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Chris Ito's 49 Merc 'vert is it...

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by JK, Sep 4, 2011.

  1. The bomb.

    The wife and I went to the Invasion yesterday. I had seen Ito's 49 on Them's Facebook page as a featured entrant. It looked really cool in the small pic. As we were walking, I happened to catch a glimpse of it and immediately headed in that direction. The closer I got, the more awestruck I became. Every line on the car flowed better in person than on the picture. The color is a deep but not metallic maroon with a top somewhere between white and creme. And that top, oh what a top it is. A 52 buick riviera hardtop grafted on the the Merc 'vert shell. If I tried to walk away from the car, I was eventually drawn back to it so as to check out more details. Eventually, I met Mr. Ito. Mr. Ito is the salt of the earth. He told me about some of the history, showed me some original 1953 build pics on his iPad and opened the trunk to reveal the seams where 3 different deck lids were welded together to form a beautiful rear end. We even crawled around on the ground to look at the Z'ed and BOLTED TOGETHER frame!!! Mr. Ito eventually had to take the car to a super secret location for a high-tech photo shoot. The car popped to life with that familiar mechanical grind that only a flathead can make, as it should for a 30k mile car. As I was talking to Mr. Ito I describe his car to him as "Looking into the eyes of Medusa, I just can't look away". Thanks Chris for bringing out such a beautiful kustom and thanks Them! for putting on a kickass show. I will definitely be back next year.


    Every man should leave his steel-toe boot print on the face of history.
     

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  2. Ryan
    Joined: Jan 2, 1995
    Posts: 19,051

    Ryan
    ADMINISTRATOR
    from Austin, TX
    Staff Member

    Ito rules...
     
  3. fifTsix
    Joined: Jul 26, 2008
    Posts: 486

    fifTsix
    Member
    from TEXAS

  4. autobodyed
    Joined: Mar 5, 2008
    Posts: 1,945

    autobodyed
    Member
    from shelton ct

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  5. brewsir
    Joined: Mar 4, 2001
    Posts: 3,279

    brewsir
    Member

    Thats the merc my pal Ralph Finley in Vallejo Ca saved. I asked years ago if anyone had any info on the original builder (bay area guy) and couldn't get any info....crazy amount of work done on that car...and Ralph did a crazy amount of repairs and rebuilding including finding a new top and fixing a bunch of body issues. Cool to see it is getting out and about now!!
     
  6. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 17,696

    49ratfink
    Member
    from California

    here it is at the San Francisco Rod Custom and Motorcycle Show in 2006.
     

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  7. Jeff Norwell
    Joined: Aug 20, 2003
    Posts: 12,962

    Jeff Norwell
    MODERATOR
    Staff Member


    word.
     
  8. Chopt 34
    Joined: Jan 20, 2002
    Posts: 693

    Chopt 34

    JK, man, I really appreciate the comments, and I really enjoyed talking with you. It is great meeting other like minded souls that have the appreciation these old craftsmen had. I wish I would have had the scrapbook Ralph Finley put together, I can tell you would have really enjoyed it.

    Brewsir, I have told Ralph and everyone else I ever meet, Ralph is the true hero that saved this car from oblivion. I have had numerous conversations with him and enjoyed every minute, it has been a true pleasure getting to know him. I am so honored to be the current care taker of this incredible but relatively unknown custom. My plans are to pick up where Ralph left off and continue with the preservation effort and give the recognition to the Paretto brothers they deserve for creating such an incredible custom.

    Thanks again JK and the Them! Car club for another great time!
     
  9. Chopt 34
    Joined: Jan 20, 2002
    Posts: 693

    Chopt 34

    Thank you Ryan and Jeff, i am not worthy! I am just the current caretaker.

     
  10. Chopt 34
    Joined: Jan 20, 2002
    Posts: 693

    Chopt 34

    Brewsir, there has been quite a bit of the history pieced together now. Unfortunately Ray Paretto, only recently passed away this summer. But I now have several photos from Ray I acquired through Ralph of the early build photos and early show signs, etc. In time, I plan to reach out to Mrs. Paretto to see if I can aquire the old show signs and trophies to be reunited with this car, I think it is only the right thing to do and I am sure the Paretto brothers would be happpy to hear about that.

    For everyone else on the board, to show how much of a 'Hero' Ralph is, this is how the Merc looked when he first acquired this custom. Yep, the previous guy cut the top off!
    Some of you may have seen it in tinted primer in 'Roadster form' the first few years Ralph drove it, that is how it looked the first time I saw it. The last two are the in progress shots during the rebuild.
    All I can say is he is a heck of alot more patient than I am, thank god for that!
     

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    Last edited: Sep 4, 2011
    Too Tall likes this.
  11. Midwest Rodder
    Joined: Dec 7, 2008
    Posts: 1,768

    Midwest Rodder
    Member

  12. Silvair
    Joined: Sep 30, 2010
    Posts: 189

    Silvair
    Member

  13. noboD
    Joined: Jan 29, 2004
    Posts: 7,163

    noboD
    Member

  14. cracker head
    Joined: Oct 7, 2007
    Posts: 968

    cracker head
    Member


    + 1
     
  15. MR. FORD
    Joined: Aug 29, 2005
    Posts: 1,636

    MR. FORD
    Member
    from Austin, TX

    Congrats Chris! That car couldn't have fallen into better hands.... Pretty bummed I couldn't make the Invasion this year.... Hope all is well.
     
