Car designer George Barris died at the age of 89. Read on for more details.
George Barris, the legendary car designer who created the iconic 1966 Batmobile has died at the age of 89 on November 5 in Encino, California. His son, Brett Barris made the announcement by writing a Facebook post. His post reads: “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 on November 20, 1925 in Chicago, Illinois. When he was still a child, he moved to Northern California and graduated from San Juan High School in Citrus Heights. He started his career when he was seven years old. He made models of cars by using balsa wood. Because of his careful attention to details, his entries won different contests sponsored by hobby shops.
Barris and his brother, Sam, worked at their family’s Greek restaurant when they were younger. They were given a 1925 Buick, which was not in good shape, for their help. The brothers restored the car into running condition and began to experiment on changing its appearance. That car became the first ever Barris Brothers custom car. They sold it to buy another project vehicle. When he was in high school, he created his first full custom car using a 1936 Ford convertible as base.
Barris was able to make a name for himself when he moved to Los Angeles, California after World War II. He launched Barris Kustom Industries with his brother and his first shop was on Compton Avenue.
Barris’ first film assignments included work on cars for 1958’s “High School Confidential,” Alfred Hitchcock’s “North by Northwest”, and 1960’s “The Time Machine.” His biggest impact occurred in the 1960s when ABC asked him to create the signature vehicle for Batman, the Batmobile. He used the Lincoln Futura that he kept in his storage for about a decade and used it as the base of the car. He was able to finish constructing the Batmobile in just 15 days. The Batmoble was built for $15,000 even though Barris purchased the Futura for only $1. He kept the car in his personal collection but sold it at auction for $4.6 million in 2013.
Photo source: Facebook/George Barris