In the postwar era, Los Angeles was ground zero for the emergence of a racy custom car aesthetic that was largely based upon the 1949 - 1951 Mercurys, the most modern automotive design lineup in the immediate postwar era.

’Twas a shocking sight to see the small collection of Mercury Customs on the lawn at Pebble Beach juxtaposed against the elegant show-winning Isotta Fraschini and a spectacular assemblage of Ferraris, but after the shock wore off, one could see the hand of craftsmen shaping sheet metal to their own purpose, the stuff Concours celebrate in their annual assemblies.

Shown here In all it’s chopped and channeled glory is the 1951 Mercury ICM Custom Coupe created by builder Barris Kustoms for client Bob Hirohata. Squint your eyes a bit when looking at the profile view of this car and you may see echoes of the famous French coachbuilders Figoni et Falaschi chrome slash that adorned the sleekest automotive designs of the 1930s.

Barris Kustoms clearly had an unrestrained gleam in their eye when they expertly removed the Mercury B pillar, lowered the car and chopped the roofline to exaggerate this zoomy body design. Plenty of lead was used to fill the holes left after carving the original Mercury into its new configuration. The entire confection was completed in only 97 shop days—just in time for Bob Petersen’s 1952 International Motorama held in Los Angeles. The insane production schedule may have been a blessing in disguise for the finished car is minimally adorned except for it’s broad, bold body strokes. Frozen in time within the hammered metal of this 1951 Mercury Custom is the flash and dash of the immediate postwar design period.

In days to come we will celebrate new unrestrained automotive designs expertly thrown together in a matter of weeks as expressions of man’s need to exert his own style over his transportation. Let’s hope the results will be just as successful as Pebble Beach showed us this year in this interesting display of customized Mercurys.

Hagerty Predicts Collectible Car Auction Prices will Slow

Venerable collectable car expert, Michael Hagerty, predicts recent soaring auction prices for collectible automobiles will slow.

In 2010, when the economic concept of the "New Normal", was formulating itself in the public mind, the big money was quietly placing bets on collectible automobiles as a new form of "hard currency". Were they right? Yes, classic car auction results validate that investing in rare automobiles as an appreciating asset was a smart move at that time.

As America has struggled with the recession, rejiggered health care, student debt and a housing crisis, the appreciation in classic car prices has been unprecedented since 2010. But now come the first withering signs that this economic bubble may be about to burst. Will the prospect of a new "Asian Contagion" courtesy of China's slowdown tarnish the allure of poring dollars into automotive investments?

Auction results at this time of this writing point to a slowdown in price increases overall, although premier examples of one-off or extremely limited production automobiles continues to increase. 



Zowie! That's all we can say about this stunning new Singer stellar restoration of a 1965 Porsche 911Targa with an Ed Pink racing 4.0-Liter Engine.


More Porsche than Porsche! Could it be? I've always been a fan of their bespoke interiors, but this is something else. Don't miss seeing it if you are at the Monterey Car Week festivities.