George Contaoi's 1947 Mercury

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Before George painted it, he primered it pink. This photo is from around 1955. Photo by George Contaoi.
A friend of George, Jim Dramgool drove this 1940 Ford with a Carson top. The photo is dated April 1955, however George recalls it was taken at Forrest Falls in the year of 1953. Photo by George Contaoi.
A closeup of the photo above shows the nice lines of the top George chopped along with Al Andrade and Dick Richardson. Photo by George Contaoi.
Photo by George Contaoi.
By 1956, George's Merc was painted red lacquer. Photo by George Contaoi.
Photo by George Contaoi.

1947 Mercury Business Coupe restyled by Al Andrade and Dick Richardson of Dick Richardson's Custom Shop for San Bernardino Krankers member George Contaoi of San Bernardino, California. After George sold his 1941 Ford, he bought a nice 1947 Mercury coupe. He restyled it over a span of 3 years, he began in 1953, and it was done in 1956. The car was a full blown custom, and might be the first documented hardtopped 1941-1948 Ford/Merc. They nosed, decked and shaved the car for door handles. The side trim was shortened on the hood, and the profile on the hood was filled. The headlights were frenched, and a custom grille opening was made, a 1955 DeSoto grille was cut down and made to fit. The rear fenders were molded, and the trim on the fenders were discarded. The stock taillights were frenched by using the stock bezels. The top was chopped by Al and Dick, and the door pillars were eliminated, turning it into a hardtop. George Barris stopped by several times to check out the build, and he never figured out how they fit a one piece windshield in the car. The secret was, a 1952 Studebaker windshield. Dual Appleton S-552 spotlights were installed, along with Oldsmobile Fiesta hubcaps. The first version had 1947 Cadillac Sombrero hubcaps and 1941 Ford long fender skirts. The gravel pans were molded, and the rear gravel pan was extended downwards. There were no bumper guards up front, but the rear bumper featured a 1949 Chevrolet license plate guard.[1]

George sold the Mercury in 1961 to Roger Davis, also from San Bernardino. Roger ended up in jail and sold it on to Dexter Shields of the Hells Angels. The Hells Angels had the Merc as their mascot car, and according to George, the car is still owned by the San Bernardino Hells Angels.[1]


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