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Customs Lost custom found need help identifying

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by tiki-elvis, Feb 15, 2019.

  1. tiki-elvis
    Joined: Aug 28, 2008
    Posts: 98


    25FC7667-D039-4142-853E-498C4EE04CB8.jpeg howdy fellow hambers, I just found this custom, looking for any possible information

    Here’s the story that came with the car :
    Bought brand new 1951 Henry J dealership in Indiana, don’t know the guy who bought it, but he took ia shop and spent over $21,000 in 1951 and had it customized into this car, don’t know the shop either it would have to be someone very very very talented as the craftsmanship on the car is all done and metal work, It went down to Florida but not sure what year ended up dying there, and then rescued by the sky with the last name of Stephan’s and he resurrected it, and when he passed away he left it to his son who’s had it since 1994

    Attached Files:

    chryslerfan55, Lepus and Jalopy Joker like this.
  2. sawbuck
    Joined: Oct 14, 2006
    Posts: 1,766

    from 06492 ct

    somtimes lost is a good thing o_O
    dana barlow, belair, jvo and 22 others like this.
    Joined: Jan 7, 2016
    Posts: 1,272


    I was hoping my eyes were telling my brain the truth at 4 am. I see by your post we are of the same opinion.
  4. s55mercury66
    Joined: Jul 6, 2009
    Posts: 3,258

    from SW Wyoming

    "'Scuse me, while I kiss this guy"
    Jimi H, 1967
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  5. $21K in 1951 was very ill spent....

    Paint the nose bullet with a red pinwheel, slap a bulb horn and some plastic flower stickers on it, and get a clown suit. You'll be a hit in every parade...
    jvo, TagMan, zzford and 5 others like this.
  6. catdad49
    Joined: Sep 25, 2005
    Posts: 3,020


    I like some of it, but I don't like all of it. Good Luck with your quest.
  7. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 25,396


    Looks like a Popular Mechanics feature car.

  8. Is there a top with it?
    Is the rear windshield on a pivot? Does it flip over the rear seat into a rear window position?
    I don't have any info on the car, just curious.
  9. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 5,404


    I wonder how many clowns would come out of that car when you opened the door?:D
    chryslerfan55, Clay Belt and 54vicky like this.
  10. oldolds
    Joined: Oct 18, 2010
    Posts: 2,672


    Amazing that someone would buy about the cheapest new car ($1300) and spend nearly 10 times that on customizing it. While it is not the style of car that we accept now as a cool custom car, I have seen quite a few picture of cars done in that style. Top cut off, cut down doors, ect. It actually looks like a parade car. Maybe something done by a big company for a promotion or sponsor of a parade.
    chryslerfan55 and Surfcityrocker like this.
  11. Quirky....

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  12. 54vicky
    Joined: Dec 13, 2011
    Posts: 986


    I would think a misplaced decimal should read $21.00 even that would have been a stretch.there is a good chance it was conceived in a drug induced nightmare
  13. missysdad1
    Joined: Dec 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,684


    Those mocking this car obviously weren't around in 1951. Better they should do some serious research on the trends of that period of time instead of making fun of it. This Henry J is a top-shelf example of the kind of customizing being done by the Popular Mechanics set at the time and it is a miracle that it has survived virtually intact. Hopefully this museum-worthy car will be restored and displayed as a tribute to what else was going on in the world while Sam and George were chopping Mercs...
    wvenfield, jebbesen, Dago 88 and 25 others like this.
  14. Interesting car. The style reminds me of the Jolly cars built in the 1950/60ies. Must have been quite popular in those days:

    The "J" in Henry J clearly stands for Jolly in this case.

    Still I Can't believe that it cost 21.000,- $ in 1951. This seems way to much. What did a full Barris Custom cost back in the day for example?

