Hirohata Merc to Appear at Grand National Roadster Show

The 1951 Mercury Coupe known as the “Hirohata Merc” will make its debut appearance under new ownership at the Grand National Roadster Show, held at the Pomona Fairplex Jan. 28-30, event officials announced. The Hirohata Merc sold earlier this month at the Mecum collector car auction in Kissimmee, Florida.

“Grand National Roadster Show has become the hub of hot rod and custom car culture over the last 72 years,” said John Buck, producer of the Grand National Roadster Show. “To welcome what has become the undisputed king of custom car culture is such a treat and offers a taste of what visitors can expect from the near 1,000 cars and trucks they will see at the show. We owe a huge thanks to owner Beau Boeckmann and the entire Galpin team for choosing our show to host this amazing piece of custom history.”

Named after the 21-year-old Japanese American Navy veteran Masato “Bob” Hirohata, who commissioned the custom build in 1952, the Hirohata Merc was created by Sam and George Barris. George Barris is known throughout the world as the original “King of Kustomizers,” and his creations are legendary for their presence in television and motion pictures, including the likes of the Batmobile, the Munster Koach, the “Beverly Hillbillies” Model 46, KITT from “Knight Rider” and more, show organizers said.

The Hirohata Merc is considered the pinnacle of “Kustom Kulture” by many and boasts the awards to back it up, event officials said, including class wins from the 1952 Petersen Motorama to the 2015 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. It was also on the cover of Hop Up magazine in March of 1953 and was featured in Hot Rod and Rod & Custom the same year. The Hirohata Merc is one of only 30 automobiles listed on the National Historic Vehicle Register.

The car has a storied past, having changed hands several times and even serving as a high-school daily driver before vanishing from public view for approximately 20 years. After reemerging, the Merc underwent an exhaustive restoration before returning to several high-profile events, one of which was the “Customs Then and Now” display at the 2011 Grand National Roadster Show.

For tickets to see the Hirohata Merc at the Grand National Roadster Show, visit www.hotrodshows.com or purchase in-person at O’Reilly Auto Parts stores. The car will be on display in building 4 while Galpin’s booth will be just outside the same building.

Related Articles

Back to top button