painted other parts before I put everything back together. I also made sure all the electrical components were in good working order.
The steering column and and steering wheel needed a lot of work. Especially the cracked steering wheel took a lot of patience to restore. Luckily I found a NOS horn ring and steering wheel center just in time to put it on for the picture showing the assembled parts. Unfortunately most of the restoration pictures of both the seat mechanism and steering wheel/column is lost as well.
I also decided to replace all the side glass with new green tinted glass and had them custom made using the old side glass as templates. The quarter window frames has been at what I consider to be the best chrome shop in Norway, and the result is absolutely perfect. The stainless parts have been restored by me. One part that took me a lot of effort to make it work as it was supposed to was the hinge in the lower front of the quarter window. These have a tendency to get stuck, with the result that the window doesn't move the way it is supposed to when it is lowered, and after a while stress on the frame will make it crack. I have found that it is very important that these moves freely.
A nicely restored instrument panel is crucial for any car. I had a new dash pad made by Just Dashes. Luckily I also had a few important NOS parts, like the speedometer lens and some chrome parts to use. When I took these pictures the dash was not 100% finished. The sharp eyed person will notice one extremely unusual option, and that is the controller for the cruise control unit. This option was not available before 1961, but since I had a set up laying around I decided to use it for this car.
The seats needed a lot of attention as one of the previous owners must have been a pretty heavy person, and especially the drivers side of the front seat frame were in terrible condition with lots of springs either broken or stretched. Also the seat back were totally bent out of shape so it had to be replaced. Fortunately I had a front seat from another car that I could use for parts, so what I did was to take all the best springs from both seats and make one good seat frame out of the two. The seat cushion is molded, and I took a good molded foam piece from a 63 Mercury seat. The seat covers was made by an upholstery shop many years ago, and have just been stored for years waiting for the seats to be done. It was kind of amazing to see how well they fit the seats and the quality of the work they did for me. It is not always like that. OK, i'll post some pictures and you can see for yourself what has been done.
The first image shows some of the broken springs in the front seat.
Seat frames on my living room floor.
two tired seat frames has become one good and has been painted.
Building up the seat exactly the same way as the factory did is time consuming, but interesting.
The molded cushion for the front seat came out of a 1963 Mercury Monterey that a friend parted out many years ago.
The seat back is painted and going back together exactly the way as the factory did it with original type materials. No modern stuff in here.
Front seat is (almost) done.
So is the back seat as well.
The top frame restoration turned out to become a serious challenge, as I had to fight both serious rust, broken screws and seized pins in the joints. Also the holes in the sink frame parts were just too big as the holes were worn and made larger because of the very rusty pins. After some thinking I found the solution, and that was to have a machine shop to turn both new oversize pins and nylon bushings. Then I adjusted the size on the holes to fit these.
Some parts needed some creative fixes.
After test fitting everything the parts were prepared for new paint.
Chrome parts were polished.
And assembly could start.
Looking good, moves freely and tight.
And it's back on the car.
I spent a few really late evenings working on the interior door panels. They took a lot more time than I expected SMS Auto Fabrics https://www.smsautofabrics.com, who made the vinyl covers for me did a mistake and forgot to make the front top part black, so I had to dye that to get it just the way I wanted, but they look really nice now.
I had more rainy days and late evenings working on my car lately. One of the things left to do before I start to reassemble the car is to restore the vent windows and get the side glass in the frames. Through the years I have collected 4 pairs of vent windows, all with different flaws and problems. One set had nice chrome but rotted out seals, one set had nice seals, one set had nice screws and brackets. So I started with taking them all apart, drilled out the rivets that is holding the seals and picking the parts I wanted to reuse. You can actually buy a reproduction vent window seal for these, but I prefer to use the old originals when possible before some not so good expensive reproductions. Also some seals for the 59/60 Mercury will fit from the Ford catalog. The vent window seal is actually a 2pc seal, one front and one rear, and the rear is the same is 60/61 Ford 2 d ht. if I remember right. Anyway, most of the job was pretty much straight forward, but it is a lot of work. Take everything apart, polish stainless, polish chrome, clean rubber, install good and new rubber seals with rivets, clean and install other parts and glass in the frames.
