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Hagerty Employee

Thanks to Barris Kustoms, this Hirohata Mercury fueled the custom car trend

Custom vehicles have been called coachbuilt cars for the common man, but there’s nothing common about the Hirohata Merc or the men who dreamed it and built it.


“As far back as I can remember, it’s been the car that gets talked about, because it made the new look,” says Herschel Conway in the first episode of The Hiohata Merc: Custom Legend, a four-part docuseries from the Historic Vehicle Association. “The other cars became mild customs alongside this radical custom.”


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When Pat Ganahl revived Rod & Custom magazine the careful restoration-as-was-customized of this car by Jim McNeil was an ongoing feature. He (Jim) had owned it for a long time then, and I am talking about 1990s car magazines. Very cool that he still has the car today.