The History of George Barris’ BLOODY MUNSTERS DRAGULA…

In the pantheon of iconic TV vehicles, few are as instantly recognizable and beloved as the Munster Koach and its sinister sibling, the DRAGULA. Designed for the classic 1960s television show “The Munsters,” Dragula was a ghoulishly inspired creation that perfectly complemented the eerie yet endearing family of monsters. And we’ve got all new stuff IN THE GARAGE!

Designed by legendary builder and friend George Barris, Dragula was envisioned as a hot rod for the afterlife. Its design drew heavily from the coffin shape, featuring a fiberglass body molded to resemble a classic coffin, complete with ornate trimmings and a gothic aesthetic that oozed macabre charm. The car’s front end was adorned with a striking spider-web grille, while the rear featured a decorative lantern and a pair of menacing zoomie pipes that jutted out like demonic horns.

Constructed in a remarkably short span of only three weeks, Dragula was completed just in time for its debut in “The Munsters” episode titled “Hot Rod Herman,” which aired in 1965. The year I was BORN. The rapid build was matched by a modest budget, reportedly costing around $18,000 at the time—a testament to Uncle George’s ingenuity and craftsmanship.

Despite its brief build time and relatively low cost, Dragula became an instant hit with audiences. Its appearances on “The Munsters” were limited but memorable, making a lasting impression with fans who appreciated its quirky yet sinister design. Dragula’s unique blend of horror and hot rod culture encapsulated the show’s playful approach to parodying classic horror tropes while adding a touch of humor and style.

Throughout its on-screen career, Dragula made occasional appearances in subsequent episodes and later adaptations of “The Munsters,” solidifying its status as an enduring symbol of the show’s legacy. Its influence extended beyond television, inspiring countless replicas and tributes in the car customizing community and becoming a sought-after collectible for enthusiasts of both classic cars and pop culture.

Today, Dragula remains a cherished artifact of television history—a testament to the creativity and imagination that brought “The Munsters” and its quirky cast of characters to life. Its legacy continues to thrill and delight fans, ensuring that its place in the annals of iconic TV vehicles remains secure for generations to come.

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The Hollywood Car Show 4: The George Barris Interview

Way back in 2008, Fireball and I spent the day be bopping around Hollywood. We had a VIP tour of the Warner Brothers lot, which is super great. What was even super greater is we got the chance to interview George Barris! In his shop! This is that interview.

db and Fireball will return NEXT WEEK with a brand new episode. In the meantime, click over to the Fireball Etsy shop and get yourself mug. Can I recommend for this week the Mach 5 Mug . I can hear the theme song already!

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GEORGE BARRIS Tribute Event hauls in smiling Wiseguy Joe Mantegna and host of AutoCelebs…

What an incredible Event Tribute today at BARRIS KUSTOM CITY.

It was amazing to see so many creative faces that have permeated the shop over the last 60 years. I myself, met Uncle George in about 1969 and spent many days on the shop floor playing with cars and getting in trouble. But check out these shots and see what celebs showed up to this awesome Private Event.

Thank you so much Joji Barris-Paster. We love you.

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GEORGE BARRIS 1964 MUNSTERS KOACH DISSECTED! – FIREBALL MALIBU VLOG 699 – Fireball dissects the design up-close with the George Barris 1964 Munster Koach. Plus some Malibu upgrades.

The George Barris Munster Koach is the family car that was used in the television series, The Munsters.

The show’s producers contracted George Barris to provide the Munster Koach. Barris paid prolific show car designer Tom Daniel $200 to design the car, and had it built at Barris Kustoms, first by Tex Smith, but finished by Dick Dean, his shop foreman at the time.

The Munster Koach appeared in over twenty episodes throughout the series’ two-year run, and was also seen in Munster, Go Home! using different wheels.

Tom Daniel’s original drawing of the Munster Koach had it supercharged with a hood scoop and thin, round disc lights.

George Barris chose the ten-carburetor setup with the ten air horns and lantern lights.

Only one Munster Koach was made for the television series and feature film. It was made from three Ford Model T bodies and is 18 feet long.

The 133-inch frame was made by hand, as were the brass radiator and fenders. It has blood red interior and black pearl paint.

It took 500 hours to hand form the ornate rolled steel scrollwork. The front end had a dropped axle, split radius rods and T springs.

Its design featured a custom hearse body. AMT produced a plastic model kit of the Munster Koach during the series run.

It has been reissued several times since. Johnny Lightning has also produced a 1/64th scale die-cast model of the car. An unauthorized reproduction Munster Koach was built on speculation and presented to George Barris, but Barris declined to buy it.

Tubbs Johnson, Barris’ paint man, purchased the unauthorized Koach and later sold it to Jay Orhberg. Barris auctioned off the original Munster Koach in 1982 with oversized gas lights and different tires and wheels.

