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Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by HOTRODPRIMER, Oct 18, 2020.

  1. Having posted a thread recently about the 1932 Ford being considered the "Quintessential" Hot Rod I thought a discussion about what all the custom guys consider their, for lack of a better word, the quintessential custom car.

    I have always like customs and since a I was a kid I was drawn to the Hirohata Merc like a moth to a flame, it was unlike anything this kid from the rural South had ever seen, in life or in magazines, the car is still what I envision when I think of custom's and the car that Barris Kustoms used to set the bar for all the custom car builders in the future.


    With that said, the Deuce & Mercury are what I think of when I hear the term Rod & Custom, but that's just my interpretation. HRP
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2020
    504640, Dangerousdan, Baron and 15 others like this.
  2. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 11,589

    from Raytown Mo

    By custom he means Kustom.<- this is referring to a now deleted post so the context is lost.

    Year doesn’t mattter. 7D25BBA2-BAAC-4E09-8607-69155A06EE89.jpeg 51FED46F-20DE-40B4-BFA1-48CCAFDAA36D.jpeg 34 kustom there’s no doubt about what that car is.

    that being said my first thought is Mercury but really I think a better answer is the shoebox ford.

    my reasoning/ thought, is that the good looking mercs all fit a similar build pattern/style.

    where as I’ve seen a lot of shoe box Kustoms that look totally different from the next but still look fantastic.

    something about the merc to me doesn’t let it color outside the lines quite as well as the ford I guess.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2020
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  3. GordonC
    Joined: Mar 6, 2006
    Posts: 2,104


    For custom or Kustom, whatever, the Hirohata Merc for me.
  4. brokedownbiker
    Joined: Jun 7, 2016
    Posts: 575


    Masterson's Fleetline does it for me.
    3W JOHN and VANDENPLAS like this.

  5. There is a lack of reading comprehension here. He is not asking for specific cars but what model car is the "quintessential" custom in your mind.

    I would say either the 1940 Mercury or the 1949-51 Mercurys would be the first thing that comes to my mind as what model car says Custom to me.
    3W JOHN, Torchie, OG lil E and 5 others like this.
  6. The word Custom or Kustom, as far as I am concerned depend on your location, In my neck of the woods here on the right coast they mean one in the same, semantics.

    You are correct in theory but the question could be open ended, it is a discussion and like you these cars are the stand out candidates for building a Custom car. HRP
  7. 34Larry
    Joined: Apr 25, 2011
    Posts: 1,358


    Deleted my posts, misunderstood completely sorry about that.
    For sticking strictly to the Kustom or Custom with Pre WW II excluded my choice is the 49/51 Merc's hands down.
  8. Quite alright, like the previous Hot Rod thread it's open to individual interpretation. HRP
    3W JOHN, 54delray and chryslerfan55 like this.
  9. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 19,269

    Staff Member

    1949-1951 Mercuries with 49-54 chevies coming in a close second. I personally never cared for spelling the word Custom with a K
  10. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 11,589

    from Raytown Mo

    I also use custom but was trying to clarify what he was asking.

    anyhow moving forward :)
    3W JOHN, VANDENPLAS, 54delray and 2 others like this.
  11. Nor do I, Recently I read where Kustoms are modified cars from the 1930s to the early 1960s, done in the customizing styles of that time period. The usage of a "K" for "Kustom" rather than a "C", is believed to have originated with George Barris.

    George and his brother Sam were the owners of Barris Kustoms. HRP
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2020
  12. A marketing tool. George was good like that. He was well published and used that spelling all the time. It was very successful.
  13. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 11,589

    from Raytown Mo

    Since we are still talking about it, the only time I use the K is when people aren’t seeing a difference between “customized” and a “custom”

    just as a tool so I’m not saying custom and custom

    worse case I say led sled and their eyes light up and they say oooooooh ok I get what you’re talking about now.
  14. 48stude
    Joined: Jul 31, 2004
    Posts: 1,140


  15. BuckeyeBuicks
    Joined: Jan 4, 2010
    Posts: 2,152

    from ohio

    I am not so much a Ford guy but I have to agree with Danny on this one. In my mind the 32 has a sbc and we all know the Merc has Cadillac power(but a nailhead or Olds would be just as good):p
  16. Hollywood-East
    Joined: Mar 13, 2008
    Posts: 1,222


    43.jpg For me it's Rudy's....

    Attached Files:

    • 62.jpg
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      70.4 KB
  17. 34Larry
    Joined: Apr 25, 2011
    Posts: 1,358



    In fact my partner in crime is building one of these as I right this. Its on a 96 Vett modified chassis, stock cherry body.
  18. 54delray
    Joined: Dec 18, 2004
    Posts: 1,043

    from Fremont NE

    A Rod make me think Deuce.

