Interviews

Known in the 60’s as Gale Black, a car customizer “metal guy”, Michael worked for George Barris for 7 years. While he was there he worked on numerous projects including the Futura/Batmobile conversion and the subsequent Batmobile replicas. He also spent time in the late 60’s touring with the replicas.

Eric: How many people worked on modifying the Futura into the Batmobile?

Michael: Five guys.

E: Who were the five guys?

M: Myself, then known as “Gale Black”, “Korky” Korkes, Bill Cushenbery, Roy “Tubs” Johnson (painter from Detroit), and Les Tompkins.

E: Where was the Batmobile built?

M: At Barris Kustom City on Riverside Drive in North Hollywood.

E: What happened to all the Futura’s old parts?

M: Tossed them!

E: How were the door bats applied on the #1?

M: Probably yellow glue by 3M, but not sure.

E: Where did you get the beacon light and the props for the #1 and the replicas?

M: “Joe Factors” surplus parts store, on Burbank and I think Buena Vista.

E: What was the original trim color?

M: The original paint color was a 1956 Ford Carousel red (pinkish-red) RM paint. After taking the molds off the original, it was sent back to the studios. The original and reproductions were then taped with a red fluorescent tape from Geomolite Plastics on Caheunga Blvd.

E: Why was the car originally painted flat black with a white stripe, etc?

M: It was primered black and sent to the studios for their feedback on paint colors, etc. At that time I worked on the aluminum blade that slid out of the front nose. We had creative license to do what we wanted.

E: Did you work on the repairs of the #1 when the car was breaking down in 1966?

M: Yes, we put a new engine in and popped molds off of it for the replicas. The #1 had to be re-painted after the molds were taken from it.

E: How many replicas were built by Barris’ shop?

M: Three including the Dragster.

E: In what years were the replicas built?

M: All three in 1966

E: What chassis was used to build the replicas?

M: 1965/66 Ford Galaxie

E: When were molds pulled from the #1?

M: In 1966 we worked a long weekend (Friday to Tuesday) making the 3 cars.

E: Who were the people who worked on the replicas?

M: About 8 guys including, Myself, Richard “Korky” Korkes, 2 guys from Cal Automotive (one was John Green).

E: Were any of the replicas used on the TV show or 1966 movie?

M: No, only the real car.

E: Did you build a metal replica or are you familiar with a metal replica (#5) that George may have won in a lawsuit/dispute?

M: In January 1967, I was touring with one of the replicas and I saw a duplicate (unauthorized) Batmobile at the same car show that I was at with the Batmobile. It was metal and looked just like the original, but a little different in shape. I immediately called Barris to notify him of the car and the next thing you know there were two Marshals that came down to seize the car. The owner never saw his car again!

E: Did the Dragster have a manual or automatic transmission?

M: The Dragster may have had an automatic transmission but it was changed to a manual 4 speed Ford Top-Loader.

E: Did the Dragster have any unique features?

M: Its engine and we rigged it up so it could shoot flames out of the exhaust/turbine area.

E: What engine did the Dragster have?

M: 427 C.I. Holman & Moody.

E: Who professionally drove the Dragster Batmobile on the racetrack?

M: Bill Shrewsberry

E: Did the replicas originally all have rear canopies?

M: Yes, it would have ruined the lines if they didn’t.

E: Originally where any of the replicas flocked? Was it to hide stress cracks from the fiberglass?

M: No, maybe the “#5” metal one was. The molds that were pulled were good!

In the late 1960’s, “Wild Bill” Shrewsberry was making a big name for himself with his wheelstander cars like the “L.A. Dart.” In 1967, Bill was picked to drive the Batmobile at various exhibition races across the United States. Some of the places he raced the Batmobile included: KK Sports Arena, Cecil County Dragway, Motor City Dragway, Lions Drag Strip, Island Dragway, and the Irwindale Raceway. Video and more photos of Bill driving the Batmobile can be seen here.

MARCH 2008

Eric: Tell us about yourself?

Bill: I am originally from Ohio and I moved to California in October 1962. I went to work for Mickey Thompson drag racing Pontiac’s stock cars. In 1965, George Hurst wanted me to drive the car they built called “Hemi Under Glass.” It was the first car to do wheelies and it was not meant to–it was very exciting.

E: How did you get the job to drive the Batmobile?

B: I was around 20 years old when I got the job to drive the Batmobile. “Batman” was in production and they wanted more publicity for the TV show, so they had me drive the car at different dragstrips around the country.

