Rest in Peace George Barris
Just saw an article on George Barris' passing back on November 5th. at 89 I sure didn't know he was that old. The world has sure lost a great talent, as now a days most are into concours rebuilds, trailer queens, or resto mods, that are coo,l but usually don't show to much imagination. There's a few but not like the 60's customs. They were pretty out there. "RIP" JTS 71 Mach1
I can fairly say that Mr. Barris contributed to my earliest interest and fascination with cars while growing up watching the Munsters.
George Barris has taken the credit for designing a lot of cars that he did not actually design.

The Munsters Koach and the Drag-U-La were in fact both built at Barris's facility, but they were designed by Ton Daniel, who worked for Barris at the time.
Similarly, while the Monkee-Mobile was (partially) built at Barris's studio, it was designed by Dean Jefferies.

Is it fair to say that Barris "created" the famed '66 Batmobile? Many know that it started life as the 1955 Lincoln Futura concept/show car, and that Barris' facility did the modifications to convert it to the Batmobile.
The basic design of the car, which is 95% intact in the Batmobile was designed by Lincoln stylists Bill Schmidt, Doug Poole and John Najjar.

Herb Grasse did the actual design modifications to the Futura to turn it into the Batmobile, and Bill Cushenberry did the actual metal fabrications and other customization work.
Of course they were both employed by Barris as outside contractors to do the work.

So, is it fair to say that Barris "created" or "designed" the Batmobile?

To me, that would be the same as saying that Henry Ford II "designed" the 71-73 Mustang simply because it was his company that did it.

Several years ago, Barris had a touring "Legends of Film and TV" car show that traveled the country.
Among the cars were the DeLorean for "Back to the Future" and "KITT" from Knight Rider, the Torino form "Starsky & Hutch"....and several others.
Each of the cars had a big, ugly "Designed and Built by George Barris" emblem attached to their fenders.
Barris was given a cease and desist order on behalf of Andrew Probert, who designed the DeLorean for "BTTF" (which was 100% built by Universal Studios), as well as by George Grenier, who designed the Torino for "S&H"...which was basically just a white stripe and mag wheels on an otherwise stock red Torino. KITT was designed totally by Universal...Barris only submitted drawings/ renderings of the "super-pursuit mode" modifications used only in the fourth (and final) season of the show. Neither he nor his shop or employees did any actual work of any kind on the car.
Barris ignored those orders, and the show was subsequently raided by the FBI while in LA and thre DeLorean, the Torino, KITT and the Monkee-Mobile were all confiscated and impounded during the event, in plain view of hundreds of paying spectators.

Funny enough, back in '67 or '68, a fan-built (and amazingly accurate) replica of the Batmobile was touring various car shows around the country, and taking a sizeable chunk of display fees from Barris himself...and even showed up at some shows where Barris' "official" Batmobile was displayed...creating some confusion in fan's minds.
Barris then sued the owner/ builder of the replica, and was awarded legal ownership of this was confiscated while on display at a car show, and ultimately was given to Barris by the courts. The builder of the car recieved nothing.
This Batmobile, which stated life as a fan-built creation of appreciation of the Batmobile, then became an "unofficial and unauthorized" Batmobile.
Once in Barris' possession though, without any further modifications, it then became one of several "Official Barris Batmobiles".
Today, that car resides in Keswick, England at the "Cars of the Stars" as an authentic "1966 Batmobile built by George Barris."

Sadly, I lost all respect I had for Barris years ago
Obviously Barris' and the media were giving him credit, for a lot of things that I never realized he had so little involvement in. JTS 71 Mach1
George Barris reminds me much of another celebrity i used to admire: Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek...waaaay baaaaack in 1964.

Star Trek, initially a mediocre success, was cancelled and (assumed) forgotten after three lackluster years on NBC's schedule. ('66-69).

Then, the after-school resurgence in popularity of the reruns amongst young school-age children (like me!) started it's meteoric rise in never-ending popularity around '73-74.
Today, it is a multi-billion dollar profit center that has been pumping billions of dollars into the Paramount Studios coffers...and it is still going strong.

Roddenberry had several key staffers that helped shape the show once it was on the air. DC Fontana, Gene Coon and Bob Justman were responsible for many of star Treks most famous details:
1) The concept of "Starfleet Command"
2) The Klingons
3) The Romulans
4) Spock's parents (Sarek and Amanda)
5) the entire mystical Vulcan history
6) as well as the warrior-like history of the Klingons
7) FSNP (famous Spock neck pinch) Invented by Nimoy and Shatner on-the-spot at a script run-through.
8) Phasers (as opposed to lasers), communicators and tricorders

And many other details "ST" is famous for. Roddenberry easily and willingly took any and all credit whenever anyone would mistakenly give him personal credit for "inventing" those things...furthering his image as the all-time genius behind all things "Star Trek"...NEVER giving any credit to the actual people who came up with the ideas.

George Barris was the same way...taking credit for just about any famous car that anyone mistakenly attributed to him...regardless of how much or how little he actually had to do with the car in question, indeed if he even had anything to do with it at all!

Carroll Shelby too fell victim to the same belief in his own fabricated importance. Also another depressing reality-check for me:
In 2005 (or thereabouts) Shelby sued "Sanderson Marketing" for selling unauthorized replicas of the "Gone in 60 Seconds" car named "Eleanor".
The trouble is...Shelby had NOT ONE thing EVER to do with "Gone in 60 Seconds" or "Eleanor".
The original Eleanor (as we all know) was a 73 (71) mach 1...not a Shelby, and no mention of or reference to "Shelby" in any way was ever made in the '74.
original movie.

The producers of the 2000 remake decided that a "plain" Mustang was not "special" enough to compare favorably to the other modern and exotic cars going to be featured in the new movie, so they decided a rare and fondly-remembered "Shelby GT-500" would up the "wow" factor a bit. was later determined that even a rare and totally awesome vintage GT-500 was just not visually 'exciting' enough to compare to the sleek, brand-new supercars featured in the movie, so...

In comes darling-of-the-hour custom car designer Chip Foose to modify the look of a GT-500 to help it "pop" on-screen so it will stand up to its visual competition.
the wildly-customized "Eleanor' that Foose came up with is certainly a beautiful car, no doubt about that.

But...It is not a "Shelby" is a fictional car that was never actually produced in real life (up to that point).
Carroll Shelby had NOTHING to do wity Foose's design, but as soon as "Sanderson" in Texas made the agreement with Denice Halicki (the owner of all things "Eleanor") to market replicas of "Eleanor"...Shelby sues Sanderson and Halicki for infringement, and wins! ( I don't get that at all).
Sanderson was making replicas of a car that never actually existed beyond the film.
Shelby was also later known for charging outrageous amounts of money for his autograph on car parts, like glove box doors, and such.
$500-$2000 each! That was a slap in the face to the very fans that made him the famous man he was.
Carroll Shelby went down in my book after that.

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