View Full Version : 3864 Actress Martha Hyer

Jeff Stork
07-15-2014, 05:23 PM
Came upon this great piece about Hollywood actress Martha Hyer and her fabulous mid-century home in the Hollywood Hills and in the driveway- her black Continental Mark II. She still had the car in 1959 when she drove it to a party at Merle Oberon's and while she was away, her house was robbed. Her art collection had been written up in LIFE magazine and apparently aroused too much interest. Does anyone know her VIN?

Here's the link- the house is way cool and the photos are great:


RL Chilton
07-15-2014, 06:33 PM
That was a cool story. Thanks for posting.

And that will be another mystery for Pat. But, my guess is he already knows what # car that is.

Mark II Seeker
07-15-2014, 08:00 PM

Thanks for an interesting post.

I particularly liked the attributes of her home "a perfect metaphor for her carefully cultivated on-screen persona cool, poised, sophisticated and elegant " might explain why she owned a Mark II.

At the risk of controversy - she was a true beauty but certainly no Grace Kelly in my opinion. :)

Jeff Stork
07-15-2014, 09:10 PM
On the contrary, I think she's a lot like Grace Kelly.

Pat Marshall
07-16-2014, 02:01 AM
And that will be another mystery for Pat. But, my guess is he already knows what # car that is.

I wish I did! After seeing this thread I checked my records and found nothing and the Mark II Encyclopedia's listing of original owners had nothing about Hyer, either. I did some internet searching and so far haven't found any other clues about this car. :(

She was very pretty, but Grace Kelley has my vote! Hyer was beautiful, Kelley-STUNNING!

Jeff Stork
07-16-2014, 10:43 AM
Her last name is Hyer, not Hyler.

RL Chilton
07-16-2014, 01:05 PM

Also, in conjunction with the spelling of her last name, she was married from '51-'54 to Ray Stahl. Although I don't believe they had children, there's a possibility that the car could have been in his name or her married name.

Also, at the end of the studio system, there's a possibility that the car could have been bought by the studio in which she was "owned". Not sure, probably Warner Bros., as her next husband was Hal Wallis.

More clues for the fodder, perhaps.

Pat Marshall
07-17-2014, 07:42 AM
Spelling - "Hyler" was just a spelling error in my posting. Thanks for your vigilance.

Husbands Name - There are no records either in the MKIIE, the MKIIF or my source database for original owners named Stahl or Wallis.

Studio Owned - We have no documention of any studios purchasing Mark IIs. Quite a few Mark IIs were owned by Studio Owners, Directors, and Producers. While it is possible (probable?) that the studios paid for some of those IIs, we have found no instances of studio names appearing on dealer invoices.

I think we're going to have to luck-out to get the VIN on this car since I don't believe we'll find direct documentation. Possibly we might find a reference somewhere to something unique about the car (special interior, Original Dealer, etc) but that's a long shot. More likely, but still out there, would be if it comes up for sale, or if the owner joins the Forum and has the background, or someone pops up with knowledge of the car.

We have added this car to our Gallery - Known Mark IIs With Unknown VINS.

Chuck Lutz
07-17-2014, 10:36 AM
Oh comm'on guys, how hard can it be! 1956 or 57 Mark II probably Black in color .... :rolleyes:

RL Chilton
07-17-2014, 04:48 PM
How many of those were there, Chuck, 171 or so off the top of my head.

. . . I'm sure Pat can account for 40 or so of those. So, hey, you're right, we've narrowed it down! :D

Jeff Stork
07-17-2014, 06:23 PM
It would have helped if it had been one of the DSO Black on Black ones, of which a few were in Los Angeles, but I can see the light insert on the door panel. Hopefully we will track it down.

Shelly Harris
07-18-2014, 09:11 AM
FWIW .. Hal B. Wallis in the Mid 1950s was no longer a Warner Bros producer... from 1944 on he produced independently and released his films through Paramount. Interestingly, Wallis produced many Elvis films starting with "Loving You" released in 1957. Is it possible that they both purchased their Mark IIs from the same dealer?

Pat Marshall
07-18-2014, 10:07 AM
A few comments re: above comments.

