Let's begin with a cool, early 1960s, fullsize ride. The 1964 Mercury Marauder is a perfect platform to start an affordable cool cruiser.
Not much is needed in any body mods because Mercury's designers did all the hard work. But let's get that baby low. Whether by a traditional drop or a modified suspension, such as airbags, it's totally your choice. I removed all badging—front trim, turn signals, Mercury badges, door handles, and so on. For door handles, I love single-button 1946-48 Lincoln door poppers, using the area of the key lock for placement.
The side trim is shortened so the front body spear just peeks onto the door, cleaning up the profile. Stock front and rear bumpers are used and a custom front grille would be adapted using the same lines as the stock grille, but with a horizontal flow from some flat 1/2-inch aluminum or steel bars. Polished aluminum or chrome steel are options. The taillights are just jazzy enough. To get a bit different, wire them with a sequential light pattern.
I removed the side mirrors, since they're kinda heavy and clunky in stock form. Instead, how about a molded-in bump on the upper door with power to move the side mirror, controlled from within the cockpit? Paint options are infinite—just keep the balance and/or contrast with the interior.
I love the stock interiors of early 1960s cars—unique to every brand of the day. The 1964 Marauder holds true; with a gentle tidy clean up, it could work very well. Aftermarket air (or factory) would be an asset on those long trips having fun.
The drivetrain could be the venerable 390, or if you're a lucky dog, a factory 427. Many might go for a newer drivetrain, from a donor 5.0L Mustang, Grand Marquis, or Lincoln. If fuel injection is your kitty, the possibilities are endless. I would definitely make this an auto car, keeping the manual transmission for your other projects. The stock 9-inch rear is more than acceptable, handling all your cruising duties with ease.
Wheel combos are endless with this project, but stance is the key. I chose an old-school wheel/tire look—pinner whitewalls (radials) and old chrome slot 15-inch wheels.
The 1964 Mercury Marauder can be made to roll with the best of them. Vroom vroom!