Saturday, October 23, 2010

Jim Kirstead

1939 Chopped Mercury
Barris Brothers Custom

Jim Kirstead brought his 1939 Mercury into the small Barris Brothers shop in Compton to have it chopped and customized. When finished, it was the first chopped Merc out of their young enterprise. Never heard of it? Not many have. It was 1946. Jim had just gotten out of the Navy after having served on a submarine during World War II. He had a gorgeous new wife and was making pretty good money as a lather in post war Los Angeles.

Jim spent a lot of time with the Barris Brothers. He would spend hours with Sam explaining just what he wanted and stayed around to make sure it came out that way. He would sometimes take my young Dad with him and they would sand while Sam would be welding or leading. George was around, but while he helped with the sanding, he wasn't much into the heavy cutting and metal work.  When the thing wasn't in pieces, Jim would drive it home.

 The picture at the right was taken in 1947 at the races out on the dry lakes outside of LA. The car was in primer then almost ready for paint. Jim drove his car and Sam took his customized '41 convertible Cadillac. They made quite a splash. to be continued...

You can see the somewhat primitive work on the chop. But they had that roof down so low, the windshield was only 4" vertical. The running boards are off it and the glass seems to be up front. Good thing rain wasn't much of a problem in Los Angeles, even before global warming.