2022 Mecum Kissimmee Sale (Hirohata Mercury Custom Announced)

The famous 1951 Hirohata Mercury Custom was announced as one of the headline star cars for sale at the Mecum Kissimmee 2022 collector car auction in Florida, USA.

1951 Hirohata Mercury Custom on sale at Mecum Kissimmee 2020 collector car auction
© Mecum

The 1951 Hirohata Mercury Custom is one of the most interesting star cars on offer at the Mecum Kissimmee 2022 sale. This famous and well-documented custom car comes with an estimate of $1,000,000 to $1,250,000, which is not too surprising for a car that achieved First in Class and the Dean Batchelor Most Significant awards at Pebble Beach in 2015.

Mecum Kissimmee Sale 2022

Mecum’s Kissimmee 2022 collector car auction is scheduled to run from 6 to 16 January 2022 at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, Florida, USA. Around 3,500 cars and a thousand items of art and memorabilia will be on sale.

In 2022, Mecum earned a single-event sales record of $217 million in sales over 11 days. This figure included the $72 million Mecum earned on the final Saturday — a single-day record for the company. Vehicle-only earnings were $213 million with 2,954 vehicles sold — a sell-through rate of 90%.

In 2021, Mecum sold just over 2,000 cars in its Kissimmee sale to earn $122.8 million — the highest single-auction total ever achieved in Mecum’s 34-year history. It was a remarkable single-auction total and a result rarely seen outside the annual Monterey and Scottsdale auctions. In 2020, Mecum earned $105.1 million with 2,140 vehicles changing hands throughout the 11-day auction.


1951 Hirohata Mercury Custom For Sale at Mecum Kissimmee 2022

The famed 1951 Hirohata Mercury Custom (Lot S152) will be one of the headline star cars at the Mecum Kissimmee 2022 collector car auctions in Florida. Named after its original owner, Bob Hirohata, the Mercury is one of the most famous custom cars of the classic 1950s era. Although it comes with a whopping estimate of $1,000,000 to $1,250,000, it is not the most expensive car in the sale but certainly one of the most interesting lots.

“Few vehicles ever built have received the global attention and jaw-dropping awe that the Hirohata Merc has,” Vice President of Consignments Frank Mecum stated. “Mecum Kissimmee 2022 has many headlining consignments, but this iconic gem will draw the appeal of everyone for its ageless beauty and unique, history-making design, craftsmanship and presentation.”

1951 Hirohata Mercury Custom

1951 Hirohata Mercury Custom on sale at Mecum Kissimmee 2020 collector car auction
© Mecum

In 1952, a young Bob Hirohata purchased a 1951 Mercury and delivered it to the era’s most famous customizing duo, brothers Sam and George Barris, for a radical overhaul that almost instantly became the most prominent and well-known customization of the classic car era.

As the uncontested king of the classic custom era, this car’s history is well-known, documented through the pages of numerous magazines during the past 70 years. It started with delivery to the Barris brothers’ shop in Lynwood, California, where Hirohata directed Sam and George to “go all out” on the customization of his car. That’s exactly what they did, turning the car into an entirely new machine unlike any to come before it. That same year, it made its debut at the 1952 Petersen-hosted Motorama, where it was named the Class Winner, garnering feature stories in Hot Rod, Rod & Custom, HOP UP, and even the cover of MotorTrend.

Following its success at Motorama, the car became Hirohata’s daily driver. More magazine coverage followed, including a Route 66 road trip to the Indy 500 in 1953, where it won the big car show there, earning the moniker “Mercillac” as a result. Meanwhile, George Barris arranged for the car to appear in the teen car film “Runnin’ Wild,” featuring Mamie Van Doren, and he also repainted the upper area in Avocado Green for better contrast on-screen. This is how it appeared when Hirohata sold it in late 1955.

The car eventually found its way to Jim McNeil, who put it into long-term storage in 1964. He later decided to restore his prized possession to its 1952 appearance at Motorama, an effort that took several years and was covered in Rod & Custom magazine. The reappearance was quickly recognized by the hobby, resulting in the vehicle being on display at several events after its completion in 1996. It was a star at the 2011 Customs Then and Now display at the Grand National Roadster Show and was shipped to the noted Custom Motor Show in Elmia, Sweden, in April of that year.

Refreshed for its invitational entry at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2015, the car retains the 1953 Cadillac 331 CI OHV V-8 engine with three Stromberg carburetors and all the special tricks of the Barris crew, resulting in both First in Class and the Dean Batchelor Most Significant awards at Pebble Beach. Soon thereafter, the Hirohata Merc was added to the National Historic Vehicle Register and displayed for a week in a glass enclosure on the National Mall in Washington D.C., and it then traveled to the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles, where it was again presented to the eager viewing public.

Mecum Kissimmee Collector Car Auction Sales 2022

While the other large auction houses are still gearing up for Scottsdale, Arizona, in late January, Mecum is already earning at Kissimmee, Florida: