• May 7th 2007 at 9:24AM
  • 12

Last month, a celebration was held for George Barris, the octogenarian car customizer who created the original Batmobile. At his shop in North Hollywood, in addition to the Batmobile, was a DeLorean from Back to the Future, a General Lee, K.I.T.T., and a Monkeemobile from "The Monkees" sitcom. Problem is, he didn't create those last three cars. Universal Studios, who did the Back to the Future films, and the creators of the other cars want the world to know that.

Barris says he has never claimed credit for those other cars. He did, however, have something to do with various versions of some of those cars. Show cars come in four flavors: hero cars are for photographs, stunt cars are for chases and crashes, promotional cars only do the publicity circuit and replica cars are built by private owners. Barris didn't have anything to do with creating or building the Back to the Future DeLorean, but he did create a replica car and he did "clean up" a stunt car for Universal. He is also credited for "modifications" to the General Lee. And he built the Ecto-1 promotional car for Ghostbusters. Universal says that displaying cars like that in front of his shop and on his web site is tantamount to mispresentation. Whether displaying means taking credit for is up to interpretation, but when asked, Barris stated plainly, "I didn't work on the show and I've never said I did."

Thanks for the tip, Jim!

[Source: LA Times]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      Georage Barris is a lying cheat. I built a 77 Pontiac trans am hardtop, smokey and the bandit style. Well my uncle came up on one of the six remaining stunt cars from the original starsky and hutch t.v. show and wanted to have Barris redo the paint and body on it back to its original glory. Barris charged him an arm and a leg to the tune of about $10,000. My uncle offered the trans am to get the cost down. Barris gave him $2500 off the price of the work. He then slapped a Barris Kustoms emblem on it and sold it at auction for some where around $20,000, claiming it was a standby car for the first smokey and the bandit movie, a complete lie, and isn't that considered frud? The only kustomizing he did to it was adding his logo to it. That's not even the worst part of the story. A few years back my uncle fell on hard times and had to sell his beloved gran Torino. He needed the money fast and wound up selling it to Barris..........for $10,000. I was heart broken to see it go, other then the paint and body, I built the car from the ground up with a 351cu.in. Clevland race motor from P.A.W., global west suspension, and more that I can't even remember. Barris had told my uncle that he was gonna keep it for his private collection because he had sold his years earlier. Barris sold it about a month later for around $45,000. The worst part is that he gave my uncle's number to the guy he sold it to so he could call and find out if my uncle had any of the paperwork proving it was one of the cars from the show. Anyway, Barris is a lying cheat. He may have built some cool cars back in the day, but now he is just taking advantage of other people's hard work claiming it as he own.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Dear Editor,

      I think the original LA Times article about George Barris is totally biased. I took my Prius in to George last year and asked him to customize it for me. He painted it to look like the sea and added cool pinstripes and other detail. He never claimed to have created the hybrid car or the Prius design. If I had been in town that weekend, ( the LA George Barris street naming ceremony) I would proudly been there to honor him. George customizes cars and he collects cars. He loves cars, car people, movies, and movie people. He is always there to promote the good will of his business and ours.

      Dayna Bochco, President
      Steven Bochco Productions
      3000 West Olympic Boulevard, Suite 1310
      Santa Monica, CA 90404
      • 8 Years Ago
      George Barris is a fucking loser.

      He never had anything to do with the Ghostbusters car either. He has modifyed several of the WRONG Hearses for his own profit.. and sold them as the actual screen used cars from the movies.. and put autographes on a TON of Ghostbusters related stuff.

      • 8 Years Ago
      The only part of K.I.T.T. that Barris had anything to do with was designing the Super Pursuit Mode part of K.I.T.T. in the forth and final season of Knight Rider.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I spotted some links about the Monkeemobile http://jalopnik.com/cars/retro/here-we-comerollin-down-the-streetthe-monkeemobile-192870.php
      it was Dean Jeffries who created the Monkeemobile as well as the Black Beauty showed in the tv series The Green Hornet.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Ummm, he worked on the cars and is displaying them because they are pop culture and notable examples of some of his work. Who cares. I didn't found my company but I still put it on my resume.

      Read more about this story on www.whogivesashitaboutthisstory.com
      • 8 Years Ago
      For those who are interested,go to www.1966batmobile.com for a full history of this Lincoln Futura based Batmobile.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The name "George Barris" is probably used more then Barris uses it. Every thing from the Munsters car to the KITT looks better with his name attached to it. Quality workmanship!
      • 8 Years Ago
      Barris is a fraud. His "design" of the Batmobile was a quick 3 week paint job and customization of a Ford Concept car that already looked like the Batmobile. You can see it here:

      He has gone to auto shows and autographed 8x10 photos of the Back to the Future Delorean, and "Fast and The Furious" merchandise. No honest craftsman would do something like that. One such item was recently sold on Ebay with a "certificate of authenticity" for $56. You can see it here:

      If he was legitimately "promoting the industry," he would give credit to his fellow designers and craftsmen. You don't visit Universal Studios and see posters for Star Wars and The Godfather, because they are films they did not produce. This is why Universal made Barris remove the image of the Delorean from his website.
      • 8 Years Ago
      While he didn't create the General Lee or the BTTF Delorean, George absolutely created the Monkeemobile GTO.
      • 8 Years Ago
      George Barris is a showman. That's all there is to it.
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