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1961 Mercury Meteor 800 restore


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1 hour ago, Luv2Wrench said:

Wow... that top is bigger than my whole MG

 

I was thinking the same thing last night while looking at it.  I thought, man that roof has more metal than Jeff's whole car.  Next one, if there is a next one will be a small car.

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On 5/24/2020 at 4:31 PM, Laughing Coyote said:

Today was a great day. It was not as hot today so this morning I pulled out the old Merc and started to get busy on it.  I removed the rear window, sanded the window area, applied seam sealer and was able to get that big piece f sheet metal primed. I'm hoping next weekend I can get it all sanded out and apply a finish coat. Then hopefully a coat of paint and clear. Finally some progress

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Looks great! I notice that your rear roof pillars look straighter than mine. Years ago I asked an experienced restoration painter about my slightly less than straight pillars because I thought maybe it indicated some bodywork on what I assumed to be an all original car. He said no...sometimes the folks at the factory just had "off" days. 😏

 

The good news is I'll get my rebuilt radio back in a couple of weeks (its been gone 8 or 9 months) and I have the replacement antenna already installed. Once it's back, I can see if I need a replacement speaker, too.

 

Can't wait to see your whole car in that color.

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Posted (edited)

James, I circled the area on mine where there is a slight raised area on the side panel.  That's where they leaded the panels. They are not perfectly flat and smooth. I even have an area behind the rear window with lots of lead and it's not perfectly flat either.  I'm just leaving it the way it is. Being the car is a lighter color it's harder to see the imperfections.

 

Did you get any word from them on a noise filter of some sort to cancel out the engine noise over the radio? If you are looking for a replacement speaker it will need to have a small speaker magnet.  The bigger cone magnet gets in the way. 

 

I can't wait to get it painted too. I'm looking into a portable paint booth so I can get this thing sped up.

 

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Edited by Laughing Coyote (see edit history)
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2 hours ago, Laughing Coyote said:

 I'm just leaving it the way it is. Being the car is a lighter color it's harder to see the imperfections.

 

Did you get any word from them on a noise filter of some sort to cancel out the engine noise over the radio? If you are looking for a replacement speaker it will need to have a small speaker magnet.  The bigger cone magnet gets in the way. 

 

I can't wait to get it painted too. I'm looking into a portable paint booth so I can get this thing sped up.

 

 

 

Yes, my car is dark blue, so it has a greater tendency to exaggerate imperfections.

 

I did talk to Retro Radio Restorations about a noise filter (capacitor, condensor or whatever), but my conversation was through an intermediary with the knowledgeable guy, which isn't the ideal way to communicate. BTW, the filter that I found on my car is mounted near the voltage regulator. Anyway, according to this person, the boss says that a replacement part should be available new through NAPA but I don't believe this is the case...exactly. As I recall, I found something new online that looked similar to the original and had a similar part number as the one stamped on my original. It had a different connector, though, and a different suffix and maybe prefix to the part number. It could be the only difference between the new one and my original is the connector, and the suffix difference may just be reflecting that. If that's the case, I'll buy one and change the connector, but I need to find someone who can tell me if that's the case or not.

 

The good news is I put a new antenna mast on my '65 Thunderbird and got the original solid state radio to function again, and the existing noise filter - which also looks to be original - seems to be working fine. I'd been told that the noise filters can wear out with time, but that wasn't the case in the T-Bird. Did your Merc have a radio noise filter?

 

Thanks a ton for the heads up on the speaker. Good to know.

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Yes, mine has a noise filter at the voltage regulator also and the bottom had a little hole in the casing. Looked like a blown out compacitor. I did buy one that was for a 65 Mustang and looked similar, but when I hooked it up I still had noise. I'm thinking that this one is worn out too. If you come up with a solution please let me know. I have to replace my antenna also since it has a crack going vertically down the mast.

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Here's the antenna I ended up getting. It's for an "exact fit" application so it's a bit more money, and includes the cable and base. Haven't hooked it up yet, so I can't say how well it works. They may have just the mast, too.

 

https://www.autokrafters.com/p-8807-antenna-1961-64-ford-galaxie-wagons-63-64-fairlane-62-62-monterey-61-66-f-100-f-250-f-350-pickup-more-c3az-18813c.aspx

 

I bought a mast for my T-Bird from Mac's and it was apparently an exact fit for that application, but only cost $24. Shouldn't be much different price for a '61 Mercury.

 

As far as that Mustang noise filter goes, I believe that's the one I saw that was similar to my original, so it sounds like that won't work. Dang! 😟 NOS may be the only hope, or maybe a salvage unit. I was really hoping for more guidance from Retro Radio. I'll let you know if I see any units for sale.

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Reading through I thought I’d add along with the Merc coming along nicely is I have both the 4” and the 9” shrinking disks. I find the 9” works better as it heats the area faster and more of the high spots at one time. When you spray or wipe with the water the area seems to shrink more evenly. The disadvantage to the big disk is the size of the grinder so the workpiece has to be secured if it’s separated from the car.

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Today turned out to be pretty nice day after all. The day started off cloudy and hot so I really wasn't in the mood to do much, but I had to do some work on jobs for customers. That didn't last long since I just couldn't get motivated. It was just one of those days. Then about 3:30 I decided to start sanding on the roof of the Merc. It was still cloudy, but the heat seemed to drop and wasn't too bad so I kept on going and before I knew it I had it all sanded and ready to re shoot primer again. Then I thought, well why not since there was no wind and still cloudy. So I shot it again. Now I just have to sand again with some 600 and ready for paint.

