Hollywood Hot Rods- How To Chop a Mercury with help from Eastwood

Chopping a Mercury with help from Eastwood
By Jim Aust/Hollywood Hot Rods

Every since the first sleek new 1949 Mercury hit the street crafty restylers have lusted after examples with the roof a bit lower than the factory offerings. Sam Barris was among the first to chop his own personal Mercury, and the process would be repeated thousands of times over the next seven decades. Just as the title “custom” means, personally designed customs each have a unique style and equally unique method of creation.

The guys at Hollywood Hot Rods have built a series of much loved custom vehicles so it’s only natural that they would have chopped a few Mercury’s along the way. Refining the process to a science, Hollywood Hot Rods get the job done lowering a lid on a Mercury (or any vehicle) with the help of various tools from The Eastwood Company. For this demonstration an Eastwood Shrinker/Stretcher is used to a few of the vital steps in the process completed. Follow along as Hollywood Hot Rods shows how they lowered a roof on this 1951 Mercury.

Chopping the top on a Mercury is so popular at Hollywood Hot Rods that they have to wait in line for their turn under the knife.

The easy part is removing the top, the tough part is putting it back on correctly.

After lowering the roof the desired amount, the corners of the windows now require reworking to close up the gaps created in the process.

This view shows the great deal of work that will be necessary to reshape the rear corners of the quarter windows.

The first step is to trim out the rear corners so that new corners can be fitted in place.

To fill the corners small strips of sheet metal are cut and folded 90-degees in a sheet metal brake.

Next up the Eastwood Shrinker/Stretcher is used to shrink one edge of the custom new pieces to replicate the look of the factory corners in the newly required radiuses.

The newly fabricated pieces are carefully fit into in the trimmed out window corners.

The new window corners are tacked in place and checked again for proper placement before final welding is completed.

Once the final welding is finished the corners are shaped with a die grinder equipped with a barrel drum sanding head.

On this particular chop the decision was made to round-off the upper rear door corners rather than retain the square factory style corners.


Rather than cut the original door corners into multiple pieces, Hollywood Hot Rods prefers to create new sweeping corner from fresh sheet metal.

Repeating the earlier process, new inner door corners are made with the Eastwood Shrinker/Stretcher. Once the new door corners are in place they are welded and smoothed the same way as the window corners.

Just a few steps transformed this Mercury from a stocker to show stopper! Hit the Hollywood Hot Rods Website to see more of their work, enlist their services, or buy some sweet HHR gear!

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  • Roger Lonnstrom

    April 9th, 2013

    Thank you for the pictures / story (am doing a 49 4 door (4″ chop)) and it’s always good to see what the pro’s are doing. Currently I am developing my gas welding skill , welding all the extra holes in the frame shut (Boxing) before I finish butt welding the roof.

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