EARLY BARRIS ’48 MERC NOT FOUND
In June, 2014 we reported that possebly the Barris built 1948 Mercury of Larry Robbins was found in ad on eBay. Kustom Car enthustast Kurt McCormick bought the car, but found out that most likely it is an old custom, but not the Larry Robbins Barris-built Mercury.
My good friend Ulf “Wolf” Christiansson always sends me interesting cars he comes across on eBay. The latest one he send me made my heart stop for a moment. The eBay ad read:1948 MERC BUILT BY GEORGE BARRIS.
(Update June 23, 2014) Since this article has been posted the Ebay auction was ended and the car was sold. The car was bought by the real Custom Car enthusiasts, Kurt McCormick, who plans the return the car into the wonderful Barris restyled version. We hope we can share some updates here on the CCC about progress on the Street Rod dismantling and rebuilding into the 1948 Mercury the Barris Shop created in the early 1950’s.
(Update August 27, 2014) Kurt McCormick left us a note about the car. Sadly it turned out not to be the Barris Larry Robbins ’48 Mercury after all. Here is Kurt’s Message:
After two months of ownership, here is what i’ve found so far about this car: It is not the Larry Robbins Merc by Barris, it is not any car I know of by Barris and it’s not even a Merc, it’s a Ford. There are several indicators that suggest it is an early car. In addition to the period chop, it has molded rear fenders, all four deck corners are rounded and the car had twin spotlights at one time. The chop is gas-welded and the seams are hammered. if the spare grill, hood and fenders that came with the car are origional to the vehicle, then it is almost certainly an early custom, but i have no idea which one. An old sled like this would typically get some ink over the years, but this one does not look familiar. the chop is excellent inside and out, done by a real craftsman. How did this car get past us? If I cannot identify it or find out it’s story, I will re-do it to suit myself and enjoy it. It is very comfortable and roadworthy. I’ll let you know what else turns up, talk to you soon.
Best regards, Kustom Kurt
Here are three photos taken in August 2014, when Kurt McCormick was the new owner. The photos were taken by David Myers.
If anybody recognizes this car with this ’48 Ford grille, or with a 1949 Cadillac grille, please let us know. Now it turned out NOT to be the Barris-built Larry Robbins Merc, we and Kurt, would love to know its real history.
Below is the original message as we shared it on June 21, 2014. Sadly it turned out to be false information.
Well we all have seen so many cars being offered claimed to be original Barris Customs… So at first I did not pay to much attention this this. The ‘1948 Mercury with a Ford grille on an ugly stance made me just wonder why somebody would take the time to chop the top so beautifully as an early Custom Car and then finish it of as a street rod. Then slowly I realized that perhaps this could be an old custom, and somebody thought it would look better on a rake and with modern wheels and other components. Then I started reading the text and came across the name of Larry Robbins as the original owner… !
In the past I had done some research on this car and found besides a few in progress photos in the Barris Books also one photo of this beautiful restyled custom in the April 1950 Motor Trend magazine. I did a short CCC-Article on the car. I compared the photos… and it sure looks like this is the same car.
Amazing.. another early Barris Custom, one I had never before seen as a finished car was still alive, and in rather good condition. Or at least in a condition it can be brought back to life again as how it was originally intended.
Here is the text that came with the ad on eBay
This is a car my buddy had. It was built for Larry Robbins of Beverly Hills California back in the early days of barris customs first cars. ( You can see this car and George Barris working on it, chopping the top, and fitting the 49 caddy grille to it on the internet, just punch george barris chopped 48 merc coupe. )
It was a 1948 Merc and still is, but my buddy didn’t like the 49 Caddy grill, so he put a mint 48 Ford front end on it. I told him to keep it original, but he did it anyway. I have the compleet merc front end including the fenders, hood, and the mint 49 Baddy grille, they go with the car. He also had the title changed to a 48 Ford. (Some pictures of the front merc fenders, and caddy grill are included, i have the hood also, and its perfect.)
I did this quick Photoshopped image back dating the car to a more Barris Kustoms look. The original version had different bumpers, but you get the idea. What a change does a nice set of wheels and the right stance make to this car.
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