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Mercury Gathering from a birds eye view




Part of the 2009 Sacramento Autorama was a gathering of custom Mercury’s. One of the highlights of the show was a view from the balcony allowing a birds eye view on some of the worlds best ever Mercury custom cars

One building at the Sacramento Autorma was filled with only Mercury custom cars. Historical masterpieces that had set the trend in the 1940’s and 1950’s as well as modern interpretations were invited to create the prestigious Mercury Gathering. A wonderful selection of the worlds best custom Mercury’s ever created. I was asked to help organize the event, make a selection of cars to invite, and write about this historical event to create as much interest as possible. Custom Car enthusiast from all over the world flew out to the show so see the wonderful collection of custom Mercury’s. The event was a huge success, and one of my own personal highlights was to climb up the stairs and take place on the balcony and watch the customs from an perspective seldom seen. It felt like I was a bird flying over the tops of these wonderful customs.

On set up day and before the show opened to the public I set up my tri-pod and camera and tried to make as many bird’ eye view photos of the custom cars. The cars closest to the balcony worked the best, and I was able to make some really nice photos of the Sam Barris Merc, the Ohanesian Merc, and Paul Bragg his 1951 Merc. The cars a bit further from the leading edge of the balcony were a bit less interesting, but still the perspective was really nice. It was sometimes hard to make a good photo. The balcony was not completely rock solid, and the tri-pod and long shutter demanded no movement, But many times people walking the stairs were making enough movement to make the photos blurry. So I ended with only a hand full of photos that were good enough to us.

A selection of those are in this CCC-Article. I hope you will enjoy them as much I did when I was viewing the room from my bird point of view.


Overview of the historic section of the Mercury building.

CCC-Sacramento-Merc-Bird-03-WThe Sam Barris 1949 Mercury freshly restored by Brizio’s for owner John Mumford.

CCC-Sacramento-Merc-Bird-09-WBill Worden’s, Ralph Testa Barris Kustom mercury setting up his display. The photo is slightly fuzzy because of movements on the balcony. Because the car was sitting towards the center of the roof the Birds eye effect was a bit less on this one.

CCC-Sacramento-Merc-Bird-06-WOne of the most beautiful Mercury Customs ever created is the Harry Westergard / Dick Bertolucci-built Buddy Ohanesian 1940 Mercury.

CCC-Sacramento-Merc-Bird-01-WPaul Bragg his 1951 Mercury convertible looked amazing flanked by Dale Hollenbeck’s pale blue 1950 Mercury and the orange balcony rail.


CCC-Sacramento-Merc-Bird-02-WLucky 7 Customs showed two contemporary custom Mercury’s at the show. The burnt orange 1951 Merc belongs to George Garza. The green 1950 Mercury to Darrell Hayes.

CCC-Sacramento-Merc-Bird-04-WTed Stevens had the old John D’Agostino’s 1940 Mercury “Stardust” completely restored and Daryll Hollenbeck painted the car once again in a wonderfull Black Cherry.

CCC-Sacramento-Merc-Bird-08-WThe oldest created custom Mercury at the show was Paul Plannette’s 1939 Mercury original built by Coachcraft. Derby Ahlstone restored it back to original specs. Larry Dames brought the Frank Sonzogni 1950 mercury which was painted white awaiting a full restoration.







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)

2 thoughts on “Mercury Gathering from a birds eye view

  • It’s so cool to see real 1:1 custom cars from this vantage point. They take on the appearance of scale model cars at a show.

  • I have always liked the Buddy Ohanesian 1940 Mercury. I’ve never seen it from that angle. It flows so nice. The back window looks perfect.

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