E: What year(s) did you drag race the Batmobile? From the articles I’ve come across it looks like from January to September 1967.

B: Sounds about right, but may have been a little bit longer than September of 1967.

E: Can you give us the specifications of the car?

B: Holman & Moody built a blueprinted 427 C.I. motor, with a high-rise intake manifold with 2qty 4 barrel carburetors. It had an Art Carr C-6 Ford transmission with headers, and positraction with a 514 Locker rear end. I think the car weighed approximately 3300 lbs.

E: Was the car powerful?

B: It did not want to go real fast, so it looked better when the tires were smoked or when I fishtailed the rear.

E: How fast did the Batmobile run the 1/4 mile?

B: The car ran in the 12’s. They didn’t want the car to run too fast, so everyone could get a good look at it. It ran a 12.05 1/4 mile at 118 mph.

E: How many runs did you do at each event?

B: 2-3 runs

E: How did the after-burner (flames from the rear) work?

B: The car had a little 3-4 gallon tank filled with gas or kerosene that produced the fire effect

E: How did you deploy the Bat-chutes? Was there a lever or a switch?

B: The parachutes were deployed by the red handle under the arch

E: Did you ever race it against any other famous cars? If so, which ones (Munster Koach, Black Beauty, Monkeemobile, etc)?

B: I only ran exhibition runs by myself and never ran it against any other cars. Yes, there are lots of rumors about the Batmobile racing the Green Hornet’s “Black Beauty” but that is not true.

E: Did the Batmobile have any mechanical issues while you were drag racing it? I read an article from 1967 that stated “Due to mechanical troubles, the Batmobile was unable to race.”

B: No issues, it ran well with no problems.

E: Do you know why the rear canopy had four holes cut-out on each side? Was it to provide air flow so they wouldn’t pull off?

B: Sorry I do not know about that.

E: Do you have photos of you with the Batmobile?

B: I’m not sure, but may have them somewhere.

E: Any mishaps or funny stories you’d like to share?

B: In Wisconsin, the after-burner was on when the Bat-parachutes were deployed and I accidentally burned them. Also, I did get to take my kids to school in the Batmobile that was fun.

E: Did you enjoy the job?

B: I had a great time driving the Batmobile. It was fun to do, especially at night with all the flashing lights it had! I got to meet some great people and even people from the Batman TV show, like: Adam West, Burt Ward, Burgess Meredith, and Frank Gorshin.

E: Do you remember how much you got paid? Was it per event?

B: I do not remember the specifics, but it was a very fair wage.

E: What are you up to now?

B: I am in my 60’s now and I am in the Real Estate business in Southern, CA. I still own the “L.A. Dart” and all my “wheelie cars” for the exception of one. Life has been good!

Thanks Bill!

I just got off the phone with Stan Thorwaldsen, who was the interior designer of the 1955 Lincoln Futura. We had a great conversation about the wonderful car that he helped build over 55 years ago. At 80 years old, his memory is still sharp too!

BY MARK RACOP ON AUGUST 4, 2009

Mark Racop: Stan, do you have a few minutes to answer some questions about the 1955 Lincoln Futura?

Stan Thorwaldsen: Yes.

M: How’s your memory?

Stan: Oh, not as good as it used to be.

M: Well, see what you can remember. I’m a huge fan of the Futura and of the Batmobile, so this is real treat for me to talk with one of the actual builders of the car.

Stan: (chuckles) OK. I’m glad that someone still remembers it!

M: What was your job regarding the 1955 Lincoln Futura?

Stan: I was in charge of designing and building the entire interior of the car.

M: What were some of the challenges of building this car? Was anything off the shelf?

Stan: Nothing was off-the-shelf. We had to custom-build everything.

M: Switches? Knobs?

Stan: Yeah, everything. It was all one-off. We were experimenting with sculpted door panels for the first time on that car. In the past, we had always used flat masonite, but this car would have a 3D sculpted effect.

M: Were the inner door panels made of fiberglass?

Stan: Probably, although we were also working with a masonite/wood chip/glue mixture that we were heating inside of molds, too, but I expect the Futura was probably fiberglass, yes.

M: Of what material were the chrome door sweeps made? Aluminum? Stainless?

Stan: Actually it was brass. We made almost all of the trim from brass because it was more malleable, and then we chrome-plated it.

M: I’ll bet the five roll top dash doors were hard.

Stan: Yeah, it took some time. We made some of those parts out of steel.

M: Did you design the steering wheel?

