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George Barris, Designer of Iconic TV Batmobile, Passes Away

by  in TV News Comment
George Barris, Designer of Iconic TV Batmobile, Passes Away

Celebrated custom car designer George Barris, who created the iconic Batmobile for the 1966 “Batman” TV series, passed away early this morning at his home. He was 89 years old.

“He was surrounded by his family in the comfort of his home,” his son Brett Barris wrote on Facebook. “He lived his life the way he wanted til the end. He would want everyone celebrate the passion he had for life and for what he created for all to enjoy.”

Known as the “King of the Kustomizers,” Barris and his older brother Sam began customizing cars at an early age, beginning with a 1925 Buick given to them by their family. They never looked back, learning about body work by hanging out at body shops in Sacramento, California, after school.

Going into business together in Los Angeles after World War II, the Barris brothers soon drew the attention of Hollywood studios, and began to customize cars for movies and for the stars themselves.

Although George Barris built and supplied cars for feature films and television series ranging from “North by Northwest” and “The Time Machine” to “The Munsters” and “The Beverly Hillbillies,” he’s best known for creating the Batmobile for the 1966 Batman television series.

He famously purchased the 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car from Ford for $1, and transformed it into the Batmobile in just 15 days with a budget of $15,000. After the TV series ended, Barris purchased the 19-foot-long automobile and placed it on display in his North Hollywood custom-car shop.

That original Batmobile sold at auction in 2013 for a staggering $4.62 million. It’s now available for purchase again for $5 million.