Portola Valley, CA
1949 Mercury Coupe
Despite years of use and abuse Bill Ganahl at Brizio Street Rods restored the original chassis back to the configuration when it left Sam Barris' ownership. Through the years damage from bottoming out and multiple engine swaps had taken their toll, but Bill faced the challenge and restored the chassis back to 1950 specs with an original drivetrain and modifications like cut front coils, re-arched rear springs and C-notched above the rearend just as Sam had done originally. A low-mileage donor car was even purchased by long-time owner Tommy Lee to gather all the original pieces removed from the Barris Merc through out the years including the entire driveline, but owner John Mumford insisted at the car be placed on the original Barris modified frame. Stock front and rear brakes and components were rebuilt by Bill Ganahl and the original rearend was rebuilt by D&D Enterprises.
As mentioned earlier the Barris Mercury went through a few engine swaps while owned by Tommy Lee, but he had tracked down an original '49 Mercury donor car to give up its mill and trans so that when it came time for Bill Ganahl to restore the car all he needed to do was send the 69K mile Flatly out to Bruno Gianoli to return the 255ci V8 to factory freshness. Mated to a stock manual 3-speed transmission John Mumford can cruise the old custom exactly the way Sam Barris did nearly six decades ago.
Wheels & Tires
To replicate the original set of shoes on Sam's Merc 15x5 1/2-inch Ford steel wheels are mated to a set of 7.10-15 Firestone wide whites with a pair of Caddy "Sombrero" hubcaps welded to Ford baby moon caps mounted up front only.
Body & Paint
The daddy of all custom Mercs utilizes plenty of the standard mods like the chopped top (4-inch front & 5 1/2-inch in the rear), nosed, decked and shaved handles, but Sam Barris also applied some less commonly used tricks to like the beautifully blended center body line that creates a full fade-away. Further custom additions include shaved drip rails, a customized '51 Ford grille and '48 Buick side trim. After 47 years of care taking by Tommy Lee the body was in surprisingly excellent condition despite early use during severe New Jersey winters. Bill Ganahl repaired the small amounts of rust before Darryl Hollenbeck sprayed the deep Dark Green metallic paint matched to an original portion of the dash.
With no original photos to work from and very few reliable firsthand accountings of the original upholstery a general interpretation of the original stitch work was created by Ron Mangus in white vinyl with green piping in the style used back in the day by trimmers like Gaylord's. The dash was restored perfectly to original specs and the steering column is topped by a prized Mercury accessory steering wheel.