Dave Bugarin's 1951 Mercury

From Kustomrama
Jump to: navigation, search
George Barris posing with the Merc at the Compton Drive-In
A photo of Dave with his Mercury.
A photo of the car that was developed in April of 1958. Photo from The Roger Lick Photo Collection.
Photo from the 1958 Renegades Rod & Custom Motorama Souvenir Program.
The Merc as it appeared when Michael Warner owned it. Photo courtesy of Michael Warner.
Claude under the hood of the old Mercury custom. Photo from Traditional Custom Cars Facebook Group.

1951 Mercury restyled by Barris Kustoms for Dave Bugarin of San Pedro, California. Dave wanted a car that gained as much response as Bob Hirohata's 1951 Mercury. Dave brought his Merc over to the Barris Kustoms for a full makeover. Dave had already mildly reworked his Merc down in San Pedro. It had been shaved for door handles, the headlights were frenched and it was fit with a 1948 Cadillac grille. Sam Barris chopped the top 3 inches in the front and 5 in the rear. This allowed him to slope the roof into one of his fine slicing job that laid the rear window forward.[1] The upper sections of the doors were chopped off at window level and welded to the body, making this a hardtop Merc. The loss of body strength was solved by strengthening the top and rear quarter panels.[2] The chrome side window frames were custom made.[1] The body was shaved and decked. The hood was extended, peaked and rolled into the grille opening similar to Bob Hirohata's 1951 Mercury. Sam frenched the headlights by using 1953 Buick rings. The taillights were frenched 1954 Packard units. The gravel shield was molded to the body. The Cadillac grille Dave already had installed was replaced by a new one made by using sheet metal, nine small pieces of tubing with two 1954 Ford parking lights integrated on each sides. The front bumper was from a 1952 Chrysler and the rear was from a 1954 Lincoln. Barris made airscoops on the rear fenders covered with 1953 Chevrolet trim teeths. The front and rear fenders were extended approximately 5 inches. Dual Appleton spotlights, Oldsmobile Fiesta Hubcaps and side skirts were added. The 1954 Buick side trim seperated the two tone paint scheme.[2] The Barris shop did sections of the car for Bugarin over several years as his budget permitted.[1]

In 1958 Dave's Mercury was shown at the Renegades Rod & Custom Motorama in Long Beach, California. Sometime after this show, the Merc was repainted and fit with quad headlights.

In the Summer of 1963 Michael Warner traded Dave Burgarin's brother the car for a 1955 Chevrolet. Dave had probably handed the car down to his brother. When Michael got it it was primered because the lacquer had cracked. Otherwise the body was perfect. The upholstery was worn. It was blue velvet. The dash had been striped by Dean Jeffries.[3]

The whereabouts of the car is currently unknown. It may still be around somewhere in South California, or as rumors says, crushed. The Merc was last spotted in grey primer under a car port in Harbor City, by Greg Sharp in 1970. Greg wanted to buy the car in 1964 for only $300, but his father would not let him.

Magazine Features

Car Craft July 1955
Car Craft May 1956
Motor Life April 1957
Trend Book 133 Custom Cars 1957 Annual
Custom Cars July 1958
Custom Cars November 1958
Car Craft February 1959
Trend Book 197 Custom Cars 1961 Annual



Did you enjoy this article?

Kustomrama is an encyclopedia dedicated to preserve, share and protect traditional hot rod and custom car history from all over the world.

Can you help us make this article better?

Please get in touch with us at mail@kustomrama.com if you have additional information or photos to share about Dave Bugarin's 1951 Mercury.

This article was made possible by:

SunTec Auto Glass - Auto Glass Services on Vintage and Classic Cars
Finding a replacement windshield, back or side glass can be a difficult task when restoring your vintage or custom classic car. It doesn't have to be though now with auto glass specialist companies like www.suntecautoglass.com. They can source OEM or OEM-equivalent glass for older makes/models; which will ensure a proper fit every time. Check them out for more details!

Do you want to see your company here? Click here for more info about how you can advertise your business on Kustomrama.

Personal tools
Help us