It appears that the search for Jack's old '56 is at a standstill. I (Jerry Nielsen, a former owner of the car) believe that the car is in the Mid West-Possibly Kansas or Missouri. This car has been neglected too long. As the original owner and builder are deceased,my goal is to locate the car, hopefully purchase it and restore it to its original look to preserve the memories. As I am 62 years old this will probably be my last custom.Would sincerely appreciate any help in finding the car.
This Manual Reves '36 Ford. The Under construction display at the LA Roadster show was to show the great metal work being done and answer any questions regarding cars construction. Preliminary chassis work was done by Pete Eastwood at SoCal Speedshop in Pomona, CA. Kicking up the frame in rear was done at GMT. They also did all restorative and custom work in their shop during a 3-year period. Only piece on car not modified was hood top.
This famous Barris custom was built in 1950. The top was chopped 5 or 6” in the front and a few more in the back.. Most of the sheet metal on the “c” pillars was made using preshaped metal from Californian metal shaping Inc. Sam Barris worked almost a year on the roof to get it just right. The windshield was chopped less and its leading top edge was moved upwards to open up the opening.
The side window chanels where hand formed from squire 3/8 inch chanel and later chrome plated. The chanels are fixed and do not roll down. Both front and rear fenders where molded to the body. All emblems and handles where removed. 1941 Buick fender skirts were modified to fir the Mercury. At the back a ‘46 Ford gravel shield was molded- to the body and ‘46 Ford bumpers and bumper guards where used front and rear. The bumper guards at the back where placed further from the center on the bumper and Barris cut a section from it to create the taillights using clear red plexiglass.
The interior was created by Bill Gaylord and uses white and oxblood red nuaghide and black carpets. The dashboard was fully chromed and the center panel was created out of red plexiglass. A ‘50 Mercury Monteray steering wheel was used.
Wide white walls with ‘50 Cadillac Sombrero’s on red wheels where used. The doors open with solinoids hidden in the running boards. The side trim was shortened a few inches at the front. The custom was painted a high gloss Royal maroon lacquer with gold iridescent highlights. In its short live the “Matranga Mercury” has won many awards at some of the major shows from that time. The wonderful side window opening style was later used on another famous Barris custom the “Hirohata Mercury”. The car was later sold when Nick Matrange left to Korea. The new owner wrecked the car soon after that, wraping it around a telephone pole on a rainy night, the car was totaled.
According to the owner, KHJ Boss Radio apparently commissioned Bill Cushenbery to take a 1956 T bird and customize it as a promotional give away car in Los Angeles in 1966. The car survives today in totally unrestored condition, only sporting a newer 312 engine to replace the original 292, an orange paint scheme that covers the original Cushenbery bright blue an a badly repaired left front fender. The original interior was missing when the owner acquired it.
Words by El Pratt I don't get on the H.A.M.B. too often but when I do I'm amazed at what pops up. This post in particular. I had Bill paint a '47 Ford at the same time this T-Bird was being built at his Burbank shop and got to see it being built start to finish. He was on a tight schedule to get it done and hired a guy who worked at Barris's to help out. I think his name was Steve Tate and was from Dodge City, KS. and drove a candy red Riviera. He did the rear of the car, Bill did the front. As someone pointed out, it wasn't one of his best designs but I can tell you the workmanship on that front end was top notch and the paint work was great. On a side note, at the same time Bill drove a Model A sedan painted a similar shade of blue that the T-Bird was painted. It was 260 Ford powered and had one of his patented custom dash boards. I'd like to know what happened to that car if anyone knows.
1951 Chevy Coupe built for Dave Sgambellone. The Chevy was just mechanically lowered in the rear (static) and Lifted in the Front. "Lifts" was what we called hydraulics in those days. Gordy was always a little disappointed in photos of this car as they always come out looking yellow. The color was actually a Candy Lime Green, The Metalflake on the roof and flames was a green and gold mix, the Lace work was green and gold powders mixed in clear, the roof was outlined in "Diamond Dust" (Glass Flake). And the center of the roof was gold cobwebbing, Gordy also did an onlay of Diamond Dust Flake on the hood and trunk along with a onlay of Diamond Dust on the rear fenders around the Metalflake flames.
This car was started by Dick Bertolucci, he chopped the top. But at the time Dick was more into other cars than this '38 Chevy. So he gave it to his father who installed the Packard Grille and 1940 Chevy headlights. Then he has his son Dick do the leading and finishing.
Starting with a ’47 Studebaker convertible was very unusual thing to do, but the Barris brothers did an fantastic job. The windshield was chopped 4 inch, the front fenders where extended 2.5 inch and headlights frenched into hand made rings. A new grille opening was completely hand formed and fitted with a grille made of two ’50 Lincoln grilles and topped of with round parking lights. Bumpers front and rear come from a ’52 Lincoln. At the rear the rear fenders where molded to the body and ’52 Studebaker taillights where mounted horizontal in hand made extentions. The 30 inch long and 8 inch wide extentions where molded to the body and give the car a very elegant and much longer look. The exhaust tips where relocated into the bumper guards. All emblems and handles where shaved and corners rounded. The gravel shield front and rear where molded to the body and the rear fenders where extended downward to level them with the rest of the body. The interior was upholstered with white rolled and pleated leatherette by the Carson Top Shop. They also created the padded removable top, which was upholstered in royal dark blue cloth. The unusual color for the top was a nice contrast for the ice blue paint which covers the body. A ’52 Pontiac side trim was used on the smoothed body and the space between the side trim pieces was painted dark blue to match the Carson top. The dashboard was left factory stock. Apperently the car was later painted marroon, its current whereabouts are unknown at this moment.