It's a sad day for Kustom Kulture fans, as one of the last artists that helped create this movement has died. George Barris, known by many as the creator of the famous 1966 Batmobile, has sadly passed away at the age of 89.
According to his son's Facebook profile, the “King of the Kustomizers” died on Thursday morning.
“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, his son, wrote on Facebook. “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 the 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.”
Apart from the Lincoln Futura-based Batmobile from the 1960s, which Barris is said to have customized in just 15 days, the car builder was also in charge of other world famous creations, such as the Munster Koach and DRAG-U-LA hot rods from the show The Munsters.
George Barris was also behind the Ala Kart, a '29 Ford Model A-based hot rod that is arguably one of the most iconic Kustom Kulture representations, along with his Hirohata Merc and the alien-like creations of Ed “Big Daddy” Roth.
Born as George Salapatas in Chicago, Barris grew up in California, where he eventually established Barris Kustom Industries, which turned him from a poor son of a Greek immigrant into a larger-than-life personality that got everyone talking.
Apart from customizing or creating many TV-famous hot rods and other four-wheeled works of art for various celebrities, George Barris also teamed up with toy model company Revell to produce a line of kits based on his designs. All in all, he was one of the last of his breed, and many will miss him and his creations.