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An icon of the personalized car or truck period, Bob Hirohata’s 1951 Mercury customized by the Barris store, will go up for grabs at the Mecum Kissimmee (Florida) auction to be held Jan. 6-16.
The increase of personalized vehicle culture paralleled very hot rod lifestyle in the publish Entire world War II period. Numerous outlets in Southern California began customizing 1949-’51 Mercs, working with the slab-sided bodies as blank canvases for their vision of what cars could be. Chopping the tops, channeling the bodies, and shaving the trim for a smoother glimpse reworked what was otherwise deemed a frumpy design and style.
The Hirohata Merc is viewed as the pinnacle of Merc direct sled structure, and is acknowledged as the most well-known custom made of all time. Designed by the Barris brothers, George and Sam, at Barris Kustom, it gained all the ideal variations to make it glimpse smooth and classy, but not overstyled.
The most important changes reworked the profile. The store chopped the best 4 inches in the front and seven inches in the rear, leaned the the rear window ahead, and changed the B-pillars with channel stock to give the coupe a hardtop glance. To give the vehicle its lower stance, the Barris brothers lower the front coil springs, C-sectioned the rear frame, de-arched the rear leaf springs, and set the rear on two 1.5-inch decreasing blocks.
1951 Hirohata Mercury
Alongside the sides, the Barris brothers changed the straight fender trim with rounded trim from a 1952 Buick Riviera that provides a delineation for a two-tone Ice Green and Organic Darkish Environmentally friendly paint scheme. The shiny color was a departure from the a lot of dark shades on customs of the working day. Significant fender bulges were being additional to the rear, fronted by functional handmade scoops embellished with enamel from a 1952 Chevy grille.
At the entrance, the grille was shortened and a new handmade grille bar inserted. The bumper was modified, the headlights frenched (the trim rings molded into the fenders for a cleaner search), and wraparound parking light-weight moldings ended up created working with 1950 Ford areas. The hood missing its chrome and was extended and reshaped to fit with the new grille opening. The rear was offered frenched 1952 Lincoln taillights.
Inside, the auto gained a rolled and pleated upholstery. Pointed out pinstriper Von Dutch used his artwork to the sprint, and Hirohata himself designed his have teardrop dash knobs from plastic.
1951 Hirohata Mercury
The moment the customization was complete, Hirohata experienced the motor swapped with the mill from a 1953 Cadillac, earning the motor vehicle the nickname “Mercillac.”
The vehicle gained many awards, was highlighted in several magazines, and appeared in the 1955 movie “Runnin’ Wild.” Hirohata drove it for a handful of decades, then sold it in 1955. In 1959, a higher university scholar named Jim McNeil observed it on a utilized car or truck good deal. He drove it right until 1964, and then put it absent. It resurfaced in 1989, when Rod & Custom made editor Pat Ganahl coaxed McNeil into restoring the vehicle with the magazine’s help.
The revived Hirohata Merc appeared at the Pebble Seashore Concours d’Elegance in 2015, and was then additional to the National Historic Car or truck Register.
Now, this piece of automotive heritage can be yours. We’ll see if it sells and how substantially it goes for in January.