Tom Renzulli's 1940 Mercury
1940 Mercury convertible owned by Tom Renzulli of San Diego, California. Tom's Mercury was supposedly built from the remains of Johnny Zaro's 1940 Mercury, an early Barris Kustom originally completed in 1948.
Kurt McCormick buys the car and parts it out
After being involved in a couple of accidents with the Mercury, Zaro ended up trading it to John Vara for his 1941 Ford Convertible. The car went through several owners before it eventually ended up in the hands of Barris Kustoms collector Kurt McCormick in Imperial, Missouri. When Kurt bought the old Custom, it had been neglected for a long time, and it was in need of a restoration. Over the years, the car had suffered through a series of indignities which included the installation of a Vega grille and a coat of Pepto Bismol pink paint that hid all of the graceful styling done by Barris. Kurt was able to confirm that it actually was the real Johnny Zaro Merc. Because of all the modifications, temporary fixes and its advanced state of deterioration, Kurt needed to get a donor car in order to restore it back to its former glory. He cut the top of the Zaro Merc and sold off the remaining parts of the old custom. The Renzulli Mercury was supposedly built from the remains of the pink Zaro Merc.
The Sam Barris rumors
Tom Renzulli came across the car as he was building two other 1940 Mercury coupes. According to the HAMB thread, it was a good deal, and it came with a lot of extra parts. Tom ended up buying it, and the seller told him it was an old Barris car. The convertible was in a terrible condition when it came to Tom's shop. It was a rolling chassis, and most of the car was there. Tom then went through every panel and cut out all the garbage and Bondo. After buying it, Tom got in touch with George Barris. In April of 2007 George Barris authenticated that the car was an old Barris Kustom. According to the "Certificate of Authenticity," Barris chopped the windshield, molded the fenders, taillights, front bumper bracket holes, and trunk lid. They also shaved it for chrome and handles and leaded the valance around the rear bumper. In 2010 the car was advertised for sale as the lost Sam Barris' 1940 Mercury. The ad stirred up a lot of discussions online, and according to a discussion on the HAMB, the Mercury in the ad was not Sam's old Mercury, but a custom built from the remains of Johnny Zaro's 1940 Mercury coupe. A friend of Tom chipped in on the discussion in 2017, and according to him, it was a seller representative that had been trying to sell the car for Tom that had done his own research and come up with the Sam Barris information.
In April of 2020, the Renzulli Mercury was advertised for sale at EstateSales.org. Located in Escondido, California it was listed as an online auction with a US $1,000 starting bid. The auction ends on April 18, 8:30 AM. Click here to check out the auction listing at EstateSales.org
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