Custom Car Builders

January 7, 2016

Sam Barris Buick Model

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Written by: Rik Hoving
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Japanese Yoshihiro Hobara is on a quest to build a series of his all time favorite famous Barris Kustoms Shop created Custom cars in scale 1/25. His latest finished model is the Sam Barris 1950 Buick.

Yoshihiro started the recreation of the Sam Barris 1950 Buick over ten year ago, and sadly he never took any photos of the initial progress on the model. After the initial body shapes were all created he put the project aside to start working on a few other projects first. Yoshihiro is a huge Barris Kustoms fan, and has been collecting every magazine and book he could find containing Barris created Cars. Fortunately for all us Custom Car enthusiast, and especially for Yoshihiro the Sam Barris 1950 Buick has been documented pretty good back in the early 1950’s when Sam Created it. Many photos have been published in the old magazines and later book. But even more important is that the real car has survived and has been completely restored. More on this can be found in a two part CCC-Article on the real Sam Barris 1950 Buick. And there have been a lot of magazine and book articles written about the Buick, so there was an overload of research material on the Buick.

CCC-sam-barris-buick-yoshihiro-prog-01After the basic body line had been created it was time to add the details. The peak on the hood was created using a small metal wire, filler and a lot of careful sanding.


After Yoshihiro had finished the 1/25 scale models of the Golden Sahara and the Modern Grecian, he took the Sam Barris 1950 Buick project back out of the box, and now it was time to finished the model. The recreation of the Sam Barris 1950 Buick model was based on an AMT 1951 Chevy Fleetline kit. This was necessary since there never has been a 1/25 kit from the 1950 Buick.  The Chevy has some similar lines than the Buick, but to turn it into a much longer 1950 Buick Yoshihiro needed to make a lot of changes. The front end needed to be stretched, hood reshaped with an added raised center section and new grille opening. The fenders needed to be heavily reshaped and extended both on the front and the rear. The roof of the chevy was chopped, and also completely reshaped to match the Buick’s lines. All the window shapes had to be completely changed as well, which required a lot of shaped sheet styrene.

CCC-sam-barris-buick-yoshihiro-prog-02The photo on the left shows how much work had to be done to make the 1951 Chevy kit look like a 1950 Buick. On the right all the detail work has been added to model and it is almost ready for the last coats of primer.


CCC-sam-barris-buick-yoshihiro-prog-03Close up of the front details with the 1953 Buick headlights and scratch-build 1953 Pontiac Wagon taillights at the rear. Both fenders front and read were reshaped with kit parts, sheet plastic and filler.


When it came to adding the details Yoshihiro relied to using strip and sheet styrene cut, filed and sanded to shape, as well as parts from the part box. Some parts had to be completely scratch build, while other parts, like the grille came from old kits and could be simply modified to for the Buick model.

CCC-sam-barris-buick-yoshihiro-prog-04All the body work has now been done, everything sanded smooth, time for the final primer coats.


CCC-sam-barris-buick-yoshihiro-prog-05In the paint-booth for the last primer and a few hours of light sanding and then the body is ready for the final paint color.


CCC-sam-barris-buick-yoshihiro-prog-06Final color in the paint-booth, and fresh out of the booth checking with the documentation how close it is… Job well done.


CCC-sam-barris-buick-yoshihiro-prog-07Yoshihiro took this photo of the 1951 Chevy Fleetline kit in the back ground and the 1950 Buick model based on this kit in the foreground to show how much needed to be modified to get the job done.


CCC-sam-barris-buick-yoshihiro-prog-08With the body painted it was time to work on the other details, the interior and all the exterior details as the bumpers, hubcaps etc. Fortunately Yoshihiro has a huge collection of kit parts to work with, and what he does not have in his collection… he just creates.


CCC-sam-barris-buick-yoshihiro-prog-09Working on the interior, using great resource material from the restored real car. Yoshihiro recreated the button tufted seats as accurate as he could. The real Sam Barris Buick used 1953 Cadillac hubcaps, and fortunately those were included in some 1960’s AMT kits and have been reproduced in resin in more resent years.


The finished Model

After Yoshihiro had painted the body it in the right color he concentrated on the detail work on the interior and all other exterior details like the bumpers wheels, tires and grille. Most of these parts had already been started in the earlier stage and when the car was in primer, but not everything needed to be fine tuned and finished with chrome paint, bare metal foil, or painted in the desired colors. A lot of time was spend on the interior to match the Bill Gaylord interior from the original Sam Barris Buick. The 1951 Chevy dash was modified to look more like the Buick unit and a more accurate steering wheel was found in the partsbox. The steering wheel needed, just like everything else some modifications to be good enough for Yoshihiro.  When the paint on the body had dried for some time Yoshihiro detailed the chrome trim with bare metal foil and started to assemble the car. The finished Buick is yet another stunning Barris Kustoms 1/25 scale model created by Yoshihiro Hobara. We wonder what his next Barris Kustoms Model will be…

CCC-sam-barris-buick-yoshihiro-02Yoshihiro just finished model together with the February 1954 issue of Rod & Custom magazine that featured the Sam Barris Buick on the cover.


CCC-sam-barris-buick-yoshihiro-01The side view shows how well Yoshihiro has succeeded in capturing the look of the Sam Barris 1950 Buick.


CCC-sam-barris-buick-yoshihiro-04For the grille Yoshihiro relied on his spare parts but the grille surround and front bumper are all scratchbuild.


CCC-sam-barris-buick-yoshihiro-03The 1951 Lincoln side trim was scratch built from strip styrene, and so are the taillights. The rear bumper was home made from sheet styrene and painted chrome with Alclad II paint.


CCC-sam-barris-buick-yoshihiro-05All the window trim was also created from shaped strip and sheet styrene. Yoshihiro even created the heavy looking fender skirts that need to cover the lipped rear wheel opening on the real car.


CCC-sam-barris-buick-yoshihiro-06Close up on the taillights and rear bumper.


CCC-sam-barris-buick-yoshihiro-07The lip on the fender opening had to be scratch build since the 1951 Chevy never had one. The white wall tires and Cadillac hubcaps are resin aftermarket parts.


CCC-sam-barris-buick-yoshihiro-09The dash is a modified 1951 Chevy unit and the steering wheel comes from the parts-box, but was modified to recreate the original wheel.


CCC-sam-barris-buick-yoshihiro-08Another wonderful Barris Kustoms model recreated in 1/25 scale by Yoshihiro Hobara… We are already looking forward to the next one.



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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. Beautiful work Yoshihiro! Thanks for sharing. I wish this one would come out as a model of some kind. Either buildable or maybe finished in metal from Danbury Mint.


  2. yoshihiro u sure have a lot of know how buildind those wonderful models , i have built a few in my times but not like this the , the details and paint are awesome, i have seen some of ricks an he can allso built nice ones allso,


  3. it allso gives me goose pimples when i see the inside of it,


  4. Fantastic! The amount of work you had to go through is incredible and quite commendable. As a model builder, I never had that much patience or ability to stick with a project long enough for such an extensive build. 🙂


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