Custom Car Chronicle
custom carsDick BertolucciHarry WestergardThe Mark Murray Collection

The Mark Murray Collection: Buddy Ohanesian Mercury


We have been sharing some fine examples of the Mark Murray Collection before. This time you can see four snapshots taken most likely at an early 1950’s Bonneville event. The exact year is unknown, since no dates were printed on the photos, but our guess is 1951.

Mark’s amazing collection of photos used to belong to his grandfather, who took photos of the cars he saw on the street and at some car shows and car lots and races, while he lived in Long Beach Ca in the 1940′s and 1950′s. The car in all four photos is the Buddy Ohanesian 1940 Mercury, built by Harry Westergard and Dick Bertolucci. This custom car is seen by many as one of the best, if not THE best custom car ever built. The snapshot taken by Mark’s grandfather, shows the car parked in the spectator area behind the cord.

It really is amazing to see the car sits so low, knowing that they had to drive at least a day to get from Sacramento where Harold “Buddy” Ohanesian lived, to the Salt Flats. The photos show the car in the early Bertolucci version with the motor cycle taillights and the painted but still separated headlights. So we know these are taken prior the 1952 Bertolucci updates which included 1947 Ford taillights into custom made tops and molded in headlights among other things. We will save all the gorgeous details on the Ohanesian Mercury for an planned in depth article.






Rik Hoving

Rik is the CCC editor in chief. As a custom car historian he is researching custom car history for many years. In 2004 he started the Custom Car Photo Archive that has become a place of joy for many custom car enthousiasts. Here at CCC Rik will bring you inspiring articles on the history of custom cars and builders. Like a true photo detective he will show us what's going on in all those amazing photos. He will write stories about everything you want to know in the realm of customizing. In daily life Rik is a Graphic Designer. He is married to the CCC webmaster and the father of a 10 year old son (they are both very happy with his excellent cooking skills)

8 thoughts on “The Mark Murray Collection: Buddy Ohanesian Mercury

  • Thanks for sharing Mark!.. not the best Custom in my book, but it is real nice and screams 40’s to me. but i am so amazed to see how strait the car looks. these guys where really good, given they only had lead and primer to work with!

  • This car is straight up AMAZING!! That roof blows me. It flows so perfect and I have to say its one of the best chopped 4 doors ever!! Everything about this car is smooth and classy! Thank you mark for sharing the photos and thank you Rik for you work on keepin custom history alive.


  • Hands down my absolute favorite car. I was very lucky to see it in person at the Sacto Autorama in 2000, i just stood and stared. What I wouldnt give to go ridding around picking up girls in that thing

  • I have to say I am thrilled to see the old pics of the customs being USED!! Give me a hundred of these old shots for every one of the “showcar” shots. Of course having said that, I like the early car show pics too – with the grimy sill plates and scruffy carpet! It all goes to show that the cars were …cars!


  • I have always preferred the early version with these taillights instead of the later, molded in ford lights…Does anyone know what these came off of?

    • They are always referred to as “Motor Cycle” lights. So I guess some late 1940’s Harley taillights or something like that.

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