Stan: Yes. It had little pods that hung down with turn signal indicator switches.

M: Did the turn signal switches work?

Stan: Yes.

M: That’s great. How about the speedometer? The tachometer? The warning lights? Did they all work, too?

Stan: Oh, yes. All of it worked. It was a drivable car.

M: Did the center of the binnacle stay upright while the outer hub of the steering wheel turned?

Stan: Yes. And we had a compass on the driver side, and there was something on the passenger side, too. Maybe a clock.

M: Yes, the photos show a clock. Did the horn foot pedal work?

Stan: I don’t remember. Probably, but I don’t remember.

M: That was a couple days ago.

Stan: (Chuckles), yeah–what–fifty almost sixty years ago?

M: What was the silver part of the center console between the seats? Was it a door?

Stan: I’m pretty sure it was a tambour door that opened, yes.

M: Above the silver door was either a light or a speaker. Which was it?

Stan: I can’t remember for sure, but I would think an interior light.

M: Did the microphone work on the rear deck? Was there a speaker inside the car?

Stan: No, I don’t think so. It wasn’t connected to anything. I think that was all for glitz and glamour as a concept car.

M: Do you have any stories or anecdotes about the Futura?

Stan: No, the building of the Futura pretty much went smoothly. At Packard, on the other hand (he laughed)!

M: Was the canopy hard to make work? Did it ever break down?

Stan: It worked all right. I’m sure it had a problem at some point, but it worked when we needed it to. As a concept car, it only had to work a handful of times.

M: Did the air conditioning work?

Stan: It did, but that car was always hot.

M: No shades, no blinds…

Stan: Right. It wasn’t very practical at all.

M: There were some plastic air funnels coming out of the air conditioning vents in some photos, but not all. Was that early, or late?

Stan: You mean in the rear package tray?

M: Yes, out of the chrome air conditioning vents on the rear package tray.

Stan: I remember those on the 1956 Lincoln, but not on the Futura. Hmmmm.

M: Did you ever get to drive the car?

Stan: No, but Bill Schmidt, my boss, did. Along with Benson Ford, I think, in New York.

M: Do you have any photos, models or toys of the car?

Stan: No. Bill Schmidt had someone make a model for him–I don’t know, maybe 18 or 20 inches long. I don’t know if his family still has it, or if it ended up in a museum in Michigan.

M: What did you think of the Futura?

Stan: It was silly, it was impractical, but it was beautiful. It was one of a kind. Ford was behind Cadillac and trying to catch up.

M: Was the Futura successful for Lincoln?

Stan: Oh yes. The goal was to get attention, and that car was featured in a lot of magazines and newspapers. It did its job.

M: How did you feel about the Futura becoming the Batmobile?

Stan: Oh, all right. Ford was pushing it for use in movies and TVs. It was in a movie–I can’t remember the title…

M: It Started With a Kiss with Glenn Ford?

Stan: Yes. And with Debbie Reynolds And it was a few years after that when George Barris turned it into the Batmobile.

M: What else did you do at Ford?

Stan: I designed the interior of the 1956 Lincoln, borrowing a lot from the Futura. I had started designing the Edsel interior–with no idea what the exterior would look like.

M: Did you work on the 57 Lincoln, too?

Stan: No. And Ford ruined the look of the car. But I had already left Ford to go to Packard. I was pretty young at the time–I was 21 or 22. This turned out to be a bad decision, because Packard closed down two years later!

M: Are you aware that there are 3 replicas of the Futura and about 75 of the Batmobile?

Stan: No. You mean full scale?!

M: Yes! Full-scale, 1:1 drivable cars. There are many fans of your work, trying to duplicate it perfectly.

Stan: No, I wasn’t aware of that.

M: You should check out 1966batmobile.com, where you will find a section on the Futura, and take a look at some of the wonderful pictures.

Stan: I’ll do that.

M: Stan, thanks so much for your time. We are huge fans of your work, and you will forever be remembered. Have a great one, sir.

Stan: Thanks for calling.

I had a recent conversation with car customizer Dick Dean.  In addition to many other projects, Dick Dean worked for George Barris on the original modifications that turned the Futura into the Batmobile and subsequent replicas. He also worked for Dean Jefferies customizing the Monkeemobile and the Black Beauty too.  Who better to answer my burning questions about the Futura and the replicas but Dick Dean?

2001

SAD FOOTNOTE: DICK DEAN PASSED AWAY JUNE 2008

Eric: How many people worked on modifying the Futura into the Batmobile and how long did it take?

