Friday, November 6, 2015

Batmobile Creator George Barris Dies at 89

RIP George, the Batmobile is probably the most easily recognized car in the world.

The man did fabulous work and was quite the visionary.
His cars are legendary and worth millions now.

George Barris, the car designer who created the iconic 1966 Batmobile for the Batman television series, has died, according to a Facebook post  written by his son, Brett Barris. He was 89.
"Sorry to have to post that my father, legendary kustom car king George Barris, has moved to the bigger garage in the sky," Brett Barris wrote. "He passed on peacefully in his sleep at 2:45 am. He was surrounded by his family in the comfort of his home. He lived his life they way he wanted til the end. He would want everyone to celebrate the passion he had for life and for what he created for all to enjoy."
Barris was born in Chicago in 1925 but he moved to Northern California as a child, graduating from San Juan High School in Citrus Heights (near Sacramento).
Barris began building model cars and customizing at an early age. The first car he and his brother Sam (who was later his business partner) made was from a 1925 Buick and in high school he created his first full custom using a 1936 Ford convertible as the base. Barris made a name for himself when he moved to Los Angeles after World War II, launching Barris Kustom Industries with Sam. His first shop was on Compton Avenue but for a long time his shop has been located in North Hollywood.
The popularity of his cars caught the eye of Hollywood, and his first film assignments included work on cars for Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest, 1958's High School Confidential and 1960’s The Time Machine.
His biggest impact occurred when ABC asked him to create a signature vehicle for Batman. Barris rolled out a Lincoln concept car called the Lincoln Futura that he had kept in storage for about decade and used that as his base, constructing the car in just 15 days.
It was built for $15,000, though Barris purchased the Futura for $1. Barris kept the car in his personal collection and in 2013 sold the car at auction for $4.6 million.

A couple more he built that you of a certain age bracket may recall.

If you think these cars were just props or Trailer Queens?

Umm, no.


  1. Sorry to hear that. Yeah, I'm of that "certain age". Just as I was telling my wife "I think he did the Munster's cars" we scroll down and see them.

  2. I had the privellageof meeting him and his sons a couple times at the Friday night car shows at Bobs Big Boy at Toluca Lake. In between my Middle East adventures I had a few other adventures involving the California Custom car scene.

  3. When I was a kid in high school, I read every Hot Rod Magazine I could find. That magazine nearly always had a Barris "Kustom Kar" featured. And they were absolutely beautiful, especially the '49 and early 50s Mercuries that were lowered, chopped, channeled, and with a big (at that time) engine. I once wrote to Barris requesting a Kustom plate that he always put on his cars. Never did hear from him.


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