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Event Coverage Did the Right Car Win?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Jive-Bomber, Aug 18, 2015.

  1. The Welch car did the Pebble Beach Tour D' Elegance to Big Sur and back so they racked up a good 70-80 miles.
    296ardun likes this.
  2. CadMad
    Joined: Oct 20, 2012
    Posts: 492


    My girlfriend is prettier 'an your girlfriend.
    Model T1 and 296ardun like this.
  3. 296ardun
    Joined: Feb 11, 2009
    Posts: 4,138


    I was reading R&C when the story ran on the Hirohata restoration by Jim McNeil....he did it in his garage, piece by piece, replacing the worn-out or damaged was a labor of love....the other Mercs are great works of art, but I feel like the garage-build restoration gets the, it was probably not in the list of items to vote on, but that counts a lot in my book.......bottom line: I never thought that we would ever seen any of these classics again, and just appreciate the time that these owners and craftsmen took to get them back in front of us again...
    Dean Lowe, Model T1 and Jive-Bomber like this.
  4. george775
    Joined: Sep 29, 2006
    Posts: 85

    from Nor Nev

    Bill Ganahl's recent build with all the styling of the traditional sleds. As seen last Thursday parked outside the "Mercury Customs and the Men Who Created Them" Forum.
    The forum led by Ken Gross featured Gene Winfield, Bob Larivee Sr., George Barris and Pat Ganahl.
    296ardun likes this.
  5. Boatmark
    Joined: Jan 15, 2012
    Posts: 239


    My own personal preference is the Sam Barris car. I like the simple elegance, where the Hirohata car has a bit "louder" look.

    That said, I agree with the statements that you really can't judge any as better than the others. By nature each is unique. I'm just happy that a prestigious event like Pebble is recognizing hot rod's and custom's for their significance. I think Bruce Meyer deserves a lot of credit for that happening.

    Question for those older than me : the Hirohata Merc has become iconic over the ensuing decades, but was it that much more impactful than others at the time?
    X38 and 296ardun like this.
  6. 296ardun
    Joined: Feb 11, 2009
    Posts: 4,138


    Good question...I remember that one of the things that made the Hirohata Merc get noticed was its trip from LA to Indianapolis for a car show there...think it was '52 (?)...R&C covered the trip, and it seems to have been a popular edition as not a lot of customs were driven over long distances.....
    X38 likes this.
  7. PRE48V-8
    Joined: Sep 23, 2006
    Posts: 788

    from H.G., CA

    Accolades from organized events officially recognized by specific automotive societies as the last word on what constitutes the "crème de la crème" of a specific vehicle make and model built in a particular style can be distilled down to something shared on the H.A.M.B. everyday...just an opinion. Recognition is recognition (see, "Clock Trophy"), whether handed out on a Big Sur, California golf course green. Louisville, Kentucky fairgrounds or a Sonic drive in joint outside Des Moine, Iowa.

    It's obvious to all those involved in this hot rod/custom/chopper/gasser/bobber/street rod/Kar Kulture/drag car/low rider/"rat" rod/resto rod/dry lakes car/etc. hobby (and no matter which of the aforementioned sub-groups you subscribe to) that these three Merc's are easy on the eyes. They always have and always will continue to impress and influence the next generation of enthusiast (as with previous generations), guiding them in their pursuit of what a customized '49-'51 Merc coupe should look like. They are all on a level field, everyone in this area of automotive enthusiasm knows it, so what's to judge or debate? Since their time, a few stand-out '49-'51 Merc customs were built that are just as fluid, finessed, refined and full of character as these vehicles are (check out TRJ quarterly w/Hegmann dk. blue Merc coupe as example).

    Why select a few cars that are the same make & model, built in the same style from a particular era with "pedigrees"/history and judge them at a show focused on restored sports cars/touring cars/classics to see which one gets officially recognized as "Best of the Best" in its class? Instead, park them on the grass at the show (I mean, "Concourse") with the front wheels laid over and give the regular concourse fans something different to stop, stare and admire like we do (and maybe find themselves a new appreciation for another segment of automotive enthusiasm). They, too, may realize after seeing "The 3 Amigos" that they are special cars and later find others built afterwards are comparable both in their aesthetics and influence as well. Let the judges take their clipboards and pour over the obscure, mostly foreign, mega-money restored, full-size Franklin Mint collector cars elsewhere on the fairways and do their "Concourse" thing. Hopefully in the near future cars like this will participate in a national or local organized hot rod/street rod/custom themed event where there will be more people that really appreciate them rather than attend a concourse pining for approval.
    Model T1 likes this.
  8. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 25,949


    I'd have to agree 100% That early 50's custom American cars even got invited is a huge win.
    Those three along with Bill Warden's Ralph Testa 50 are all iconic custom Mercs from that era.
    I've seen the Sam Barris Merc in person and have seen the Ralph Testa Merc a number of times in the PNW as Bill takes it to events on a regular basis and drives it.