Dick: Five men working 3 weeks to get the first Batmobile to the studios.

E: Who were the five people who worked on the conversion of the Futura?

D: Myself, Dan Dempski, Richard “Korky” Korkes, Bill Cushenbery, and Roy “Tubs” Johnson.

E: Where there any pictures taken during the construction?

D: There were no pictures of construction because it went so fast.  Bill Cushenbery did start the work on the Batmobile, but time was running out so we brought it back to George’s and did a crash program.

E: What was the Futura’s condition before you started work on it?

D: It had one small dent on the fender

E: How were the door bats applied on the #1?

D: The bats were affixed on with flush screws

E: Where did you get the beacon light and the props for the #1?

D: Handmade the light, gadgets, etc.

E: What was in the trunk of the #1?

D: Futura – stock

E: Did you work on the repairs of the #1 when the car was breaking down in 1966-1968?

D: No, but the #1 Batmobile did get a chassis change after the movie. Les Tompkins, George Barris’ partner at the time changed it.  Ford gave 4 complete chassis and engines which were used.

E: When were molds pulled from the #1?

D: After the filming was over the car was taken to the mold shop.

E: How many replicas were built by Barris shop?

D: Three at Barris’ shop.

E: Were any of the replicas used on the TV show or 1966 movie?

D: No, only the #1 car was used in the movie and on TV as the others cars weren’t even built yet.

E: Did you build a metal replica or are you familiar with a metal replica (#5) that George may have won in a lawsuit/dispute?

D: There is no metal #5 car that either George Barris or I know of.  If there’s a #5 metal one out there, someone else built it.

E: In what years were the replicas built?

D: 1967-1968

E: Why were the replicas made differently from the original #1?

D: Because we couldn’t always find the same things.  No one cared.

E: Did the Dragster have a manual or automatic transmission?

D: A manual transmission.

E: Did the replicas originally all have rear canopies?

D: The replicas always had canopies on the rear, yes.

E: Why were some of the Batmobiles flocked?  Was it to hide stress cracks from the fiberglass?

D: One of the replicas was flocked because it came out of the mold in bad shape.  So we called it Bat Fuzz.

Richard’s company Rader Wheels is credited for supplying Barris’ Batmobile with its rims. Richard is a 1/4 German and his original name was Von Rader.  Räder in German means WHEEL.  Rader gave all wheels for Barris’ cars free for many years. This included Sonny & Cher’s twin Mustang’s, the Munster Koach, ZZR from “Out of Sight” and many others.   Richard say’s this was great advertising for him!

FEBRUARY 2005

Eric: What size rim did the Batmobile wear 15×10’s?

Richard: Bat Wheels were 15X7 rims that were reversed.

E: How do you reverse a rim?  It seemed the rims were “deep” on the Batmobile

R: Yes, we made the deep look for the Bat car. This is accomplished by reversing the Rim. Rims are designed with a shallow side (used for Autos) and a deep side.  You want a deep wheel you polish the deep side. You then machine down the spoke center and press it in the rim, Walla-a wheel.

E: Were they tri-rib or single rib?

R: Wheel spoke was the original first wheel I designed.  It had a single rib in the center of each of the 5-spokes.

E: Did they have a trim ring around the rim or was the entire rim one-piece?

R: Rims were polished/chrome plated with NO trim rings.

Rader only made two one piece cast aluminum wheels.  One was a cast Magnesium dragster wheel 16X13 (Superlite Rader) and a one piece cast aluminum car wheel 14X6.

You can’t make a steel wheel rim easy; it takes about $300,000 DLS for the equipment.  We purchased all our rims from Norris Themidor in Los Angeles, CA.

E: Were the Bat-spinners on the rims cast aluminum or cut out of a flat aluminum sheet?

R: The original Bat Knock-off was designed and made by Rader.  It was cool, cast out of aluminum, it was concave.  After our split he (Barris) made them out of flat aluminum. <Note: Richard is talking about the Replica Spinners>

E: Do you have images of the original design for the batnock-off?  How were they affixed? Bolted on…epoxy?

R: I don’t have any drawings of any products. The Bat knockoff fastens on the same as any of Rader knock-offs. The Knock-off has a 1/4 x 20 stud cast into the back and it screws on the wheel hub.

E: Do you know why all the original Rader’s were removed from the 4 Batmobiles in the early 70’s?  To this day none of the originals wear Rader’s except for the #4 car (it wears Radir’s). 