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

Had some time and a cloudy day today so I decided to do some work on the old Merc. I put some body filler on the drivers side rear quarter Saturday after diner and let it cure up overnight so I could work it today. Used the cheese grater to knock down most of the high spots and get it fairly flat. Then 80 grit and a long board with lots of sanding. Then followed it up with 120 grit.  Pretty happy with it so far. Next step is to lay a heavy coat of primer and long board it with 220.  Guide coat it and see what I got after that. They really did a number on the rear quarters. The passenger side is beat worse so that ought to be fun. 

 

 

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Talk about a LONG board for this car.  Nice work Martin, I'll be paying attention, as we're doling similar work at this point, always good to pick up more tips.

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Posted (edited)

Had another good day on the Merc. The weather here has been overcast a lot so today I was finishing up a few spots that needed some sanding and decided to put some primer on the rear quarter.  It sprayed out nice. It doesn't have a heavy grainy texture. Just a nice heavy smooth coat. When I get some time again I will sand it out with 220 and see what I'm dealing with. It looks pretty good, so I'm hoping there's not to much more to do to it. 

 

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Edited by Laughing Coyote (see edit history)
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From one of your pictures, it seems that the rear fender is made with two parts, spot welded at the molding's recess. If this is the case, this is a cheaper way to modify the rear quarter for a visual change, or between Ford and Mercury models!

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Roger,

The Meteors and Monterey's in 1961 are sitting on a Ford Galaxie platform. The rear quarters are different between the two. The doors are the same. The hood and trunk have minor changes along with the front fenders. The roof is the same as a Galaxie hardtop. The exterior and interior trims are also different. There are a lot of Galaxie parts that I can use which makes it easier to find parts.

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Thanks for your comments! Maybe the lower rear quarter is the some on the Ford cars. However, you did not answer the question: are the rear quarters made with 2 pieces or is that a large single stamping?

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Since the clouds are gone and the heat has risen again I decided to work on some inside trim pieces. I did a quick sandblast and primed them. Just have to clean them up, paint and clear.

 

 

 

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19 hours ago, Roger Zimmermann said:

From one of your pictures, it seems that the rear fender is made with two parts, spot welded at the molding's recess. If this is the case, this is a cheaper way to modify the rear quarter for a visual change, or between Ford and Mercury models!

Roger, that was common practice with auto makers in those years to make the quarter r panels  in two sections, and weld them together. I owned a 1960 Pontiac that had quarter panels that split along the upper piece of chrome trim that ran from the door to the taillight. 

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15 minutes ago, John S. said:

Martin, that is a lot of block sanding on the Mercury. Those are long quarters

Isn't that the truth.  I have another long side to go and that side is going to need more work. I'm hoping to be spraying paint on the roof and quarters by late October when it's cooler and I can have more work time with the paint. 

 

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4 hours ago, John S. said:

Roger, that was common practice with auto makers in those years to make the quarter r panels  in two sections, and weld them together. I owned a 1960 Pontiac that had quarter panels that split along the upper piece of chrome trim that ran from the door to the taillight. 

Thanks for that comment! There was certainly a reason to do the rear quarter panels that way.

As I restored Cadillac cars, I do know much less what was done on other brands. On Cadillac, the rear quarter panels are made in one piece. An exception: on the '57-'58 Brougham models, the front fenders are made with 2 stampings and spot welded in the middle. The joint is hidden by a molding.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

I got all the interior trim pieces primed last night so this morning I gave them a sand with some 600 grit. I decided today to take a little break from the business today to shoot some paint and clear on them. They look good so the next step on them is to order some window rattle strips and get them installed. Then I can set those aside for later. Next I will start to work the other quarter panel. The temps have been over 100 with no end in sight so it makes it hard to go out there and do more hard labor. Not fun.

 

 

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Edited by Laughing Coyote (see edit history)
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Looks great Martin! I'm thinking you'll end up with one of the best full size '61 Mercuries on the planet! As to the temp, we've been watching AZ temps closely for a while. We'll leave for AZ the day after tomorrow to move my son into ASU in Tempe... first year of college. It was 108 degrees there a couple of days ago. 😬 STAY COOL!

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Thanks for the comment James. Yes It's pretty toasty here right now. Tempe will be hotter here than in Vail by a few degrees. Drink plenty of water and have your son stay safe. As for me today, I acquired a new tool for the Mercury. A Mercury industrial sewing machine. Couldn't pass up the cost. $450 all in and works nice. Looks like I'm going to have to learn car upholstery too. 

 

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I'm not sure if an industrial machine is the same as an upholstery machine. It will surely depend on the needles, thread and fabric you'll use. It looks heavy duty. I guess you'll find out when you try it. Do you still have the old seats for patterns?

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The couple I bought it from makes designer hand bags from leather and fabrics. They lost a lot of business due to the Covid and had to let some sewers go so they decided to sell the machine. They have 5 others. She explained the differences in needles and thread for me and if I had any questions to get in touch with her. She demonstrated it on 4 layers of vinyl material and the stitches looked nice. I will have to get some books on upholstery and practice on other projects first. I have all the seats with the original material and not all trashed so they would make good patterns. Fun stuff.

 

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Well it looks like you'll be all set. It sounds like it should work out well for you.. You've done really good work so far. It'll take some practice for sure.

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  • 2 weeks later...

After some thinking I decided to do some property modifications so I can get the Merc into the paint shop. I built it with a roll up door in the rear since I have access through the property. The only problem is that there is not enough room to get the car into the door. There is a tree, fence, post and some plants in the way. So I moved the post back to the corner of the other shop and I'm in the progress in cutting down the tree and removing the plants. I should have plenty of room to get it in there now. Hate to cut down a nice tree, but, I got to get back on this car so I can get it done without baking in the sun.

 

 

 

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Instead of cutting down the tree,  why not maneuver the car around on the right of the tree? It looks like there's enough room in the second photo. Looks like you just need to move the stuff there on the right. You might only need to cut down the one yucca bush.

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