There were 800 Black Mark IIs (source MKIIE)

Because of the light (white) door biscuits, the car interior was probably 1P6N (Black Bolsters, White Biscuits, Black Welts). There were a lot of them especially in the LA area. (Martha seemed like an elegant formal type of woman who would have chosen such an exterior/interior combination)

Elvis purchased his Mark II in Miami, Florida.

07-18-2014, 03:48 PM
I'm throwing this thought out there. Perhaps the car in the drive was not hers. Could have a been an assigned studio unit, somewhat doubtful considering the fact she was not an "A" list star, but possible. Contract stars were sometimes given perks. The vehicle could also have belonged to a guest at the time of the photo shoot. Maybe the car was "planted" there to give the shoot more realism. Just some thoughts as to why there is no info tying her to the Mark.

RL Chilton
07-18-2014, 08:20 PM

Good thinking. All of that is absolutely a possibility.

Pat Marshall
07-19-2014, 09:37 AM
The article about her does say: "...At 8:15 PM on the evening of Saturday, November 1, 1959, the elegantly gowned Hyer departed 8688 Hollywood Boulevard to attend a party being thrown by Merle Oberon. No sooner had the red tail lights of her Lincoln Continental disappeared into the night an unseen intruder or intruders forced their way into the home through the kitchen window and went to work..."

Shawn Newcomb
07-19-2014, 10:23 AM
More than I ever cared to know about the woman but apparently in addition to several married names she had at least one alias, many wealthy beaus who had gifted at least 1 car in the past. Most pertinent entry to this discussion might be March 1958.


Pat Marshall
07-19-2014, 01:04 PM
Specifically the article says:

October 57 ...columnist Harrison Carroll tells: "...The most exciting thing in her life right now, she says, is the prospect of moving into her new house when she finishes Houseboat at Paramount."

March 58 Universal-International buys her a fine new house, furnishes it lavishly, and comes across with an elegant new car

4 May 59 Life magazine gives her lifestyle a ten-page photographic layout. Soon after the spread, her home is robbed while she's attending a party at the home of actress Merle Oberon.

I believe that the pictures that we have of her with a Mark II, were from that 1959 Life Magazine article about her.

If that's the car that Universal bought her, it would have to be a very late '57, probably with a Trim Code of 01-1B11N.

3864 is the Mark II ever made that matches those specifications. It was ordered new by a Houston Dealer in April 1957, customer, Ray A. Wilson was listed on the invoice. There is no subsequent ownership history.

Stitching it together. Assume that the Mark II was her favorite car and that during 1957 Universal was building a house for her, intended to give her a Mark II along with the house, and her interior of choice was Black with White biscuits. Then the only Mark II ever made with those specs (a DSO) was available during that period, and as stated above, was headed for Houston.

Maybe Universal made a deal for the car.

Shelly Harris
07-19-2014, 01:43 PM
Good detective work Pat. I'm wondering if late '57s sold in early '58 were being pushed out the door with heavy discounting given the car becoming an orphan.

Back to Martha... that car heading for Houston.... Martha was a Texas gal from Ft Worth/Dallas and according to that website was visiting with family in Texas in Feb '58 one month before the house and car item.

Pat Marshall
07-21-2014, 04:27 PM
The car was delivered to the dealer in April 1957 (the last 57 was delivered in May). I'm thinking there weren't many (if any) 57s at dealerships in 1958.

Since her house was so architectually significant I believe it was probably under design and construction for much of 1957. So I think the studios acquiring a one of a kind mark II in April/may 1957 may have reasonably fit within the time-space continuum window.

08-14-2014, 10:21 PM
There were 934 cars produced in black (01)...We're going to need some luck.

Pat Marshall
08-14-2014, 10:57 PM
But, how many were 01-1B11N?

08-14-2014, 11:21 PM
That's easy. One: C56S3864

Pat Marshall
08-14-2014, 11:25 PM

RL Chilton
08-19-2014, 01:12 PM
That's awesome work, y'all! Pat, any idea where 3864 is currently?

I went back and read, "There is no subsequent ownership history.", so I assume you do not.

Pat Marshall
08-20-2014, 09:08 AM
We have no idea where it is, but are hoping sometime it will pop up.

The history has been updated: