Home Forums CCC Forum Creating a KREEP..

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    Thank you for following along gentlemen!  Very glad you are enjoying my journey with Al’s Merc (Dave’s Merc?) and appreciate what the car was and what we had to do to tend to the “surprises”.  I wanted to stay true to what Al and the Kustom Knights had created while putting my own stamp of individuality on the car.  This was the reason for retaining the fender chrome, not moulding the fenders to the body, not hiding the running boards, no bumperette lamps etc..  I could have done those things and perhaps enhanced an already beautiful custom, but I did not want to disguise it’s basic identity.  After all, I purchased the car based on it’s styling before I knew of the history, so why would it need any further customizing.  Of course I wasn’t aware of the issues lurking under the skin!  We just had to address those issues all the while attempting to “back date” the car by scrubbing the ’80s off.  ;-D



    Jus' creepin' along..


    During one of the many mock-up stages Neil began to fit the modified fender skirts.  I had purchase a steel set of ’46-’48 skirts to replace the glass ones which were on the car.  Barry Mazza had sent me a paper template of the longer ’41-’42 style to use as a pattern and Neil added about 4″ to the shorties to match the template.

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    I was sure I had a pic of the work done, but it eludes me at the moment.



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    When you are unskilled as I am you get the menial jobs!  Just kept reminding myself that it was money saved..!  Getting the undercoating off the underside of the hood so repairs could be made.  There was a slight sag in the centre to be sorted in addition to the removal of the brass used to attach the brake-line centre peak.

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    The trailing point of the quarter windows needed new pieces formed to recreate the shape they had had done in filler before:

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    Still very rough at this stage, but you can see where we were headed..

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    Continuing to get sealer on the metal before going forward with more body work:

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    Many will cringe at this next pic, but with the gaping holes filled, the contours refined and yards of welding done, a skim of bondo was still desperately needed.  Rest assured, the majority of this will come off, but my budget could not justify dressing the massive quantity of welds to the point of coach-built metal finishing – ‘though Neil is more than able to do that quality of work.

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    Sand off..

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    Mud on..

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    The dark green fibreglass filler was used in the roughest areas for maximum adhesion, while the yellow/green filler was used to do the smoothening of the panels.  I didn’t realize at the time how bad this looks, but in reality there is very little bondo required and is in such a thin layer it didn’t bother me in the least.  The car was getting it’s beautiful shape back again without having been sculpted entirely of mud.  Standards are constantly changing and what was fine before is no longer, and what may be fine now ..in the future who knows?  I am confident that no eyebrows will be raised by the next person to redo this Merc..

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    Late February 2015 – Primer!

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    Oh my word!  Just a reminder that it’s time to pull this outta here.

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    As near as I can tell there had never been an electrical fire..  Whew!


    No need for any of this stuff..

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    Got the dash home and peeled the tweed off of it as well as the vinyl covered plywood gauge panel.  Now I was faced with the removal of all that old contact cement.  A buddy was feeling sorry for me and offered his spare ’47 dash.  Good to have friends!

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    Buuutttt, while visiting another buddy to ask a few questions (he had recently sold a ’41 Merc convertible) he said that, although his collection of spare bits had gone to the new owner, he may still have some stuff I could use.  Eureka!  In one building he pulled a dash down from the rafters(!!!) and from another he supplied me with a steering column and an old gauge cluster!  What’d I say about friends?

    Terrible photo, but great score!

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    This part of the interior build looks pretty rapid here, but it took weeks and weeks to track down the rare bits needed for a restoration of a ’41 Merc dash!  I managed to find a wrecker in the states that had decent stainless for the plastic surround and eBay provided a clock for the glove box door, but the real challenge was the dash plastic.  The other fat-fendered Fords and Mercs had repops available, but not the one year only Merc pieces.  I had some very old Hemmings lying around and one turned up an ad for reproduction ’41 Mercury dash plastic!  With the contact name and city (Sacramento CA) from a decades old magazine I asked for someone in the area to check the current telephone directory on the outside chance the fellow was listed.  There was no “John” in the book, but there was a “Jack” with the proper last name.  Now I knew Jack and John were interchangeable, so I took a chance and dialled the number.  A woman answered; and after I explained the reason for my call, she said I did indeed have the right place!  She stated her husband was ill, but she would ask him about the parts if I could call back in a couple of days.  Certainly!  When I called again, the story she gave me was that her husband was unsure if there were any parts remaining of the limited number he had made; but, that she had gone to the attic and uncovered one last set which they would sell to me if I were interested.  Holy cow!  Of course!  Anyway, as far as I know that’s it for reproduction plastic and the only other option remaining with which to replace the brittle soy-based original stuff would be to locate the equally rare chrome aftermarket stuff from the ’50s..