    As far as the judging an who got first or who got second or third or didn't take home an award it really isn't that important as far as I am concerned. That is a particular group of judges decision and choice that day. Being invited to show your Custom Merc at Pebble Beach because you have preserved it's history and put it back very close to the way it looked when it was shown in the early 50's and it's history is well known, that is the big win of the day and possibly of a lifetime. Those Mercs will add one more thing to their resume as they now have been shown at Pebble Beach.
  9. car judging is f in gay. if it puts a smile on the owners face when he or she drives it then its a winner. i usually leave before trophies are handed out. the only time I'm around for a trophy presentation is if I'm parked in. if I'm unable to leave and get a trophy i give it away to a car i like. then i don't need to haul it home and throw it out. its not that i can't win a show my car did win best overall at the autorama a few years ago its just that I'm not into judging. i watched a few guys that sunk a sick amount of money in cars to win a riddler award. when they didn't win it they acted like a bunch of babies. it was actually comical.
  10. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 26,249


    Pebble Beach 2015 is now in the history book, the judges got it right, no need to try and rewrite history. Bob
    Rich Wright likes this.
  11. Rikster
    Joined: Dec 10, 2004
    Posts: 5,780


    Personally I feel the right car has won.

    The way the Hirothata Mercury was restored, to make it look and feel like how it did back in 1953 by Jim and a team of friend. Down to the right paint, thanks to Junior Conway, and most of the "flaws" from meeting a deadline back in 1952, left in place. I personally feel that the Hirohate Mercury met the "standards" for winning the trophy at the PB event much more than the other two finalists.
    I'm very happy to see that the car was judged for accuracy over perfection. I think both the Sam Barris Merc, and the Wally Welch Merc where amazing customs when they where first restyled back in the early 1950's, and they look really amazing completely restored. But I think they do look more detailed and perfect now than they have ever done before.
    The fact that the Sam Barris Merc was chopped earlier than the other two finalist, is interesting, very interesting in fact, but not really important for winning the best restored Custom Mercury award at this event.

    I really like the idea that Jim McNeil was awarded for his effort to restore the Hirohata Mercury in the most accurate way to capture the look and feel of how these cars really were back in the early 1950's. Sometimes the old Hot Rods and Custom Cars tend to get over-restored from time to time, and perhaps there is nothing really wrong with that either. But it takes away from the actual feeling, and in some cases it might have been better to start with another project car instead of an original custom, and clone, and make it more perfect in the eyes of the builder. (not the case in the Mercs here at the PB event though)

    To me... all Custom Merc that were invited to the event were "winners" and they did what they needed to do, show how beautiful these Custom Mercs really are. And I'm really pleased to see that it was nearly impossible to take good photos of the cars due to the large groups of people gathering around them to look and study them.
    joeycarpunk, brad2v, 296ardun and 4 others like this.
  12. thirtytwo
    Joined: Dec 19, 2003
    Posts: 2,571


    I'm a hotrod guy and It bums me out not to see an icon like the Doane Spencer roadster as It looked backin the day....

    I appreciate it for what it is now but if it were restored as the hirohata car .... That's preserving history... Not just a restoration
  13. Without question, the right car won. Big points for still being owned by it's second owner, and being painted by Junior Conway, a former Barris employee. For me, this is the Merc by which all others are judged.
  14. U-235
    Joined: Dec 18, 2010
    Posts: 452


    The Ralph Testa Merc has an early Cad.....everything in the engine compartment that was removable was chromed.....!
  15. U-235
    Joined: Dec 18, 2010
    Posts: 452


    That's what I thought....(about the interior of the Sam Barris car).......and who knew they would check the horns...?
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 7,826


    Absolutely the right car won. The mods on that car are extensive, well placed, still fresh today, and as has been said, the car itself sets a standard of sorts. The real test of a car from that period should be how it moves you today, or how it moves all who get to see it. It stands at the top of the heap and could never (should never) be duplicated. It can inspire as time goes on and it clearly has over years longer than my own. Personally, it moves me as much today as it did when I was just a kid, maybe 12 years old. That one and the R&C Dream Truck (earlier version minus the fins) stayed in my mind through today, right now in fact. Even the colors work and truly "finished" that car. Those other colors it wore didn't get it done. Not to slam the others (except maybe that light blue one just a wee bit :eek:) because it takes and eye and restraint and talent to pull off even the most simple of chopped Mercs. Sam's car has the clean line running down the side having lost the step that Ford put in there. Nice touch and a lot of work to get it right, but it's no Hirohata. While the most dedicated custom fans can pick out differences in others, the truth is that they start to blend into a sea of conformity. Mine would have the 'B' post tipped forward, the front fenders flared, the lights tunneled, the grille from an early Olds floating in a satin black hole or a modified 51 Merc grille, Packard tail lamps (NOT the Clipper, more like 49-50), and other subtleties that only the experienced can pick out immediately.

