Custom Car Builders

October 24, 2016

Hirohata Merc Model

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Written by: Rik Hoving
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Yoshihiro Hobara built this Barris Kustoms Hirohata Mercury model several years ago. Never really happy with its roofline, he decided to redo it. And now in its 1955 Lime Gold version.

Yoshihiro Hobara from Japan has recently finished two new Barris Custom 1/25 scale model car to add to his amazing Barris Kustom Models collection. The Frank Monteleon 1941 Ford, which we will cover in another article soon, and the Bob Hirohata Mercury. The Hirohata Mercury model was one he actually already finished quite a few years ago, but there were a few things on the model Yoshihiro never really liked. One day he decided the time was right for a redo of this already stunning model and he decided to replicate a different version of the car. The real Hirohata Mercury has been restored back to is original sea-foam green and organic green color. The Clone Jack Walker and Doug Thompson created, which was recently acquired by John D’Agostino was finished in the same color combo. The convertible version that was done in the last couple of years was also finished in these colors, so Yoshihiro figured it was time to create his Hirohata Mercury in the after 1955 Running Wild color combination of lime green and organic green.

The original version

Yoshihiro did an amazing job creating his original version of the Hirohata Mercury based on an AMT 1949 Mercury. All the ’51 Mercury details as the longer rear fender and larger rear window were wither scratch built from sheet and strip styrene or patched together from parts box parts. The top was chopped, and all the Barris Character restyling on the sides and front of the body was hand shaped from plastic and putty. The Buick side trim is an resin part from Replica’s & Miniatures Company of Maryland. The grille was built from chrome plated parts box bumpers. The ’53 Cadillac Sombrero hubcaps, from an old AMT kit are mounted on painted white wall tires. The Lincoln taillights were shaped from clear red plastic and the Barris Crest is a hand painted photo-etched part from the Model Car Garage.

ccc-yoshihiro-hirohata-merc-01Extended front fender with frenched headlights, extended hood, custom grille, lipped front wheel openings, its all there, just like on the real car.


ccc-yoshihiro-hirohata-merc-02’53 Buick side trim, Barris Crest ad the beautiful shaped body sides. 


ccc-yoshihiro-hirohata-merc-03Parts box rear bumper and hand shaped Lincoln taillights. Reshaped rear window to looks like the ’51 Merc unit. Even though the model looks stunnign, the rear of the roof was never to Yoshiro’s likings.


The Second Version

ccc-yoshihiro-hirohata-merc-04So in 2016 he disassembled the model, and stripped most of the paint from the roof, belt-line and front of the body. Time to reshape the roof line and do some more fine tuning of “wrong” things Yoshihiro had noticed over the years.


ccc-yoshihiro-hirohata-merc-05A few mm were removed from the c-pillar and everything was reshaped until it looked more like the real Hirohata Mercury.


ccc-yoshihiro-hirohata-merc-06The lip on the front of the hood and the headlight were reworked a bit as well.


ccc-yoshihiro-hirohata-merc-07The new much sleeker roof shape looks fantastic Notice how the chrome plated Buick trim was taped during the body work to protect the chrome plating. The trim piece was glued to the body and could not be removed without damaging it, so it stayed on the model. 


Lime Green Version

The Hirohata Mercury was repainted in lime green and organic green (below the Buick trim) around 1955. George Barris had made a deal for the car to appear in the movie Running WIld with Mamie Van Doren. The car would appear in the movie together with the Fred Rowe 1951 Mercury, also a Barris Restyled car. But to look better in the black and white movie the car’s light sea-foa green color needed to be redone in a bit darker color. George Barris mixed a good looking lime green gold color to go with the Organic dark green. The new color changed the looks of the car completely. Sadly so far no color photos have been surfaced of this color from around 1955. When current care taken Jim McNiel found the car in late 1959 the car was still painted this lime green color, and it remained like that until it was restored back to its original version in the 1990’s.

CCC-barris-hirohata-hawaiian-missing-goldThe only time we have seen color photos of this version of the car was on the Hirohata Mercury before the restoration had started. But by then the lime green had faded, was dull dirty and scratched. But it looked really good.


ccc-yoshihiro-hirohata-merc-08With all the body work done, it was time to spray on the Lime Green and Organic green.


ccc-yoshihiro-hirohata-merc-09It is really fantastic to see the car in these 1955 colors. Fresh paint drying, waiting to be hard enough to do the final assembly.


ccc-yoshihiro-hirohata-merc-10While Yoshihiro is waiting for the Hirohata Mercury paint to get fully cured he continues to work on his next Barris Model, the Frank Monteleon 1951 Ford which was painted prior the Hirohata Mercury. We will do a full article on the ’41 soon.


ccc-yoshihiro-hirohata-merc-11Completely assembled again. For this version of the Hirohata Mercury Yoshihiro has added a set of aftermarket Cadillac Sombrero hubcaps.


ccc-yoshihiro-hirohata-merc-12Stunning lines are now all flowing together, just like on the rear Hirohata Mercury. And it is really fantastic to see the Hirohata Mercury in this Color. 


ccc-yoshihiro-hirohata-merc-13The new re-chopped roof looks perfect.


ccc-yoshihiro-hirohata-merc-14The thinned down hood lip also looks great. I really love the look of this color on this car.


Yoshihiro has done it again, creating another stunning 1/25 scale Barris Kustoms recreation. And on top of that he treaded us with something special to finish it in its rarely see 1955 lime green and organic green paint job. Perhaps if John D’Agostino sees this, and if and when it gets time to perhaps redo the Hirohata Mercury clone, this could be the version his car should be finished in as well. How amazing would that be. Getting back to the model car. Yoshihiro has finished another Barris Kustoms creation, the Frank Monteleon 1941 Ford, and that we will cover in a new article soon. Yoshihiro is now working on an update of his old Buddy Alcorn Ayala/Barris Mercury… also stay tuned for that one.
If you want to see more of Yoshihiro’s amazing Barris Kustom model cars, then check out the other CCC-Articles of his amazing work.

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About the Author

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)


  1. I’m really glad, Yoshihiro, that you decided to re-build and paint the Hirohata Merc in its “Running Wild” movie livery. So much history is lost, and for THE custom Merc that inspired generations of us all, it is comforting to know that both the car itself and a really well-done clone have come down to us today to enjoy. But that version with the lime gold paint! Now, in model form, that, too, has been saved. Thank you.


  2. great work yoshihiro! i can’t believe with all his scratchbuilding skills he did not make a correct 51 front bumper for that pretty girl .

    Seeing that iconic kustom in “different” colors is refreshing. i didn’t knew the gold paint was done for the running wild.

    Thanks for sharing, Rik, can’t wait for the feature of Frank Montoleone’s amazing 41 😉


  3. Great re-do on the model !
    It would be cool if the recently bought clone was done in the lime green color. It would be like the Keith Ashley clone of the Ernst/Barris Belaire 2nd version. I have seen pics of the original and the cloned 2nd version side by side and it is amazing.
    Wasn’t lime green the color that Ian was going for on his custom truck as well?


  4. great work the time it takes to do a model u really have to have the time to do this amazining job, props yoshihiro,


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