In 1984, George Barris wanted a Munster Koach for the Hollywood Christmas Parade. He had Dick Dean build a second authorized Munster Koach. Dick Dean’s son, Keith Dean, helped with this build.

This Munster Koach was restored in the summer of 2011 with new black pearl paint, pie crust cheater slicks, new brass lantern lights, torque thrust mag wheels, smaller skull radiator cap, and had the dummy crank lever removed and sealed.

They did not have Bobby Barr Headers, so there is a wide opening where those headers were on the original. There were five walnut blocks between the spokes of the mag wheels in rear.

The rear slicks were Firestone eleven-inch pie crust slicks. The Astro mag wheels were painted blood red just on the outside of the five spokes.

There was no skull radiator cap on the Munster Koach in the 1960s. Only later did the Munster Koach get a skull cap.

Both reproduction cars have been restored, but the original has not. Interestingly, series star Fred Gwynne never sat in the seat to drive the Munster Koach.

Instead, he sat on the floor on the ermine-fur rugs. During the time of the television series there was a song released as a single by Decca, called “Here Comes the Munster Koach”. The engine was a 289 cubic-inch Ford V8 bored out to 425 cubic inches.

Originally configured for installation in an AC Cobra, it was built with Jahns high compression pistons, 10 chrome plated Stromberg carburetors, an Isky cam, and had a set of Bobby Barr racing headers. It had a four-speed toploader manual transmission.

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ORIGINAL GEORGE BARRIS 1966 BATMOBILE DISSECTED! – FIREBALL MALIBU VLOG 698 – Fireball heads to The Murphy Museum to reveal the Original George Barris 1966 Batmobile… and AutoDissects it!

The George Barris 1966 Batmobile-to-be was the brainchild of Lincoln Mercury’s postwar chief stylist, William M. Schmidt.

Schmidt began working as an automotive stylist in the Lincoln-Mercury Division of Ford Motor Company in 1940. Inspired by a scuba-diving encounter with a shark, Schmidt sketched a low, long, wide, and flat vision of the future with a predatory full width grille, ominously hooded headlights, and killer tail fins.

Called a $250,000 “laboratory on wheels”, the low twin-dome experimental car would serve as a mobile test bench for a score of new engineering and design features.

The Futura was used to road test such innovations as push-button gearshifts, colored warning signals for fuel consumption (green for full, amber for half-full, red for low), a clear Plexiglas top, a special 330 H.P. Lincoln engine and such engineering innovations as an air scoop for air-cooling the rear brakes.

The car is one inch short of nineteen feet long. It’s seven feet wide and less than four and a half feet high. Ground clearance at the center is six inches. It has dual fans, dual exhausts and a foot pedal horn.

There’s a red light for the parking gear, blue for reverse, white for neutral, green for drive and yellow for low. The car has a tachometer. It has 27 different sizes and shapes of lamps, 18 control switches and 2000 feet of wiring.

It has an “audio approach” microphone for picking up sounds of rear-approaching cars.

There are no windows; the car is entirely air-conditioned; and one enters or leaves by raising the Plexiglas canopy.

There was space for a telephone behind the center console.

It took just three months to ready the concept car for its debut at the Chicago Auto Show in January 1955.

From there, the futuristic Lincoln was driven to a car show in Detroit. On March 3rd, just before the NY Auto Show, with Benson Ford at the experimental steering wheel and Schmidt in the passenger seat, the Futura cruised from the United Nation’s building through NY’s Central Park to the Tavern on the Green restaurant for a photo session.

In 1959, the Futura made its film debut in the MGM movie It Started With A Kiss starring Debbie Reynolds & Glenn Ford.

The Futura was painted red for the movie and treated to a red interior. After that, the car would have been forgotten and perhaps destroyed, as most show cars of that time were.

However, it was later sold to car customizer George Barris who had a relationship with Ford due to his affiliation with the Ford Custom Car Caravan program.

Despite the car’s original cost of $250,000, the Lincoln Futura was sold to Barris for $1.00 by Ford Motor Company.

As the car was never titled and was therefore uninsurable, it was parked behind Barris’ North Hollywood shop where it sat idle for several years and was allowed to deteriorate.

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GEORGE BARRIS MEMORIAL RALLY PART 2- FIREBALL MALIBU VLOG 692 – Fireball and the Rally Crew hit Funky Junk Farms, a Cornhole Tournament, Santa Paula Chevrolet and more in part 2! Yes… a Cornhole Tournament.

George Barris (born George Salapatas; November 20, 1925 – November 5, 2015) was an American designer and builder of many famous Hollywood custom cars, most notably the Munster Koach and 1966 Batmobile. George Barris Kustom City.

Check out today’s LOCATIONS!

Funky Junk Farms

Santa Paula Chevrolet

Santa Paula

Murphy Auto Museum


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WATCH! GEORGE BARRIS MEMORIAL RALLY PART 1- FIREBALL MALIBU VLOG 691 – Fireball joins with The Murphy Museum and the Barris family to launch the George Barris Memorial Rally. In this episode, the Rally starts and hits Galpin Auto Sports Museum.

