Hirohata Merc: Custom Legend

The 1951 Mercury Sports Coupe, built by Barris Customs of Hirohata Merc fame, is the epitome of the custom car craze that became popular in post-war America! This chopped Merc helped set the trend for many custom cars and left an indelible mark on American automotive history!

This car played a significant role in shaping the custom car culture and remains a symbol of 1950s American automotive design and customization. The car was customized by George and Sam Barris of Barris Kustoms, a renowned custom car shop based in California. The Barris brothers, especially George Barris, were pioneers in the field of custom car building.

The car was commissioned by Bob Hirohata, a young car enthusiast, in 1952. Hirohata wanted a unique and personalized custom car, and he entrusted the Barris brothers with the project. The base car for this custom project was a 1951 Mercury Sports Coupe. The Hirohata Merc featured extensive exterior modifications, including a chopped top, frenched headlights, shaved door handles, and a custom grille.

The roof was lowered by three inches, giving the car a sleek and aggressive profile. The car was painted in a distinctive two-tone color scheme: a vibrant blue on the top and white on the bottom. The paint job is considered a masterpiece and has become synonymous with the car. The interior of the Hirohata Merc was also extensively customized with a mix of blue and white upholstery, complementing the exterior color scheme.

The dashboard was redesigned and fitted with modern amenities for the time. The car retained its original flathead V8 engine, but the engine bay was detailed and dressed up to enhance the overall appearance. The custom Mercury featured distinctive wide whitewall tires and chrome reverse wheels, adding to its classic and custom look. It became a trendsetter, inspiring many custom car builders and enthusiasts.