The only major problem I ran into was the new glass run division bars that I bought from Dennis carpenter. They are junk and I decided to reuse the old ones and glue in new glass run liner. I bought the reproductions a few years ago, so maybe they have come up with better parts now, but if not stay away from these. For a number of reasons they are ill fitting poor quality pieces and will not stay in place as they lack the grove in the side to hold them in place in the vent window frame. They are also made out of thin weak metal that does not support the wide glass as they should, which may cause the glass to crack.
Old vent windows spread over the floor.
Disassembling them here
Door glass frames polished, glass in place,
And putting back together with good parts.
New glass ready to go in with glass setting tape.
Just showing the rivets and the ford rear vent window seal that fits like a glove
Here are the door glass and frames reassembled and the new liner is glues in both the front and rear glass runs. It is pretty good looking now and the only thing I dislike is that I decided to buy glass with no factory marks in them as I was going to etch these in myself. Now the company that I was supposed to buy the glass etching kit from does not respond to emails and I have been unable to order them. Oh well, I can live with that, maybe I can get that fixed later.
Here are the original division bar run and you can see the groove that is missing on the reproductions making those unable to use and fit right. But honestly, that's not the only problem, as the over all quality is really bad as well.
I guess its time for an annual update. Not much going on here. I really hoped to have this car finished by now, but that is not how it turned out. My new band and other cars I am also restoring took most of my time this year. Among them my 68 Park Lane.
Anyway, I have done a few things. First of all I decided to get the trim installed on the rear and quarters of the car. I had pretty much everything NOS for the car so it should be easy... Well, not so. Some of the NOS trim were actually in worse condition that my old trim, so in the end I decided to restore most of my old trim and reuse them.
The next step was to hang on the doors and trunk lid and to install all NOS lock mechanism.
Installing the dash board turned out to be a real challenge. It is heavy and it just would not fit until I found out that I have placed the fuses for the power windows 90 degrees wrong which made it impossible to get the dash where it was supposed to be. It took a few attempts to get it there before I found out.
As you can see in the last picture I have also started installing the side windows.
Here is another thing I've been struggling with. I wanted a set of original dual rear antennas for my car and have been looking for a set for years, but had not luck. Then, with just a few days between, two different sellers on ebay listed what they called front antennas for 57 Mercurys on ebay, but I noticed they both were NOS rear antennas. So I ended up buying them and was extremely happy until I "treid" them on my car and they just did not look right. Later I told a friend of mine about my this, and he showed me his set of NOS Edsel antennas which have a far heavier design of the base. There and then I knew they had to go on my car, and since my friend have a 57 Mercury Pace car and no Edsel, we made a deal and he got the NOS 57-59 antennas and I now have the Edsel antennas for my 60. I couldn't be happier. :)
Then there is this contintal kit project I started many years ago. When I came to the chrome show they told me the design were no good and that it would be really hard to do the bumper part with a good result as it was. So they asked me to make to 2 piece design that could be bolted together instead of the one piece welded together as it was. That turned out to be a lot of work, and at the same time I also redesigned the bumper a but and also added brackets to install the fake 60 Ford exhaust tips that I have found.
With the new design worked out the guys at the chrome shop was happy and did an excellent job.
Small pieces comes together.... Headlight brackets and holders were taken totally aparts, painted, stainless were polished and screws and small parts restored before it all went back together with brand new lamps.
Finally it was time to get the continental kit and rear bumper installed on the car. This has been a real challenge, and I think that if I knew how much time and money it would take to realize it I would probably not have done it. I have made two of these and the one for my car was the forst one, so I practiccally made it twice because I had to re design it and modify so many things after I made the second one and got the experience from that. Here is a picture from the last test fit on the car and where I finally decided it was good enough.
Back on the car after paint.
Bumper back on and testing mechanism.
I really love the look of this continental kit. Now the only thing left to do is to paint the plates between the bumper and the tire.