R: Barris introduced me to the head design engineers for Ford/GM/American. He was real good to us to do this.

One day Barris said to me, design a Rader wheel for bicycles. I did. I hand made sample cast aluminum bike wheels.  We together applied for a design patent. At the time my company Radak Inc. was under contract to Huffy Bicycles. I was designing bikes and accessories, (using the same Artist).

Barris was working with Murray Bicycles and I was working with Huffy to sell them the bike wheel.  Barris behind my back, made a deal with Murray.  He didn’t manufacture the wheels but he got paid for the idea. Did he share the $$, NO. We split the sheets over that. Barris removed Rader wheels from the Bat copies, got $$ from other wheel makers to put their wheels on the Bats.

E: Why are some of Rader wheels stamped Mick Thompson M/T?

R: My father, Richard I. Rader (marketing) and I Richard L. Rader (design & manufacturing).

In the early 1960’s my father negotiated a contract with Mickey Thompson to distribute 10,000 Rader wheels.  (Overall Mickey sold over 200,000 Rader wheels.) We then moved our wheel plant from Napa California to Long Beach California.  We later sold 30% of Wheel Corp of America to Mickey, and then added T/R (Thompson/Rader) to the corporate name.

E: Are you associated with the new Radir‘s?

R: I don’t know anyone associated with the new Radir’s.  I see that Cragar tried to make a Rader 5-spoke and did.  The spoke is not the exact shape and looks like crap.  They discontinued it.

In 1996, I met Tony at the Route 66 car show in San Bernardino, CA.  He was there working with George Barris and the #1 Batmobile.  This was the first time I had seen the #1 Batmobile and the first time I had met George and Shirley Barris.  After talking with Tony he invited my wife and I to take a private tour of Barris Kustom Industries in North Hollywood, CA. Well the rest is now history, but I wanted to thank Tony and share his stories…

OCTOBER 2003

Eric: Tell me about yourself?

Tony: Okay, here we go. My name is Tony Wood, I am 47 years old. I work in the motion picture industry, which I have most of my life. I work in the transportation dept. Which involves all the equipment and vehicles used in film production. My main hobby is cars motorcycles & boats of any kind. I got interested in them when I was young. When I’m not out doing a movie or TV production I spend my time at Barris Kustom industries.

E: How did you get a job at Barris Kustom?

T: When I was 7 or 8 years old I used to go to school around the corner from Barris’ shop. In the early 60’s, after school my friends and I would run over to the shop and glare in the windows and sometimes we were allowed to go inside to look at some of the cars. When I was 18 a friend of mine was working there, and I used to stop by in my custom car at the time.

One day I was there and had nothing to do so my friend asked me if I wanted to help him sand and block a wild car he was building for George. The car was to be used for a show called “Electra Woman & Dyna Girl.” So that’s when I first started doing things around the shop. It was like a dream come true .

E: How long have you been working there?

T: I think the first time I started there was March 1975.

E: What do you do there?

T: Now I handle all the Barris cars in TV & film productions. Which includes transporting them to and from film locations, driving them in the shows, doing some light stunt work. I prep the cars for car shows local & around the country. I make sure they all run and are detailed. I do all the scheduling for anything that might come up.

E: What are your memories regarding the ’55 Lincoln Futura Concept car?

T: I remember when I was a kid around 7 or 8 I used to go to the shop on weekends. I used to skip church with my friends early in the morning and at that time you were able to walk around the whole perimeter. We would go out back in what I called “the bone yard.” I use to see this salmon colored car. It was real cool, glass roof and chrome all down the sides rotting away for the longest time and right behind it rotting away was this funny looking car. It was a faded yellowish with a white roof I think the interior was a mess. I knew that I had seen it before in a movie, which I later found out, was Jerry Lewis’ car in “The Patsy.” The car was the D-528 and at the time I thought it was a concept car from the factories in Detroit, but I had no idea what the Futura was. I thought Barris made it for a movie and then it was back there laid to rest.

Who knew? Then 2 or 3 years later I saw the car being stripped. The next thing I knew it was on every cover of every magazine in the country and when everyone was talking about this new show coming out called “Batman.”

I watched it not knowing that this was the car they were using, I was so excited couldn’t believe my eyes that I saw this car go from one extreme to another. And I said to myself at the time when I grow up I want to drive one of those. Ha Ha Ha.

E: Which Barris car(s) gets the most attention at car shows?

