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.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
On your Mark VII
In our sixth instalment of the Continental story, we’re looking at the seventh iteration of the Continental Mark series: the evergreen Mark VII, a powerful, aerodynamic coupe that looks as fresh today as when the covers were first pulled off 37 years ago…
A ‘posh’ Mustang? It could only be the Mercury Cougar …
Chrysler Concept 70X
Safety as a marketing concept for cars? Well, Richard Heseltine reckons we have Ralph Nader to thank for that. This month Richard examines a concept vehicle that was a direct result of the sudden interest in vehicle safety after Nader’s campaigning…
Stock or modified?
Evans debates the merits of keeping your classic in factory condition or adding upgrades to make it more suitable for today’s roads
HEAVY METAL COLLECTION
With a bit of luck we might be able to fly to the US again by the end of the summer. If Los Angeles is on your itinerary, then make sure you include the Petersen Museum for a very special exhibition that’s been extended due to the pandemic. Keith Harman explains why…
Patience is a BARRACUDA 1970 Plymouth Barracuda
We’re often reading about people who have an ideal car in their mind, and who wait decades until that dream becomes a reality. We meet another beautiful dreamer, Tom Aspinall, and his Detroit-inspired dream from Mother Mopar…
1960 Cadillac Sedan De Ville Johnny Cash's CADILLAC?
Country crooner Johnny Cash famously sang about a Cadillac created by a worker at the Cadillac factory – One Piece at a Time – as he, errr… took bits of car home over a period of years to create a car… but was it a ’60 or a ’61 or a…?
1929 Lincoln Limousine NICE JAG MATE!
It’s not often we come across a Gatsby-era luxury car that has been in the UK since the roaring Twenties and with the same owner since 1966! Meet Derek Brown’s magnificent 1929 Model L seven-passenger Limousine…
Remembering The K-Car
Evans looks back to the humble compacts that saved Chrysler…
This early 1965 Ford Mustang still looks to be wearing most of its original paint and proves the point: it’s only original once!