    A Custom makes me think 49-51 Mercs ... but I'll expand that to include other post-war makes that have similar design qualities.

    That is, full width body at the rear, having quarter panels, not the appearence of bolt on fenders. The front features a hood that is cowl width at back and narrows toward the front. The top of the hood is level with the cowl/base of the windshield. The tops of the front fenders are decidedly lower than the hood, thus headlights also lower. My opinion is that these style cars make good looking customs. Yes, 49-51 Mercury .... and

    50-53 Buick, 48-56 Cadillac, 49-54 Chevy, 48-53 Oldsmobile, and 49-54 Pontiac to name a few. Certainly, there are other late 40's/early 50's makes that share the "look" but may have other body proportions that may require extra bodywork to give them a pleasing profile.

    In no way am I discounting cars that don't fit that narrow design quality. Pre-war cars as customs are in a class of their own. The bare steel '34 posted above screams custom, as does the '40 Merc. A skirted chopped 35/36 Ford coupe make me drool.

    Also nothing wrong with a 'less round' post-war car, where the headlights and top of the hood are about the same level. Shoebox Fords (49-51) and sometimes called Shoebox Chevs (55-57) make outstanding customs. A mild '56 Ford Fairlane Victoria can be stunning.

    But for me, custom is those mid century Mercs and voluptuous GM's
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2020
  19. goldmountain
    Joined: Jun 12, 2016
    Posts: 2,235


    I have cars in both camps but they aren't Deuce or Merc.
    3W JOHN, 54delray and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  20. 3W JOHN
    Joined: Oct 8, 2015
    Posts: 701

    3W JOHN

    Danny, I posted this morning stating I agree with the Mercury's been my favorite car to build a custom but personally Billy Gibbons Cadzilla is what I think of when I think custom.

    My post was delete because it was a modern custom, I had no idea a 48 caddy was off topic so I won't post a picture.
  21. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 19,269

    Staff Member

    modern style build with 19" billet wheels makes it off topic.....
    Dago 88, 3W JOHN, chopper99 and 2 others like this.
  22. Lloyd's paint & glass
    Joined: Nov 16, 2019
    Posts: 2,777

    Lloyd's paint & glass

    Every 49-50 merc i see all look alike. Just a different color lol.
    3W JOHN and hotrodjack33 like this.
  23. hudson48
    Joined: Oct 16, 2007
    Posts: 2,647


    That's why I built a Hudson custom!!!
    1stGrumpy, 3W JOHN, jim snow and 4 others like this.
  24. stanlow69
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 4,666

    from red oak

    Iconic. What does that mean. First, you have to go back to the roots of customs. The 36 Ford Roadster started it all. A few examples. Sure the Mercs are more plentiful. And more affordable. But the lines of the 36, breathtaking. I`d pass up a Merc any day of the week for a 36. Scan0561.jpg Scan0560.jpg Scan0213.jpg
    Dave Mc, Sancho, lurker mick and 9 others like this.
    Joined: Dec 14, 2009
    Posts: 2,692


    exactly this I think when anyone says (K)Custom, these two cars are what first come to mind.

    but anything can make a killer, outstanding, luxurious, insane , off the wall or flat out ugly custom.

    Look at all the stuff “ The Rat Fink” created.
    The golden Sahara,
    Ms. Taboo,
    The FiFi car,
    That 4 door into a 2 door convertable packard or whatever that Australian guy is building
    The other dude from France building a custom
    Anything can be customized and customized well.
    The list goes on and on.

    @Moriarity open your door and show us your collection from amazing drivers and mild customs to off the wall fibreglass creations and every thing in between.

    when God was creating the animals and everything else, think he was customizing some of them ?
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2020
    3W JOHN likes this.
  26. 0NE BAD 51 MERC
    Joined: Nov 12, 2010
    Posts: 1,368

    0NE BAD 51 MERC

    The Hirohata Merc and the Rev Ernst 50 Bel Air and the Maranga Merc. All where done in such a way that they looked like the factory built them that way. Every thing after that ,all though many where very great cars where just trying to catch up. My 51 included! And since Sam and George designed and built all three , they can spell Kustom any dam way they want! ;) lol Larry
  27. With customs "Iconic" is a hard thing to pin down as customs vary so drastically from mild to wild and it all depends on the individual on what sticks out to them. I can say for myself I have always favored a custom Chevy over anything else. Taboo had a lot to do with that as I was always hooked on that car since I was 5/6 years old, but cars like Mark's 55 "Miss Elegance" blew me away first time I saw it in a magazine in middle school. The green 57 Chevy called Budda Buggy (I think), was a standout when I first saw it at a goodguys event. While the Hirohata Merc is a great car and very influential to customizing, it just never really jazzed me up as I have never been the biggest Merc fan.

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