Original Batmobile creator laid to rest in ’66 Batmobile-inspired casket

The 1960s Batmobile created by George Barris - image courtesy of Jennifer Graylock and Ford Motor Company (commons.wikimedia.orgwikiFile1960s_Batmobile_(FMC).jpg)
The 1960s Batmobile created by George Barris - image courtesy of Jennifer Graylock and Ford Motor Company (commons.wikimedia.orgwikiFile1960s_Batmobile_(FMC).jpg).

Legendary custom car maker, George Barris, has been laid to rest during a funeral service in Los Angeles on November 28, that featured a fitting parade of custom made cars.

Barris passed away on November 5 at the age of 89, surrounded by family at his Los Angeles home.

Best known for creating the ‘66 Batmobile driven by Adam West on the 1960’s Batman TV series, the master custom car maker also created vehicles for the TV shows Knight Rider, The Munsters and The Beverly Hillbillies.

Barris also created vehicles featured in such films as North by Northwest, The Time Machine and Teenage Confidential.

George Barris (left) with Mike Gejeian at the 64th Grand National Roadster Show in Los Angeles, Jan 25, 2013 - image by By Scalhotrod creativecommons.orglicensesby-sa3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
George Barris (left) with Mike Gejeian at the 64th Grand National Roadster Show in Los Angeles, Jan 25, 2013 – image by By Scalhotrod creativecommons.orglicensesby-sa3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Barris was known as “The King of Kustomizers” for his famous car designs.

His pioneering work in the creation of iconic custom cars made him an influential figure for car and hot rod enthusiasts.

He was laid to rest in a golden casket inspired by the 1966 Batmobile he created, which featured an airbrushed Batmobile on its side and specially made fins on top.

The funeral procession featured an assortment of custom made cars, which included elegant models such as the Chevrolet Bel Air and Mini Cooper convertible, and he-man cars like a red engine red Impala.

Motor enthusiasts in attendance who were inspired by Barris’ work wandered the parking lot admiring the elegant vehicles, something which would no doubt have brought a smile to the face of the master custom car-maker.

The origin of the iconic ’66 Batmobile

Barris famously created the Batmobile from a 1955 Lincoln Futura he bought for $1, transforming it into the iconic ’66 Batmobile in just 15 days.

“The King of Kustomizers” was born in Chicago on November 20, 1925.

He and his brother Sam migrated to California as children where they developed a keen interest in automobiles.

By 1945 their youthful passion for cars had flowed into a business, as they moved to the Los Angeles area and started a company that would grow into a multimillion-dollar business empire.

Sam left the business in the 1950’s, but George continued to forge what would be his life-long passion of creating custom cars, with the help and support of his wife Shirley.

These creations caught the eye of Hollywood, which lead to his extensive work for iconic television programs and films, in the process creating iconic cars of their own such as the ’66 Batmobile and the ‘Munster Koach’ for The Munsters, as well as the Beverley Hillbillies’ custom truck.

Barris spokesman Ed Lozzi said the popularity of his late colleague’s work had prompted Detroit automakers in the 1950’s to seek his design advice, leading to innovations used in some of the most iconic American models.

Lozzi also said Barris’ pioneering work helped to fuel the passion young baby boomers had for model cars in the 1950s and 1960’s.

“He was the man who started the American pastime of building plastic model cars,” he said.

Barris is survived by a daughter, Joji; son, Brett; and grandson, Jared.