The world’s most famous custom car – the Bob Hirohata 1951 Mercury – is selling at the January 2022 Mecum Auction in Kissimmee, Florida.
This iconic car was created by Sam and George Barris when Bob Hirohata after returning from military service brought a new Mercury to the Barris; to do their magic. The original build occurred in under 100 days to be ready for display at the 1952 Motorama car show.
Sam Barris removed the B pillars to make the Mercury into a hardtop. Chopping the roof four inches and lowering the rear roofline an additional three inches made for a sleek look.
Additional alterations include:
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
The car was restored by the owner to Seafoam Green and Organic Green. These hues were trend-breaking as most customs back in the ’50s were somber, dark colors.
The Grand National Roadster Show wrapped up the three day show, announcing the winner of America’s Most Beautiful Roadster (AMBR) on Sunday January 26, 2020. The winning entry is certainly an awesome Arizona build and I admire the craftsmanship.
But (and you knew there would be a but right?)
Leg Show T-Bucket
I could not take my eye off a T-bucket that seemed to be a tribute to the original Leg Show T-Bucket. This roadster was as outrageous as the original and just screamed at you. I had commented to others that this bucket was the hit in my youth but was too far out there to be the final AMBR winner this year.
Craftsmanship of Leg Show T-Bucket
But hats off to the owners, Walter and Thenia Sigsby. This T-Bucket had some great workmanship and the paint and shiny pieces glowed under the lights in Pomona, CA. The Jaguar rearend was easy to see in this design and the Dan Fink grill was top notch. Due to the stanchions, I couldn’t see much of the Ron Mangus interior but what we could see was awesome. Turns out the gas tank was done by Jim Babbs who had also worked on the original Leg Show T in 1970.
Leg Show T-Bucket Legacy
The original Leg Show T-Bucket made the cover of Rod and Custom in 1971 and was an instant hit. Here’s hoping this one does the same.
Each February in downtown Chandler, Arizona a group of folks throws a nice laid back car show. Taking advantage of paved parking lots on both sides of Dr. A. J. Chandler Park in downtown over 250 cars spread out for a fun, sunny day.
This year organizers also blended in a set of displays with a science technology bent for visitors to review and children to engage with.
While parts of the country are still fighting blizzards, the big dilemma was finding shade in downtown Chandler. The surrounding merchants get into the mood and help promote their local businesses.
And for the second year the owner of the first original Batmobile brought out the car for all to admire. It’s nice to see the owner supporting a local event and the benefiting charities.
Here is a link to our previous post on the Batmobile
George is always around the car scene when the cameras pop out. His gold jacket stands out even amongst the eccentrics at SEMA. He sure got some publicity and ca$h when the Batmobile sold last year at Barrett-Jackson. And as I’ve said before he had a great publicist. But Dean Jeffries was the catalyst for a lot of memorable TV and Hollywood cars, as I mentioned here.
I guess careful wording can avoid some legal heartaches!
Car customizer, engineer and stunt driver Dean Jeffries died in his sleep recently at the age of 80.
Die hards will recognize both his name and his cars.Â Dean might not have had the greatest publicist, Â but he was a renaissance man when it came to cars.
Of course his customs done for Hollywood are instantly recognizable.Â The Monkeemobile, the Green Hornet and the Beach Boyâ€™s cover car from their Little Deuce Coupe album were all his handiwork.
He started out as a painter- striper and worked with Von Dutch.Â He added the script to James Deanâ€™s Porsche Spyder â€“ Little Bastard.Â He moved over to George Barrisâ€™s shop and honed his metal working skills.Â He painted the first Shelby Cobra for Carroll Shelby.
You probably heard that George Barris sold his Batmobile at the Barrett-Jackson Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona.Â But make sure you follow the full money story.
The seller also had to pay a 10% commission ($420,000).Â Plus since the Batmobile is staying in the state, he pays a 8.95% sales tax ($413,490).
So George Barris also pays a commission to Craig Jackson.Â Since the car was sold on a reserve basis it generally requires a payment of 10% as well ($420,000).Â And sellers also pay a fee based on time and day the car is scheduled to be auctioned.
Add it all up and lots of money shifted around with just one car!
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