George Barris, the Southern California “King of Kustomizers” best-known today for his creation of the original Batmobile for the 1960s TV show, died Thursday at his Encino home. He was 89.
A tireless promoter for custom cars, California car culture and his own outsized personality, Barris returned to the public eye in 2013 during the sale of the Batmobile at the Barrett-Jackson collector car auction in Scottsdale. The auction sale was hyped to the max, with a hand-waving Barris riding out on stage in the iconic Batmobile to the amped-up strains of the Batman theme song, as the packed-house crowd stood and roared.
The Batmobile, which Barris and his crew famously created in 15 days, sold for an astounding $4.6 million.
The sale was typical showmanship for both Barris and Barrett-Jackson, and it provided a fitting last hurrah for the custom-car impresario who was responsible for some of the most-fanciful TV cars of the 1960s, including the hot-rod-hearse for The Munsters and the artfully beat-up truck for The Beverly Hillbillies.
Also see his workshop web site.