Harold Ohanesian's 1940 Mercury
1940 Mercury Convertible Sedan originally restyled by Harry Westergard and Less Crane for Harold Ohanesian of Sacramento, California. Harold "Buddy" Ohanesian bought the car right after returning from the service in 1945. He handed it over to Harry and Less who chopped the top, cut the decklid down, extended the hood and fit the car with a 1946 Chevrolet grille that was reshaped into an oval. This version of the car can be seen in Hot Rod Magazine August 1948. On the photo the car has been fit with the 1946 Chevrolet grille, and it features ripple bumpers, stock chromed headlight rims, and a tarp over the back seat. The photo is also taken before Harold added Cadillac Sombreros to the car. The photo caption in the magazine says that the car is owned by Sacramento's Ed Ohanesian. When the photo was taken the car was powered by a 1946 Mercury engine fit with an Offenhauser manifold, Edelbrock heads, and a Harman & Collins cam. According to Dick Bertolucci, the car was later fit with a padded Hall Top.
In 1949 Buddy took the Merc to Dick Bertolucci of Bertolucci's Body & Fender Shop in order to fit it with a removable steel top. Dick, who was at 18 years old at the time, went to a wrecking yard and bought the front half of a 1946 Chrysler top, the back half of a 1941 Buick, and an Oldsmobile rear window. He brought the parts back to his shop and started to put the top together. In order to make the new top, he needed to change the angle on the deck lid so the car would end up looking like a narrow sedan. In addition to the top, Dick also replaced the stock bumpers for a pair of 1946 Chevrolet bumpers, and recessed the license plate. The headlights were frenched and all chrome trim was shaved. Doors and rear deck was push button operated. The doors were operated from electric switches located in the running boards. Inside the car was fit with a 1947 Cadillac center dash, instruments and steering wheel which was mounted in a lower position. The new upholstery was formed from red and white antique leatherette. All of the window frames where chrome plated. When the bodywork was complete the car was painted in Maroon with Venus Martin No. 9 gold powder added. The paint was later known as "Sacramento Maroon" or "Bertolucci Maroon" because Dick painted so many cars in that color. Berolucci once told Dick Page that the color was made from 1941 Chevrolet Ruby Maroon with the black left out and with gold powder added for the metallic. Dual spotlights, white sidewall tires and Cadillac Sombreros were also added in order to enhance the attractive and balanced design. Motorcycle-type taillights were attached to the rear-bumper guards. This version of the car was completed around 1950, and can be seen in photo from the 1951 Bonneville Nationals. Sometime after this, the exhaust tips were routed through the rear bumper and the car was fit with 1946 Ford taillights that were molded to the fenders. Fenders and front and rear splash pans were molded in. Dick lowered the car considerably by installing a 4 inch dropped axle and by C'ing the frame in the rear. He also raised the crossmember and mounted a steel plate under the gas tank in order to protect it from highway bumps.
Harold used the car as his daily driver for several years. He also used it to tow his 1934 Ford 3 Window Coupe to Bonneville. After that the car was stored away until the early 1970s when it was acquired and partially refurbished by Louie Martin and Dennis Nash of Sacramento, California. Around 1973-1974 Ron Lago of Sacramento, California upholstered the car for Louie and Dennis. Dennis repainted the car, while Howard Yamamoto pinstriped it. In 1975 the Merc was entered by Louie and Dennis in the "Nostalgia Division" class at the Sacramento Autorama. Ed Hegarty bought the car around 1975, and had a more thorough restoration performed in time for an exhibit of historic hot rods and customs at the Oakland Museum in 1996. 
Did You Enjoy This Article?
Kustomrama is an online encyclopedia dedicated to traditional hot rod and custom cars. Our mission is to protect, preserve and share traditional hot rod custom car history from all over the world.
- Find out how you can become a contributor.
- Forward this article to a friend.
- Subscribe to our newsletter and receive updates on Harold Ohanesian's 1940 Mercury and other subjects featured on Kustomrama.
Help Us Make This Article Better
If you have additional information, photos, feedback or corrections about Harold Ohanesian's 1940 Mercury, please get in touch with Kustomrama at: email@example.com.