7674 Compton Avenue

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A Barris's Custom Shop business card from the Compton Ave. shop. Business Card from the David Errol Zivot collection
An early Barris Kustom from 1946. Popular modifications includes removal of chrome, restyled grill, and a chopped Carson Top. Restyled for an unknown owner, the photo was published in Hop Up May 1953, in a featured story about the history of Barris Kustoms by Spencer Murray. Photo courtesy of Hop Up Magazine.
A chopped 1940 Ford photographed in front of the Compton Avenue shop. Another early Barris build from the Hop Up May 1953 article. Photo courtesy of Hop Up Magazine.
A channeled 1939 Ford custom. Another early Barris custom photographed in front of the Compton Avenue shop. Restyled for an unknown owner, the photo was published in Hop Up May 1953, in a featured story about the history of Barris Kustoms by Spencer Murray. Photo courtesy of Hop Up Magazine.
Jim Kierstead's 1939 Mercury Coupe of Inglewood, California. Jim bought the Merc after he got out of the Navy in 1945. Jim and his brother Robert had become good friends with Sam Barris in the Navy. Impressed by the work Sam and George did in their shop, he decided to have the brothers restyle his Mercury. Jim's brother in law, Harold Johnson, used to go down to Barris Kustoms and watch them work; "Sam did most of the work, while George was more of a salesman. Jim spent a lot of time with the Barris Brothers, and he would spend hours with Sam explaining just what he wanted. He then stayed around to make sure it came out that way," Harold told Olav Kvipt of Kustomrama. Jim's Mercury is rumored to be the first 1939 - 1940 Mercury coupe that Sam and George chopped the top on. This photo, showing Jim's Mercury during the chop, was taken by Don Cox at the 7674 Compton Ave. shop circa 1946 - 1947. The 1929 Ford Model A in the background was supposedly owned by Sam. Photo from The Robert Genat Collection
According to Barris Kustom Techniques of the 50's - Volume 3, this photo was taken the day Johnny Zaro brought his 1940 Mercury to Barris Kustoms. When this photo was taken, Al Andril's 1940 Mercury had just been chopped. Johnny's damaged Mercury is awaiting its treatment. When Johnny smashed his Merc, it had already been nosed and decked. The sidetrim was shortened, and it ran single bar flipper hubcaps. Photo courtesy of George Barris, from the book Barris Kustom Techniques of the 50's - Volume 3.
An under progress photo of Johnny's Merc chopped and in primer, getting ready for paint. The photo was taken behind the Barris Compton Avenue shop. It took Sam about 6 months to complete Johnny's Merc. Photo courtesy of George Barris, from the book Barris Kustom Techniques of the 50's - Volume 3.
Al Andril's 1940 Mercury Coupe of Maywood, California. Al's Merc was restyled by Barris Kustoms in 1948 at their Compton Avenue shop.
Johnny Zaro's 1940 Mercury Coupe of Maywood, California. Johnny's Merc was restyled by Barris Kustoms in 1948 at their Compton Avenue shop.
John Vara's 1941 Ford Convertible was restyled by Barris Kustoms in 1948. John sold the car to Johnny Zaro of Maywood, California before the build was completed.
A photo of George with his track roadster taken outside the Compton Avenue shop circa 1948. Photo by Dick Bertolucci, courtesy of George Barris.
Another photo of George's roadster taken outside the 7674 Compton Avenue shop circa 1948. Photo by Dick Bertolucci, from the book King of the Kustomizers: The Art of George Barris.
The Compton Avenue shop as seen from across the street in 1948 or 1949.
The Compton Avenue shop as seen from across the street in 2011. Photo by Sondre Kvipt.
The shop as it appeared in 1948/1949.
The shop as it appeared in 2011. Photo by Sondre Kvipt.
Jesse Lopez' 1941 Ford and Sam Barris' 1940 Mercury parked in the street behind the Compton Ave. shop[1]
The same view more than 60 years later. Photo by Sondre Kvipt.
An unknown 1936 Ford done by Barris.
Bill Spurgeon's 1939 Mercury Coupe was restyled by Sam and George in 1946. Some of the work was done at Jones's Body, Fender & Paint Shop where George worked as foreman.
