Bobby Yamazaki's 1954 Mercury

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Chimbo's Merc as it looked before it was restyled by Jay Johnston and Barris Kustoms. Photo by George Barris.[1]
Chimbo's Merc as it looked after the big fire at Barris Kustoms December 4, 1957. Photo by George Barris.
Photo by George Barris.
Photo by George Barris.
Photo by George Barris.

1954 Mercury owned by Bobby "Chimbo" Yamazaki. Junior Conway told Larry Watson that George Barris nicknamed Bobby "Chimbo". Chimbo's Merc was one of the customs that burned down in the fire at Barris Kustoms, December 4, 1957. Jay Johnston of Jay's Custom Shop restyled the front end to accept canted quad headlights and a 1957 Oldsmobile front bumper with 1957 Edsel grille pieces. According to Larry Watson, Chimbo brought his Merc over to Barris Kustoms to have the top chopped and install a pair of 1956 Buick taillights. Photos of the car from Barris Kustom Techniques of the 50's - Volume 1 shows the Merc before Jay restyled the front end, with a chopped top. So the top must have been chopped before the front end was restyled. In these photos, the car has been nosed and decked, and the headlights have been frenched. It still has the door handles, and some of the chrome has been shaved away. A new rounder rear window had been fitted to the chopped top, and new fender skirts had been installed. The Merc did also have a vinyl top in these photos. These photos shows the car with stock taillights, so chances are that the car went from Jay's Custom Shop to have the Buick taillights installed. Jay Johnston painted the Merc in a pearl green.[2] When tragedy struck, the Merc was in the Barris shop being upholstered by Roy Gilbert.[1] Chimbo was supposed to pick it up the next day.

Magazine Feature

Rod & Custom March 1958


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