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Hollywood movie cars: George Barris mobilizes Batman Co.

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G eorge Barris is over 80 and knows the business like no other in Hollywood. 'In the 1940s, I was the first person to start refining cars,' says Barris. 'A few years later, film productions followed.'

Batmobile brought the movie car breakthrough

George Barris became famous in the mid-1960s. For the film Bat Man with the dynamic duo Adam West and Burt Ward, the producers were looking for someone who could create a charismatic Batmobile within three weeks. Barris nodded and worked day and night with his team on the black bat racer. The result was one of the most extravagant cars in film history. The five-meter-long Ford-based Batmobile was the horror of all bad guys. Catwoman, the Riggler and the cackling penguin bit their teeth at the black bat mobile equipped with rocket launcher, radar, ejection seat and smoke machine. For many film fans, the Batmobile, under the plastic body of which was a Ford, was the real star of the film and the later television series.

Barris Kustom Productions has been on everyone's lips ever since. When a director or film team had an almost impossible job to do in a very short time, Barris jumped on stage and became a celebrated star with no name. And not just in Hollywood. The sprightly 80s also built the mobile film bases for productions in Europe and Asia. Stars like John Lennon, Burt Reynolds, John Travolta and Dean Martin have also had their private toys such as the Chevrolet Camaro, Rolls Royce and Porsche 911 tuned since the late 1960s.

Many movie cars would have been unthinkable without Barris

Over the decades, everyone who was considered something in Hollywood has immortalized themselves in George Barris' showrooms. If you visit his company headquarters on Riverside Drive in North Hollywood, you will hardly be able to spot a spot of wallpaper. The rooms are paved with photographs - Barris with stars and movie stars can be seen on all of them. The rest of the walls are covered with movie posters; most from the 60s, 70s and 80s, when the senior had his most successful creative period. Well-known US TV series such as A-Team, Knight Rider, Bat Man, The Dukes, a Colt just in case or Magnum would be without the Barris carsunthinkable.

'In the course of the decades I have received every conceivable price for it,' says George Barris in his parlor, anything but reserved, 'only one Oscar never existed. We were there my cars are the real stars in many strips. ' There are three particularly prominent vehicles in its largest showroom. In addition to the second-generation evergreen Batmobile, you can also marvel at the 'Little Bastard', the Porsche 550 by James Dean. Right next to it is the original film version of the black Pontiac Trans Am, which everyone has only known as 'KITT', Knight Rider David Hasselhoff's sports car, since the late 80s. When asked how many vehicles he has built over the decades, Barris just shakes his head: 'I don't know. There were thousands. I loved each of the cars as my children did.'

Barris has a Hollywood shrine

A lot has changed over the years, according to Hollywood veteran Barris. 'In the past, the cars really had to be able to do the special tricks. Smoke, flames, fireworks and jumps - today everything is done on the computer. Many of the movie cars no longer even have an engine under the hood.' By the way, at Barris Kustoms it is not only the less prominent exhibition of film cars that is worth seeing. But right next to his tiny office, Barris especially likes to sit in his own Hollywood shrine, a ten-square-meter room that overflows with film devotional objects and figures. Every film, every series has produced model cars and fan packs in the USA. You can find them all here.

Even today, George Barris produces movie cars

In addition to the cars for Hollywood productions, George Barris still earns his living by customizing cars. He is therefore a welcome guest at the major tuning fairs around the world. 'For example, we build a lithium-ion battery into the Toyota Prius. Then it has a range of over 70 miles per gallon of fuel.' Tuning and customizing, which is particularly popular in the USA, has so far not suffered from the ongoing car crisis. 'My books are full. I do something for everyone. I have jobs between one and a million dollars.

That's just how business goes,' says Barris. The current showpiece is the hotly made power version of the new Dodge Challenger called 'Red Daemon'. 'It has more than 750 hp and is a real rocket. I love it.' There are now five Barris stations in the USA and the only foreign branch in London to have their hands full. The next film projects are already running. One or the other mobile leading actor is likely to come from Barris Kustoms.

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