George Barris (born George Salapatas; November 20, 1925 – November 5, 2015) was an American designer and builder of many famous Hollywood custom cars, most notably the Munster Koach and 1966 Batmobile.

George Barris Kustom City George Barris and his brother Sam (1924–1967) were born in Chicago in the 1920s. Barris was three years old when their father, a Greek immigrant from Chios, sent the brothers to live with an uncle and his wife in Roseville, California following the death of their mother.

By age 7, George Barris was making models of cars employing balsa wood and modifying their design and appearance with careful attention to details so his entries won contests sponsored by hobby shops.

The brothers worked at the Greek restaurant owned by their family, and were given a 1925 Buick for their help.

Although it was not in good shape, they swiftly restored it to running condition, and began to experiment with changing its appearance.

This became the first Barris Brothers custom car. They sold it at a profit to buy another project vehicle. Before George had graduated from high school, demand for their work was growing, and they had created a club for owners of custom vehicles, called the Kustoms Car Club.

This was the first use of the spelling “kustom”, which would become associated with Barris.

He moved to Los Angeles after turning 18 years old to “become part of the emerging teen car culture” and opened the “Barris Custom Shop” on Imperial Highway in Bell, California.

Sam entered the Navy during World War II. Sam joined George in Los Angeles after being discharged.

The two built their “kustom” designs for private buyers, and George also built and raced his own cars briefly.

These activities brought them to the attention of the movie industry, and they were soon asked to create cars both for personal use by the studio executives and stars and as props for films, their first being used in 1958’s High School Confidential.

They also made the acquaintance of Robert E. Petersen, founder of Hot Rod and Motor Trend magazines and, much later, of the Petersen Auto Museum.

His car shows further publicized the Barris style, as did the car customizing how-to articles George wrote and Petersen published.

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Fireball is heading up to THE MURPHY AUTO MUSEUM today to help kick off the GEORGE BARRIS MEMORIAL RALLY. Keep an eye out in Ventura County for a bunch of cool cars as they cruise the scenic highways and celebrate the life of one of the greatest Custom Builders ever.

On hand will be celebs, George’s Family and many others… and be sure to check out the BATMOBILE and MUNSTER KOACH at the Murphy for a Limited Time!

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GEORGE BARRIS Memorial Rally slated for October 21st…

That’s right! The Official GEORGE BARRIS Memorial Rally is coming October 21st and you’re invited! There’s limited space and only a few spots left if you want to do this Rally. I’ll be there for the day filming and driving with everyone!

You’ll need to go to THE MURPHY AUTO MUSEUM Website soon and sign up HERE. Don’t miss out!

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WHAT IS HAPPENING TO THE GEORGE BARRIS BATMOBILE? – FIREBALL MALIBU VLOG 675 – Fireball mishmashes an episode today, resulting in something happening to the BATMOBILE & MUNSTER KOACH! WATCH BELOW!

The Batmobile is the fictional car driven by the superhero Batman in American comic books published by DC Comics.

The Batmobile made its first appearance in Detective Comics #27 (May, 1939).

Housed in the Batcave, which the Batmobile accesses through a hidden entrance, the heavily armored, weaponized vehicle is used by Batman in his crime-fighting activities.

The look of the Batmobile has varied over time, but since its earliest appearances, the car has had a prominent bat motif, typically including distinctive wing-shaped tailfins.

Depictions of the vehicle have evolved along with the character, with each incarnation reflecting evolving car technologies. It has been portrayed as having many uses, such as vehicular hot pursuit, prisoner transportation, anti-tank warfare, riot control, and as a mobile crime lab.

In some depictions, the Batmobile is able to be driven unmanned or remotely operated. The car has appeared in every Batman iteration—from comic books and television to films and video games—and has since become part of pop culture.

The Munsters is an American sitcom depicting the home life of a family of benign monsters starring Fred Gwynne as Frankenstein’s monster-type head-of-the-household Herman Munster, Yvonne De Carlo as his wife, Lily Munster, Al Lewis as Grandpa and Beverly Owen (later re-placed by Pat Priest) as their teenage niece, and Butch Patrick as son Eddie Munster.

The series was a satire of both traditional monster movies and the wholesome family fare of the era, and was produced by the creators of Leave It to Beaver.

It ran concurrently with the similarly macabre themed The Addams Family and achieved higher figures in the Nielsen ratings.

The series originally aired on Thursday at 7:30 pm on CBS from September 24, 1964, to May 12, 1966; 70 episodes were produced.

George Barris (born George Salapatas; November 20, 1925 – November 5, 2015) was an American designer and builder of many famous Hollywood custom cars, most notably the Munster Koach and 1966 Batmobile.