  16. swissmike
    Joined: Oct 22, 2003
    Posts: 1,283

    swissmike
    Member

    Interesting take on a custom. To me it looks more like a factory car that never was since each element (roof, front, rear, etc.) could be a factory design, but of course will make a one of a kind when put together.
     
  17. Chopt 34
    Joined: Jan 20, 2002
    Posts: 693

    Chopt 34

    Hey thanks Mark! I was hoping I would see you there, there is always next year!
     
  18. BlackMagicKustoms
    Joined: Jul 5, 2006
    Posts: 322

    BlackMagicKustoms
    Member
    from Denton,TX

    Chris, I believe you live near me. I've seen your cars driving around. I have chased you to get a glimpse of some of what you are fortunate enough to possess. I'm also friends with D. Sancer and J. Ray. Nice to have talent such as yours in the neighborhood.


    Too many cars, so little time!
     
  19. Chopt 34
    Joined: Jan 20, 2002
    Posts: 693

    Chopt 34

    Black Magic, I try to drive my cars as often as possible.
    Flag me down some time if you around the neighborhood, you are welcome to stop on by, I need some help sanding! LOL!
    Seriously, what should I keep a look out for, what do you drive?
     
  20. Evel
    Joined: Jun 25, 2002
    Posts: 9,024

    Evel
    Member
    1. 60s Show Rods

    Love that car.. saw when it was for sale and I couldn't understand that it didn't sell right away.. Glad you got it.. I'll add that to the Ito Shoot for MFS :D
     
  21. billylo
    Joined: May 20, 2007
    Posts: 542

    billylo
    Member

    Man you just keep adding to the collection.....I have already bragged on your taste in vehicles!! Now it looks like I will have to say it again.....JEALOUS AS HELL!!!
     
  22. Really a cool car to see in person. So many details, I probably looked it over a dozen times and still didnt catch them all ! Its great to see these historical cars preserved but still bieng driven and showed for real car guys to enjoy..Thanks for bringing it out.
     
  23. Jonnie King
    Joined: Aug 12, 2007
    Posts: 2,077

    Jonnie King
    Member
    from St. Louis

    Chris...

    Fantastic car ! Stroke of genius to mate the Buick roof with the Merc !!

    BTW: You are one fantastic designer...the work you did on Dave Hall's "New Mad" was superb.

    I did a great Interview with Steve Frisbie (who built the New Mad) and he told the story of how you happened to be at the shop when Dave was there, and how you & Dave got together on the design and, of course, the rest is History.

    Congrats again !!

    Jonnie King www.legends.thewwbc.net
     

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  24. Chopt 34
    Joined: Jan 20, 2002
    Posts: 693

    Chopt 34

    Jonnie, thank you for the compliments, I appreciate that. I know there are a lot of people on this board that do not like the New Mad, it is definitely one of my most favorite projects I have had the opportunity to work on.
    I can not take any credit for the Merc other than being the current care taker. The Real visionaries of this fantastic custom Merc are brothers Reno and Ray Paretto from the Bay area and Ralph Finley for taking the initiative to save this car from oblivion.

     
  25. Flywheel Photography
    Joined: Aug 28, 2011
    Posts: 16

    Flywheel Photography
    Member
    from Austin, Tx

    I have a shot of the merc that was done after the Invasion! show. We used Arrons shop there in Deep Ellum. Thanks Arron! I think it turned out well. im really itching to post it!

    And Chris IS the Man!
     
  26. Flywheel Photography
    Joined: Aug 28, 2011
    Posts: 16

    Flywheel Photography
    Member
    from Austin, Tx

    Last edited: Sep 5, 2011
  27. Flywheel, fantastic pic. Is this the shot that you needed total blackout for?


    Every man should leave his steel-toe boot print on the face of history.
     
  28. Flywheel Photography
    Joined: Aug 28, 2011
    Posts: 16

    Flywheel Photography
    Member
    from Austin, Tx

    thank you! yes it was, Thanks to arron(still sont know his lastniame) for using his shop to get this done!A huge thanks to Chris Ito for allowing me an hour with her!
     
  29. Chopt 34
    Joined: Jan 20, 2002
    Posts: 693

    Chopt 34

    Josh, I enjoyed watching you do the shoot, you have a really interesting technique. I missed out on a great photo op with Jerry's car in the shop too. I was going through my the photos I was taking while you were setting up the second shoot and just noticed this comparison shot of the sectioned '49 'Mysery Merc' and Jerry's Chopped '51. The 'Mystery Merc' takes on a whole new perspective next to another Mercury.
     

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  30. T.L.
    Joined: May 24, 2011
    Posts: 206

    T.L.
    Member
    from Colorado

    'Looks great...
     

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