Sam Barris' 1940 Mercury

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An early photo of Sam's Mercury, taken by Gene Winfield in 1948. Notice the blackwall tires. Photo by Gene Winfield - Winfield Custom Shop.
Jesse Lopez' 1941 Ford and Sam's Mercury parked outside the "Barris's Custom Shop" on Compton Avenue. Photo by Bob Sorrell.[1]
Tom Renzulli's 1940 Mercury was wrongfully advertised for sale as the Sam Barris Merc in 2010. The car had a Barris connection, and it was supposedly built from left over parts from the restoration of Johnny Zaro's 1940 Mercury coupe that Kurt McCormick restored in the 1990s. Photo courtesy of Minnick & Dailey Estate Services.

1940 Mercury convertible restyled by Sam Barris of Barris Kustoms. Sam chopped the windshield frame on the Merc, molded the fenders to the body and shaved it for handles and emblems. The stock bumpers were replaced with a set of 1937 DeSoto ripple bumpers.[2] The rear fenders were smoothed and small round taillights were positioned on both ends on the bumper guards. Glen Houser of Carson Top Shop made a padded removeable top for the Mercury. Sam shortened the side trims on the hood to achieve of a speedboat look. Like many other late 1940's customs, aftermarked fenderskirts from a 1939 Mercury were installed. Dual Appleton 112 spotlights and a set of Wide whites with Flipper Hubcaps with ripple ring were added. According to the Barris books, the car was painted dark green metallic once completed bodywork was completed.[3] Late research has uncovered that the car was painted a medium blue.[4]

Dick Bertolucci and Gene Winfield took photos of the car in 1948, and George has shown 3 photos of it in front of their 7674 Compton Avenue shop, so according to The Rodders Journal 29 the car had to be built around 1948/1949.[3] According to Spencer Murray, Sam built the car in Sacramento, California before he went in to the service in 1942.[5]

Where is it now?

Sam used the Merc as his daily driver for some time, later on, he sold it in due to pay his bills. Nobody knows what happened to the car after Sam sold it, and the whereabouts of the old Barris Kustom was in 2020 still unknown.[2] Please get in touch with Kustomrama at if you have any information about the Sam Barris Mercury to share.

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