Hershel Conway, also known as Junior or Hersh, was born in 1938, in a log cabin in the mountains of Kentucky. When he was 13 years old his family moved to Southern California. In Southern California Junior began reading car magazines. Hersh's brother Herb was 3 years older than Hersh. Herb and Hersh were tight, and Herb would include Junior in all his money making activities such as his paper routes, ice cream vendor, etc. Herb also shared Junior's interest in custom cars, and the first car Junior was able to work on was Herb's 1941 Ford Club Coupe. Herb bought the coupe in December of 1952, and he and Junior restyled the car by lowering it, adding skirts, and welding up the deck lid. Herb and Junior's dad welded up the deck lid using a blow torch. The car was black, and Junior painted the reworked areas using a vacuum cleaner. After a while Junior's speciality become to paint whitewalls on cars.
As Herb got an urge to trade away his 1941 Ford, Herb and Junior began to cruise used car lots. they settled on a 1950 Ford Coupe as they both liked the way they looked. The year was 1953, and the car they found and traded the old coupe for was a repainted gold car. The car had been restyled slightly, and contained primer on the reworked areas. It was Herb's car, and Junior didn't know yet that this car would end up being his.
At age 16 Junior took an after school job cleaning the floors of Barris Kustoms. He started Easter of 1955, and worked until summer. George Barris could never remember Hershel's name, and started to call him "Junior" instead. Junior worked until the summer of 1955. After putting in 60 hours a week at $1 per hour, George found out that Junior was not worth his salary, so Junior quit and started working at another shop. George asked Junior back in the summer of 1956, and he always got paid after that. Sam Barris left Barris Kustoms one monthe after Junior came back, in June of 1956. It didn't take long before Junior's broom was replaced by a a brush, painting cars. While working at Barris Kustoms, Hersh painted cars such as Bob Hirohata's 1951 Mercury. When George Barris decided to move the shop to a new location in Hollywood in late 1961, Junior decided to open up his own shop named Junior's House of Color. The shop was first located in South Gate before Hersh moved it to Bell Gardens. After his Barris years Junior has mostly been doing high-end body and paintwork for import and classic cars, with a traditional custom thrown in from time to time. In the 1960s Conway did a lot of work for celebrities such as Steve McQueen, the Smoothers Brothers, Bill Cosby, and Ann-Margret. Junior wasn't happy working for the celebrities, as they used to lean on their names, and tried as good as he could to steer clear of Hollywood.
Hersh Conway's Cars
Cars Restyled by Hersh at Junior's House of Color
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 Hersh Conway and other subjects featured on Kustomrama.
Help Us Make This Article Better
If you have additional information, photos, feedback or corrections about Hersh Conway, please get in touch with Kustomrama at: firstname.lastname@example.org.