CHOPPED TOP BEAUTY
Classic American|February 2021
This 1951 Mercury Custom Coupe recently went up for auction on digital auction platform Stratas and we definitely thought it was worth a look. Winner of a Boyd Coddington Top Ten award, this iconic hot rod remains in pristine condition and a credit to its creator…

Though there has been much debate over the years about who first chopped the top on a 1949-51 Mercury (was it SamBarris, Buddy Alcorn or Lou Bettancourt?) there is no doubt that the chopped top Mercury is one of the most storied custom car stylings in automotive history. For many years it was believed that Sam Barris was the originator of the chopped top Merc’. His 1949 Mercury was first shown at the Oakland Roadster Show in February of 1951.

While shown painted, it had an incomplete interior, which could possibly explain why it only received second in the full custom class. Its first appearance in a publication was in December 1951. It was styled with full fade-away fenders, moulded-in rear quarter panels, a heavy chop with straight B-pillars, a grille using parts of a 1951 Ford, sharp hood corners and handmade tail-lights.

It’s said that Sam Barris bought the car used and worked on it in his spare time after shop hours at Barris Kustoms. At the same time, during shop hours, he was working on the Gaylord 1949 Mercury Convertible Custom. While not a coupe, it is worth noting that this car is said to be the first 1949 Mercury ever chopped.

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