Dick Fowler's 1938 Ford coupe was restyled by George and Sam at their Compton Avenue shop between 1946 and 1948.
George Barris' 1941 Buick was restyled around 1946 - 1947.
Jim Kirstead's 1939 Mercury coupe was restyled by Sam, George and Jim after the WWII. The build was completed in 1947.
Al Andril's 1940 Mercury of Bell, California, was restyled by Barris Kustoms in 1947. The build took about 9 months.
Johnny Zaro's 1940 Mercury coupe, of Bell, California, was restyled in 1947.
Var Martin's 1941 Buick was restyled by Barris Kustoms some around 1947 - 1948.
Mickey Chiachi's 1939 Ford was restyled by Barris Kustoms sometime before 1948.
Dick Carter's 1941 Ford, of Bell, California, was restyled by Barris Kustoms around 1948. Dick brought the car to Barris' after seing Var Martin's 1941 Buick.
Bill DeCarr's 1941 Mercury was restyled by Barris Kustoms around 1948.
George Janich's 1941 Ford of Long Beach, California was restyled by Sam Barris. The project was started in 1946 and completed in 1948.
Sam Barris' 1940 Mercury was restyled around 1948-1949.
After winning top honors at the first Hot Rod Exposition in 1948 with George Barris' 1941 Buick, George and Sam moved their shop to larger premises at 7674 Compton Avenue. After the move, they renamed the shop "Barris's Custom Shop"
A group of cars outside the "Barris's Custom Shop" on 7674 Compton Avenue in Los Angeles. Dick Fowler's 1938 Ford coupe can be seen below the "Auto Painting" sign.
George Barris' Track Roadster outside the 7674 Compton Avenue shop circa 1948. George built the channeled roadster, that sported one of his first flame paint jobs, in 1948. Lanky Oran Breeland can be seen on the right. Oran worked for Sam and George, and George lived with him and his folks at the time. Photo by Dick Bertolucci, courtesy of George Barris.
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An early photo of Bob Creasman's 1940 Ford coupe taken outside the Compton Avenue shop in 1948. Photo courtesy of eBay.
Another early photo of Creasman's taken outside the Compton Avenue shop. Photo courtesy of eBay.
A business card from the shop at 4120-1/2 East Florence Avenue in Bell. After about 6 months in Bell, they moved their shop to Atlantic Blv in Lynwood. The top of the business card reads Barris - Hector - John. Hector and John referred Hector Savadra and John Manok who were bodymen at the shop.[2]
The first version of Tom Hocker's 1940 Ford Coupe was restyled by Barris Kustoms around 1949.
The old Barris's Custom Shop as it appeared in 2011. By then the old Barris shop housed Zapotlanejo Auto Repair Electric, a company specializing in auto electronic and carburetors. Photo by Sondre Kvipt.
A business card for Zapotlanejo Auto Repair Electric.
Photo by Sondre Kvipt.
Photo by Sondre Kvipt.
Photo by Sondre Kvipt.
Photo by Sondre Kvipt.
Inside the shop. Photo by Sondre Kvipt.
Photo by Sondre Kvipt.
Photo by Sondre Kvipt.
Photo by Sondre Kvipt.
Photo by Sondre Kvipt.

7674 Compton Avenue is the address of the third Barris Kustoms shop.


In 1946 George and Sam Barris pooled their resources and rented a small shop on Imperial Avenue in Los Angeles in 1946. It didn't take long before they had outgrown the Imperial Avenue shop, so they quickly moved to a larger location at 7674 Compton Avenue in Los Angeles. After moving the shop, they changed their name to "Barris's Custom Shop". At the time they were an official Brake Station, something that helped improve the cash flow day to day.[3] After moving in to the Compton shop, George started to freelance for Hot Rod Magazine. Barris Kustoms got a lot of press, and the once so large Compton shop were soon to small to house all of the cars that customers brought over. In 1949 George and Sam were forced to move their operations to an even larger shop at 4120-1/2 East Florence Avenue in Bell.


Cars Restyled by Barris Kustoms at the 7674 Compton Avenue Shop

Jim Kierstead's 1939 Mercury Coupe
Al Andril's 1940 Mercury Coupe
Johnny Zaro's 1940 Mercury Coupe
John Vara's 1941 Ford Convertible


References



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