Obit of the Day: The King of Car Customization

In 1965, George Barris received a call from William Dozier, produce of the new Batman television series. Mr. Dozier needed a car for the Caped Crusader and wanted something that felt modern. Mr. Barris had just the thing, a 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car, that he modified in three weeks to create the legendary Batmobile (see above).

Although his most recognizable creation Mr. Barris, who originally worked with his brother Sam, customized thousands of cars for both private owners as well as films and television shows. The brothers were legends for modifying American cars to create a distinct California “look” that won them numerous awards and even earned them a spot on the cover of Motor Trend

His Hollywood work peaked in the 1960s, when he developed cars for The Munsters, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Banana Splits Adventure Hour, and Mannix. He also designed cars for many of the screen’s biggest stars including Bob Hope, John Wayne, Zsa-Zsa Gabor, and Sonny and Cher, who had matching Mustang convertibles. 

Although his work slowed as the market for larger cars shrunk, he worked on films into the 1980s. Most notably, he created the Wagon Queen Family Truckster for National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983).

George Barris, who sold the original Batmobile in 2013 for more than $4 million, died on November 5, 2015 at the age of 89.

Sources: NY Times, LA Times, and Wikipedia


Top: Batmobile, courtesy of

Second: Wagon Queen Family Truckster, courtesy of

Third: The Beverly Hillbillies car, courtesy of OC Roadkill on Pinterest

Last: The Munster Koach, courtesy of