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Phildaupho

Hirohata 1951 Mercury

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It's a brilliant custom, and like a lot of Sam Barris' work, if the chop was a little less drastic could pass for a stock design. Like his Buick. I just never liked the color of the Merc.

Sam Barris' 1950 Buick - Kustomrama

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On 1/23/2021 at 5:20 PM, bisc63 said:

" Never meet your heroes"

Not to divert from the subject at hand too much, but check out Christopher Titus' bit on meeting Bruce Springsteen. Maybe it's on YouTube. Hilarious.

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4 hours ago, Phildaupho said:

The Hirohata Merc was on display in Washington DC in 2017

2v2HjtModximYT.jpg

Was it just this car or was there an event going on? Pretty cool to see it get that kind of exposure. 

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4 minutes ago, Oldcarfan27 said:

Was it just this car or was there an event going on? Pretty cool to see it get that kind of exposure. 

As far as I know there were three cars - the Hirohata Merc, Gypsy Rose 63 Impala Lowrider and the McGee 32 Ford Roadster Hi-Boy

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HEre's my Danbury Mint Hirohata.  I love a nice model build, but it would be hard to beat the detail on the Danbury Mint car - all the panels open, the spotlights are moveable, vent windows open.  Even has little working rollers under the rear bumper.  To keep it from grounding out on the bumper?    If you want a replica of the original version, this is the best way to get there.  The interior even has the fancy knobs Hirohata made for the car.

But also let me say that I wish I had a resin or plastic version to mess with and I'm a bit envious of that kit.

IMG_20190120_160509688.jpg

Edited by randyc

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Understand perfectly why the Hirohata is so iconic and trendsetting.

But Sam's apparent personal tastes - especially as compared to his brother's - were way more my speed.  I'd take his basic green Merc over just about anything other than the Polynesian, and that Buick above shows the same simple elegance.

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3 hours ago, randyc said:

HEre's my Danbury Mint Hirohata. 

You are a lucky man Randy. I would be very satisfied to own Danbury Mint models of iconic cars such as the Hirohata Merc, Ala Kart, Kookie Kar, and California Kid to name a few but I don't and likely never will so I will have to be content with building models of them although they certainly will never be as accurate.

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Although I will not be starting construction of the Hirohata Merc until sometime next month, I have been been thinking about it a lot and looking at many photos. I was about to install a divider on the Revell 49 Merc windshield for my Sam Barris Merc when I could not resist the urge to open up the resin Hirohata windshield area to the size of the Revell windshield. I made a masking tape template and started cutting and grinding. Once it was to size I realized how flat the Revell windshield is compared to that of the AMT on which the Hirohata model is based. Fortunately I had a spare AMT windshield which I trimmed to fit. I think this simple modification makes the resin Hirohata Merc look much more like the real thing.

2v2HjRs7rximYT.jpg

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The vent windows on the resin body above look a little small, or is it just the angle in the photos?

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12 hours ago, Brian Austin said:

The vent windows on the resin body above look a little small, or is it just the angle in the photos?

Yes they are a little small and the A-pillar is too thick so there might be some room for improvement maybe by using the vent windows from the  Revell 49 ?? I have got to be careful this does not turn into a work in progress !!

Edited by Phildaupho

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15 hours ago, Phildaupho said:

You are a lucky man Randy. I would be very satisfied to own Danbury Mint models of iconic cars such as the Hirohata Merc, Ala Kart, Kookie Kar, and California Kid to name a few but I don't and likely never will so I will have to be content with building models of them although they certainly will never be as accurate.

This was a birthday gift from family a few years back.  I don't think I'd ever spend more on a single model than this one.  But it was my holy grail model.  I would love to have those others you mentioned as well.  

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There is a very nice feature called Birth of Cool on the Hirohata Merc - surprisingly in the current Road & Track magazine

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On 1/23/2021 at 11:01 AM, alexis said:

You've never spent an afternoon in the late 1990's - (1998-1999) with him. Friend of mine was a writer for one of the 'Kar Kulture' type magazines back then. He got an assignment and tickets for a small car show down in the SoCal area. Barris was there to judge both the 1-1 and model car model contests. I got invited to tag along. It was a great little show, and I got to meet a man I had heard of and read about since I was 12. 

Boy! What an Eye-Opener. He was nice enough to my friend and me, because were we there from a magazine, but to other people?  What a rude, crude guy. He had a potty mouth, and was very aware of his fame. He was, as they liked to say in the old days, "Handsy". The various Pretty Young Things that are a fixture at SoCal Car shows and in 'Kar Kulture' magazines, stayed as far as they could away from him. Oh, they posed for the photos, but then backed away quickly.  I am surprised that he got away with as much as he did.

But, he was friendly (mostly) with his fans,(in private-between bursts of the crowd, when no one could hear him, what a different story) and was obviously good friends with some of the 1-1 car builders who were there. And, his interest in judging the model car contest was entirely genuine. He really lit up when looking at the builds, and had good things to say about many of them. 

In short, what I saw that day, (and later at the March Meets where I met him again), was a complicated man who had both good and bad sides. Custom Cars would be a totally different thing without him.

Interesting insights here...thanks Alan. 

If any of you know (or knew) Rich Rothermel....he had some first hand experiences with George that left him very disillusioned.  One the other hand, Barris was heavily involved in the model kit world (much more so than most people realize) from the very early 1960's through the 1970's; his contributions definitely enhanced our hobby. 

Years ago I was commissioned by Brett Barris (George's son) to write a chapter for the tabletop art book "The Art of George Barris".   Once I started researching, I was pretty amazed at how involved he was. Beyond kit development ideas and topics at AMT (and later, MPC and several of the others), he was heavily involved in writing about model cars and how to modify them during the early 1960's.  The mag shown above in one of the posts was just one of several such pubs, and of course he contributed to the mainstream magazines too.  

A complex man, for sure, for all the good and not so good (as accurately detailed in other posts here in this thread) that entails.  TIM 

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On 1/23/2021 at 6:20 PM, Phildaupho said:

I just came across this 5x8 inch 1962 little pages magazine in my attic. It was published by George Barris Enterprises and promoted AMT. Surprisingly there is a photo inside of the actual Ala Kart captioned Famous "Big Daddy" Hot Rod. There is also coverage of AMT's Mid-America Car Championship Finals that featured some very impressive model cars.

 2v2HjpUZyximYT.jpg

wow,,thats a great find

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