Car StoriesFeature Cars

1949 Mercury that started it all, Sam Barris

Sam Barris 1949 Mercury Custom

If you appreciate custom cars from the 50s or if you think lead sleds are cool you owe much of it to this car. Sam Barris is the lesser well known, but some say more talented, brother of George Barris. You can read all about this car and see more photos in our Feature Car pages.

I always knew of what George Barris built and loved his work. I had heard of Sam Barris but really didn’t know much about him until I recently visited the NHRA Museum in Pomona, CA and saw this magnificent Merc on display.

This is not only a beautiful car it is a real piece of American Hot Rodding history. I think it is every bit as important to restore and show these kinds of cars as it is to restore ANY stock production vehicle. Cars like these are what made a lot of us the car geeks we are today. There are more. What are the cars you want to see again?

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I grew up and lived in Iowa for a good portion of my life before moving to Southern California. After 20+ years we now live outside Nashville Tennessee. I have been into cars since I was old enough to remember. I don't have a brand loyalty although I do prefer American Muscle especially the 1969/1970 NASCAR Aero Cars. (Check out our other web site at site) As long as it has four wheels and an engine I get excited. Few men are lucky enough to be able to share their passion for cars with the woman they love. Fortunately, my wife, Katriana, is also a gear head and many of our activities revolve around the cars. We have a small collection that includes at least one car from each of the Big Three. It includes a Best of Show winner, a survivor, a driver with lots of patina and several others. Katrina prefers all original cars while I like to modify them so we have a few of each. When we aren't playing with cars we are out working with or showing our miniature donkeys. You can see more about that part of our lives at

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One Comment

  1. I have been a Sam Barris fan for years and am now doing a 1952 Chevrolet convertible that will resemble Sam’s 1951 Chev coupe (Larry Ernst’s car). It is chopped and lowered,with custom features similar to Sam’s ideas. I even considered a personalized plate that says SAM BARIS and while that may be a bit much, still I plan to mention Sam on the display card when my car is shown. “A tribute to Sam Barris”. But yeah, his designs are more sophisticated than George’s (now 85) in my opinion. Definitely both brothers contributed much to the American phenomenon of custom cars. The guy that chopped my car consulted with George in person on just how to do it! See the Larry Ernst 51 Chev on Fotki and also Georges red chopped 49 Cadillac convertible. Tim in AZ

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