T: As far as attention well it depends on what type of show. The most famous is of course the Batmobile. Then if there is a blockbuster movie out that the Barris shop had something to do with, for instance “Fast & Furious” and the cars are appearing then that particular vehicle or vehicles are the highlight of the show. Another all time favorite is the Munster Koach–everyone loves that car.

E: I heard from Michael Gale Black that “Korky” Korkes, Bill Cushenbery, Roy “Tubs” Johnson and Les Tompkins worked on building the Batmobile.  What can you tell me about them?

T: The thing that I can say is that all those guys were very talented in their own way. Tubs was with George for years up until he past away in 1990. He could paint anything in an hour and make it look real good. Korky is still around. I think he is in the process of restoring his old famous Kustom “The Parisienne.” He was a good metal man. Bill Cushenbery and his talent for building great custom cars for 5 decades that speaks for itself. Les Tompkins I don’t know too much of. But I know that the crew George had on the Batmobile was top notch and it couldn’t be done without them and the short time they had to build it.

E: Do you have any funny stories regarding the Batmobile?

T: Yes I do, but it’s with one of the clones.

We use the clones more often because it’s a lot cheaper to replace it if something were to happen. Although the original Batmobile does run as good as it did in the 60s. One day in the summer of 2002 we were filming a TV movie “Back to the Batcave” with Adam West and Burt Ward. We were using a “clone mobile” which is what I call the other ones. Instead of trailering the car from one location to the next, which was supposed to happen they just said, drive it back and forth. So I did! I left the studios at 7:30 am on my way across town and as usual everyone gives you the thumbs up sign and also the right of way.

So off I went in rush hour traffic feeling like I was god (at the same time word was being spreading around town that the Batmobile was seen driving all over Hollywood) no license plates or tags, but I guess if you’re driving the Batmobile that gives you cinematic immunity.

I was about 3 or 4 miles away from the studios and I ran out of gas right in the middle on an intersection. People stopped, got out of their cars taking pictures asking questions. Nobody wanted to help move the car out of the street–they were just in awe.

E: Tell me something about the Batmobile that we probably didn’t know?

T: The original car was almost lost for good; it had to do with U.S. customs.

E: What is the most common question people asked about the Batmobile?

T: Do the flames work? Or is this the real one? Or what comes out of those sprinkler heads? Or how can I get one?

E: How many car shows do you think you’ve taken the Batmobile to?

T: Including movie and TV spots maybe 150.

E: I’ve heard that the Batmobiles door got damaged in transport a couple of years ago.  Any other nightmare transporting stories you’d care to share?

T: One time George had a guy working for him because I couldn’t be there all the time. I was away doing a TV show. So this guy was supposed to move the car and get it ready to be loaded on a truck and shipped to a show. Well then it was on a Saturday morning and the body shop in the back was open and there were people there picking up their cars. This guy saw all the customers and I guess he wanted to show off a little so as he started up the Batmobile he kept revving up the car, put it gear and the throttle stuck wide open. Out the door it flew (like flying out of the Batcave) bounced off a wall across the lot, turned left, bounced off a small retaining wall, and he got the car in reverse. Now still full throttle in reverse, backed up, and bounced off the same wall this time putting one of the fins right through the right rear 1/4 panel of a jeep that was just restored after 1 1/2 years in the body shop. George called me almost in tears. Needless to say the guy was gone when I got back to the shop.

Ever since that time no one else touches that car except a Barris family member or myself. Unless they have been taught to handle the car.

E: How would you describe the Batmobile’s current condition?

T: The body of the Batmobile is in good shape. It gets repainted every few years. The motor is old but it runs real good too. The interior could probably use a good going over. The seats have been recovered a few times because people used to get their picture taken in it, but not anymore.

E: What famous cars have you taken for a spin?

T: I have driven all of them I think at one time or another. There’s nothing like going to Bob’s Big Boy in the Munster Koach and pulling up to the drive-up window and asking for a burger and fries.

E: What is your favorite Barris Kustom car?

T: There are about a dozen kustom TV movie and hot rod cars that George built that I love. I can’t name just one. I could take any car home and like it just the same as another one.

E: Do you own any Kustom cars?

T: Yes I do, I just acquired a custom car that I have been wanting for 30 years. Now I’m in the long process of redoing it.

E: Anything else you’d like to add?

T: I think that the creative mind that George Barris has will never be matched.  All the cars that he created over the past (who knows how many years) will be a part of not only the automotive world but everyone who drives a car owes him a great deal of gratitude and respect. One man and his vision, he is truly ahead of his time.

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