George Barris - The King of Car Customizing


George Barris is no normal car designer . He takes cars and  customizes  them  according to  the special wishes of his customers.  Since the early 1940s George Barris has been  designing  special cars that he has sold to the movie industry and  celebrities .

George and his brother Sam started working on cars when they got a 1925 Buick from their parents. They made changes to it  repainted  it and then sold it.

Later on George  re-designed  some cars which he then used for racing. Hollywood became  aware  of this  skilful  car designer and in 1958 he  created  his first car used in the film  High School Confidential .

Many Hollywood stars came to George Barris and wanted something special to drive in. Barris redesigned and  modified  cars for John Wayne, Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Frank Sinatra and many others.

Customizing cars became  popular  after World War II, because people wanted something personal as part of their culture. Car clubs appeared and the  taste  for new vehicles   become stronger,  especially  among people with a lot of money. The big automobile companies did not  compete  in this  business , so it was left to private businessmen like George Barris and others. Nobody,  however , could do the job as well as Barris could.

In the 1960s Barris  created  the black and red  Batmobile , the  iconic  car of the TV comic  series . For the  Munsters  he took three Model T Fords and cut them together to make the family’s  Koach . The inside was made to look like a  coffin . In the 1980s he designed  KITT  , car star of the television series  Knight Rider .


George Barris has been designing cars for over six  decades . He is a legend in the car designing business, often called the “van Gogh” of the automobile industry. At 80, his son and daughter have  taken over  the business but he still designs cars in his studio.


The legendary Batmobile of the 1960s

The legendary "Batmobile" of the 1960s


Related Topics



  • according to   = in the way someone wants something to be
  • aware   = alert
  • business   = part of the economy
  • celebrity   = famous living person
  • coffin   = long box, in which a dead person is put
  • compete   = take part in
  • create   = make
  • customize   = to change to something special
  • decade   = ten years
  • design   = plan, make something new
  • especially   = above all
  • however   = but
  • iconic   = something that has become famous over the years
  • modify   = change
  • popular   = liked by many people
  • re-design = plan or make something new
  • repaint   = paint over again
  • series   = set of television programs that have the same characters and are usually broadcast every week
  • skilful   = talented
  • take over   = to lead the company
  • taste   = the kind of things that you like
  • vehicle   = a machine that takes people or things from one place to another, like a car or truck