JANUARY 15, 2022 – The Hirohata Mercury sold for a hammer price of $1.95 Million Dollars at the Mecum auction! It remains the highest price paid for any kustom car, and we were excited to see it happen.
When it comes to kustom cars, the 1951 Mercury built by George and Sam Barris for Bob Hirohata is about as legendary is it gets. The car innovated kustom design elements, and remains true to form today, even through an extensive restoration. Oh yeah, it also looks awesome! It’s long, low, chopped, clean, with Buick side trim, tuck & roll interior, Caddy Sombrero hubcaps, and a real Von Dutch stripe on the dash, and it’s boss. And now, it can be yours!
The spring, 2022 Mecum Auction in Kissimmee, Florida is where this amazing ride will change hands to the highest bidder.
The Hirohata Mercury, arguably the most famous custom car of the classic era
Named for the car’s original owner, Bob Hirohata of Los Angeles, California
Iconic custom car built by Sam and George Barris
Featured in Hot Rod Magazine in March 1953
Cover car for Hop Up magazine in March 1953
Class Winner at the 1952 Petersen Motorama
Featured in Rod & Custom in October 1953
Appeared in the film “Running Wild” in 1955 starring Mamie Van Doren
In the care of the McNiel family since 1959, when Jim McNiel purchased the car for $500 at the age of 16
Restoration completed in 1996 to exact 1952 Motorama specifications
Restoration detailed by Pat Ganahl in several issues of Rod & Custom magazine
Colors matched using spectrography and new paint was applied by Junior’s House of Color using PPG materials
Displayed at the “Hot Rods and Customs (The Men and Machines of California’s Car Culture)” exhibit at the Oakland Museum of California upon completion
Restored again by the original builders, including Herschel “Junior” Conway and Frank Sonzogni, in 2015 for Pebble Beach
First in Class at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2015
Added to the National Historical Vehicle Register in 2017 and displayed on the national mall in Washington, DC
Previously displayed at the Petersen Automotive Museum
1953 Cadillac 331 CI OHV V-8 engine with three Stromberg carburetors
The B-pillars were removed and the roof was reshaped to create a hardtop
Top chopped 4 inches in the front and 7 inches in the rear
Front fenders extended 4 inches, incorporating frenched 1952 Ford headlights
Rear fenders extended and fitted with frenched 1952 Lincoln Capri tail lights
Trunk corners were rounded
Hood was filled, peaked and extended into the grille
Custom grille made from three 1952 Ford grilles
Factory dips on the doors were filled and the surrounding sheet metal was reshaped to flow with 1952 Buick Riviera trim spears
Functional brake cooling scoops on rear panels
Flush fit, flared fender skirts
Chopped front coils in front and the frame was kicked up in the rear
Springs were de-arched using two sets of 1.5-inch lowering blocks
Finished in two-tone Seafoam Green and Organic Green
The Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals is an amazing show featuring some of the most sought-after cars ever built. In this video, we took some time to chat with John Kramen from the Mecum Auction Company about the cars they brought to the show, ranging from a Yenko Camaro, a 640 mile Plymouth Superbird, a Ford Torino King Cobra, several Hemicuda convertibles, a 1 of 8 1969 Pontiac Trans Am convertible, and more! The only difference is that all the cars in the Mecum display will go to the highest bidder at an upcoming Mecum auction!
V8TV Coverage of the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals presented by Reliable Carriers.