George Barris was known as the “King of the Kustomizers.” From hot rods to cars captured on film, Barris used his passion for automobiles to create some of the most memorable vehicles in history. Since he recently passed away, it is the perfect time to look back at his unique offerings.
“Black Beauty” from “The Green Hornet”
“Black Beauty” began as a 1966 Chrysler Imperial. It was originally customized by Dean Jeffries who added a unique exhaust system and a 500 horsepower engine. For extreme final touches, the car was sent to George Barris. He accented the front with a grill that contained a gun insert. In addition, flap headlights and an electric trap door were installed. For extra protection from the enemies, the roof included a simulated bulletproof glass housing. To achieve the perfect color, 30 coats of black/green pearl paint were applied and hand-buffed.
1966 Original Batmobile
The 1966 television series “Batman,” which starred Adam West and Burt Ward, would not have been complete without the “Batmobile.” This 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car housed a 429 Ford Full engine that produced 330 horsepower. Barris was given $15,000 to turn an older luxury car into a futuristic masterpiece. One of the best features was the NitroOxide Thrust front-end design that resembled the face of a bat. Inside, the innovations were also impressive. The dashboard housed the “Batscope,” which allowed the superhero to watch for crime, receive messages, and send information back to the “Batcave.” In January 2013, the original Batmobile sold for $4.2 million.
The Munster’s Koach
Besides classic cars, Barris famously customized hot rods as well. One of the most famous was the vehicle featured in the television show “The Munsters.” The Koach was crafted by hand from three different Model T bodies and included a 289 Ford Cobra engine from a 1966 Mustang. The overall design was intricate and filled with “frightening” details. For instance, the blood red velvet interior and gloss black pearl paint were the perfect touches to complement the hand-formed fenders, rolled-steel scrollwork, and Bobby Barr racing headers.
George Barris was one of the best customizers of all times. His cars were works of art that displayed his passion for creating unique vehicles. They will continue his legacy and will live on as memorable pieces of automotive history.
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