    Back on point, damn straight the right car won.
  17. chopolds
    Joined: Oct 22, 2001
    Posts: 5,660

    from howell, nj
    1. Kustom Painters

    The more radical the changes on a custom car, the harder it is to get the "look" right. I believe the Hirohata has the look nailed, and it has SO many more modifications than the others (Lyons car excepted). That, plus it lead the way for customs to be built with more, and more radical, mods, it also has more significance (excepting that Sam's car might have been the first Merc to be chopped). Personal opinion, is that it is my favorite out of the group. I'm glad it received the recognition.
    As for judging, it's nice to win, but not necessary. The respect, and recognition in being chosen for this event should be enough for any sane person! And It really makes me happy that the previously stodgy, and anti-custom sentiment of the high end restoration folks has been eliminated, and rods and customs of significance are being invited to such events. At the Fairfield Concours in Connecticut, a small group of customs were allowed to be exhibited, not judged or awarded. It was one of the highlights of my life to have been included in such rarified company.
    Model T1 and Harell Los Angeles like this.
  18. Black Clover Custom
    Joined: Dec 20, 2014
    Posts: 499

    Black Clover Custom

    I say the Barris car is the best.
    Down the side it looks like the Louie Bettancourt 49. I think they both got the line real clean down the side of the car. Did they both remove and reshape the drop on those doors? Thats what i would do to my car.
  19. Not sure specifically on Sam's car, but on several of the "original" Mercs that had that done, it was simply filled with lead. The passenger door on the Alcorn Merc is still the original with the original lead still in it....with several large screws originally put in from the inside of the door to help hold it on. They were called lead sleds for a reason. ;)
  20. banditomerc
    Joined: Dec 18, 2005
    Posts: 2,106


    I have been enamored since my father first showed me a picture of his 1951 Merc when he exited the service in 53. In my opinion the Hirohata Merc is 1st,Welch 2nd,Sam Barris 3rd...... why not have a vote here on the Hamb for the best Mercury of all time....I Dare You...
  21. Its been done, do a search. Turned into kind of a cluster as I recall.

    HEMI32 likes this.
  22. The overall consensus with Hambers is we agree with the judges pick,granted there are some that disagree but the nay Sayers are entitled to there opinion.

    It is obvious that the majority of us love the Hirohata Mercury. HRP
  23. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,320

    Hamtown Al
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)


    While there will likely always be debates about various cars, I think there is little debate why Somebody is known as "Too Tall" Ganahl!:D
    I agree that these cars, and many, many others, are ALL winners. We can debate about the various cars and trucks but, to me, there is no doubt that WE are the biggest winners just because these other fellows devoted themselves to either keeping the cars in good condition or bringing them back from the brink of destruction; just to share them with us. Boy are we all lucky. We owe the present, and past, owners a real debt of gratitude and I think we also owe anybody that agrees to participate as a judge a big "Thank you!" for even trying to pick one from so many great cars and trucks. We are still the biggest winners. Thanks to all for working so hard to have something to share with us mortals. We all work to make our treasures the best they can be but I feel those that work to restore and share well known, and maybe some not so well known; treasures with the rest of us get a gold star.
    Keep workin'
  24. Every kid should be brought up on the classics. :)
  25. Asphalt Outlaw Hero
    Joined: Dec 9, 2006
    Posts: 969

    Asphalt Outlaw Hero
    from Dixie

    Two of the judges were Ken Gross and Don Montgomery. usually as a judge you have a sheet and and apply the same standards to each car. Assign your points to each category and then go do the math. It keeps it objective for all participants. Just to get selected makes you a winner. To win a prize is icing on the cake.
    Oh and a lot of the spectators got to see some eye candy too.
  26. A32Flathead
    Joined: Feb 16, 2004
    Posts: 9,498


    I touched the wheel on the James Dean Mercury.....

    I love the Sam Barris Mercury......

    The Hirohata Mercury was stunning.....

    The Leo Lyons Mercury was amazing....and god awful....

    I liked em all......

    It was hot, Jay was wearing a killer suit.....
  27. wicarnut
    Joined: Oct 29, 2009
    Posts: 3,310


    IMO the right Merc won, they are all beautiful, That's what makes the car hobby, is the individual style and creativity, we all are a little "different" and I like that. The diversity at any car show is outstanding and keeps me interested in the "Hobby"
  28. ebfabman
    Joined: Mar 10, 2009
    Posts: 620


    Fine example of Matt Townsend's metal work on this Bill Ganahl finished car.
  29. porknbeaner
    Joined: Sep 12, 2003
    Posts: 41,341


    Well I personally like Sam's Merc best of the three it is one of my all-time favorite Mercs and if I were to build a custom Merc it would be my inspiration. That does not make it the winner by a long shot the judges obviously liked the Hirohata better. I am not sure how a custom gets judged at a concourse. I would expect the historical significance would be part of it but unless the judges had access to the original I am not sure how they could even judge the restoration. Certainly if there were an anomaly in the paint on the original it would need to be on the resto for example, but maybe the judges don't know that and are looking for perfect paint. Make sense?

    Anyway like I started to say I prefer Sam's car the most of the 3.
  30. Very tough choice, but I would have to go with the Barris Merc as well.

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