    Last edited: Feb 15, 2019
  15. Gman0046
    Joined: Jul 24, 2005
    Posts: 5,370


    I seriously doubt that custom was lost. I'm sure hidden was more likely the case. What were these people thinking of?
    54vicky, RDR, zzford and 2 others like this.
  16. 0NE BAD 51 MERC
    Joined: Nov 12, 2010
    Posts: 858

    0NE BAD 51 MERC

    I would forget the dual cowl phaton look, replace the front windshield with a more stylish Duval inspired one , paint it all red to eliminate the add on look of the door inserts. Redo the interior and it would make a cool cruiser. I would much rather see this at a show or cruise in than another 4 door rusty "Barn Find" car that everyone seems to think is so cool! Larry
    Texas57, dan31, mountainman2 and 4 others like this.
  17. Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Joined: Apr 20, 2008
    Posts: 3,757

    Hot Rods Ta Hell

    ^^^Yep, as you and 37 kid mentioned, it looks like it rolled right out of an old Popular Mechanics magazine. Chances are, it may have been featured in the magazine.
    While it's not what comes to mind when we think of an early 50's Custom, and certainly not "in" (or acceptable) today, these 'cut down door' style were a style of Custom back then. I've seen 34, 40 Ford open cars done up in the style. This one goes to extremes with the flip over boat wind screen, etc.

    The $21,000 figure seems outrageous (unless he got hosed). In 1951, that money would have bought you a house, a new Mercury and money left over to customize it.
    What did Hirohata have invested in his Merc? I've seen early labor rate sheets for Barris' shop. $21k would have gone far.
  18. Oldioron
    Joined: Dec 12, 2018
    Posts: 514


    The styling is kinda boatish witch fits for Florida, but it's fugly.
  19. Peanut 1959
    Joined: Oct 11, 2008
    Posts: 1,440

    Peanut 1959

  20. flynbrian48
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 6,090


    I kinda like it. I don't know if I "get" the rear windshield (?) treatment, but it's quirky, mid-century cool, and a neat time capsule. Don't let the negative commenters get you down. I'd make it operable, and just have fun with it.
  21. 0NE BAD 51 MERC
    Joined: Nov 12, 2010
    Posts: 858

    0NE BAD 51 MERC

    The more I think about this post I wonder if the 21,000 dollar price reflected a small fleet of these cars for one of the up and coming resorts of the time or a taxi type service centered in a resort area. maybe not now but back in the 50's seeing the sites in something like this would have seemed a lot cooler than some plain jane 4 door taxi cab. even now I think it would be. your choice , this or a Prius ! lol doesn't seem like such a bad car now does it! lol Larry
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2019
    Surfcityrocker and Clay Belt like this.
  22. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 4,106

    jimmy six

    it wasn't lost... it was hiding
  23. froghawk
    Joined: May 9, 2008
    Posts: 842


    Given the quality of workmanship and detail, especially in the grill and taillight bezels, along with the styling, has me wondering if this might be a Kaiser factory custom that a designer like Dutch Darrin or Brooks Stevens might have had a hand in.
  24. I always wondered where the old saying "A Fool and his money are soon parted" came from. This may very well be the starting place.
  25. Hyfire
    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 1,232


    Neat car. I hope someone recognizes it.

    While these things look a little awkward in photos... in real life they are neat as hell.
  26. Hyfire
    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 1,232


    Amazing condition too...
    Surfcityrocker and 49ratfink like this.
  27. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 17,089

    from California

    another HAMB post where people follow the popular opinion. if the first few posters said it was really cool that would have been the theme. I see it all the time.

    would someone build that today? no. is it cool nonetheless? yes
    hidez57, Dago 88, stanlow69 and 18 others like this.
  28. Gearhead Graphics
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 3,039

    Gearhead Graphics
    from Denver Co

    sure different. I actually kinda like it. If probably set that rear windshield aside as it messes with the flow.
    dan31, 49ratfink and Surfcityrocker like this.
  29. 51 mercules
    Joined: Nov 29, 2008
    Posts: 2,834

    51 mercules

    You might try Rik Hoving or Kustomrama .Good luck finding some history!
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2019
  30. Dyce
    Joined: Sep 12, 2006
    Posts: 1,758


    If I remember right the Henry J was a unibody car. I wonder what they did to brace it all up to remove the top?

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