    Here ’tis!


    I have a shot of the stainless, but it’s even fuzzier than the crummy pic above..  Oh well.



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    bob tindale

    Great story but I feel your pain regarding all the ‘surprises ‘ you have found. I’ve been there myself and wondered why I didn’t start from scratch [ probably because I loved the car and thought I got a hell of a deal]. Plastic filler when used properly is problem free. Metal finishing is fine but that’s not in my opinion what these cars are about. The end result is you have a great Kustom. Congrats.


    Thanks Bob!  I see you understand..  and I think I too, all said and done, got a hell of a deal as well!  😀



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    Looking good Dave! It’s something how much work can go into a “finished” car. My wife wonders sometimes if it’s worth it redoing a finished car. LOL Then I remind her what I paid for the Merc and how much good it had that I didn’t have to do. 🙂


    That’s a great way to remind ourselves of the value of the purchase Dave.  You’re clever enough to be a doctor or something!  Oh, wait a minute…  lol.    ;-D



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    While tracking down new (old) parts I found a fellow in Edmonton AB who had a ’41 Ford steering wheel and a Merc horn ring for a very fair price.

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    Gently sandblasted – lotsa breaks!

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    I grooved out the breaks and purchased some square profile styrene from the model store to create the raised portions exclusive to the Merc wheel.  I didn’t realize ’til the wheel was done that the button end of the “V”s should be closed.. Oh, well.  JB Weld was used to fill/mold and I quickly realized the old rubber of the wheel sanded much easier than the JB Weld does.  To help ease that issue I used very wet fingers to smooth the JB during application, thus highly reducing the amount of sanding required.

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    Rattle can primer to see what I was doing:

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    After much more filling/sanding my buddy squirted the wheel with a bone coloured epoxy for durability

    and I finished the ring with Pontiac engine enamel (just a bit too blue) and red nail polish..

    Ta da!

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    Makeovers can get pretty involved!

    But I’m really glad you’re making over that wiring!!!


    The interior garnish mouldings had been upholstered in vinyl as well so that had to go.  The vinyl came off with no problem, but look at all that glue!

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    Some further metal contouring will be necessary too by the looks of things.

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    Remove the glue with a flapper wheel while balancing parts on my lap..  What could go wrong?

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    Just a wee bit more filling/sanding in a few spots and these will be good to go:

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    While doing those I also blasted the new(!) dashboard and Neil sealed it in preparation of priming, scuffing and.. paint!  The fellows in the shop also formed an additional portion for the top of the stock column drop I got with the steering column which placed the column in a similar position to the tilt/telescopic one that came in the car..  This 2″ block would replace the extra long bolts with tubular sleeves you may have notice in a previous pic.

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    Next, I turned my attention to the gauges.   The original dash had various aftermarket round ones which had required expanding the hole for the cluster.  Fortunately I had the replacement dash which came with an original cluster.

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    Starting disassembly I discovered something I thought as odd..  There were TWO layers of glass (found another cluster later with the same double-glass situation) covering the gauges.  I figured the number screening would be safely between the layers, but no!  The numbering/lettering was on the backside of the bottom pane..!  Not sure what the thinking was unless the second piece was a factory solution to glare or anti-rattle?  Anyway I had some serious cleaning to do!

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    Studying the pile and contemplating a workable procedure:

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    After a thorough cleaning of the glass taking extra care to not damage the remaining screen-print lettering I took a photo..  The photo was placed in PhotoShop and digitally cleaned further.  Then that file was imported to Adobe Illustrator in order to re-create the lettering in vector form (mathematical lines rather than pixel based information).  This file would be the most accurate for whomever was to re-do the lettering for me.  What I did in Illustrator was trace each number & letter (I did not have the correct fonts) and “polish” them to where they looked correct to me and place each colour (red & white on the glass – red and black in the file for ease of viewing on screen) in a separate layer.

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    Making each layer a separate file, I took these to a company which had a vinyl cutter.  The files were reversed so the lettering would have the “sticky” side to the glass and still read right-way ’round.  While that was happening I cleaned what remained of the screened ink off of the pane of glass.  Oh no!  The glass is etched where the ink goes!  The odds of my vinyl lettering matching the etched glass..  not good.  But, my worries were for naught as the vinyl fit exactly!  Wow!

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    With the carefully cleaned brass sheet in behind I couldn’t be happier!

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    Warren – of Warren’s Dream Car Garage – painted the dash in the colour we concocted for the car (a long story in itself) which was the first time I had seen it sprayed.  The super-dark brown with bronze highlights was exactly what I had in mind from the very beginning.

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    The glove box door in the bright sunlight:

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    Assembly trumps tear-down!

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    Jus' creepin' along..

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